20 Types of Toxic People You Should Stay Away From

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Probably all of us had encounters in our lives with people who treated us badly. They could be our friends, business partners, romantic partners, or even members of our family.

If you do have to or choose to interact with such people, make sure you limit it to areas in which you’re not going to be hurt by their bad behavior.

We now list some traits of people you should stay away from. Some of these traits are traits you should never accept at any degree, and some traits are traits that you can accept to a certain degree, if the entire package is worth it.

Remember that nobody’s perfect, so all people will exhibit some of those traits. The questions are which ones, to what degree, and what positive qualities they possess that make it worthwhile to stay in touch with them.

Here is the list of things that people are/do, when we talk about people you should stay away from. See if some of these traits match people you know.

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Treat Others Unkindly or Unfairly

 

These people seem to be treating you ok, but you see them treating other people badly. For example, they tell you the truth, but lie to other people.

At this point it is important to understand if these people do bad things to someone else, they are quite capable of doing the same things to you, if the situation requires it.

Pay careful attention to this, because when you’re in love with someone, or when you admire someone, you tend to ignore all those warning signs, and believe that this bad behavior will not be directed at you.

Keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between people who have high moral values, and that’s why they don’t treat you poorly, and people who don’t treat you poorly because they have vested interest in keeping you calm and content, and possibly even happy and enthusiastic.

The first kind of people will generally not do bad things to you or to other people, because it’s not in line with their moral values.

The second kind of people is the kind of people you should stay away from, because they may prefer not to do bad things to you now, but will have little problem doing them if they deem it “necessary” (and you’ll be surprised how quickly they can start treating you poorly when they want to).

Liars

 

There are 3 forms of lying, and we can understand them by looking at what people have to say when they give sworn testimony. These people need to swear to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Let’s see what that means about lying:

  1. The truth – This means that if you tell something that is not true, you’re lying. This is basically the definition everyone has in their mind of lying.
    For example, someone asked you if you finished a task, and you say “yes”, even though you haven’t.
  2. The whole truth – This means that telling only part of the story, even if the part you’re telling is true, constitutes a lie.
    For example, I had a friend who had a boyfriend that didn’t like it when she went clubbing with her friends (I guess he had his reasons).
    One day, she went to a park with her friends, and then they went clubbing. When her boyfriend asked her where she was, she just said she was with her friends at a park, which was true, but not the whole story.
  3. Nothing but the truth – This is an extra emphasis on telling the truth, meaning that what you’re saying doesn’t have any distortion, exaggeration, or omission of relevant facts.
    For example, let’s say you broke your mom’s precious vase by accident, and when you call her to tell her about it you say that you don’t understand what happened, because you “barely touched it and it fell on the floor”, when the truth is you were doing some workouts and hit it hard by mistake.

So, be very attentive to what people tell you, and if what they tell you makes sense, so you can know if they are the kind of people you should stay away from.

However, do keep in mind that all of us lie to some extent in our lives, for various reasons, so keep things in proportion.

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Cannot Be Trusted or Have Trust Issues

 

A definite type of people you should stay away from are people who betray the trust that was put in them, no matter what sort of trust it is.

When you see that a person betrayed someone else’s trust, you should immediately understand that you cannot trust that person, and that betrayal can be directed at you as well at some point.

The act of betrayal indicates a person of low integrity or some other mental issue, and betrayal in one area of life can quickly become a betrayal in another.

Note that these people don’t necessarily have to lie to you in order to betray your trust. They can tell you that you can trust them and really mean it, but then for some reason they may betray your trust and tell you about it directly.

People who cannot be trusted are definitely people you should stay away from. Every time you’ll put some sort of trust in them you won’t be able to be at peace, and they are very likely to betray your trust at some point.

Additionally, you should be very careful with people who have trust issues and are very reluctant to trust people. These people either don’t trust people because they know that they themselves are not trustworthy and expect others to behave like them, or they carry some traumas from the past of someone close to them who betrayed their trust.

Many times, it’s both, where the traumas from the past not only create trust issues with the person, but also make him or her believe that it’s ok to break someone else’s trust, because “that’s the way of the world”.

Generally speaking, these are also people you should stay away from, as they are not in a healthy mental state, and getting too close to them is likely to get you hurt.

Hide Things

 

These are people who will hide from you information that you would like to know. For example, you may talk to them daily, and suddenly find out that they quit their job 3 days ago and haven’t told you. Or you’re a couple for a long time and your girlfriend has recently started texting again with her ex, and you find out about it only a month later, because it’s “no big deal”.

There are two main reasons people will hide things from you: The first reason is the obvious one – they simply don’t want you to know. The second reason is that these people are used to doing everything on their own and are not aware of why and when you should share information with others.

The people who deliberately hide things from you, can do so for a multitude of reasons. A reason you should not worry about, for example, could be that the things they’re hiding from you are very personal to them, and they don’t feel close to you.

However, other reasons to hide information from you could be that they’ve done something they’re embarrassed of, that they’ve done something they know you won’t approve of, or that they’ve done that will hurt you.

You can see that some of these reasons are perfectly normal, while others constitute a deal-breaker, so you really have to exercise your good judgement when deciding if these are people you should stay away from.

The people who hide things from you because it’s simply not in their awareness, are not trying to do anything bad to you. However, it doesn’t mean that bad things can’t happen because of that.

Lack of information can make us make wrong decisions, and a person who doesn’t provide us with information that we need to know, may make us do things we shouldn’t be doing.

For example, you pull some strings and cash in some favors that people owe you, in order to get a job interview for your friend, who has been unemployed for 3 months, just to be told by your friend that he has already accepted a job a week earlier, but hasn’t bothered telling you about it.

Are such people the kind of people you should stay away from? Probably not. But you need to exercise caution and try to help the person become more aware of the need to share information.

20 Types of Toxic People You Should Stay Away From - Girl Hiding and Looking

Do Not Share What They Think or Feel

 

These people will normally not share with you what they think or feel, when it comes to you, to the interaction with you, or to things that may affect you and you’d like to know about.

The result is that this person reaches conclusions without involving you in the thought process, and you find out about it only when they take some actions based on their conclusions. Unfortunately, if the conclusion is wrong, at this point it may already be impossible to change the outcome, or to convince the person otherwise, as they have already convinced themselves.

This can be bad both in a business partnership and in a romantic relationship. In both cases, the relationship’s health depends in part on sharing the thoughts and feelings, especially the negative ones, so action can be taken to make the situation better.

Imagine a partner who thinks he’s being treated unfairly, doesn’t tell you anything for months, and then just decides to quit, where just talking to you about it could’ve solved the problem. This is one of the reasons it’s important to pick the right partner to help you fulfill your dreams.

On the romantic side it’s pretty much the same. A different example, though, would be that the person you are in a relationship with just suddenly “explodes” and gets into a huge fight with you over something that was bothering them for months, and they didn’t share with you.

Not sharing things can make small problems become huge, and possibly unfixable. So first, make sure you create a comfortable environment for the other person to share whatever is going on in their mind and heart.

But once you do that, if you find out the person still doesn’t share relevant thoughts and feelings with you (especially the negative ones), you should seriously consider putting them on the list of people you should stay away from. Or at the very least, keep a safe distance to reduce the impact of “surprising” outcomes.

Selfish and Inconsiderate

 

These people only see themselves, and subconsciously see you as a tool in helping them gain something. They take much more than they give, and you can expect to get things only when there’s value for them in that.

For example, they may not want to lose you, because you contribute so much to their lives and make them much better, so now and then they’ll do something for you. But if you ask yourself what they contribute to your life, you’ll soon realize that the relationship is not balanced at all.

Selfish people can easily exhibit other bad traits, if they’re required for them to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve (and usually they are required, as far as these people are concerned). These include lying, betraying your trust, hiding things from you, and manipulating you.

In other cases, selfish and inconsiderate people may not even take you into account at all, when it comes to their behaviors and actions. They will just do what they feel like doing, regardless of how it affects you.

If you’re thinking about close relationships, then selfish people are one type of people you should stay away from. Don’t get too attached, don’t give too much, and don’t expect to get too much, because they are most likely just using you, even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

Manipulators

 

These people will manipulate you into doing things that you don’t really want to do, or that are bad for you, so they can get some personal gain.

Note that all of us perform different sorts of manipulations in life, so just the fact that people perform manipulation does not mean that they are people you should stay away from. It is the intent of the manipulation that matters.

You can perform a good manipulation by enticing your friend, who is battling depression, to go out with you and have some fun. In this case, your intentions are good and you want to make your friend happy.

In contrast, your romantic partner may manipulate you into spending lots of money for their own personal gain, just to disappear at some point.

In short, people who perform bad manipulations are high on the list of people you should stay away from, so you should be very attentive to any signs of manipulation.

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Disrespectful, Arrogant, or Unappreciative

 

These people just don’t treat you with respect. They don’t respect your time, they don’t respect your efforts, they don’t respect your dreams, they don’t respect your intelligence, or they outright don’t respect you.

Now, it could be that your behavior is so awful that you cannot be respected, but most likely, these people are either selfish, arrogant, or both.

Disrespecting your time can mean setting a time with you and then cancelling at the last moment, or just not showing up/making other plans, or being late by a lot but not letting you know.

Not appreciating you and your efforts could mean that you work all day to make a romantic dinner, and then your partner simply tells you that the food tastes bad. Even if it does taste bad, at the very minimum, the time and efforts that you’ve invested in making the food should be appreciated.

Disrespecting your dreams may mean that an arrogant person may tell you that your dream is stupid and you should not pursue it. Arrogant people think they always know best, and their influence on you can make you not realize your dreams.

Possibly all of us have made the mistake at some point in our lives of being disrespectful, arrogant, or unappreciative, so whether such people are people you should stay away from really depends on whether this is the common case for them, or a rare occurrence.

Ungrateful

 

Ungrateful people will be very grateful to you, for exactly a day. It could even be that they are now in some serious distress and you help them to the point of saving their lives.

They will genuinely thank you in tears, while the memory of the horror that they faced is still fresh and frightening in their mind. However, once they see that, following your help, everything is ok, they will completely “forget” that everything is ok because of you, and attribute their new and positive situation to luck, fate, nature, or even to themselves!

People rather easily forget the bad experiences they had in their lives. It’s a good trait that life gave us, actually. Had we had to remember every painful thing that happened to us in the past, we would probably not have been able to stay sane.

Unfortunately, when they forget the bad state they were in, they also forget that they got out of that bad state because someone helped them. Alternatively, they remember the state they were in, but it seems to them that it was much less serious for them (at least mentally and emotionally) than it really was.

I once had a knee injury following a miscalculation of how good I was in inline skating. For several days, going to the bathroom was a huge task. Then, for about a month – walking. Then, for a year, I was forbidden from doing anything more intensive than walking.

I remember that when I just started walking again, I was so grateful that I could walk. I didn’t understand how I took it for granted all my life. It seemed like such a gift to me. How long do you think it lasted? Not more than a couple of days of walking normally, I can tell you that.

But this is human nature, and that’s why the grateful people actively remind themselves of how they should be appreciative of what you’ve done for them, while the ungrateful people will just show you that to them, you’re only as good as your last action.

This, of course, is not limited only to getting out of negative situations. You can help improve someone’s life or business, even to the point of helping them realize their dreams, and they will not attribute any of their success to your help. They will rather claim your ideas as their own, or downplay your impact on their success. This is especially true when it takes time for your ideas or efforts to show results, as is mostly the case.

Whether you want to put an ungrateful person on the list of people you should stay away from or not, is your decision. However, I suggest that if the person is constantly ungrateful, you keep your distance, and in any way, don’t expect any recognition for your efforts beyond the actual moment when you make them.

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Controlling

 

These people have a specific plan in their mind for what you should be doing at any given moment, and God forbid, should you not stick to the plan. They decide what you should do, when you should do it, where you should be at any given moment, and who you should be with.

It is not uncommon for controlling people to constantly check where you are when you’re away, or to even go over your phone to look for signs of you not doing what they told you to do.

These people won’t let you live your life the way you want to, make your own decisions, express yourself, or grow. Slowly but surely, you will become a shadow of yourself and won’t recognize yourself anymore.

Remember that there is a difference between dominance and controlling behavior. Dominance can be a very positive thing, where the person takes action, leads the way, and makes life better for the people around him or her.

In contrast, controlling people are people you should stay away from. They will take away your independence, your happiness, your feeling of self-worth, and in general, you will no longer be yourself.

Cold or Unempathetic

 

This type of person does not really show you any emotions, or any real understanding of your emotions. They can love you and not show it, and they can see that you’re hurt and not do too much about it.

If you ask me, these are definitely people you should stay away from when it comes to a romantic relationship. Everyone needs to feel loved and cared for, and these people will commonly not give you this feeling.

If you’re considering making business with cold people, the situation becomes more complex. Many times, business tends to be “cold”, just by the nature of it. However, you should always try to find empathetic people to do business with.

If you ever get into a tough situation, you would want your business partners to show some understanding, and not to immediately think in a cold, “this is just business” way. So, “cold business people” are not necessarily people you should stay away from, but you’re much better off doing business with empathetic people.

Angry and Bitter

 

These people just seem constantly angry. They are either irritated by small things, by other people, or even by your existence around them, and somehow it seems that all that anger is always directed at you.

You can get angry reactions from doing very innocent things that shouldn’t anger anyone, even nice things. And when you do something that could be thought of as upsetting, the angry reaction is out of proportion.

Also, pay close attention when you see that a person is constantly being angry or bitter with things that other people do, especially if it doesn’t really depend on who does it. This anger or bitterness could be very subtle, as in an intonation that lasts for a second, but these small nuances are your warning signs that you’re dealing with one of the people you should stay away from.

Usually, this anger and bitterness is a result of the person having a deep problem with himself or herself, or having some serious problem with you, that you just don’t know about. Both cases are very dangerous for you.

In the first case, the person is not mentally healthy. It could be because of stress caused by external sources, and it could be due to something that happened in the past, but it’s evident that the person is not in control.

When someone is not in control of his or her anger, you can’t really know what to expect. It may escalate very quickly from inflicting mental and emotional damage, to things that may even physically harm you.

In the second case, the person has some big issue specifically with you. Maybe he or she did something very wrong to you but hasn’t told you about it, and the anger is the expression of the secret they’re ashamed of. Or maybe, you’re in a relationship and your partner is bothered by something you constantly do, or has been thinking of breaking up for quite some time, but hasn’t had the courage or the maturity to tell you.

Any way you look at it, something really bad is going on, and you should ask yourself if this person is one of the people you should stay away from. In my opinion, if the person is very easily irritated and is often angry and bitter, you should keep yourself safe and just walk away.

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Abusers

 

Abusers keep on talking to you in a hurtful way, and possibly even physically hurt you. To them, you are a target for taking out the anger and negativity that resides in them. They will call you names, constantly say how bad you are, and possibly even hit you.

Abusers are people you should stay away from. They will ruin your life and inflict emotional, and possibly also physical damage on you. It’s better to never get involved with such people in the first place, since they’ll often make it very hard for you to break away from them.

Be very attentive to signs of this awful behavior. You do not want abusers to have any sort of access to your life, if you can help it. Being abused can also get you into severe depression, so that’s another reason to keep your distance from people you feel are abusing you.

Pessimistic and Negative

 

These people have a negative outlook on life, or on a specific area of life. Some examples are people who always believe they will fail, people who don’t believe they can find the right romantic partner, and people who assume all other people have bad intentions towards them.

Pessimistic and negative people who don’t try to become happy and positive, are also likely to go into a state of depression at some point, due to their feeling that there’s “no point” in things.

Such people are natural “downers”, and will lower your energy, ruin your mood, and take away your excitement from things. But are those the kind of people you should stay away from?

Well, if you didn’t know the person beforehand, I would most likely say yes. You need to surround yourself with people who will raise your energy – not lower it.

If, however, you already know this person, and this is just a bad period in his or her life, then by all means, feel free to be there for them, but not at the expense of ruining your own life by trying to help them.

Unreliable or Undependable

 

Unreliable or undependable people are people that you cannot trust to follow-through on their promises or on their tasks. There could be a lot of reasons why this would happen. For example, these people could be deceitful, incompetent, mentally weak, or they can just be unstable and change their mind often.

When you are around such people, you should keep in mind that whenever it comes to doing something that matters to you, you should do it yourself. You can’t really rely on the other person when it comes to things that are important to you.

It’s not necessarily that they do it on purpose. They can really believe that they’re going to do what they say, or they can really believe that their work is of good quality. But at the end, you discover that either they changed their mind, quit because it was too difficult or inconvenient to them, or just did a poor job.

This behavior may cause you to lose time, energy, money, and reputation. You could help them do something they want to do, and then they’ll change their mind. You can rely on them to do something for you, and then it won’t get done, or you can rely on a project they made, and find out the quality is not good enough and you can’t use it.

Are these the kind of people you should stay away from? Well, think about it. If you had a business, would you want to hire such a person? Definitely not.

And what about a romantic relationship? Well, that really depends on the reason why the person is unreliable, and if it can be changed. It also depends on what positive traits the person has. In general, I would lean towards not entering such a relationship, unless there’s a very compelling reason to do so.

20 Types of Toxic People You Should Stay Away From - Man Argues with Woman

Over-Criticizing

 

These people will always find what is wrong in everything that you do. If it’s not perfect (and it never is), they will find what’s wrong and point it out. They will do so even if they like the result, or it’s useful to them.

This doesn’t necessarily come from a bad place. It can come from a place of lack of social skills. Instead of encouraging you by pointing out the good things that you’ve done, they put you down by focusing on what’s still missing or wrong.

This kind of awful behavior can really take the fun, excitement, and motivation out of things. No one wants to share their work or thoughts with people who would just constantly criticize it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that people should tell you that everything that you do is wonderful. There are cases in which you should receive criticism, whether harsh or subtle, but the important thing is to make it helpful and constructive.

When thinking whether over-criticizing people are the kind of people you should stay away from, try to figure out what’s the reason behind their over-criticism. Are they doing it for negative reasons, or are they just trying to help, but don’t know how to do it properly?

If the underlying reason for the constant criticism is negative, you should stay away from this person, if you can. If not, and this person is just trying to help, let them know how they can interact with you in a more helpful way, and see if it helps.

Irresponsible or Not Taking Responsibility

 

This kind of people can just drive you insane. They can cause a lot of damage just by being careless or “not thinking”. Another thing they may do, is to blame other people or “the circumstances” on things that are entirely their fault.

Many times, these people don’t really try to go into details when needing to understand something or to think about potential consequences. They would say that “it’s fine”, whatever “it” is, just to discover that when something happens, it’s not really “fine”.

The worst thing, though, is when they don’t take responsibility for their actions. People who don’t take responsibility for their actions don’t really improve. If the problem does not reside in them, why would they need to change?

Would you want to trust a careless person with your precious things? Think about that, and it will help you decide if you want to include such people in the list of people you should stay away from.

Have Destructive Addictions

 

People who are addicted to something, put this something first, before anything else. If they don’t get it, they go crazy. Addictions can be fairly “innocent”, like sports and food, and can be very dangerous, like alcohol, gambling, and drugs.

It’s very clear that people with dangerous addictions are people you should stay away from. They will lie to you, use you and your money, and hurt you, possibly even physically, all to chase their addiction. They can completely ruin your life. It’s that serious.

But what about people with “innocent” addictions? Well, in general, everything that is too excessive is not really good, and comes at the expense of something else. Something important. Workaholics don’t have time for their family and friends, people who always crave food and eat too much have health issues, and so on.

You don’t have to immediately decide that people with “innocent” addictions are people you should stay away from, just take note what the addiction is, what effect it has on the person and on you, and see if you’re ok with that.

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Disloyal or Uncommitted

 

These are the people who will give you up as soon as it becomes too difficult for them, or as soon as they get a “better” offer. The bar that needs to be crossed for them to give you up varies, but it’s not significantly high.

For example, they can act as good friends until you need some sort of significant support, and then they’ll just “disappear” or find excuses why they can’t help you.

Or you can be in a serious relationship, but your partner just talks away at the first sign of hardship, instead of trying to work on the relationship.

Or it can be a business partner of yours, who’s negotiating a better offer with your competitor, leaving you in the process.

These may or may not be people you should stay away from. Don’t trust these people with anything serious, as they can turn their back on you at any point in time. If you do need to deal with such people, keep them at a distance.

Stubborn

 

On certain topics. stubborn people cannot be persuaded to change their mind or do things differently. They won’t budge.

Do not confuse stubbornness with persistence. Persistence means that you keep your goal, but you gain experience as you go along and adapt your methods accordingly.

In contrast, stubbornness means it’s your way or the highway – there’s no room for any compromise or adaptation.

We are all stubborn on certain topics, and sometimes it’s a good thing, especially when talking about high moral values and principles.

However, if you meet a person who’s stubborn just for the sake of being stubborn or “winning”, you may consider putting him or her on the list of people you should stay away from. If the person is only seldom willing to hear other opinions, compromise, or try different methods, both of you are in for a very rough interaction.

When you constantly interact with a stubborn person, you may find yourself getting into a lot of arguments, or giving up too many things that are important to you, even if you don’t realize that. Just pay attention to the interaction and try to reach the conclusion that’s best for you.

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Summary

 

We have detailed 20 types of people you should stay away from:

 

  1. Treat others unkindly or unfairly
  2. Liars
  3. Cannot be trusted or have trust issues
  4. Hide things
  5. Do not share what they think or feel
  6. Selfish and inconsiderate
  7. Manipulators
  8. Disrespectful, arrogant, or unappreciative
  9. Ungrateful
  10. Controlling
  11. Cold or unempathetic
  12. Angry and Bitter
  13. Abusers
  14. Pessimistic and negative
  15. Unreliable or undependable
  16. Over-criticizing
  17. Irresponsible or not taking responsibility
  18. Have destructive addictions
  19. Disloyal or uncommitted
  20. Stubborn

 

When you get to know new people, pay attention to whether these are people you should stay away from. For some types, like abusers, this is a clear-cut decision. For other types, you’ll have to assess the person as a whole, and the level of relationship you’re looking for, and reach your own conclusion.

Other than applying these categories to new people, it’s always a good idea to use this list to evaluate the people you are currently interacting with.

The important thing is to surround yourself with people who contribute positive things to your life and make it richer and happier.

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