Humans logo

Subtle Signs that You're Talking to a Toxic Person

Though sometimes hard to identify, subtle signs that you're talking to a toxic person can help rid your life of negativity.

By Mackenzie Z. KennedyPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

Toxic people have a way of draining the life out of others, making them miserable, and just being terrible influences. If you're around too many toxic people, the chances of you becoming depressed, miserable, poor, or even a partner in an abusive relationship skyrocket.

For the most part, people can tell when someone's actions are toxic - as long as they're looking inside as a third party. When you're actually around a toxic individual, it's a lot harder to tell. After all, toxic people wouldn't be able to exert the damage they do if they didn't fool people into befriending them or dating them first.

That's why you have to be on your guard, and distance yourself from people who give off warning signs that they're toxic before they get too close to you. Here are some of the earliest indicators that you're talking to a toxic person, and that person should therefore be avoided.

They backpedal, make you feel crazy, and have you second-guessing yourself.

Toxic people are unbelievably talented at making people second-guess themselves. They often do this by backpedaling on what they said, claiming it was "just a joke," or that the person in question misunderstood what their intentions are.

Typically, a toxic person will say things such as the following gems as a way to wheedle their way back in around you once they realize they may have made a mistake:

  • "Come on, don't you have a sense of humor?"
  • "Be reasonable!"
  • "Other people I spoke to had no problem with this. What's you're problem?"
  • "Stop being such a damn drama queen."
  • "Wow, you're a bit crazy, aren't you?"
  • "I never said that..."

If you notice that the person you're talking to says these things, then chances are you're talking to a toxic person. More subtle things they may do may include shaming you, insulting you, or making digs towards a group you belong to in order to make you feel like you have to "qualify yourself" around them.

Should you notice these behaviors or notice you questioning yourself around them, back away quickly. They're no good.

They keep trying to push your boundaries, even after you set them.

Boundary pushing is always a bad sign, even if it seems innocuous. People who are okay with healthy relationships don't push boundaries, and definitely don't pressure you into things you're not okay with.

If you find yourself having arguments coming to a head because they aren't willing to drop subjects involving how you like to be treated, it's an almost surefire sign that you're talking to a toxic person. The more times they try to push you, the higher their toxicity towards you probably is.

On a similar note, if you see them trying to guilt you, shame you, or browbeat you into doing things, then you need to bail. This is a toxic relationship tactic that often leads to abuse.

They manipulate others around them, and you're getting the sinking feeling that they're doing the same to you, too.

You hear them spinning sob stories to others. You see them making social moves that could have come straight out of Mean Girls. You see them badmouthing people behind their backs, then being super sweet in front of them. You see them purposefully excluding others, solely for the reason that it makes that person scramble around them.

If you're over the age of 5, chances are that you know that this kind of behavior is manipulative, vicious, and mean. However, as mean as it is, chances are that a lot of people are falling for their tricks - and they often end up being Queen Bees as a result.

If you notice them behaving that way with others, don't make the mistake of thinking you're different. Toxic people treat everyone badly, and use them for their own needs. You're not an exception to this rule.

They don't apologize, since nothing is ever their fault.

Beware the person whose life seems way too unlucky to be explicable by normal means. We all know someone who plays the victim card, and chances are, we know that person to be a foul, toxic person who can't accept blame for his own mistakes.

Rather than apologize for hurting you, they'll say, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Or, they'll find a way to make you responsible for whatever they just did.

People who are like this tend to be very negative and lack empathy. You don't need that in your life, do you?

They tend to take up an inordinate amount of your time, focus, and money.

Toxic people tend to be leeches in every sense of the word. They have a way of sucking up people's resources through their relationship, and at the start, people usually don't even realize it's happening.

If you notice yourself spending more time than you feasibly can on a certain person, or notice a certain person regularly hitting you up for cash, chances are high that you're talking to a toxic person. The best way to get rid of these kinds of people is limiting how often you see them - or give them cash.

You can't help but notice that they are attention-seekers.

Though this could be a sign that they are legitimately crying out for help, the vast majority of the time, people who make everything about them are toxic.

The reason why they tend to be toxic is because they tend to get aggressive or tantrum-y when they don't get their way. Moreover, this attention-seeking behavior also means that they may not have much social awareness - which in turn makes them inherently toxic.

Normal, healthy people don't act this way.

They make you feel insecure.

A toxic person tends to single out people who are insecure because they're easier to attack, manipulate, use, and abuse. If they can't find insecure people, they'll make insecure people.

They do this by acting judgmental, making people "prove themselves" to them, or getting people to go on the defensive around them. Basically, they bully people into feeling insecure around them because that makes them way easier to control.

They're overwhelmingly negative.

Toxic people aren't fun to be around. They are negative. They are whiny. Nothing that you did is ever "good enough," and pulling reassurance out of them is like pulling teeth. They never see solutions, just problems. Overall, they tend to feel like black clouds of sadness, rage, or condescension that just do nothing but make people's lives worse.

If you notice someone has an overwhelmingly negative outlook, then there's a good chance that the person you're talking to is toxic. It's best not to call toxic people out on their negativity. They will find a way to avoid owning their feelings, and turn it on you.

They lack empathy on all levels.

When dealing with toxic individuals, your personal interest, feelings, and "people drama" doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is them - and if they're not happy, they'll make you unhappy. If you notice that they don't seem to care how their actions affect others, then you're talking to a toxic person.


About the Creator

Mackenzie Z. Kennedy

Socialite and dating guru Mackenzie Kennedy knows all about the inner workings of people and society as a whole. It's not only her lifestyle - it's her passion. She lives in Hoboken with her pet dogs, Cassie and Callie.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.