7 Toxic People You Should Avoid All The Time

In a perfect world, the people around us and those we spend most of our time with, would be encouraging, supportive and positive people. However, we know that’s not the case.

Negative or toxic people are all around us. They could be people we live with, people we work with, our family or relatives, acquaintances or people we know socially.

Being around toxic people can:

  • Be detrimental to our physical health and well-being.
  • Influence our thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
  • Affect our perspective on the world and life in general.

These people can be deadly, if we allow them to be, and should be avoided whenever possible.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many years ago, when I first evaluated whether the people in my life were positive or negative, it came out to be roughly 50/50 — half were predominantly positive and half were negative most of the time. At that time, I decided to eliminate or avoid those I considered to be negative and start adding new positive people into my life.

Thankfully I can now say that almost all the people in my life are generally positive, although we all do have our moments when we get plugged into negativity. The key, however, is to be aware when we’re in such situations and turn it around quickly.

The late Jim Rohn, had a famous quote, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Therefore, we must deliberately choose who we want to associate with as they affect so much of our lives.

Here are seven types of toxic people we should avoid at all costs. It is important to recognise that this is not about judging others; it’s about taking responsibility for the type of people we want to spend our time with and those we want to avoid.

  1. Those who always complain. There are those who get a kick out of complaining. It’s like they cannot function during the day unless they complain about something. Those who complain typically aren’t willing to risk creating what they want so they’d rather sit back and focus on what’s not working for them.
  2. Those who are dream killers. Be selective who you share your dreams with. People will laugh at you if you have big dreams and unless you are mentally strong, it can be extremely discouraging. There are those who’d rather destroy someone else’s dreams than risk failure, disappointment, rejection and humiliation, going for their own dreams.
  3. Those who like to play victim. Victims like to hang onto things from the past that may have been painful to them. There is no denying many people have suffered terribly in life, however, that is no excuse for not trying to overcome those issues, or for reliving their grief and trauma over and over again. All we can do is support any way we can and if they’re not willing to do their part, it’s best to let them be.
  4. Those who like to gossip about others. Engaging in mindless gossip is such a waste of time. People who are busy and are goals-focused do not have time for gossiping. When we’re clear about what we are creating in life or where we want to go, unproductive habits like gossping will fall away.
  5. Those who consistently lie. These people are dangerous and can cause us a lot of emotional pain. Having low self-esteem often plays out through lying because people don’t believe they are enough or are imagining some negative consequence for their actions. Those who consistently lie often lose trust with others quickly and it can be a difficult thing to gain that trust back.
  6. Those who will crush others in order to get what they want. We want to spend our time with people who have a “win-win” mindset. These types of people want the best for all concerned in every situation. Those who are hellbent on destroying others while they rise to the top typically have a lack mentality and these are people we definitely want to avoid.
  7. Those who are full of greed. Greed is not good, contrary to Michael Douglas’ character in the movie, Wall Street. Greed implies taking more than our fair share and denying others their fair share. The reality is in our materialistic world, greed has become such a major issue in our culture. The belief that we are not enough drives people to chase more and more things just for the sake of having more, rather than for a higher purpose or worthy cause.

If we have toxic people in our lives, what can we do?

One of my mentors says if they are family or loved ones, we shouldn’t see them as often and we shouldn’t stay as long with them. Other options may be to start cultivating new relationships or friendships that will automatically reduce our need to spend much time with these toxic people.

We always have a choice when it comes to spending our time. We must be aware of who we spend our time with and how they affect us or make us feel.

Action Step: Make a list of all the people you spend time with and add a “+” next to their name if they are predominantly positive and a “-“ next to their name if they are mainly negative. Start reducing the time you spend with those with a “-“ next to their name. If you want to take it a step further, consider eliminating them completely from your life.

Question: How do you deal with toxic or negative people?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Strong list, Neel! I’ve found too, that for friends who complain sometimes, but not all the time, or who tend to gossip sometime, but not all the time, etc., I can lead by example and gently “train” them not to complain or gossip to me. Works out for a win-win!

    • Neel Raman

      That’s a very clear thing to do Jane. You’ll have to share what are some of your techniques for training people not to complain or gossip. I can sometimes come across a little harsh, without meaning to, so having a gentler approach will be extremely beneficial.
      Thank you for your comment. 🙂