Signs Of a Toxic Person (And How to Deal With Them)

Signs Of a Toxic Person (And How to Deal With Them)


Is there someone in your life who leaves you feeling drained after spending time with them? What about those around you who seem to bring you down more than they lift you up?


It may be time to recognize the signs of a toxic person and learn how negative behaviors or attitudes can affect us. Whether it’s an old friend, co-worker, family member, or partner – recognizing these patterns can help us create better relationships with others and ourselves.


Read on as we discuss some common signs of a toxic person, why they behave this way, and how to deal with them healthily.

  • They don’t apologize properly (or at all).


Recognizing the sneaky signs of toxicity in our lives and relationships is not always easy. Yet one of the more apparent signs – once we start paying attention – is an inability to apologize properly. This could be due to conflict avoidance, thoughtlessness, apathy, or stubbornness. Instead of taking responsibility for their behaviors, a toxic person may give a half-hearted apology or deflect blame by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

  • They gaslight you.


Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse where the gaslighter manipulates their victim into doubting their perceptions and memories. A toxic person may use gaslighting to control the situation by making you question your sanity. For example, if you confront a toxic partner about their behavior, they might say, “You’re just being paranoid,” or “You’re remembering it wrong.”

  • They always play the victim.


A toxic person may always play the victim and refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They may struggle with a lack of self-awareness or stubbornness. For example, a toxic family member might say, “I’m the only one who ever tries to make things work,” or “You’re always against me.”

  • They’re always judging.


A toxic person may always be judging situations, people, or events. They may be critical of everything and everyone around them, and their negativity can be contagious. For example, a toxic co-worker might say, “I can’t believe they got that promotion,” or trash talk co-working events that dampen your excitement without ever having gone to one. 

  • They’re dishonest or sneaky. 


A toxic person may be dishonest or sneaky, making it difficult to trust them. They may lie to get what they want or keep secrets from you. A toxic friend might tell you they can’t hang out because they’re busy, but then you see pictures of them with other friends on social media.

  • They believe they’re superior.


A toxic person may believe they’re superior to others and act accordingly. This could manifest as prioritizing their wants over other people’s needs, talking down to others, or exhibiting two-faced behavior. For instance, your friend might compliment your other friend on their outfit but then negatively comment on their fashion sense when they’re not around. In short, a toxic person is the type who makes you wonder what they might be saying behind your back, despite how kind they are to your face.


So, how can you deal with toxic people in your life? Here are some tips:


  1. Be honest with them about how their behavior affects you. Let them know that their actions are hurting you and explain why.


  1. Try not to react. Toxic people may try to provoke you, so stay calm. Don’t let their behavior get under your skin by acknowledging that how they act isn’t about you. 


  1. Set boundaries. Toxic behaviors tend to have deeper issues at their core that need addressing. Instead of trying to rid people of their toxic traits or fix their behaviors, focus on what you can change. Let the toxic person in your life know what you will and won’t tolerate, and stick to it.

  2. Seek support. Talk to a friend, family member, or therapist about your experiences with the toxic person. Whether or not they know this person, it can help to have someone to talk to and get perspective from.


Remember, you have the power to create healthy boundaries, and you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.