We’ve all come across them at one point or another in our lives. The colleague who seems to have it in for you, the friend who always has a drama they want to involve you in, the difficult neighbour, or the family member who wears you out every time you see or speak to them.
What all these people have in common is toxicity – they are unpleasant, draining and just hard to spend time with. Like a poison, they do nothing to enrich your life and career, or make it any easier or more successful.
Like many things in life, being forewarned that someone is potentially a toxic person to deal with is forearmed. You can prepare strategies to deal with them, or minimise your contact with them.
The 10 giveaway signs of a toxic person
So just how do you spot a toxic person? Luckily there are a number of easy-to-spot signs that, when you’re aware of them, enable you to pick them out a mile off.
Toxic people are so busy thinking of themselves that they’ll rarely show any concern for others. Their communication setting is usually stuck on broadcast and they’ll happily talk for hours about themselves without being interested enough to spare one question for you.
And it’s not just their conversation. Toxic people genuinely have no concern for your feelings, and feel no need to take them into consideration. And worryingly, this often demonstrates itself in control. They care about how they feel, what they want to do, what their needs are, and will happily manipulate you to ensure they’re met.
They need to be right
Toxic people are so thin-skinned that they can’t stand the thought they might ever be wrong. It doesn’t matter how tiny the issue, they’ll argue their point of view until you give up out of exhaustion. What you may think, feel or believe (or in fact what IS the truth) doesn’t matter.
They’re surrounded by drama
Ever met someone that bad things always happen to? Their house gets burgled, they get food poisoning at their own wedding, their best friend runs off with their husband, their favourite dress is lost by the dry cleaner… it can seem that some people are just so unlucky.
Or are they? Could it be that their psyche is defined by the bad things that happen to them? Or that they enjoy the attention and sympathy they get from them? Perhaps they have had some truly unlucky experiences, but maybe others are over dramatised, or somehow brought about by a lack of care – or even from attracting drama through negative visualisation?
Most of us have found ourselves telling a white lie at some point in our lives, but if you discover that someone is deliberately misleading you, withholding or twisting information, or just downright lying, then watch out! If they’re comfortable with telling small lies, then you won’t know when to trust anything they say.
And as we’ve already mentioned, a toxic person is happy to twist, obscure and reinvent the truth to hide or pursue their other personality flaws.
Most people are quite straightforward. You ask them a question, and they’ll give you the answer. But not a toxic person. They thrive on attention and drama, and will happily lie at will. They also find strength in destabilising others. Unable to operate on a level playing field, they tilt, twist and muddle the truth until no one is sure what’s going on.