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We all will, unfortunately, encounter toxic people at various points in our lives. 

They may come in the form of coworkers, classmates, friends, and, in some sad instances, even family members.

Being in constant contact with such people can be particularly challenging and emotionally draining because you can’t always choose who you work with or who you’re related to.

This is why it’s vital to know the signs and remember that their toxicity is about them, not about you. 

Their behavior is a reflection of their own internal struggles and insecurities, not a verdict on your worth.

That said, we’ve put together 7 signs a person is toxic. 

Understanding these signs will help you quickly spot a toxic person and avoid the emotional turmoil they often carry along with them. 

1. Constant Negativity

While it’s perfectly normal to have down days or moments of pessimism, with toxic people, it’s not an occasional state but a fixed trait. 

Their conversations are often dominated by their issues, and they have an uncanny ability to turn even the happiest occasions into opportunities for complaint. 

You know the kind: they’re the ones whose glass is always half empty. They can find a problem in every solution. 

These types of people tend to bring down the mood of any group they’re in with their persistent gloomy outlook. And the worst part is that their negativity is contagious. 

They’ll easily drain the energy of those around them.

One aspect of this toxic nature is their innate talent to turn every discussion into a forum about their issues. 

For instance, you might be talking about a fantastic book you’ve just read, and somehow, they’ll manage to reroute the conversation towards their problems.

The world, in their view, revolves around their miseries and difficulties.

2. Manipulative Behavior

Signs of a toxic person

Toxic people often try to control others by manipulating their feelings. 

They may use guilt, intimidation, or sympathy to get what they want from you. And they’re not above playing the victim if it serves their purpose.

Such people are adept at understanding your weak spots and will not hesitate to exploit them for their gain. 

For instance, they might guilt you into doing things for them, or make you feel bad about not meeting their unreasonable expectations. 

When things don’t go their way, they typically play the victim card, trying to garner your sympathy.

Unfortunately, their manipulation is not always overt, making it hard to identify. It could be as subtle as a sarcastic comment or an over-dramatized sigh when you decide to spend your evening elsewhere rather than with them. 

These manipulative behaviors are designed to keep you second-guessing yourself, further enhancing their control.

3. Lack of Empathy

One huge sign of a toxic person is a lack of empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, a crucial trait in forming healthy and supportive relationships. 

If a person consistently shows little to no empathy, it may indicate a toxic personality.

An empathetic person will listen to your problems, share your joys and pains, and generally be there for you when you need emotional support. 

A toxic person, on the other hand, will show indifference or even scorn for your feelings. They’ll disregard your emotions, invalidate your experiences, or trivialize your concerns.

This lack of empathy often extends to a disregard for boundaries. They may demand your attention even when you’re busy or tired, dismiss your requests for personal space, and insist on having their needs met irrespective of your convenience. 

A toxic person’s world centers around their needs and feelings, with little to no regard for those of others.

4. Constant Criticism

7 signs a person is toxic

Constructive criticism is part of growth and can be beneficial. However, toxic people have a tendency to constantly criticize others, often without any constructive purpose.

They often see fault in everything around them. Their comments can be unnecessarily harsh, mean-spirited, and directed at your vulnerabilities. 

Their critical nature is often a reflection of their insecurity, as they belittle others to feel better about themselves.

What’s more, they are rarely open to criticism themselves. If you dare to point out their mistakes or flaws, they usually react with defensiveness, denial, or retaliation. 

This inability to accept criticism, coupled with the ease with which they dish it out, creates a one-sided dynamic that can be very damaging.

5. Blame-Shifting

In the world of a toxic person, nothing is ever their fault. They have an excuse for everything and a knack for shifting responsibility onto others. 

It’s a constant game of blame-shifting, where they never have to take responsibility for their actions or failures.

Every problem they face is because of someone else — their boss, their friends, their ex, or even you. They rarely, if ever, stop to consider that they might be the common denominator in all their issues. 

Instead, they’ll weave a narrative where they are the perpetual victim, and everyone else is out to get them.

This blame game extends to smaller, everyday things as well. If they’re late to a meeting, it’s because you didn’t remind them. 

If they forgot to do something, it’s because someone else didn’t do their part. In their eyes, they’re always on the receiving end of life’s unfairness.

6. Jealousy and Envy

While it’s normal to occasionally feel jealous or envious, toxic people often harbor these feelings to an unhealthy degree.

If you achieve something — a promotion at work, a new relationship, even a new hobby or skill — they’re more likely to react with jealousy rather than happiness for you. 

They may try to downplay your achievements, make snide remarks, or somehow turn your success into a negative.

Their jealousy often stems from a place of insecurity and inadequacy. Instead of being inspired by others’ success and using it as a motivation to improve themselves, they tend to feel threatened. 

This attitude can cast a dark cloud over your achievements and sap the joy from your successes.

7. Drama Lovers

Toxic people love drama. They seem to thrive on conflict and chaos, often creating it where none exists. 

Peace and tranquility appear to be anathema to them; they feel more at home in a state of constant turmoil.

This might manifest as picking fights over trivial matters, overreacting to small inconveniences, or spreading rumors and gossip. 

Their need for drama often leads them to play people against each other, creating divisions and animosity among groups.

Their hunger for drama is essentially a craving for attention and control. By keeping their surroundings in a state of constant upheaval, they manage to stay at the center of attention and manipulate people and situations to their advantage.


Each of these signs paints a picture of a person who can significantly affect your mental and emotional wellbeing. Remember, everyone has bad days and can occasionally exhibit some of these behaviors. 

However, if someone consistently displays these traits, it may be a sign of a toxic person. And when you see the signs, follow the steps below to protect your mental health. 

How to Deal With a Toxic Person

How to identify a toxic person

1. Set Boundaries

Let’s be honest, dealing with a toxic person can be draining. 

They can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, constantly trying to avoid saying or doing something that might upset them. Setting boundaries can help you regain a sense of control and reduce this anxiety. 

Boundaries also act as a line of defense between you and the toxic individual. 

However, this isn’t about being rude or unkind. It’s about protecting your space and your mental wellbeing.

When setting boundaries, be clear and assertive about your needs. 

For instance, you might say, “I need to take some time for myself right now,” or “I can’t be there for you in the way you want me to be.” 

Remember, it’s okay to say no to things that drain your energy or infringe upon your personal space.

2. Limit Your Exposure

Secondly, if possible, limit your exposure to the toxic person. The less contact you have with them, the less opportunity they have to negatively impact your life. 

Of course, this isn’t always possible, particularly if the toxic person is a family member, a colleague, or someone else you can’t easily avoid.

But you know what? Even in those cases, there are usually ways to reduce the amount of time you spend with them. 

It could be as simple as changing your routine so you don’t bump into them as often, choosing to sit elsewhere in the office or at family gatherings, or making a conscious decision not to engage with them beyond what is necessary.

When you limit your exposure to a toxic person, you give yourself some breathing space. It can help you regain your emotional balance and lessen the impact of their negative energy.

3. Practice Self-Care

Now, we all know the importance of self-care, right? It’s even more crucial when you’re dealing with a toxic person. 

You’ve got to ensure you’re taking care of your own needs and maintaining your emotional health.

Often, dealing with a toxic person can feel like a marathon. It’s physically and mentally exhausting. 

The constant negativity and drama can leave you feeling drained and depleted. This is why self-care is so important.

It can be as simple as ensuring you get enough sleep and doing things that bring you joy and help you relax. 

It could be reading a good book, going for a walk in nature, meditating, or spending time with people who lift your spirits. By taking care of yourself, you can better withstand the negativity of the toxic person and safeguard your emotional wellbeing.

4. Don’t Take it Personally

Easier said than done, I know. But remember, a toxic person’s behavior is about them, not you. They are projecting their issues onto you.

Their criticism, negativity, or blame game isn’t a reflection of your worth or capability. It’s a manifestation of their own insecurities and issues. It’s crucial to not internalize their toxicity.

Keep reminding yourself that you’re not the cause of their behavior, and that you don’t have control over it. All you can control is your own response.

5. Seek Support – If Needed

Having a support network can provide a great deal of relief and strength when dealing with a toxic person.

Friends or family can offer a sympathetic ear, and provide validation and advice. They can remind you of your worth and reinforce your perspective, which can often get skewed when dealing with a toxic person.

If the situation is particularly challenging or if you’re finding it hard to cope, you may want to consider professional help. 

Therapists and counselors are trained to deal with such situations and can provide useful tools and strategies for dealing with the toxic person.

They can also help you build resilience and maintain your emotional health amidst the chaos.

FAQs About Dealing With a Toxic Person 

1. How can I identify a toxic person?

A toxic person can often be identified by behaviors such as constant negativity, manipulative behavior, a lack of empathy, continuous criticism, and a propensity for blaming others. 

They might also be excessively jealous or envious, and often create drama. Remember, everyone can display these behaviors occasionally, but if someone consistently exhibits them, it might be a sign of a toxic personality.

2. What if the toxic person is a close family member or friend? How can I distance myself then?

In situations where the toxic person is a close family member or friend, distancing yourself can be tricky. 

However, you can still establish emotional boundaries, limit the time you spend together, or try to avoid engaging in deep or personal conversations with them. 

You can also practice self-care and seek support from other friends, family, or a mental health professional to cope with the situation.

3. Is it possible to change a toxic person?

Changing a person’s behavior is difficult, and it’s especially challenging in the case of a toxic person. The most effective change comes from within, and the person themselves needs to recognize their toxic behaviors and have a genuine desire to change. 

It’s important to focus on what you can control, which is your reaction and your behavior. Instead of trying to change them, concentrate on maintaining your own emotional wellbeing. 

If their behavior becomes detrimental to your mental health, it may be best to seek professional help or advice.

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Destiny Femi

Destiny Femi is a dating coach whose work has helped transform the love lives of countless people. With a writing style that is both insightful and relatable, Destiny has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of readers who turn to him for advice on everything from finding the perfect partner to maintaining a healthy relationship. Through his articles he has inspired people around the world to become more confident, authentic, and successful in their dating life.

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