Toxic people will enter into and exit our lives and (sometimes) our consciousness. In our lifetime, we inevitably encounter all types of human beings: lovers and haters; friends and foes; truth-seekers and liars. Throughout these countless interactions, one immutable truth remains:
We either benefit or suffer from the people we encounter. Either way, we take the lessons and memories from each type of individual.
First, we must learn how to recognize people who, intentionally or unintentionally, inflict damage upon the undeserving. This crucial step helps prevent any collateral damage from their presence in our lives. This recognition, even if delayed, allows us to take the necessary measures to resolve internal and external conflicts.
Toxic people can enter our lives at work, school, or in romantic relationships. We encounter them every day and can’t always avoid their presence. However, we can choose to keep these relationships casual and not get close to overly negative people.
It’s important to understand that avoidance or rejection does not devalue such a person’s humanity. Nobody, regardless of their personality traits, deserves such a fate. On the other hand, we also deserve inner peace, and it’s in our best interests to safeguard this sacred human right at all costs.
5 Types of Toxic People to Keep at a Distance
Preserve your peace of mind by avoiding these energy vampires.
1 – Those that shift blame.
“People who ruin their own lives have a strong tendency to blame other people when things go wrong.” – Dr. Daniel G. Amen
We’ve all likely encountered people like this at some point. These individuals personify the word “victimization,” or the refusal to hold themselves accountable for mistakes or turmoil in their lives. Instead, they’ll intently shift responsibility onto others that don’t deserve blame for their wrongdoings.
Almost always, people that constantly blame others lack any semblance of self-control or self-discipline. However, they’re all too willing to sacrifice someone else to protect their reputation. Should you find yourself in the presence of such a person, hold your ground and refuse to accept blame for their problems.
2 – Toxic types that always complain.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin
Being around a toxic person can take its toll after a while. Instead of keeping their grievances to themselves, they would rather verbalize them to anyone within hearing distance. Not to mention, complainers often talk about their problems that no one else can get a word in edgewise.
However, they may not fully understand their supposed problems because they have such a narrow perspective. So, if you find yourself the unfortunate audience for their discomfiting monologue, listen and seek clarification. If they indeed have a valid complaint, you can decide whether to engage in conversation. If, instead, they choose to barrage you with unsubstantiated and irrational banter, it’s in your best interest to walk away.
3 – Toxic folks who invite or initiate gossip.
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” – Socrates
Gossipers exist in almost every population of society. Most gossipy people feel insecure about themselves and divulge tidbits about others to appease their egos. Sadly, such toxic individuals often thrive off adverse events in others’ lives. They give no mind, empathy, or resistance to offering up (again, often untrue) statements about someone whose life they may negatively affect.
So, avoid gossipers as much as possible since they thrive off your misery. In addition to harming themselves and the victim(s), gossiping can induce a negative mindset in those around them.
4 – Those only interested in self-gain.
“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” – Rachel Wolchin
People preoccupied with taking advantage of others will manipulate and deceive others. They have no boundaries or limits and will resort to various abusive tactics to satisfy their needs. In addition to possessing a flair for the manipulative, such individuals also have a strong narcissistic streak. Those who display these behaviors can even become aggressive or violent in some cases.
Self-serving individuals will toy with others’ emotions to get their needs met. They do this to instill a sense of guilt and unease if their victim doesn’t comply with their one-sided agenda. Unfortunately, these toxic individuals couldn’t care less about the undue harm their actions cause. Sadly, such people view others as a means to an end – nothing more.
Throughout your interactions with these entitled people, you may realize that they will never return the favors they demand. So, since they never consider others’ needs, you have no reason to get involved with them in the first place. Allow them to carry on their merry way before they have the chance to destroy your self-esteem or get inside your head.
5 – Those that seek attention.
“Everything you do for attention is the reason why you don’t have mine.” – Unknown
Those who desire attention or admiration have huge egos and only feel important when others notice them. They often go to great lengths to ensure that they receive this validation.
This obsession with attention happens as a byproduct of an undeveloped mind in many ways. It’s perfectly normal when children seek attention because they still have developing brains. However, when a grown man or woman insists on being the center of attention, it’s almost assuredly a psychological abnormality.
To properly deal with adults who need constant attention, you need only ignore them. Of course, you can also politely tell them off instead of giving them the cold shoulder. Either way, it’s not your responsibility to coddle a grown adult.
Self-Care Tips When Dealing With Toxic People
If you must deal with toxic people, keep these tips in mind when you encounter them.
1. Remain positive to counter their negativity.
As they say, “kill them with kindness” so they know you’re unaffected by their sour mood. This also boosts your mental health and can help you make better decisions. In fact, a study in Psychological Science found that being in a negative mood affects your ability to rationalize. So, thinking positively provides mental clarity and also enhances the mindset of others around you.
- Tell jokes and laugh with colleagues. If you encounter a toxic person in the workplace, you could try to ignore their negativity. Laughing and joking with others can make you forget about the person and enjoy the company of other coworkers. Plus, the toxic person will realize that others won’t tolerate their insufferable mood.
- Smile at them. Smiling instantly quells depression, anger, and any other unwanted emotion. So, the next time a toxic person spews their negativity, smile at them as you pass by.
- Remember that this encounter won’t last forever. Every person and experience we encounter isn’t permanent; they’re only temporary phenomena in this movie of life. So, try not to take it so seriously.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Being aware of your emotions and staying present will help you deal with toxic people. When you have a calm mind, you can see the situation objectively and avoid a lot of unnecessary emotion. However, humans naturally want to react to problems rather than respond, which gets us into trouble. It takes practice and conscious effort to remain poised under challenging situations, but luckily, anyone can learn mindfulness.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. To help you stay present, it’s essential to watch your breath. We unconsciously breathe in a shallow, erratic manner when we’re agitated. Counter this by breathing slowly into your abdomen to release tension. This breathing practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you feel refreshed and relaxed.
- Respond, don’t react. Remain neutral in your encounters with toxic people instead of becoming emotionally involved. Keeping a level head around negative individuals prevents you from getting dragged into their messes.
- Counter their chaos with peace. Many negative people don’t know how to regulate their emotions. So, they take out their frustration and stress on other unfortunate souls. However, you can help them and yourself by remaining calm regardless of the situation.
3. Offer compassion, but don’t take it upon yourself to “fix” someone else.
Toxic people will try to draw you into their world whenever possible. They often target empathic people since they know these sensitive souls will listen. However, you have to establish clear boundaries with troubled people and realize it’s not your responsibility to fix them.
- Listen, but don’t offer additional help. Many of us have enough on our plates already without dealing with others’ problems. Most of the time, people want to feel heard and seen, so you’ve done your part by listening to their story.
- Realize you can’t save everyone. We all have to walk our journeys and become the heroes of our own stories. We can offer support and comfort to others, but they ultimately have to figure things out for themselves.
Final Thoughts on Coping With A Toxic Person
Dealing with a toxic person can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have boundaries—practice self-care by remaining positive, mindful, and compassionately non-attached in your encounters with negative people. Try to limit your exposure to these types of people because they will only drag you down eventually. You can still wish them well and love them from a distance.