In the 26 short years that I have been alive, I have met thousands of people with different personalities and idiosyncrasies. I have met smart, dull, kind, rude and people who are just too nice for their own good, and each relationship that I have had has provided a valuable lesson for me.
One of the most important of these lessons is to never ever tolerate toxic behavior no matter what. That means avoiding toxic people and removing them from your life at any cost necessary.
So why are some people toxic?
People who are toxic tend to be so because they have insecurities and failings in their life and so they are miserable and self-loathing. Because of this misery and self-hatred, they both consciously and subconsciously try to sabotage any effort that a person may make in making their lives better and more fulfilling.
They see anyone trying to improve their station as a threat to their own blissful ignorance of their life’s failings and see someone’s success as an insult to their fragile egos.
When someone close to a toxic person succeeds at something, the toxic person (friend or family member) is forced to look in the mirror and see the hideous reflection of failure and shortcoming. They are forced to see the flaws in character that made them unwealthy, unhealthy or depressed.
As a disclaimer, I am not blaming someone for having depression. However, depression can be a by-product of living a life of excuses, entitlement, and laziness which is something that people are at fault for. If you live a life that you are not happy with, know that you are the reason why you are there and know that only you can get yourself out of that position.
So, what are the warning signs of a toxic person?
I Don’t Think I Can Do It, So You Can’t Either:
Since success in the proximity of a toxic person forces them to see their flaws, they try to talk any person they know out of improving themselves. If someone mentions they want to start a business, they won’t just tell them to not do it.
They will outright insult the person and say they are too stupid, poor or that the market is completely saturated and there is no point in even trying.
Oh, So You’re One of Those Gym Bros Now?
If someone mentions they want to lose weight, get in shape and they spend more time at the gym, the toxic person may call that person a “meathead” or “gym bro” and express disdain when the person is making progress toward their fitness goals.
The toxic person, out of their own narcissism, will be disgusted with any person who makes leaps and bounds in their life and will try to guilt them out of making further progress.
I Only Like You When You’re Around Me AKA I’m Two Faced
The toxic person will also be two-faced, where they may act all sweet and nice
to someone to their face but then spews all sorts of venom and negativity about
them when they are not around.
They may even spread rumors about this person to get other people to react negatively to them, which is all a ploy to try to break the person’s spirits down and keep them from ever moving forward.
Drama, Drama and More Drama
The toxic person may also be caught up in excessive amounts of drama, no matter how many times they go through the same hell they keep repeating the negative behavior that produced the drama.
This may include being in a constant string of abusive relationships (i.e. no matter what the person never learns their lesson), constantly ending up in jail for X, Y or Z reason or they may threaten suicide or self-harm to gain attention (this one is difficult as this can also be a cry for help from someone who is truly depressed and suicidal. If someone you know is threatening self-harm and you are in doubt about it, call the police and let them handle it).
So Why Should You Avoid Toxic People??
If experiencing the above warning signs is not enough for you to leave or avoid them altogether, here are some reasons why you should:
They Will Drain Your Energy
When you are improving yourself, your energy is incredibly important and you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you have enough energy to start that business, work out at the gym for an hour or so daily and to go about your other day to day activities.
Normal emotionally healthy people will understand that you need time to take care of and work on yourself. Toxic people, on the other hand, do not understand this or they are simply too selfish to care and so they will always thrust their baggage onto you and expect you to pick up the pieces.
Because of their neediness, they will overcall, over-text and if you don’t respond when they want you to they get pissed, very pissed. This over time becomes a drain on your precious energy resource as you are always working overtime to help them instead of them taking on their problems like an adult.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not toxic for a friend to confide in you and discuss the storms going on in their lives. In fact, that’s what friendships are for, to help each other and to become more. But you are not your friend’s 24-hour therapist and so if you are not able to help right away a good healthy friend will understand.
The toxic person, on the other hand, will get offended when you say “not now I’m at work, I’ll call later tonight” or “I have to take care of the family first but I’ll come over later and we can talk over a beer”.
They Will Attempt to Manipulate You
Toxic people are insecure and this insecurity causes them to want to control everyone around them.
The insecure person cannot stand to see their own failings like I had said before, so they will choose to compensate for them by asserting dominance over you.
Consider Peter, an ambitious business person, and dentist who is celebrating the ribbon cutting of his brand new private practice.
A long-time and valued childhood friend of his from high school, let’s call him Joe, becomes incredibly jealous of this achievement and all the possibilities and options that it affords Peter.
Not only does he talk down to him and say things like “You’ll fail, your practice is nothing more than a waste of money” and “Well I guess you won’t have much time for me anymore now that you’re such a big shot”.
He may also say something to the effect of “If you work too late and don’t spend enough time with me I’ll tell your wife you’re sleeping around instead and using a late night of work as cover”.
That last one may be a bit extreme and your toxic “friend” won’t necessarily say all of these things verbatim but either way, you do not want this behavior in your life.
When a person manipulates you like this they are not worth spending time with, even if they are a longtime friend of yours. A true friend will always be happy for you when you are successful.
They Will Try to Sabotage You at Every Turn
In case you haven’t noticed this theme yet, sabotage to self and others is a trademark of a toxic person. They will try to pressure you to go out and get hammered when you have a job interview the next morning.
They will attempt to undermine you and defame you in the eyes of public opinion by speaking negatively about you to others behind your back.
Toxic people are also known to “cock block” both their buddies and strangers while out at the bar or another venue where members of the opposite sex may be.
As I said before, a toxic person can’t stand successful people so they’ll do whatever they can to make sure you’re not one of them.
They Will Not Support You, Ever
This can count as another warning sign but it is also a very good reason to leave or avoid a toxic person. Your success will only draw their ire.
When you tell a toxic person that you lost 20 lbs, were made partner at your law firm or just got engaged to the love of your life they will only talk down to you or treat you with disgust.
This can all be a result of insecurity and possibly low self-esteem.
Take Care Not to Over-Generalize:
Now some people may show one or two of the warning signs at a given moment, that does not necessarily mean that they are toxic but rather just human. It’s when they show many of these warning signs on a consistent basis that you need to worry about the person’s toxicity.
At the end of the day, it is important that you trust your gut.
If you feel that the people you associate with do not have your best interests in mind, why associate with them?
If they don’t wish the best for you, why would you want to spend your time with them?
How to Avoid or Remove Toxic People:
This can be difficult but it is important that you avoid or remove toxicity from your life if you want to have any hope of improving your life.
By trusting your gut instincts, improving your own self-confidence and by setting boundaries and enforcing them you will be able to keep the negative and toxic people out of your life. That way you can grow into the person you were always meant to be.
Stay tuned because I will be posting more content on how to do these things soon.
But for now, ask yourself a question and answer as honestly as you can:
Do you or someone you know hold people from success by consistently acting out these warning signs??
If so, you need to change some parts of your life so you can get in tune with the 2nd and 4th pillars of empowerment.
If you have you have other suggestions about what sort of warning signs of a toxic person someone should watch out for or other reasons why people should avoid toxicity in their lives feel free to leave it in the comments section below.