Draining, non-supportive and difficult people are one of life’s greatest challenges. You deserve to have people in your life who you enjoy spending time with, who support you and who you LOVE hanging out with.

There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage.

So just how do you spot a toxic person? Luckily there are a number of easy-to-spot signs that, when you’re aware of them, enable you to pick them out a mile off.

10 Signs Of A Toxic Person

So just how do you spot a toxic person? Luckily there are a number of easy-to-spot signs that, when you’re aware of them, enable you to pick them out a mile off.

1. They’re selfish

Toxic people are so busy thinking of themselves that they’ll rarely show any concern for others. Their communication setting is usually stuck on broadcast and they’ll happily talk for hours about themselves without being interested enough to spare one question for you.

And it’s not just their conversation. Toxic people genuinely have no concern for your feelings, and feel no need to take them into consideration. And worryingly, this often demonstrates itself in control. They care about how they feel, what they want to do, what their needs are, and will happily manipulate you to ensure they’re met.

In a friendship, this could mean asking you to babysit their children even if it’s not convenient for you, expecting you to change your plans to meet them, or putting you down by criticising your looks, personality or mothering skills.

In the workplace, a toxic person may demand that you work late, knowing you need to collect your child from nursery, they’ll present you with an urgent project just before lunch, or prevent you from getting a promotion because they need you in their department.

If you recognise that someone is trying to control you, it’s not worth appealing to their better nature, because the chances are they don’t have one! All you can do is try to minimise your exposure to them and move on as quickly as possible.

2. They need to be right

Toxic people are so thin-skinned that they can’t stand the thought they might ever be wrong. It doesn’t matter how tiny the issue, they’ll argue their point of view until you give up out of exhaustion. What you may think, feel or believe (or in fact what IS the truth) doesn’t matter.

Their need to be right trumps common sense, truth and even normal social bounds. They’ll pursue an issue until it’s conceded that they are in fact right. They’ll even happily take their fight to the legal system, incurring huge costs and a waste of time, often over very trivial matters – even suing neighbours over inches of land or the height of boundary hedges.

So if you ever cross or publicly doubt a toxic person, be prepared for a fight. They’re determined, bitter and underhand adversaries. And in their quest to be seen as right, they’re happy to lie, fabricate and misdirect.

3. They’re surrounded by drama

Ever met someone that bad things always happen to? Their flat gets burgled, they get food poisoning at their own wedding, their best friend runs off with their husband, their favourite dress is lost by the dry cleaner… it can seem that some people are just so unlucky.

Or are they? Could it be that their psyche is defined by the bad things that happen to them? Or that they enjoy the attention and sympathy they get from them? Perhaps they have had some truly unlucky experiences, but maybe others are over dramatised, or somehow brought about by a lack of care – or even from attracting drama through negative visualisation?

Whatever the reason, you’ll often find that a toxic person thrives on drama, and will dwell excessively on any negative experience that befalls them – cementing their victimhood and sucking the positive energy from those around them.

4. They lie

Most of us have found ourselves telling a white lie at some point in our lives, but if you discover that someone is deliberately misleading you, withholding or twisting information, or just downright lying, then watch out! If they’re comfortable with telling small lies, then you won’t know when to trust anything they say.

And as we’ve already mentioned, a toxic person is happy to twist, obscure and reinvent the truth to hide or pursue their other personality flaws.

5. They’re too eager

Relationships take time to build, and an emotionally healthy person recognises that you need space. So if you meet someone who seems in a haste to get to know you or start a business relationship with you, or who makes you feel pressured or smothered, run a mile.

Not anticipating or appreciating the feelings or needs of another is a big warning sign of a selfish person, and even possibly a narcissist. And if they’re ignoring your requests or not getting the hint early on in your relationship, it doesn’t bode well later on when you’re bound to them through contracts or friendship.

6. They’re always the victim

Some people always have someone else to blame for their problems:

  • They didn’t meet their deadline because their manager didn’t remind them about it.
  • They’re hungover today because they worked too late on your project to eat.
  • They missed the early morning meeting because their wife forgot to set their alarm.
  • They didn’t book a doctor’s appointment because you didn’t give them the number.
  • They missed a promotion because their mum didn’t insist they take French A’Level.

Bad things and unavoidable accidents happen to all of us sometimes – that’s life. But some people are happy blaming everyone else for their problems, including those they should take personal responsibility for. So the chances are, whatever happens to them it will be someone else’s fault – including yours.

7. They never have a nice word to say about others

It’s easy to find things about pretty much everyone that annoy us (just as others can easily find faults in us). But most of us have far more good points than bad, and it’s not difficult to focus on these.

Unless of course you’re a toxic person. There’s a fine line between harmless gossip and bitching, and a toxic person is happy to cross it – they rarely have a good word to say about anyone.

So if you ever come across someone who is happy, even gleeful, to run other people down, be careful. Don’t allow their words to inform your opinion, and watch what you say about others. The chances are that they’re saying just as spiteful things about you when your back is turned!

8. They don’t let go

Bad things and people happen to all of us. And when they do we go through all the normal emotions – anger, blame, questioning, grief etc. Then we move on to more positive times.

Or at least we do if we’re not a toxic person. Toxic people thrive on drama and negativity, and relish the attention they get from it. So much as they may rail and moan about their misfortune, deep down they love it – even need it.

A truly awful experience that is not their fault is like gold dust to a toxic person, so why should they want to move past it? Instead they’ll drag it up at any given opportunity, depressing everyone they come into contact with. So beware!

9. They’re evasive

Most people are quite straightforward. You ask them a question, and they’ll give you the answer. But not a toxic person. They thrive on attention and drama, and will happily lie at will. They also find strength in destabilising others. Unable to operate on a level playing field, they tilt, twist and muddle the truth until no one is sure what’s going on.

They use this tactic to control meetings and cover up their deficiencies. They’re also adept political creatures who know just how to manipulate a situation to their advantage – and sabotage anyone who is in their way.

So if you ever come across anyone who seems unable to give you a straight answer, who makes the most straightforward project seem convoluted, who hogs and sabotages every meeting, or who changes the subject whenever you ask for something, the chances are they’re toxic.

10. They’re not nice to others

Don’t get us wrong, toxic people can be very charming. But only when it serves them. If you’re useful to them or they want something from you, they may be lovely, flattering even. Their attentions can seem heady and overwhelming. But it’s all a show.

The clearest way to get a sense of someone’s real character is to watch how they treat others, especially people who aren’t useful to them, and never will be.

How nice are they to the guy that works in the station ticket office? To the postman? The waitress in the café you sometimes go to for lunch? Junior colleagues? Other peoples’ children?

If you want to find out whether someone may be toxic or not, just observe their relationships with people who mean nothing to them, and watch how polite, kind or thoughtful they are (or not). It’s a good measure of how they may one day treat you if you cease to be useful!

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Draining, non-supportive and difficult people are one of life’s greatest challenges. You deserve to have people in your life who you enjoy spending time with, who support you and who you LOVE hanging out with. There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage. So just how do...