Toxic people are very common and can be found anywhere. It is, therefore, important to recognize the signs of toxic people to distance yourself from them before it’s too late.

In fact, it’s almost certain that we all have one in our lives – the grumpy co-worker, that gossiping aunty or the really pessimistic friend. But before we discuss the signs of toxic people and the ways to deal with them, what exactly is a toxic person?

A toxic person is exactly what it sounds like: it is a person who has very draining behavior and an unpleasant attitude, with poisonous effects on those around them. In other words, they have absolutely no positive effect on the lives of others. Contrarily, they make everything a misery and can never be satisfied, no matter how hard you try.

All hope is not lost, though – once you identify them, there are ways to safely deal with (or better yet, avoid) a potentially toxic individual.

Here are six signs of toxic people, which will help you spot those around you:

1. They lie

Not just a white lie here or there (which is an alarm bell in itself), but these folks are serial liars. You just can’t tell which of their words are true and which are not. They lie in every which way possible –that includes withholding or changing information as well as flat out lying.

And the worrying part is that they hide their lies behind so much charm that it can make you start questioning your own judgement.

2. They are selfish

They only think about themselves and only talk about themselves. It’s rare for them to spare any words or concern for others and that is because they genuinely don’t care. They will easily use and manipulate you for their own selfish needs, with no consideration for your situation.

Sadly, appealing to them won’t make a difference either because it never works.

3. Drama follows them

To the untrained eye, it seems like these people are just plain unfortunate –they get robbed, cheated on, or their pet always gets lost. But is all this really happening, or are they exaggerating it and enjoying the attention? Does the sympathy they get drive them?

Perhaps it is their constant attention to negativity that is attracting such situations to them.

Whatever the reason may be, it is secondary to the fact that they seem to thrive on drama. This is one of the most telltale signs of toxic people.

4. They never speak nicely about others

Toxic people always focus on what they don’t like about others – then proceed to backbite and gossip about it. Over and over again. It’s rare for them to acknowledge anything nice about others.

Don’t ever let their words cloud your judgement or form your opinions. Chances are that they say plenty about you behind your back too.

5. They are always the victim

They love to blame others for every and any inconvenience or problem they have. Shouldering any responsibility is the last thing they want.

6. They need to always be right

What they think and feel has to be the truth, and they will not settle for anything otherwise. They will argue and fight their point until you give up because the idea of them being wrong is unthinkable. They have the ability to take their argument to extreme lengths – even as far as court.

If you ever come across one, it’s better to just let them be. Common sense and logic do not work here.

If these signs of toxic people sound like someone in your life, here are some tips on how to handle them:

  • Do not trust them. That is to say, keep them at arm’s length and only share what is the bare minimum, depending on your involvement with that person. Keep in mind that in your absence, they will most probably repeat whatever you say, and you can be sure they will twist it in a negative way.
  • Be polite. Don’t stoop down to their level. In the end, you will come out of the situation being the wiser and more respected party.
  • Stay firm. Don’t be a doormat or a pushover. Stick to your own standards and chances are toxic people will grudgingly accept that you will not be moved.

What are your thoughts on toxic people? Do you have anybody like this in your life? Share your story with us below!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Julie Andrews

    Unfortunately, my 29 year old daughter is like this. It began when she was around 20. She now has a son which I am not allowed to see due to her disability.

  2. Sarah

    @Julie Andrews: Well, toxic upbringing creates toxic children, thus narcissists and (not as toxic) codependent young adults.
    You really want to tell us you have no idea why your daughter’s behaviour towards you is allegedly “toxic”? If she really was a narcissist she would have copied that behaviour from her primary caregivers or at least one of them, that includes mostly the mother and/or the father. But really your words sounds like many narcissistic parents who were horrificly uncaring parents and blame everything on their children from their birth on. Later they call them “narcissists” or “ill-conditioned” when their children no longer take the abuse, go no contact to heal themselves and to protect their own children from abuse by their grandparents. I’m inclined to think you are not as pitiful as you want to make us believe.

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