Who are the Toxic People?
I am a huge fan of people (if I wasn’t, my job would be incredibly difficult!). People can propel us forward, drag us downward, or even sit with us during the most difficult crisis of our lives. However, I understand in working with people, how destructive others can be to reaching your personal goals.
If you are reading this post, you probably know well the types of toxic people that are out there, but maybe you haven’t really been able to put your finger on exactly ‘why’ they’re toxic. Likely, you have had experience with many of them. You leave your time with them feeling exhausted, frustrated and discouraged. Let’s look at a rundown:
4 Types of Toxic People: The Shortlist
1. Energy Drains – These are individuals that truly feel like they drain energy from you. They can feel needy, demanding, and overwhelm you with their own drama which is often largely self-created. I call these ‘high maintenance friends.’
2. The Negatives – This is the person who is always complaining. Everything is negative. These are individuals who might even put you (or others) down. They constantly criticize. For these individuals, the glass is always ‘half-empty,’ and you might even find yourself joining in the negativity or feeling negatively during/after your conversation…they are like an infection, dragging you down.
3. Dream Killers – You know who they are. They are the people who tell you why you are ‘unrealistic’ or why your dreams ‘won’t work.’ They are discouraging, discount your needs, and often try to keep you confused. In truth, these people are often jealous of your ambitions, and want you to stay stuck.
4. The Takers – These are individuals who take from you in time, attention, or using you for emotional support, but do nothing in return. Friendship should be a two-way street…but you feel it is very one-sided. These individuals may not truly understand how to have a proper friendship or relationship, and use people entirely for what they can do for ‘them.’
How do you know you have toxic people in your life?
The way they make you feel: If you consistently leave interactions feeling badly or in a negative place, consider that.
When you have an interaction with someone beneficial, you should feel uplifted, inspired, positive, happy, and motivated. Now granted, sometimes you or your friend may be going through a difficult time, but it should not be the majority of the time. You should not ‘dread’ phone calls, conversation or interaction. If you do, this is a big red flag waving for you to change the scene.
What to Do?
Some toxic people cannot be completely eliminated because of obligation. Maybe they are family, or a colleague you have to work with. If they are not people of obligation, they are people of ‘choice.’ Why choose negativity?
Reduce Contact – If you have to be in contact with a toxic person because of work or family, reduce your contact as much as you are able…talk weekly instead of daily, use email more than one-on-one time, socialize more with others at events.
Eliminate Contact – I know this sounds terribly harsh, but it’s your life. Your mental state is not worth tainting over anyone else’s pathology, destructive nature or negativity. Cut them out.
Ridding yourself of toxic influences is more difficult than it sounds. We are talking about people, after all, and if they are toxic people, they will often resort to toxic methods to try to keep you down and keep you around. Expect it.
If you want to move ahead in life, an essential step is figuring out what anchors you to your current existence. Are there anchors in your life, holding you back?