I prefer to be naively optimistic in saying that most people are kind, well-adjusted individuals who demonstrate positive, likable qualities. However, there are also plenty of people who are insecure, selfish, and downright unkind.
It’s a wonder to me why we bother to get to know these people, but we do, and it’s very difficult to cut them out of our lives once we’ve let them in. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of taking this step, but it’s necessary if we want to maintain healthy mental and emotional states. If you’re unsure, here are some ways to spot a toxic person in your life.
1. They talk more than they listen.
Toxic people have narcissistic tendencies. They have a difficult time focusing on things that don’t directly affect them, so instead they circulate conversations around their thoughts, feelings, and actions. They listen halfheartedly, with mechanical nods and unenthusiastic mumblings rather than genuinely trying to engage in a two-way conversation.
2. They are never wrong.
It’s much easier to simply agree with whatever this person says, especially when they are passionately attached to a topic. Disagreeing or arguing is a gratuitous venture that results in hurt feelings and defensive language. It’s simply not worth it.
3. Drama follows them everywhere they go.
Something is always wrong. Always. Once a single problem is solved, another emerges. All issues are equally distressing to them, and extreme sympathy and coddling are expected. If you try to offer advice, it’s likely they’ll find a reason that it can’t or won’t work, exhibiting a victim mentality that can be fixed.
4. They force relationships.
Toxic people exaggerate relationships and force feelings in order to validate the relationship to others. If they make a positive connection with someone, that person quickly becomes a best friend or true love. Evidence of the relationship (photos, texting screenshots, inside jokes) is very important to them, as it proves to everyone else the “unique” connection they have with someone.
5. Their experience is the standard by which everything should be judged.
Toxic people have a tendency to use their own life experiences as the example by which everyone else should live. They have a hard time separating situations into individual circumstances and will judge your actions on their past situations, as if they are identical. If they couldn’t maintain a long distance relationship, neither could you. If they hated yoga, it would be a waste of your time.
6. They often lie.
Telling lies, big or small, really isn’t an issue for people with toxic personalities. These lies benefit them in some way, which makes it easy for them to justify the lie. Their happiness prevails over others (another narcissistic tendency), and if lying is a means to that end, then so be it.
7. They lack tact and general courtesy.
Derogatory statements, brutal “honesty,” and stark humor indicate a lack of empathy toward others and a need to assert superiority. Oftentimes these people boast about their honesty and tell-it-like-it-is attitude and therefore don’t see the harm in what they say. This trait is often coupled with becoming defensive when similar “truth” is fired back at them.
8. They exhibit controlling behaviors.
If you feel pressured to act or feel a certain way according to someone else’s desires, it’s likely part of their toxic personality to make you feel that way. No one should have to pretend to be someone they aren’t in order to feel included or liked.
9. They love to talk about other people.
The only purpose gossiping serves is to bring others down in order to bolster one’s own image, which demonstrates poor self-esteem. Toxic people constantly speak negatively about others; they rarely find decent or kind things to say. They also have a hard time sincerely acknowledging others’ accomplishments.
Not all toxic people embody every one of these characteristics, but having even a few is a good sign that this person should be removed from your life. These people drain energy and leave us mentally and emotionally exhausted. If you recognize these traits in someone you know, it’s time to cut the cord.