In life, we will come across certain types of people who just feel off. Toxic people are everywhere, you can find them at work, in parent groups, in social settings and even in your own family. When people are unpleasant, you walk away from an encounter feeling drained. The get togethers with these people will feel like you’ve just swallowed poison – they do nothing to enrich your life, your career, or make you feel at ease or at least happy. Being aware of the signs of a toxic person, puts you in a better place early on to know how to deal with them, or whether you need to minimise contact with them to protect yourself. Below we are going to discuss how to identify a toxic person in order to avoid allowing them to wreak havoc in your life.
So how do we spot a toxic person?
- They are Selfish: Toxic people are so concerned about themselves, that they rarely show any concern for others. They have no concern for your feelings, nor take them in to consideration when dealing with you. They only seem to care about how they feel, what they want to do, and if the situation benefits them, and will often manipulate you to ensure they get what they want whether by being devious or aggressive. In a workplace, they could demand you work late even though they know you have children to pick up, or give you a huge work load before lunch. It is best to limit your exposure to these people and try to move on as quick as possible.
- They always need to be right: Toxic people can’t stand the idea that they could ever be wrong about something. They love to argue and will do so until the other person gives up! It doesn’t matter what evidence you come up with, they will argue their viewpoint and deny the truth. They will go as far as taking their fight to the legal system and in the process, incurring large costs to prove a point. Be prepared for a fight! They are bitter and underhanded, and in their quest to always be right, they will lie, fabricate and misdirect the conversation because all they want is to win.
- They like to lie: We have all been guilty of a white lie here or there, however a toxic person will deliberately misinform, mislead, twist information or just downright lie. And because they are so comfortable in telling so many lies, it will be hard to trust anything they say. They are happy to twist the truth in order to hide their personality flaws.
- They never see the good in anyone: It’s easy to find faults in others, and no one is perfect, even ourselves. However, a toxic person takes it to the next level and will focus on the negative traits of a person and gossip about others to deliberately put them down. So, if you come across this kind of toxic person, be careful what you say about others. The chances are, they are taking what you said, and twisting the truth to make you look bad to others.
- They don’t let go or forgive: Bad things happen to all of us and as humans we face adversity with similar emotions of anger, blame, questioning, sorrow etc. Then we find it in ourselves to forgive and move on from the situation. Toxic people however, thrive on drama and negativity, and love the attention they get from it. They will keep dragging up a past situation at every given opportunity, negatively impacting everyone they come into contact with. When you come across this behaviour – be cautious and try to move away from it.
Now that we know some of the signs of toxic people, how can we best handle them when we come across them? See some tips below:
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries: Boundaries has become a popular word these days, and for good reason. When we put boundaries up for ourselves, we are essentially teaching others how we like to be treated. Don’t let a toxic person tear down your boundaries for their own gain. Make sure you know your values, and don’t compromise them for anyone. A simple and polite “no thanks” or “I’d prefer to talk about something else” is often enough to let the toxic person know where you stand.
- Keep a record of what you said to them: You can protect yourself from toxic people (bosses, colleagues, customers, family or friends) by putting down in writing what was agreed to and said. For example, after a meeting with a toxic work colleague, follow it up with an email reiterating what was said and agreed to. This will help to prevent any lies down the track. If it is a friend or family member, you can follow up the conversation with a text message confirming what you agreed to.
- Don’t share personal information with them: Expect that anything said to a toxic person will be repeated negatively and even used against you. Be careful what you say about others. Never share a secret that you wouldn’t mind everyone knowing because there is no confidence with these types of people.
- Be firm: Toxic people want their own way and they want to win at any cost. If they don’t get what they want, they will try to use all their manipulative games to get it. It’s at this point that you will need to stay strong and not give in to their emotional roller coaster. Do not compromise yourself for their gain and certainly do not conform to their game playing. It’s always best to be prepared so that you are not caught off guard.
Have you had any experiences with toxic people? If so, we would love to hear how you dealt with them. If you feel that you are being bullied or are feeling depressed about a toxic person’s invasive behaviours toward you, you can try to speak to a trusted friend or family member. If it is a colleague at work or even a boss, you can call life line on 13 11 14 or speak with the HR department of your organisation. We at Pure Insights are also available to assist you if you are facing any of these challenges. You can reach out to one of our friendly team anonymously on 1300 796 640.