Toxic People And How To Avoid Them

Toxic People And How To Avoid Them

By Amanda Fox

Have you ever heard of people being referred to as “toxic”? As of the last 20 years or so, the term has become a common way of referring to people that aren’t healthy to be around. They are the people that seem to drag us down and wear us out with negativity. Even when we know we need to break away from them for our own good, it isn’t always easy. Today, we’re going to work on how to identify the toxic people in our life and what we can do to regain the energy, and sometimes sanity, they are draining from us.


Toxic people can generally be associated to one of four personality types, although some may fit all four to varying degrees. As you read, take mental inventory of the people in your life, both on and offline, and see who fits descriptions. The odds are, those are the people you can identify as being your least productive, healthy relationships. Once identified, do consider whether or not your relationship with them is helping you or hindering you and what you can do about that.


1. The critic
The critic is the person that is going to sit back and offer nothing but negative input. Even when they offer a glimmer of something positive, they will often tie in some negative rider to it. In general, they tend to make you feel devalued and incompetent.


Addition by subtraction is still a plus – not a loss

2. The sponge
The sponge is there to absorb everything you have. It doesn’t matter if it is time, money, clothes or even just space in your head – whatever they can sop up, they will. Much like a sponge, whatever has been absorbed it keeps – unless you wring it out of them. They take and take and take some more until there is nothing left and they have no intention of every returning anything willingly. When there’s nothing left to take, they move on until you eventually have something else they want.


3. The energy hog
The energy hog is the person that drains so much of your emotional energy that they actually start to wear you down physically. This is the type of person that no matter what the situation is, they always find ways to turn it into doom and gloom. If you were excited over a new job, this would be the person that would make it a point to tell you everything they didn’t like about it. If you’re having a rough day and try to pick yourself up by saying something like “it can only get better”, they would give you ten reasons it could get much worse. This is the person you spend twenty minutes talking to and feel like you need a two hour nap to recover from it.


4. The walking crisis
The walking crisis is the person you constantly try to get away from, but somehow or another they suck you back in. You get yourself set to cut ties, then suddenly, they are in a life and death struggle of some sort and they will do everything they can to drag you into it with them. When you try to help them, no matter what it is, it is never enough and it is never going to make things better. They always have one crisis after the next and they need you to be a part of it with them in some way.


The question is, what can you do about the toxic people in your life?



1. Take responsibility! That’s right, you have to take responsibility for what happens with the toxic people in your life going forward. The toxic people around you are not going to change your life for the better, YOU have to do that. You have to start by resolving that you are not going to let others drag to down. You are going to do what is the best thing for your emotional and physical well-being and remove toxic people from your life. Even if they try to drag you back into their chaos, stand back and follow tip #2.


2. Forget about fighting fire with fire. No matter how crazy someone is driving you, no matter how much they gossip about you and no matter how much they may have drained from you emotionally and perhaps monetarily, let it go. Resign yourself to giving them the last word and walking away. Stop being an audience. They will move on to someone else who is willing to listen. Don’t worry about gossip and rumors, anyone intelligent (and non-toxic) will consider the source and brush it off.


3. If it is someone you have to deal with for professional reasons, keep it strictly professional. Don’t engage in any talk aside from the job at hand and move on. Work is supposed to be about getting the job done and not chewing the fat.



Just say no to toxic people

4. Avoid letting new toxic people into your life by setting more stringent personal boundaries and sticking to them! Just because you got involved with toxic people in the past doesn’t mean you have to repeat that history. Create a personal space in which you control who comes in and out of it. Be aware of how much of your personal life and timeĀ  you make available to others. Take control of who gets space in your life and when and how much of it they get. Remember, this is about being happy and healthy not only for yourself, but the people you do want in your life.

Letting go of toxic people is not easy – not at first at least. It can be very emotional. Toxic or not, we do have ties to these people. We may feel bad for them. What has to be realized, however, is that we have to put our own well-being first or we’ll wind up just as toxic as those surrounding us. You will notice that once you begin removing emotional leeches from your life, you will feel better. No matter what kind of tantrums or tactics they may use to draw you back in, do not engage them or you will be back at square one.


Do you have any advice on dealing with toxic people? Share them with us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Yorinda says:

    Hi Amanda,

    this is a great description of these type of people and I like the suggestions you are giving on how to handle situations with them.

    I have been learning is that if people like that activate something in me it can mean one or two things.
    One option is that I have some of that characteristic in me (suppressed) that I don’t accept.
    Another option is that I need to take care of my inner little wounded child.

    For me using what you suggest in combination with option one or two (or both).


  2. autumn says:

    I read about toxic relationships and yes getting away from one is best but so difficult if its a parent and you love them even though they treat you like your less than human.

  3. spiritual but not toxic says:

    i did the same i am a giver always in a good mood positive happy so for many years i was around vampires friends family boyfriends lovers i gave i gave i allowed them to take and take they hurted me they stole everything from me i m saying everything boyfriends lovers friends MY family in first position ,

    it took me 40 something years to say enough is enough i got read of all of THEM i told them to stay the hell from me if not i ll go and hunt them i cut the head of snake after so many years now believe they give me respect and wont dare to HURT me again . plus i did find out who were the toxic people so the game is not as exiting anymore

    my advice dont let anyone disrespect you or take thing from you.

  4. Karen says:

    Sometimes it takes a while before you realize how toxic friends are until it is too late. I realized that a lot of women are very manipulative mean girls that still have the same mentality as school girls but an an adult level. I wasted too many years being the lesser person so they could feel superior yet when something positive happened to me – their envy could not handle it. Had to weed through some so called friends and lost my trust of women in general. Never thought life would get harder as we age….

  5. Martin Fergusson says:

    I had not heard of this term before; I just thought of it & did a search on google too see what came up. I must say that ‘toxic people’ are very good at finding ways of blaming you for their problems e.g. “You gave me bad advice, now you will have to help me out!”, having the effect of sucking one into an unhealthy relationship even further.

  6. spiritual but not toxic says:

    i totally agree with you read what i said down below about toxic people


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