Young woman hanging her head down by her knees locking stressedIs there a person in your life who, every time you hang out with them, leaves you feeling drained AF? Like, the minute you say goodbye, you’re smacked with exhaustion, insecurity, and a sh*t ton of other negative feelings?

Whether it’s a family member, a co-worker, or someone you’re in a relationship with, have you ever used the word “toxic” to describe them? Or, maybe other people have, but you’re not entirely convinced. 

If this all sounds a little too familiar, you’re not alone and there’s something you can do about it. The first step to unloading the weight of this unhealthy relationship (and even avoiding it to begin with) is to learn how to spot the signs of a toxic person. 

So, today we’re sharing a list of all the warning signs that tell you someone in your life is super fricken toxic. Bestie, we got you! 

Signs Of A Toxic Person

7 Signs Of A Toxic Person

Okay so, by now you’ve probably gathered that a toxic person isn’t someone you want in your life. But, they aren’t exactly walking around waving a red flag. Learning the signs of a toxic person can help you avoid them or at least distance yourself from them before it’s too late. This way, you can avoid unnecessary trauma and unhappiness. 

What Is A Toxic Person?

A toxic person is someone whose actions significantly negatively impact your life. According to clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, toxic people cause harm to other people through emotional manipulation. Some toxic people, like dark personality types (narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, etc.) are aware of their behavior, but not all are. 

A toxic person makes you feel confused, uncomfortable, insecure, incapable, and unworthy. They’re self-absorbed and getting them to admit fault or take accountability for their actions is like pulling teeth. A toxic person is miserable to deal with because they make you feel like crap, even when you did nothing to deserve it. It can really screw with your sense of self! You can dive into this more in our post: How Toxic Relationships Affect Your Mental Health.

List of signs of a toxic person

Signs Of A Toxic Personality


No one is perfect all the time. We all experience ups and downs, highs and lows, etc. But, a toxic person is always all over the place. You can never know what to expect because their behavior is unpredictable and they rarely, if ever, follow through on commitments and promises. They’ll make you feel like you’re the most important person to them one day, then ghost you the next. 

Constantly Needing Attention

Some people are more needy than others, but a toxic person is needy AF all the time and it’s totally one-sided. They’ll blow up your phone, fully expecting you to give them the emotional support they crave. But, when the roles are reversed, they’re radio silent. 

When you’re dealing with a toxic person, you feel like you’re putting all your time and energy into being there for them, only to get nothing in return. This is because toxic people are completely self-absorbed. Their toxic behavior is due to their need for attention and affirmation. Not surprisingly, this is one of the toxic traits of someone with narcissistic personality disorder

Disrespecting Boundaries

Something else that might clue you into the fact that you’re in a toxic relationship is the lack of boundaries, but not on your end. You can set as many boundaries as you want, but a toxic person will not follow them. Healthy relationships are built on respect. If you set boundaries and they can’t respect them, that’s a big ole red flag. 


Dishonesty, in general, is a toxic behavior. If you notice the person being deceitful, lying, or keeping a ridiculous number of secrets, you’re looking at a toxic person. And no, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a “little white lie” or a life-changing secret, it’s dishonesty and it’s not okay.


Gaslighting is a type of emotional manipulation and it’s grossly hard to recognize when you’re the target. Someone who is gaslighting you will make you question yourself by saying things like “That’s not what happened,” or “You’re being overdramatic,” when you confront them or share your feelings about their behavior. Constantly questioning yourself as a result of gaslighting is one of the many reasons toxic relationships are energy-draining. 

Playing The Victim

A toxic person legitimately thinks they can do no wrong. Rather than recognizing their faults, they will become passive-aggressive, turn things around, and place the blame on someone else. For example, when you tell them they hurt your feelings, they’ll respond with something like “What about how I feel? You hurt my feelings!” or “You’re just in a bad mood and you’re taking it out on me.” 

Judgmental Attitude

A toxic person is quick to point out your every mistake and make you feel like crap for it. They’re quick to judge and will highlight your missteps to make themselves feel better and to give them more power in your relationship.

Toxic people will also engage in gossip and spread rumors to make themselves look better. If you’re the target of their judgment, you might hear about it from a third party, which can make it that much harder to deal with. 

How To Deal With A Toxic Person

How To Deal With A Toxic Person

Confront them.

As soon as you spot a toxic behavior, call them out on it. Explain what they did and how it made you feel. You want them to know you’re paying attention. This will give them the opportunity to apologize or explain their actions. 

However, be aware that, like the toxic person they are, there’s a good chance they’ll get defensive and make excuses for their behavior. They might even try to turn things around and redirect the blame to you. If this happens, try dealing with them differently. 

Don’t take it personally.

When you’re dealing with a toxic person, it’s important to remember that their behavior is a reflection of them, not you. Whether they’re acting out because of deep-rooted personal issues or surface-level insecurities, you are NOT at fault and NOT to blame. 

Trust us, we know how hard it can be to remember this when you’re facing an onslaught of toxic behaviors, but all you can do is try your best to not take it personally. 

Don’t engage.

Simply sharing the same space as a toxic person is exhausting. It’s even worse when you’re the target. As tempting as it is to defend yourself, your best bet is to stay far outside of their drama. 

We wouldn’t recommend plugging your ears and giving them the old “nah nah nah nah nah I can’t hear you” bit, as amusing as that might be. Instead, respond by saying something like that “I’m sorry you feel like that” then move on. If you’re lucky, they’ll leave you alone once they see that they’re not getting a rise out of you.

Set stricter boundaries.

Toxic people suck at respecting boundaries, but boundaries are important. If there’s a toxic person in your life who you can’t avoid, like a coworker, you can try setting stricter boundaries. Lay it all out for them by telling them that you refuse to tolerate their behavior. Keep them at a distance as best you can and spend as little time with them as possible. 

For some encouragement, listen to Boundaries Bitch. from the Mind Body No Soul podcast. (And maybe rock this boundaries crew, too?)

Surround yourself with positive people.

When you’re constantly drowning in the toxic behaviors of someone close to you, it can be easy to forget what a healthy relationship looks like. Make a conscious effort to spend more time with good people who make you feel good and support you. Not only will this make you feel better, but it’ll further emphasize just how toxic the other person’s behaviors are. 

Cut them out of your life.

It sounds a bit dramatic to say “Get rid of them!” but that’s basically what we’re getting at here. If you’ve tried a bunch of different ways to deal with the toxic person in your life and the methods either didn’t work or made things worse, it’s time to walk away. You don’t have to feel guilty about prioritizing your well-being. If you need some help, this episode of Real Pod on breaking toxic relationship patterns is a must-listen. 

Knowing what signs to look for can help you deal with toxic people in your life.

So, we’re all in agreement: toxic people suck. But try as you might to avoid them, you’re bound to encounter at least one toxic person sometime in your life. Fortunately, since you read this post, you can spot the warning signs and deal with them appropriately. 

And, if you need more life advice and podcast recs, check out the Dear Media blog. We have everything you need to become your best, strongest, and most bad*ass self.