Imagine getting off a one-hour conversation with a friend. Instead of feeling content and satisfied, you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach that doesn’t seem right. You’re drained and unmotivated and the entire day just seems to go by in a blur.
Chances are that that friend might have behaved in a toxic manner. Maybe you’ve been that friend sometimes. People, as a whole, are susceptible to occasionally falling into toxicity traps. Some might not even be aware of it. How should we avoid toxic people in our life?
Instead of passing judgment or criticism, the intention of this article is to identify the various types of toxic people and self-introspect to see if you’ve ever been one. Either way, toxicity poses a huge threat to yours and other people’s well-being.
Studies suggest that stress due to toxic and negative emotions can have long-lasting impacts on the brain. A popular saying goes that you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with. So, are you living to your fullest potential, or is someone holding you back?
Here are the types of toxic people that you should avoid in life:
The Gossip Monger
Sharma aunty knows about your grades, late-night calls, and rumors of your failed relationship. That’s right, Sharma aunty is a gossip monger. Gossiping is a contemptuous and prying activity that most people engage in, at some point or the other. However, if someone inexorably gossips and discusses other people’s personal lives, then that person is toxic.
Gossiping may seem like an innocuous and immature activity at first, but it negatively impacts yours and other people’s mental peace. It gets tiring, makes you feel terrible, and hurts other people. In a world where there are so many interesting things to explore and innumerable little qualities to appreciate in other people, why bother with low-grade gossip? It’s time to serve real tea to Sharma aunty and discuss better things in life.
The Conceited Conversationalist
Remember the way Spotify interrupts you every 30 seconds with an annoying subscription ad? That’s what a conversation with a narcissist feels like. These type of people love to talk about themselves all the time. They hardly let people finish their story without interjecting them with an anecdote of their own.
It’s frustrating to interact with a narcissist because it feels like you’re always trying to get a word in. The problem with this type of toxicity lies in the fact that it seems like a one-sided friendship or relationship. This person never seems to be interested in having a two-way balanced conversation, it’s always about them.
The Jealousy Keeper
These type of people absolutely hate seeing their friends and acquaintances succeed. Every time you accomplish a small milestone, the jealousy keeper feels the need to mention the time they accomplished something greater. Friendships and relationships are meant to act as nurturing and supportive bonds with other people.
However, when someone acts as if your happiness or accomplishments are a threat to their own well-being, it can hurt your sense of confidence and self-esteem. These people always think that everyone is lacking in some way or the other. They may engage in gossip where they try to mask your positive traits with some unrelated or made up negative ones. Beware and avoid the jealousy keeper, you never know what they’re holding against you.
The Spinner of Yarns
Life is deceptive enough without liars and exaggerators making it tougher for you to decipher their true intentions. These type of people will impulsively fib and lie about minor as well as huge things. It may take a while to catch on but once you do, it’s almost impossible to trust a liar in any relationship. Dishonesty is draining and stressful for all parties involved and you’ll find yourself second-guessing their every sentence.
Although the genuine reason behind such behaviour may remain ambiguous, some people tend to lie in order to “overtake” or climb the ladder in a professional capacity. On the other hand, some might enjoy exaggerating things to gauge a more vigorous response from their listeners. Dishonesty doesn’t really benefit anyone and it only damages relationships.
I am Sir Oracle, And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark. -Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
The Hardliners are the kind of people who firmly believe that they hold the key to the mysteries of the universe and that their beliefs are the most logical and accurate accounts on various topics. They’re always right and they cannot stand taking into consideration other people’s opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
When you try to engage in a debate with them over a said topic, they tend to pick your words without context and relentlessly try to rebut your argument without ever giving it a moment of thought. You may end up feeling disrespected and even ignored because of their lack of open-mindedness and patience.
You may also read: Emotional Connections in Relationships: How Can They Help You Heal?
The Puppet Master
The Puppet Master thoroughly enjoys pulling other people’s nerves and creating unnecessary conflict. They may have an extremely considerate and understanding conversation with you over a conflict in friendship. They may sympathize with your plight and argue that your friend is in the wrong. However, immediately after, they will call your friend and exaggerate your conversation by saying that you bad-mouthed this friend. They might even add a couple of lies for spice.
The Puppet Master sets little fires everywhere and creates drama where there really shouldn’t be any. It’s tricky dealing with them because they act as a true friend, they know what you like and they have the right words for every situation. Moreover, they usually want something from you and all this information just acts as data-points for their hidden agenda.
Just like in Harry Potter, Dementors have the power to suck out the life of any room they walk into. These people have an inherently negative view of the entire world, they always look at things as half empty and rarely make an effort to look on the brighter side. They may inject fear and worry in even the most benign situations.
Studies suggest that people often feel more negative and unhappy after interacting with a person of this type. Instead of judging these people, it’ll be more helpful to identify the cause of their inherent unhappiness and help them work out of it.
The Victim Card
Although you may empathize with this person initially because they’re going through a rough patch. However, when you realize that their time of need is all the time, it reveals that this person believes everything wrong that happens to them can be blamed upon other people. Although it’s only natural to feel stumped on facing setbacks, building a camp and wallowing in that tent is not the solution. The toxicity in this type of personality lies in the lack of personal responsibility for their lives and their decisions.
Instead of trying to buck up and realizing that life poses various sets of challenges in everyone’s path, these people tend to view that as unprecedented unfairness. The Victim Card is fundamentally based on a sense of complete lack of control and it may make the listener also feel hopeless. If you know someone like this, it’s best if you try to help them see their way out of this pattern. After all, constantly feeling like the victim will not benefit anyone- you or the other person.
The Control Freak
If you remember Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, you know what I’m talking about. Although she was an incredibly charming and supportive character, her tendency to control everything often annoyed her friends. The Control Freak needs everything to go their way.
From party planning to group projects, everything must go as planned and desired by them. They decide the venue, time, dress-code, and projects without taking other people’s feelings into consideration. They may try to trick you into doing as they please. Knowing a control freak can be incredibly exhausting and frustrating. Sometimes, you just need to let go and loosen up a little.
The Dismisser loves putting you down and your achievements. They may constantly try to pinpoint your shortcomings and act in a condescending manner. Often such type of people may have their own insecurities and they try to make themselves feel better by making others feel worse.
In such a case, they may try to mask your positive traits with some negative ones and remind you why you’re not that great after all.
How can Now&me help you avoid this toxicity?
At times when you feel that you have to avoid all this toxicity, Now&Me comes to your rescue. It allows for comfortable and non-judgemental spaces to connect to like-minded people, make deeper connections, share feelings and emotions, and get in touch with professionals if needed.
So, next time, when you wish to avoid toxic people and steer clear of them, you know where to go!
Edited by Batool Kamry