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Having to deal with toxic people every day can be the most draining thing you ever go through. Not only do toxic people leave you with a roller coaster of emotions, but they can just outright turn any day or awesome moment into a sour one.

Most people underestimate how much a single toxic person can ruin their life. The better you get at spotting toxicity, the easier it will be for you to avoid it.

You need to have people in your life that you love spending time with, who want to see you do better. You should like to see the people you spend time with, instead of dreading every interaction.

“It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around when you remove toxic people from your life.” — Robert Tew

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What You Will Learn From This Article

What is a Toxic Person? 

Toxic people consist of any human that you hang around that consistently causes a negative stress response in your brain. Anyone can have a bad day and stress you out, but toxic people are consistently negative for you. 

Toxic Behaviors Can Include: 

  • Negativity 
  • Cruelty
  • Gossip
  • Victim Syndrome
  • Drama
  • Craziness
  • Lying 
  • Being Manipulative 
  • Enjoying Others Suffering
  • Never Taking Ownership 
  • Refusing to Apologize
  • Being Judgmental
  • Unreliable 
  • Horrible Listeners   

Just to be clear, no one is perfect. Everyone has gotten involved in some, if not all, of the things listed above. The difference with toxic people is that they live for the items above and never realize that they need to change.

Categories of Toxic People 

It's important that you don't put all toxic people into the same category. How you interact or consider yourself to be friends really matters and can change your strategy for how to deal with that relationship.  You feel guilty dealing with most toxic relationships because they fit into one of these categories. 


Long-Time Friends


This is a person that you may have grown up with or you just have known for a really long time. You will feel bad ending this type of relationship because there is so much history.


Complicated Friends


This is a person who comes along with someone else in your life. It could be your spouse's best friend, or a friend of a friend. You feel guilt and don't want to make things awkward.  


Context Friends


Contextual friends are people who you see daily for a specific part of your life like a co-worker. You feel guilty cutting them off because you have to see them on a regular basis.


Types of Toxic People 

1. The Gossiper

The Gossiper is the easiest of all of these people to spot. They just have something to say about everyone, and they know everyone's business. They are only happy when they share information about others.

The worst part is that you can't tell them anything out of fear of them telling the world. 

The gossiper is that they naturally suck you into these random conversations about people you don't care about. By the end of these conversations, you feel like you need to shower because you feel so filthy. 


2. The Victim 

You don't notice the victim for a long time, and they are always hard to deal with because they often have experienced real trauma. What victims do is take one bad thing that has happened to them and find a way to drag it out as long as possible. They take one wrong and make themselves a permanent victim. 

The problem is that you first understood and had empathy for their pain. But over time, they never moved on from that, and they turn themself into the victim even when things are their own fault. The victim will always find a way to blame others. Someone else is always the cause of their problems. 


3. The Emotional Wreck

This person has no control over their emotions. Maybe they were never taught how to regulate their emotions, and that may not be their fault. But it still is draining and not worth being around them. 

The emotional wreck experiences constant shifts in their emotions and often lashes out with their feelings. If they are happy they are the best friend in the world, but two minutes later they can be crying and depressed because something did not go their way. These people often feel like two-year-olds. 

4. The "Me Me Me" Person

The name says it all. This is the person who has to be the center of attention and the most crucial person in the room at all times. No matter what is happening to other people, they will always find a way to turn it and make it about them. 

These people become impossible to deal with because not everything in life can be about them. Something good may happen to you, but they will never celebrate with you.


5. The Envy Monster

This person is more common now, thanks to social media. Never before have we been able to know more about what is going on in the lives of other people than we do today.  

The envy monster is always focused and talking about something that other people are doing negatively. They still want something that another person has. 

The envy monster is draining because, like the gossiper, it can bring out an ugly part of you that makes you feel yucky. But even worse, the envy monster will hate when you have any success, so they will drag you down so that you can't move forward. 


6. The Manipulator 

This person is one of the hardest to spot and put your finger on. It often takes getting played a few times before you start to notice a consistent pattern. The problem with this person is that they come off as being a fantastic friend. They are positive, supportive, and easy to talk to. 

The sticky part is their motive. They are only talking to you for the hopes of getting personal gain. These people tend to understand others well, but they use it to get people to do things in their own best interests. The manipulator is really all about themselves, they are just smart enough to know how to hide it. 


7. The Soul Sucker

You have to pay attention to catch a soul sucker. Remember, in high school science classes, you learned about positive and negative charges? Every person has energy they carry around the majority of the time. Some people emit positive energy while soul suckers put out negative energy. 

The negative energy is something that you can just feel if you pay attention. Some people drain all your energy just from being around them. They don't need to be emotional or do anything else. They are hard to cut off because you are doing so off of a feeling and not concrete evidence. 


8. The Lover of Bad News

This person is one of the worst types of toxic people, and you should run from as fast as you can. This person only thrives when negative things are happening in your life or for others. They have no interest in talking about your victories. They show up with popcorn and smile when bad things happen to you. 

You often notice the level of negativity when you see how these people interact with others. You should want to get away from these people because they are not really for you. They don't want to see you get better and move forward with your life at all. 


9. The Judgy One

This person is hard because we can all relate to these people. We all have been or are judgmental about something. Where the judgy one goes overboard is in never recognizing their bads. The judgy ones talk down on others, but it stems from a genuine belief that they are better.

There is nothing positive that comes from spending time with someone who is super-judgemental. You spend all of your time talking about other people and looking down on them, but at the end of your conversations, neither you are any better off. 


10. The Person Who Can't See Who They Are 

When it comes to toxic people, this is the sneakiest one and the one that wastes the most time. It frustrates you when you meet people who can't look in the mirror and see themselves for who they are. It sets you out on this journey to get them to see themselves accurately because you know that if they do, their lives will improve. 

These people end up being toxic for your time, and you rarely will succeed in getting them to see the truth. Some people refuse to see the truth because then a lot of their toxic behaviors will be exposed. They can't justify being the victim when they realize that life is not the problem, but they are. 

How to Deal With Toxic People 

First, make sure that you're not the problem. Even as I was writing this, I could see areas that I need to work on right away. There is nothing worse than being the toxic person who things that everyone else is the poisonous person, but in reality, you are the problem.

The next step is knowing who you can cut off and who you will need to maintain some relationship. Old friends can be cut off, but context friends and complicated friends can be a bit trickier. 

If someone can't but cut off at all, your best bet is to emotionally distance yourself. This means you can be around them and talk to them, but don't emotionally attach yourself to their words.

If they gossip to get you excited or in awe, you stay emotionally even and don't make a big deal of anything they say. Being emotionally unattached requires keen situational awareness. 

Some people need to be cut off. Not everyone needs to be told that you're cutting them off. That will just create unneeded drama. Instead, just hang out with them less. Find ways to keep yourself busy doing other things.


  • Make sure that you yourself are not a toxic person
  • Learn to emotional dettach from people you have to see
  • Spend less time with people you don't have to see 

Keep Your Learning Going...

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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