8 Key Questions That Determine If Someone In Your Life Is Toxic, According To Experts
As we grow older, we start to realize that not all the company we keep is necessarily beneficial to our lives. It can be hard to tell if certain relationships are doing more harm than good, but if you're feeling stuck, you might want to consider these ways to determine if someone is toxic for you. Once you come to terms that a friend, family member, or coworker isn't the best type of person around, you can make adjustments to your relationships to start surrounding yourself with more supportive and uplifting people and less draining and stressful individuals.
"It is important to relieve ourselves of toxic people in our lives as individuals with poisonous behaviors tend to weigh us down," says relationship expert Alexis Nicole White over email. "It is nearly impossible to grow, evolve, and to become the people that we are needed to be if we are unable to experience the freedom that should come from that particular relationship."
Getting rid of these unnecessary, negative people can be difficult, but the first step is identifying whether someone is worth keeping in your life. I consulted with a couple experts to come up with these eight key questions that can help you determine if someone is toxic in your life.
1. If You Stop Giving Them What They Want, Do They Stick Around?
"Toxic people are in it for themselves," says Nicole Casanova, founder of Polished Personal Development, over email. "They want you around simply because of what hole you can fill for them." If you start focusing more on your needs and they complain or pull away, it might not be the type of person you want to keep in your life.
2. Are You Constantly Trying To Prove Yourself?
It's important to still feel adequate with or without this person's approval. "With toxic friends, you never feel like who you are quite enough for them," says Casanova. You should feel proud of who you are.
3. Do You Feel Out Of Control When You're Around Them?
Since toxic people can be draining to deal with, your emotions often go haywire around them. It can be hard to react in ways that you normally do when you're calm. "If your mood and reactions go off the rails more than usual, it's likely that they are sucking your precious energy," says Casanova.
4. Is This Person Selfish?
"Is this person driven by their selfish efforts?" says White. "Do they offer any hidden agendas or ulterior motives? Does this person began a task with you in mind? If not, then, this person is going to always seek to control the relationship with their personal needs in mind without considering you, first. While there will often be instances where this person will need to consider themselves first, it shouldn’t be the case all the time."
5. Do They Tend To Manipulate Things?
"Individuals that engage in unhealthy behaviors tend to leverage manipulation to either minimize or deflect from the issues at hand to make their partners feel as though it’s 'not what they think it is,' says White. "Not only is this toxic, but it is highly emotionally abusive for anyone in any relationship."
6. Are They Consistently In Conflict With Others?
"Individuals that exhibit unhealthy relationships don’t just experience those in their relationships; it transcends into their friendships and professional lives," says White. "Those who maintain unhealthy interpersonal lifestyles tend to have 'mess' in every area.""
7. Is It Very Difficult To Concentrate And Manifest What You Want Around Them?
Since toxic people are so focused on themselves, it can be hard to shift your own focus back to you. "Whatever matters to you in life becomes harder to go after when a toxic friend is around," says Casanova. "Your dreams are deflated regularly, whether directly (through their actions) or indirectly (through how you feel when you're with them)."
8. Do You Think About Them More Than You Want To?
Toxic people can have us overthinking every action we make and every text we send. "Obsessing or over-analyzing conversations more than feels right to you is a sign that they are sucking your energy in that very moment," says Casanova. Relationships take effort, but if this one is dominating with negative experiences, it might be time to let go.
At the end of the day, only you can determine who fits into your life and who is holding you back, as long as you remember that people should make you feel good and help you grow.
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