You’ll know it’s time to bust out the grey rock method when a toxic person in your life is bothering you and engaging in manipulative behavior of some kind. Of course, in a perfect world, we would cut off contact with these kinds of people, but sometimes that’s not an option.
According to Richmond, it works in cases of extreme jealousy or possessiveness, someone trying to control who you’re with and where you’re going, and with people who are gaslighting you, to name a few examples. It also works when people try to incite drama, get any sort of rise out of you, and so on.
When you do find yourself in the company of a narcissistic or abusive person, and you want them to leave you alone: disengage, disengage, disengage. As Richmond explains, most emotionally abusive people are looking for attention—and negative attention is better than no attention. So don’t give it to them!
Along with keeping your responses short and unemotional, you can use nonverbal cues like avoiding eye contact and closed-off body language to signal you’re not interested in interacting.