I have a strained relationship with the word “toxic” as it’s often used today. Toxic masculinity, toxic relationships, toxic people. Dismissing human beings as worthless, evil and malicious, rather than recognising that maybe they just aren’t for you and that you might not be so great yourself, is too easy then there’s a simple, catch word to use to do it.
But toxic positivity might be a term I warm to. This is basically positivity that doesn’t pass the empathy test. Positivity as a means of moving the conversation onto a new topic, rather than showing a genuine interest and, god forbid, a sincere willingness to help.
Phrases like: “other people have it much worse”, or “you just need to stay positive”, or worst of all in my opinion, “everything happens for a reason“.
These aren’t expressions of support, they’re catchphrases that express your desire to move on. To say something, anything, without going to the trouble of actually understanding the problem or simply empathising and letting the person know you’re there for them.
So here are eight of them that you might want to avoid using. They won’t help the person you’re talking to and will probably make them feel worse. If you don’t know what to say that’s fine. Just let the person you’re talking to know that you care.