Toxic people are difficult to be with and can drain your energy easily. They offer nothing but negativity, making it harder for you to enjoy your life, nourish your relationships, and succeed in your career. You can find them anywhere – in the office, at home, and among your friends. Without realizing it, you may even be one.
Are you a toxic person? Here are some signs that you are and ways to stop being one:
1. Everything is About You
Somehow, you always find ways to make any conversation about you. You may not intend it to be, but if your default reaction to many talks is always along the lines of ” you haven’t heard what I went through today” or “that’s nothing compared to what I’m going through,” then you’re unconsciously driving the focus towards you and away from whoever it is you’re speaking with.
There’s nothing wrong with talking about yourself but there is a right time and place for that.
If a friend is telling you about how difficult her day had been, don’t jump into the conversation by enumerating all the problems you had to deal with. You’re cutting your friend’s time to rant as you start your own tirade. Ask questions about what made the day difficult or give inputs on how your friend can avoid those roadblocks in the future. Eventually, you’ll reach a point in the conversation where you can talk about your day.
When attending a party, don’t be there and sulk about your misfortunes — because then, you’re just trying to get attention (in the wrong way) and affecting everyone’s mood.
2. You Talk More Than You Listen
Closely related to #1, talking more than listening only goes to show that you only have time for yourself and couldn’t care less about what other people have to say. There is a fine line between being highly opinionated and simply wanting everyone to listen to you. We’ve all treaded this line before and it’s really not easy to avoid being #2.
What I’ve learned is that we need to pay attention to how we react or behave with others. Wait for your turn to talk and when it’s your turn, be conscious of how long you’ve had the floor. Richard Carlson, the author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… OMNIBUS, has a great advice: don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences. You may press your lips together or lightly bite your tongue to remind yourself that it’s not yet your turn to speak.
3. You Always Have the Victim Card Handy
Many of us often have something or someone to blame for our problems and to some extent, that’s fine . What’s not good is when you refuse to be responsible for things that you should be responsible for and when you use your circumstances or misfortunes to get a free pass — as if you’re the only one who’s having a hard time.
You’re not the only one stuck in traffic or the only person with financial problems but you don’t see many people going through tough times hand out the victim card every chance they get.
If you screw up, be brave enough to admit it and face the consequences. It’s not technology’s fault you weren’t able to read the urgent email you were waiting for because you missed the notification on your phone. And it’s definitely not your wife’s fault you were late for today’s meeting because you didn’t set the alarm.
4. Drama Has Become Your Second Name
Regardless of how big or small a problem is, you find everything stressful and you assume everybody will sympathize with you. No advice will ever work because you always have reasons to believe that it won’t.
To stop being a drama queen or king (yes, guys can be overly dramatic too), learn to weigh problems and decide which are worth stressing about. When you share problems with your friends, don’t disregard their advices immediately. Take time to seriously consider them. You may just find one that will actually make your life easier.
5. You Never Run Out of Things to Complain About
There are many things wrong in the world and you make sure everybody knows them. You’ve complained about your work station for months but since you’ve been transferred to a new one, you can’t stop talking about how ugly the view is from your window.
I’m not trying to say that you just accept things as they are or keep your complaints to yourself. Before ranting, however, take some time to find positive things around you. Who knows, they may just outweigh your concerns and you may eventually realize that your complaints aren’t really worth ranting about.
Everyone has a certain level of toxicity. Most of the time, we are simply unaware of it. No one wants to be branded as a toxic person. To avoid being one, try to be more conscious of your actions. Always ask yourself, “how is this going to affect the people around me?”
Life is too short for negativity. Take a small step toward positivity and discover the huge difference it can make.