It would be wonderful if everyone was kind and giving. Suppose everyone had good intentions and was considerate and mindful of others. If everyone you came across had your best interests in mind, think of the ways in which you could excel in life.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who are only looking out for themselves. Having your own best interests in mind is a healthy way to live, but when it is to the detriment of others, it becomes toxic behavior. We should actively avoid these people when we encounter them, and it seems like a simple enough thing to identify.
But what about people who don’t make it obvious that they’re toxic? How can you tell that someone should be avoided? What are the warning signs a person displays in their behavior and lifestyle that can give you clues that they should be bypassed, dropped from your life, or ignored?
In this article, we will discuss all of these things. We’ll break down the different types of relationships and how to identify the major signs of a toxic person in each role. We will discuss signs you should stay away from someone in your life and how to tell if you need to cut out a person that already exists in your life. We will also address what to do when we encounter toxic people.
What is a Toxic Person?
Toxic people don’t have your best interests in mind. They impact your life with their negativity and need for attention and drama. You can’t please toxic people because the only thing that makes them happy is the turmoil of others.
They need constant conflict to stay content, and they will use any tactics necessary to keep things in a state of chaos and get what they want from you. They thrive on making others miserable because it makes them feel powerful.
Most of us can think of at least one person in our own lives, either past or present, that fits the description of a toxic person. These people are common, and they exist on every level of life. From childhood all the way up to old age, we see it time and time again.
Clear Signs that Someone is Toxic
Everyone wants relationships. Whether we seek romance or friendship, companionship on some level is necessary to avoid loneliness. It can be difficult to make friends, and the process is made even more difficult when we have to identify and avoid certain negative people due to their toxicity. The following are red flags and warning signs we should look out for when seeking new relationships with potential partners and friends.
It is both exciting and nerve-wracking to start a romantic relationship with someone. We can’t help who we feel attracted to, but we can choose whether or not they are a healthy relationship candidate to choose to begin a relationship with.
Attraction alone does not make a successful relationship, and when we engage in a partnership with a toxic person, you can be sure that at most, only one of you is going to be happy and it won’t be you.
Signs You Should Avoid Dating Someone
What follows are several signs that a person may give you that you should stay away. Any relationship that doesn’t contribute to your happiness isn’t worth having, especially for romantic partners.
These are the people that you will become closest to, and you will be at your most vulnerable with. It is important to look for these signs to know who to avoid when you’re dating.
They Tell You They’re a Toxic Person
Believe it or not, a lot of negative people announce that they shouldn’t be in a relationship. When someone tells you, “I’m no good for you,” or “I sabotage everything,” they aren’t kidding. If someone tells you that they’re bad news, believe them. It is not your job nor your duty to fix someone. These people are literally telling you that you should stay away. Take the advice and move on.
A person doesn’t have to physically cause injury to be abusive. It can be challenging to know if a person has abusive tendencies. All of us lash out occasionally when we are upset, and it doesn’t make us abusers when we do.
If someone corrects everything you say, puts you down constantly, or makes you feel less than them through their words and actions, it’s emotional and possibly verbal abuse.
When a person screams at you because they’re in a bad mood, that’s not okay, and it’s most likely not going to be a one-time occurrence. It will happen again, and if you stick around after the first time, it will become a regular habit. The last thing you want to be involved in is an abusive relationship.
They’re Rude to Service Workers
Beware the person who is rude to their waiter or bartender, or yells at or insults retail workers. These negative people often have no regard for the feelings of others, and they’re entitled and feel superior to others. If they’ll behave like this towards people who are being paid to help them, why would they avoid being rude to you?
They may try to explain it away with an excuse that they just deserve and want good service, but being rude is never acceptable, and losing your cool with people in the service industry is a big red flag.
It is important to stay away from anyone who doesn’t know their limits. People who binge shop, binge drink, gamble to excess, or abuse any other habit that in small doses is okay, are people who don’t understand or respect boundaries.
These people are often trying to subconsciously fill a hole in their lives with empty things like alcohol, shopping, or gambling. It will never be enough, and it will only ever make them feel better for a little while.
They’re Overly Dependent
Some people refer to these people as needy or clingy. Avoid any romantic interest who can’t be on their own for any significant amount of time. If they always need to know where you are or always need to be in contact with you, stay away from them.
These people have dependency issues, which often evolve into control issues. This never makes for a healthy relationship, and it’s not something a person can just “get over.”
They Badmouth Their Exes
Everyone has an ex or two who is bad news. We all make mistakes, and most of us could tell a few stories about an ex who demonstrated toxic behaviors. This person, however, talks like they have never dated anyone decent. Nothing in any past relationship was ever their fault, and their former partners were all terrible people.
The chances are that if they have nothing decent to say about any of their exes, the exes were not the problem. Avoid this person if you don’t want to end up being the next ex they badmouth.
Signs You Should Avoid Friendship with Someone Toxic
Friends enrich our lives and give us support when we need it. We enjoy the company of friends, and we have fun and forget about our worries when we’re around them.
Sometimes, though, we end up making friends with people who leave us feeling drained and used and miserable. We don’t like who we are when we are around these people, and they make us feel terrible.
Here are the signs you should look for when considering making a new friend. If you see any of these behaviors displayed, run the other direction.
They Need Constant Attention
Everyone craves attention every now and then, but some people require every bit of attention from their peers. If someone you’re considering friendship with is like this, end the communication and seek friendship elsewhere.
These are people who always have some issue or catastrophe in their life and need you to drop what you’re constantly doing to give them attention. They are always going through some real or imagined turmoil that requires your constant attention and never reciprocate. These people will make you feel forgotten, undervalued, and drained emotionally, physically, and mentally.
These are the people who have harsh opinions about everything and everyone. It’s one thing to have unwavering convictions and beliefs, but when a person constantly nitpicks everything you do, stand for, or say, they are judgmental.
Judgmental friends aren’t really friends. They are trying to feel superior to boost their own image and self-esteem. These people try to bring you down so that they can elevate themselves. This person becomes obnoxious, rude, and overbearing over time and should be avoided at all costs.
They Treat You Differently Depending on Who They’re Around
If you’re considering friendship with someone and you notice that they treat you differently depending upon who they’re around, it’s a red flag. If you are ignored around some people in this person’s company, mocked or made fun of around other people, and shown off and bragged about around other people, then you are better off stopping contact and not pursuing a friendship with this person.
This person is most likely using you as a convenience, simply to have more friends. You aren’t really cared about as a person, but more as an accessory they can bring to social gatherings. You are a great asset to have when no one else is available. Know your worth and take this as a clear sign to stay away from this person.
Toxic People You Can’t Physically Avoid Easily
We’ve discussed the signs displayed by people we should avoid beginning relationships with. But how do we know what people we should avoid in settings that we can’t stay out of?
Family members can be toxic people, too, but they’re much harder to cut ties with. Coworkers can also be toxic, but what are the signs that can tell us we need to avoid them as much as possible?
Toxic Family Members
We’ve all heard the saying, “Blood is thicker than water,” but no one deserves to be unhappy, regardless of family status. We can’t always completely avoid a toxic family member, but we can steer clear of them and have little to do with them when we have to be around them. The following are major signs you should look out for that are red flags.
They’re Not Supportive
Family members should be there to offer support when you’re in need. If someone in your family employs the “sink or swim” ideology anytime you need help or support; they aren’t healthy to be around.
While you should deal with some of your issues on your own, never being there for you is a problem when it comes to family. Tough love is an unhealthy way to go about relationships with family members.
They’re Overly Critical or Condescending
When family members have nothing but insults and condescending remarks about your life and your choices, they’re a toxic person. Understand that they aren’t giving you advice or wanting the best for you. They’re being hateful and shrewd, and they chip away at your confidence, self worth and self-esteem until you feel less than them.
They do this to feel elevated and superior to you. They’re also trying to dictate your life and control you. When you reach the stage of life where you’re an adult, you should be free to make your own choices.
As long as those choices aren’t dangerous or detrimental to yourself or those around you, your family should accept you for who you are and the life you lead. Any family member who treats you as less than or never has anything nice to say should be avoided at all costs for the sake of your own mental health and well-being.
They Demand Constant Attention
These are the family members who expect you to drop everything and address their issues simply because they’re related to you. If you’re busy or don’t have the resources to help, they chastise you and guilt trip you because you should do whatever is necessary to be there for your family.
When a family member does this, this is a warning sign that they are using you. Once you start giving of yourself and dropping everything to tend to their every want and need, it doesn’t stop.
Unless you quit your job, you can’t entirely avoid being around some toxic coworkers. They exist in every workplace, and they can and will make you miserable if given the chance.
Some will even go as far as to try to undermine your work and get you fired. You can give them less to work with, though, and avoid their attacks by not giving them friendship. What follows are some red flags to look out for in toxic coworkers.
They Take Credit for Other People’s Work
This person does the bare minimum to skate by at work and then jumps at the chance to take any credit they don’t deserve. They want to excel by using other people, and they hold others back so that they can propel themselves up the ladder.
Such a person will use you if given the chance and will not only take credit for your work, but they’ll undermine you and downplay your performance every chance they get so that they can get ahead.
They Create Workplace Drama
The person gossiping on lunch break about other people you both work with is probably not the best person to develop a working relationship with. If they badmouth other people at your job, they are probably badmouthing you when you aren’t around. These people thrive on constant drama that is unnecessary in the workplace.
What to Do About Toxic People
We’ve discussed the signs to look out for to identify who we should stay away from in various walks of life. Once we have identified the people we should avoid, we can employ several methods to keep these people from slipping through the cracks or infiltrating and damaging our lives.
We should remove these people from our contacts and friends lists on social media. Giving them a look into our profiles and personal lives only gives them ammunition against you. We should also refuse to engage with these people if at all possible.
Set healthy boundaries with toxic people. Giving them no reaction is often the best reaction when they lash out, create drama, or gossip. Don’t try to fix these people. It is not your job to repair a person’s shortcomings or steer their motives in a healthier direction. Often these people don’t want to change.
It isn’t always easy or pleasant to cut people out of our lives who are causing us misery or taking advantage of us. If we can look for the signs and pay attention before we begin relationships with these people and stay away from them in the first place, we can move ahead to people more deserving of our time, love, and attention.