ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Spot and Avoid a Toxic Person

Updated on February 22, 2016

What is a Toxic Person?

A toxic person can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be friends, co-workers, even family, and lovers. They can cloud your mind with gossip, play a victim, manipulate, be self-absorbed, and sometimes just down right mean. Being around these kinds of people will not only bring down your confidence, but you will find that you will soon start to be like them if you don't find a way to avoid or distract yourself from their damaging behavior.


I cannot stress how important it is to set boundaries with a toxic person. It is possible to be assertive without yelling, fighting, or degrading the toxic person, which would thus bring you down to their level. I'm going to go over some key points as to how to set boundaries with a toxic person. These work especially well for a narcissist, the most common type of toxic person.

  • Do not let them verbally abuse you. The easiest way to do this is to just hang up the phone if it is during a phone conversation, or to just walk away. The toxic person wants you to be verbally abusive back so that their behavior seems justified in their own head. Do not do this. Telling them to go F$#^ off feels good in the moment, but in the long run it does more damage to you, and more damage to them. Their behavior will feel justified, and they will simply just move onto the next prey. If it gets to a point to where they are harassing you or threatening you, you can always get the authorities involved or block their phone number.
  • Limit the amount of time you talk to them. This can be a very effective way to deal with a toxic person, especially if it's somebody you have to talk to, such as an ex-husband or family member. If there are topics that must be discussed, such as child support or a family get together, write them down before you talk to the person. Set a time limit. During the conversation stick to the key points, and do not respond to any negative comments they throw your way. For example:

Me: "So I will drop off our son at 3 at your house and you can bring him home at 8."

Ex-Husband: "Why? So you can go out with your boyfriend and picking him up won't cut into your date time?"

Me: "Does 3 to 8 work for you?"

Ex-Husband: "Yeah I guess."

Me: "Great! See you then."

I'm not saying that's exactly how it will go every time you talk to a toxic person about a sensitive subject, but at least you did your part in not feeding into their drama, and that's half the battle. Sticking to the key topics will help retrain the toxic person's brain to realizing they won't get the response they want from you, thus cutting down fighting a little more each time you talk to them.

  • Choose your battles. This can be especially effective when dealing with a boss or co-worker. The work place can be filled with toxic people, and dealing with the toxic people in a bad way can ruin your chance of a promotion or raise. Everybody has had the boss that makes them feel like they aren't good enough, or micromanages every little thing they do. If you can't seem to make your boss happy, and it's ruining your job performance and your self esteem, ask for a meeting. Ask them how you can do your job better, and what you need to work on. You're boss will not only see that you care about your job but also that you are assertive enough to not be picked on. Asking for the meeting sets things on your terms. You can ask questions, and they need to be reasonable or they will look bad. Other methods you can use to deal with a toxic boss are:

- Document anything that seems like harassment, or seems illegal for them to say to you; this can come in handy if they just decide they don't like you one day and want to let you go, which at that point you have something to turn into unemployment or human resources.

- If you have another person in charge to talk to about issues you are having, do so. Sometimes all it takes is another manager telling them to back off.

-Try not to overthink every negative thing they say to you. Just know that you are doing the best you can, and just block out the unproductive words.

Choosing your battles can also work in other situations such as with family members or spouses, even kids. Is it really worth fighting with your husband about the waitress he hit on 10 years ago at the office Christmas party? Probably not. Will he let you forget about the time you got drunk and flirted with the bartender? Probably not, but you are the bigger person, and two wrongs don't make a right. You doing to them what they did to do does not help matters, it makes them worse.

Learn to Let Go

Overall, a toxic person will ruin your life, if you let them. There are plenty of tools you can use to make your life easier when dealing with someone who likes to spread their negativity. You can't run and hide from a toxic person, but you can help yourself and them by not playing into their toxic games. Everyday you will face a toxic person, and everyday you can free your mind from the overwhelming emotional games a toxic person will play with you. Don't worry about getting in the last word, worry about your own sanity.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)