The Common Behaviors of a Toxic Person

What are some ways to identify and get rid of toxic people?



There are several signs of a toxic person to look out for.

Sophia Geisler, Columnist

I’m sure that anyone can say that they have had experiences with toxic people, whether it be your relatives, friends, significant others, etc. But toxic relationships are way more than just a Britney Spears song. What makes someone toxic, and are they worth keeping around? 

First of all, what does toxic mean? Well, the dictionary definition of toxic is being identified as poisonous, which typically is used to describe foods and substances that are bad for your body. However, when talking about people who are toxic, it generally means someone who is emotionally draining and/or abusive. Being “toxic” can differ from person to person, though. Some common traits of toxic people tend to be judgemental, controlling, and manipulative, says Psychology Today

According to Healthline, one of the easiest techniques to identify a toxic person is the art of gaslighting. Gaslighting is the act and form of emotional abuse where somebody (a parent, s/o, friend, etc.) refuses to take responsibility for their own mistakes, and instead the question turns to you on whether you’re the one in the wrong. This is extremely common within parent to child relationships, as stated by Healthline. For example, instead of accepting that something they said was hurtful, they turn it around on you and belittle you even more.

Another example of toxic behavior is feelings of intense jealousy, according to Body and Soul. This is mostly found in friendships and romantic relationships. It is a lot more common than you may think, though. Being jealous to the point of toxicity is when you yourself succeed in something, and your friend/significant other belittles it and resents it so much that they want you to lose that feeling of confidence. This is very common academically and in social situations.

Last but not least is gossiping. Sometimes sitting at lunch with your friends, you might begin to notice that they seem to gossip and pass on rumors about other people. However, there is a difference between gossip and toxic gossip. If your friends are simply talking about rumors that they heard, you might not have to worry. It’s when they continue to pass them on that you should. Something that I personally have learned is that if someone is trash-talking about someone else around you, chances are that they talk about you behind your back as well. If someone’s entire sense of humor is centered around belittling you or other people, that should be a red flag.

Traits of a toxic person can definitely vary. These include being controlling and refusing to let you hang out with certain people, or maybe the opposite and hanging out with people who have hurt you. They can also use you as a therapist and might be only in relations with you so they can have someone to dump their emotional baggage onto.

If you or someone you know is being emotionally or physically abused by someone they might not be able to separate from, here are some hotlines and further help. However, if your best friend is showing signs of manipulative behavior, it might be time to find some friends who will treat you better. It’s surprising how much another person can affect and influence your own mental health.