5 Types of Toxic People You Should Avoid at All Costs
Nobody strikes up a relationship hoping that it will be a drain on productivity and happiness. Unless you pay careful attention, toxic people weasel their way into your life and use your mental energy, patience, and happiness without you realizing it.
We have all encountered people like this, and some of us may have even been toxic people at some point in our lives. If we really are the sum of the five people we associate with the most, it is crucial to avoid these five types of toxic people.
1. The Gossiper
The gossiper is an insidious force in any organization. They make you feel like they are bringing you into the fold by sharing delicate information with you. It seems like all they do is gather and disperse chitchat about other people.
When someone wants to talk to you about someone else behind their back, it is almost always a toxic situation. It doesn’t add value to your life, and if the gossiper will talk to you, you can be sure that they’re also talking about you to someone else.
This is the person at work that corners you during break time and talks badly about another coworker’s performance. When the person feels that they can come to you, they’ll be likely to repeat this over and over. People see you together, and they may even label you as a gossiper just for being associated with this type of toxic person.
If you think about what you can get from the conversation, it is most likely that these talks will not benefit you in any way. In fact, associating with a gossiper could really hurt you. Think about how you’d feel if you knew someone was talking about you behind your back. Now imagine someone catching you in the middle of a gossipy exchange. You don’t need that drama in your life.
2. The Manipulator
A manipulator knows what they want, and they’ll use you to get it. They don’t care about your thoughts and feelings. It seems like the more time you spend with them, the less power you have over your own destiny. Stick around this person too long, and you’ll end up doing whatever they want instead of standing up for yourself.
Most of us don’t act without a purpose, but the manipulator is bent on achieving their mission at the expense of everyone around them. Manipulation can take several forms, but a classic way to manipulate is through victim hood.
For example, I have a friend who is being in a toxic relationship. His girlfriend is controlling and abusive, and every time it seems as though he will get out of the negative situation, she manipulates him into staying. Whenever he tries to leave, she fakes a health crisis to make him feel sorry for her. Since my friend is a nice guy, he sticks around to try to make her feel better.
3. The Judge
So many cultures revolve around shame, and the judge takes full advantage of our discomfort with shame to steal your energy. Regardless of what you say, think, or do, the judge will always have some criticism for you.
The judge never tries to put themselves in your shoes. Their only concern is what you did or didn’t do. The more time you spend with them, the more depressed you’ll be. You can never make them happy, and if their opinion of you influences your self-worth, you’re doomed to misery. When you’re dealing with a judge, you’ll always take the blame.
I had a friend who was married to a hard-working entrepreneur. The entrepreneur loved his wife very much. Unfortunately, his wife epitomized the judge. Often, he would have to go away for long periods of time for work. She blamed and resented him because he was away for so long, even though his job required it. It didn’t matter that his efforts paid for their home, gave them security, and allowed them to lead a good lifestyle. No matter how much he tried to make her happy, she was too consumed with finding fault to appreciate him.
4. The Exaggerator
An exaggerator doesn’t know how to keep a small problem small. They often resort to saying things like, “You never do…” or “You have always been…” They don’t take the time to consider steps you’ve taken to fix the problem or correct your mistake. Mess up in front of an exaggerator, and be prepared to be labeled by your mistake. To an exaggerator, everything feels like the end of the world.
Imagine you’re on a team, and you’re planning a big presentation. You were assigned to work on part of the presentation, but then someone in your family became ill and had to go to the hospital. You miss the deadline to turn your part of the project in to the team, but the final presentation is still over a week away.
Most people would understand these difficult circumstances, and a few might offer to help you complete your work during this stressful time. The exaggerator is not most people, though. An exaggerator will treat missing deadline as a horrible oversight that demonstrates your lack of dedication to the team. They will continue to hang this missed deadline over your head long after the presentation.
5. The Emotional Expresser
Being vulnerable enough to talk about feelings can be valuable in relationships, but sometimes people take this too far. The emotional expresser loves talking about feelings, but they never do this in a constructive way. This is the person who repeatedly tells you how something makes them feel, but they never take any action to improve bad situations.
It is so easy to fall into this trap of talking instead of taking action. If you hang out with an emotional expresser, sooner or later, you’ll become just like them. People like this can become so caught up in discussing their feelings that they lose the ability to solve their problems. This is not a productive or healthy way to live.
The emotional expresser comes to you with a personal problem that must be fixed. They’ll tell you about their terrible relationship or their evil boss, but they aren’t willing to do anything to solve their problems. They won’t cut ties with the person harming them, and they won’t look for a new job.
Any suggestion that you make for how they can improve their lives will be met with resistance. “I can’t do that…” and “I’ve already tried that…” are the default responses that the emotional expresser will give to you when you challenge them to face their problems head on.
Do Yourself a Favor, and Keep Excellent Company
When you allow these toxic people into your life, you set yourself up for a depressing, infuriating, emotionally exhausting experience. It can feel harsh to cut these types of people out of your life, but if they’re having a negative effect on you, then you need to act.
You have a limited amount of time and energy to apply to all the things that you want to do with your life. Don’t allow a toxic person to rob you of your potential.