Signs of a Toxic Person in the Workplace & Relationship & Deal With Them

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If you feel that someone is bringing negativity into your life or that you owe them anything, these could be signs of a toxic person.

“Toxic” is frequently used nowadays, but do you know what it truly means? You’ve probably encountered a toxic person in your life, but they can be tough to identify sometimes.

Dealing with toxic people can be emotionally draining and stressful. You may not be able to change them.

Recognizing their negative behavior is the first step toward reducing their impact and influence on you. You can adjust your actions and feelings towards them.

In this article, you will understand what it means to be toxic. We will also be covering the warning signs to look out for and how to handle toxic individuals in work and relationships.

What Does it Mean to be a Toxic Person?

A toxic person is someone whose actions and attitude bring unhappiness and negativity into your personal life. Toxic individuals inflict harm to others, usually by manipulating their emotions.

They do it either through manipulating, controlling, or exploiting someone in any manner. Then there’s an additional element of those who display sadistic behaviors to gain pleasure or see others suffer.

Negative people tend to cause a lot of tension and unhappiness for you and others around them.

Being around toxic individuals will make you reexamine if you overreacted with extreme sensitivity or misinterpreted their behaviors.

Then again, some people may exhibit toxic characteristics without being aware of the impact they are causing on others. They may also be struggling with anxieties or traumas from their past.

Being in these states can make them behave in ways that do not put them in the best possible condition. They may also frustrate and influence others around them with their negativity in the process.

Toxicity is not recognized as a mental illness. However, there might be underlying mental issues driving someone to act in such ways.

Often, it is individuals with dark personality types (narcissists, sociopaths, etc.), which are frequently associated with toxic behaviors.

10 Signs of a Toxic Person

Toxic people love manipulation

Their strategy is to persuade others to follow what they want them to perform. To these individuals, the world revolves around them.

They take advantage of others by manipulating them to achieve their goals. They will do anything to accomplish their goals, even if it means causing harm to others.

This includes lying, twisting the facts, exaggerating, or omitting information to get someone to do what they want or influence others’ opinions about someone.

They are judgmental

Listen for criticism. Toxic people tend to talk only about what others have done and haven’t done. There are always problems with others but not themselves.

They see themselves as a perfect human being who don’t have any flaws or weaknesses.

Toxic individuals constantly judge others and jump to conclusions without checking the facts beforehand. They may even resort to lying to get what they want.

They take no responsibility for their feelings

They project all their negative feelings and emotions onto you. They blame others and avoid taking any responsibility for practically everything they do.

If you try to give them feedback, they will almost certainly defend their viewpoint.

They don’t apologize

Toxic individuals rarely offer an apology even if they are wrong. If you hear them saying sorry to you, you need to be extra careful.

Usually,  an apology is a preplanned gesture to get you to offer them something they want. They think that they are always right in a variety of situations.

If something is not going in their favor, they will distort the truth or blame others just to be correct.

They don’t see a need to reflect and repent for their mistakes because it is always someone else’s fault.

They may resort to acting as a “victim” to attract sympathy and undivided attention from others to fulfill their needs.

They are inconsistent

Nothing is consistent when you are in friendships with negative people who are toxic. Their personal view, behavior, and mood may change from one day to another.

These changes are dependent on what they believe is required to get what they desire. They also know how to act politely when they need something from you.

They make you feel defensive about your decisions

Anything you say or behave is bound to receive disagreement from a toxic person. Criticisms and negative remarks are thrown at you, wearing you down and keeping you on constant alert.

If toxic people find it boring while you are speaking, they may disrupt you and change the topic. But, they expect you to pay attention and not disrupt them when they are talking.

You will start feeling uncomfortable and cannot speak your mind when that toxic person is present. You are afraid that they will criticize or dismiss whatever you say.

Eventually, you will think twice and filter your words while chatting with the person.

They are dishonest

Dishonesty of any kind, whether deception or cheating, is a characteristic of a toxic individual.

It can be as simple as distorting a story’s details or inventing something completely fake. Toxic individuals are infamous for telling lies.

Do not believe completely what a toxic person tells you because their words are not entirely true.

They may lie because either they have poor self-esteem or want to increase it. It could also be a tactic they use to obtain what they want.

They feign concern for your welfare

Toxic people tend to pretend that they care about you if they notice you start suspecting something is amiss. They use this tactic to make you feel like they are genuinely concerned about you.

This misleading sense of compassion is merely a calculated move to catch you off guard or satisfy your needs. Such a fake friend will lure you back to them by promising you rainbows and sunshine.

All these are their methods of trying to make you feel their “fake” sincerity so that you will return to their side.

You are wrong, and they are right every time

Do you know someone in your life who refuses to acknowledge their mistakes and thinks that you are always wrong? Then, this person is most certainly a toxic individual.

Toxic people will go to great lengths to show that they are right.

They may try to fabricate information, alter facts or question your experiences. They are reluctant to confess when a mistake is made.

They disregard your boundaries

Your personal boundaries are the walls you build to keep yourself apart from the outside world.

Your firm boundaries help distinguish and protect you from unpleasant, rude, and aggressive individuals.

Toxic individuals expect you to be there for them no matter what time of day or what your circumstances are.

For toxic individuals, it makes no difference whether you ask them to stop acting in specific ways. They will just keep acting in ways that go against your wishes.

How to Handle & Deal With a Toxic Person at Work

Keep your distance

Set a goal for you to keep as much distance between yourself and your toxic colleague’s bad influence at work. It includes doing everything within your capability to reduce your contact with them.

If your workspace is beside a toxic colleague, you will most definitely be the first person they seek help from every time.

This bad work environment will keep you from completing your work, affecting your work performance. And you can be influenced by their negativity which is terrible for your mental well-being.

Make sure to keep your distance and avoid working with toxic individuals. Try to avoid teaming up with toxic people when working on projects.

Counter the negative with the positive

Choose to surround yourself with positive people. Pick your words that portray the positive aspects of life and work. When given a chance, always speak positively when others talk bad behind someone’s back.

Aim to spread joy, positivity, and love everywhere you go. Your optimism will become contagious, spreading to all the people around you.

Although this may have little effect on the toxic coworker, it may help change the mood in the workplace into a more supportive, growth-oriented environment.

Recharge from the negative influence with some self-care activities

Set tighter boundaries if you cannot remove the toxic person from your life. Have communication about boundaries with the toxic person and clarify your personal boundaries.

In case they decide not to respect you and your boundaries, try to regain balance with self-care activities.

At home, try eating healthy meals, exercising, practicing meditation or relaxation techniques and other activities that will reduce stress.

How to Handle a Toxic Person in a Relationship

A healthy relationship is all about giving and taking. If you find yourself constantly fulfilling your partner’s needs without receiving any from them, it may be time to reconsider this relationship.

If you think that staying in a toxic relationship can help your partner change for the better, you are wrong. You need to throw away this belief that toxic individuals will change due to your involvement or persistence.

If you must live with a toxic person, you need to acknowledge that you cannot change the person, but you can change your attitude and behavior.

Toxic people can make you feel guilty even though you did nothing wrong.

They may attempt to distort what you said or blame you for trying to harm them. You may start doubting yourself and wondering if you did something bad like they described.

Being conscious of someone’s toxic behaviors can help you manage your interaction with them more effectively.

Freeing yourself from a toxic relationship is often the only way to reclaim your happiness and well-being. Learn to let go and believe that you deserve happiness, respect, and love.

Bonus: How Can Toxic People Negatively Affect You?

Toxic individuals are uncomfortable to be around. Their presence can affect others negatively in many different ways.

Their mere presence seems to suck all the positive energy out of you.  Toxic individuals frequently make you doubt your every word and action.

Toxic people have a way of making you find their behaviors tolerable and influencing you to make poor decisions.

All of this contributes to a general decline in your self-esteem and an increase in anxiety and depression.

Here are a few ways that toxic people can negatively affect you.


Toxic people are excellent at discouraging you and providing horrible comments. They’re adept at making these negative feedbacks sound very convincing that you have no choice but to believe it.

There will be times in life when you will struggle or face challenges. It is critical to have someone who can motivate and support you through these difficult times.

You need someone who challenges you to reach your goals and not someone who brings you down.

Energy draining

Inciting drama

Most of the time, toxic individuals don’t get along well with others. They love creating dramas and stirring up unnecessary troubles.

Trust us; you don’t need them to create added drama or mess in your life. Your life is already full of other, more meaningful things to do.

Lack of accountability

Toxic individuals will try to convince you to join them in spreading negativity. All of us tend to judge others based on the people associated with them.

The same goes for you. Others will judge you if you surround yourself with toxic individuals.

You will also be affected by their pessimism and slowly become pessimistic and narrow-minded like them.

As the saying goes, “You become the average of the five-person you hang out with.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Toxic People

How to protect yourself from a toxic person?

You can protect yourself from a toxic person by keeping your distance from them. Be selective of the people you want to hang out with. Aim to spread joy, positivity, and love everywhere you go.

If you can’t remove the toxic person from yourself, set clear boundaries with them. Learn to be comfortable at saying no to their requests. Confront them every time you notice their toxic behavior.

What are the characteristics of a toxic person?

Toxic people love manipulation. They will do anything to accomplish their goals, even if it means causing harm to others.

Toxic individuals constantly judge others and jump to conclusions without checking the facts beforehand. They tend to blame others and avoid taking responsibility for practically everything they do.

They rarely offer an apology even if they are wrong. Toxic individuals are infamous for telling lies all the time.

Do toxic people know they are toxic?

Some people exhibit toxic characteristics without being aware of the impact they are causing on others. They may also be struggling with anxieties or traumas from their past.

Being in these states can make them behave in ways that do not put them in the best possible condition. They may also frustrate and influence others around them with their negativity in the process.

How do you respond to a toxic person?

When you spot discrepancies in what a toxic person says or if they fabricated false information, call them out. Tell them directly that what they said is not true and you don’t like their attitude.

Learn to let go of what the toxic people say or do without letting them influence you. Remind yourself that their actions have nothing to do with you.

Reaffirm your boundaries and ignore their criticism. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are not at fault. Believe that you are deserving of happiness, respect, and love.

How do I fix my toxic traits?

First, you need to be aware of yourself and your toxic behaviors. Seek feedback from close friends or family that is willing to help you.

You also need to learn to take accountability for your actions. Let go of your ego and need to feel right every time. Own up to your mistake and apologize.

Be a good listener and withhold any judgment when someone is sharing their opinions.

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