Negativity is everywhere. It’s in the media, the workplace, within our social circles, and even in our own families. You can’t avoid it altogether, but you can cut at least some of it out of your life. Toxic people are brilliant at spreading negativity and making your life more difficult than it needs to be. But your life is too precious to waste time on those who do nothing but bring you down. Sometimes you can’t fully remove toxic people from your life, but recognizing who they are and their modi operandi can help you to be more selective about with whom you spend your time.
Here are some common toxic people you should try to avoid:
1. The Criticizer
Don’t confuse this toxic person with someone who gives constructive criticism. The intentions between the two are different. A lot of it is in the tone used to deliver the criticism. If the tone is cautious or stoic, the criticism delivered is likely meant to help you. If it’s condescending or micromanaging in nature, and occurs often, it is likely toxic, and is meant to serve not you, but the damaged ego of the person in question. Even if you try to make it clear that your intentions are pure and logical, the toxic criticizer has an arsenal of arguments ready to shower down on you.
2. The “Self-Redirector”
Toxic people seem to have a knack for egocentrism. Whatever the topic of conversation may be, these tricky people always look for an opportunity to make it about them. One of their classic moves is “one-upping”. Did you break your leg? So did they, and their pain was worse than yours. Was there a city-wide flood somewhere in Japan? The basement floor their third cousin once removed suffered wreaked even more havoc. This type of toxic person is usually easily identified because of their tendencies to constantly take and never give. You can almost feel them suck the energy out of everyone in the room.
3. The “Perpetually Negative”
These are the people you can count on to always find the bad in an otherwise good situation. This type is particularly toxic because the more you are around these people, you, too, are more likely to develop a negative state of mind. The trick there is to limit the amount of time you spend with this person, and to disallow their negativity to pull you into a black hole. Maintain positive boundaries.
4. The Saboteur
This type of toxic person will start to come out of the woodwork often after you’ve set goals for yourself. Fueled large and in part by jealousy, this person will scoff at your dreams and rain on your Goal Parade. While you’re brimming with excitement at your achievement, they attempt to downplay it and diminish the call for celebration. They might claim they are coming from a place of love while they tell you all the reasons why you will fail. If you can’t cut this person out of your life, please, ignore what they say and continue to achieve your goals!
5. The Controller
This person is skilled at manipulating with passive-aggressive pleas, leading to a guilt trip. They will say and do whatever is necessary in order to get you to do their bidding. They will twist your words and lie to take control of the situation and make you do exactly what they want. If you encounter this sort of person, disengage immediately.
6. The Victim
These people excel at blaming others for what is clearly their own fault. Don’t assume you are the exception. The Victim constantly looks for compassion, so if they aren’t blaming you directly, eventually they might place blame on you behind your back while trying to garner sympathy from their other friends. This is especially likely if you confront this person and their tendency to play the victim card. You are now the enemy, and they will attempt to make it your fault.
7. The Gossiper
Riddled with low self-esteem and lacking a sense of belonging, gossipers will spread harmful talk about others in order to gain attention, importance, and camaraderie. Avoid this person and refuse to take part in their juvenile behavior. Simply ignore the gossip and be a good example for others by demonstrating appropriate, beneficial discussion.