10 Types of Toxic People to Avoid at All Costs

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I choose my friends carefully, but some of my “family members” aren’t healthy to be around, and I have come to realize they are toxic.

Of course, there are many types of toxic people, and whether it’s a friend who is always bringing you down or a colleague who lords their wisdom over you, a toxic person can destroy your life if you let them. 

At first, this toxic person may only be mildly annoying, but toxic people have a way of building momentum and becoming really destructive to your quality of life.

Knowing what type of toxic person you are dealing with helps you know what steps to take to detoxify your life

Do you have a toxic person who is bringing you pain and negativity? I’ve got the best ways to identify what type of toxicity you are dealing with and also how to keep head above water with toxic people in your life. 

What Is a Toxic Person?

A toxic person is someone who is negative and acts destructively toward others. The toxic person uses their negativity to break down the people around them, causing drama and damage.

They manipulate others to boost their own self-worth and satisfy their self-centered egos.

Like most other manipulators, a toxic person may only be toxic in certain situations, or they may be toxic all the time. They almost subconsciously pursue their goal or objective, and it’s rather like their toxicity bleeds off them, poisoning people in their proximity. 

Someone who is toxic has unhealthy behavior patterns that negatively impact people around them.

These behaviors could include gossiping, judging others, interfering in people’s lives, nay-saying, violence or aggression, being rude, picking fights, belittling others, and bossing people around. 

Toxic people always impact people around them. They are never in neutral mode. 

Why it’s Harmful to be in a Relationship with a Toxic Person

No sane person sets out to be in a relationship of any kind with someone who is toxic. Most often, we only realize they are toxic once we’ve been burned.

If you are not fully aware of the people in your circle and the impact they may have on you, a toxic person could easily begin to change your personality. Toxicity can be contagious. 

When you spend enough time with someone who has toxic traits, you can easily become influenced by their negativity, lack of emotional awareness, and manipulations.

You can become negative, withdrawn, and pessimistic about life if you are around toxic people too often.  

The most damage is done when you don’t know you are spending time with a toxic person, but even if you know someone is toxic or has toxic traits, you can still suffer damage and become miserable in life. 

Negative Effects of Being around Toxic People

When you spend time with people who are toxic, it has an impact on you, and this can often lead to long-term damage, even changing your behavior.

Toxic people come in many forms, but they all have a few similar effects on our mental well-being and lives. 


Toxic people are energy vampires. They drain our mental and physical energy. You know you’ve been near a toxic person when you leave their company and realize you are exhausted

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No matter how hard you try, you just can’t impress a toxic person, and if they are truly toxic, they are really unpleasant to be around. 

Usually, you won’t be able to place a finger on what exactly tired you out so much, but you know you feel absolutely soul-weary

The negativity and manipulation of toxic people makes us feel worn out and broken. 

Emotional Strain

It’s hard enough at the best of times to keep your sense of self strong, and when you are constantly being attacked and pushed by toxic people, you take emotional strain. Your feelings could hit overload, and you can end up feeling confused. 

An after-effect of this is to become snappy with other people, spreading that toxicity around. 


Being constantly on your guard against toxicity from people you have to spend time with or are in relationships with can lead to stress.

You can’t relax and just be yourself, and being on high alert to protect what you value can lead to your nerves fraying and depression setting in. 

Since you end up feeling very self-conscious and placed under a microscope by toxic people, you lose your sense of self, and your self-esteem suffers from the scrutiny of others. 

Sadly, toxic people often like keeping their victims all to themselves, and you can become isolated, which makes the toxic manipulation and abuse all the worse. With nobody to help balance the negativity in your life, you quickly lose your path in life. 

Negativity Poisoning 

We become mirrors of what we surround ourselves with. If you spend time with negative people, you become negative too.

Initially, your intentions may have been good, and you may have hoped to help the toxic person become less negative, but before you know it, you are just as negative as they are. 

Like poison in a river, the negativity of a toxic person affects those around them, causing toxicity in others. 

Loss of Trust

Being the victim of toxicity and manipulation tactics that harm you can lead to you doubting yourself and no longer trusting others.

Victims of a toxic relationship often avoid people, choosing to self-isolate since they fear they will become trapped in another toxic situation. 

Toxic people cause us to not trust others, but the biggest damage is in not trusting yourself anymore. You end up feeling less able, incapable of telling the character of people, and lost in social situations. 

Boundary Breaking 

Toxic people break boundaries, disrespect your limits, and push on your bottom line. Because they trample across your defenses, they often leave the door open for others to also crash into your personal space. 

If you have a boundary that you won’t let others speak to you disrespectfully, but your toxic boss yells at you daily, you may soon begin accepting rudeness and disrespect from others in your life. This invalidates your self-esteem and makes you weak. 

Relationship Struggles 

Once you’ve been the victim of a toxic person, you will try to avoid getting into similar situations. It’s natural and instinctive, as you realize those types of people are dangerous, but this leads to your relationships breaking down

Those who have been hurt by toxic people tend to withdraw, and in relationships you need to commit, so your relationships (even the healthy ones) will suffer as a result. 

10 Types of Toxic People to Avoid

Now you know a little more about the effects of toxic people, it’s time to look at the different types of toxic people and also how to protect yourself and continue functioning healthily if you have to be near them. 

While these are 10 types of toxic people, most people fit into more than one type of toxic pattern. Generally, toxic people will use whatever means is available to them to get what they want

1. Judge Dread

You feel excited about a new change in your life, but when you share with a Judge Dread toxic personality, you are instantly cut down to earth.

The judge-type toxic person is always ready with a reason why something will fail and why you aren’t going to be happy with your news. 

Judgmental people are hard to be around. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t impress them, and if they are truly toxic, they are really unpleasant to be around. 

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Toxic people use gossip as a way to manipulate and harm others.

The judgmental toxic person always feels like they can do better, know better, and have to help you not make a “mistake.”

They are hypercritical of everything and everyone around them, and they seem to feel entitled to sharing their “wise” insights about people. So there’s no way they will listen quietly and not respond by raining on your parade. 

The Antidote to a Judgmental Toxic Person: When someone is toxic and judgmental of everything you do, the best course of action is an information blackout.

Try not to share information about things that matter to you as you know this person will trash your dreams. 

If the toxic judgmental person is an employer or colleague, and you can’t avoid sharing work-related information, keep reminding yourself they are prone to being harsh and that you can and should ask a second opinion from an unbiased party.

And make sure you don’t share personal information with them. 

2. Depro Dan

Negativity is one of a toxic person’s most fearsome weapons. They know how to break you down and turn your joy to depression. If someone constantly puts a damper on your life, you need to consider they are toxic and take steps to minimize their impact.  

The Antidote to Depression Toxicity: Choose to use replacement therapy. This means spending time with a positive person in equal proportion (or more) to the time you have to spend with the negative or depressive toxic person. 

Schedule your day so you can meet up with a positive friend as soon as you’ve been with the Depro Dan in your life. Remember, you are worthy of being supported and encouraged. 

3. Lying Larry 

Toxic people often use lies to get their needs met, and these lies can become really disruptive in your life, making you mistrust people and even your own ability to tell the truth. One group of toxic persons is the Lying Larries of the world. 

These toxic people lie all the time, and it’s so ingrained in them that you really can’t trust them to be truthful. They would tell you the sky is green, just because they are habitually untruthful.  

The Antidote to Lying Larries: When dealing with compulsive liars, it’s best to verify everything they tell you. Never take them at face value. 

4. Gossiping Gertrude 

Toxic people use gossip as a way to manipulate and harm others. They may say they hurt people with gossip without meaning to, but the reality is that toxic gossips are dangerous. Toxic gossips spread rumors and cause drama

A gossiping person is sure to have an unhealthy influence on you, and if not checked, you can become a gossip too. If they gossip with you, they can also gossip about you, so don’t fall in this trap. 

The Antidote to Toxic Gossips: When someone tells you a juicy piece of news, make it your habit to check with the person being gossiped about. Never spread what you heard. Learn to tell the gossip that you don’t listen to gossip and walk away if you can. 

5. Meddlesome Mandy 

Having someone intrude on your business is harmful, and it tangles up our matters and priorities. Imagine having someone tell you what to do, how to think, or what steps you should take in life—this is the work of a toxic and meddlesome person. 

Meddlesome Mandies are often our mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law, and they interject themselves like a plague into matters that don’t concern them. They rely on our social niceties to help them get away with poking their nose in our business

The Antidote to Meddlesome Toxicity: Speaking up, regardless of social pleasantries, is the best way to handle a meddlesome and toxic person. Even if they are family, you have the right to ask them to keep their noses out of your business

While they may think you rude, it is the only way to protect your privacy and keep their toxic actions out of your life. 

6. Controlling Karl

Karl, the controlling toxic person, is the picture of perfection. The Karls of the world do everything “right” and they expect others to do things like them too. Your controlling toxic people will try to make you do things their way since it’s the “best” way to do things. 

The Antidote to Controlling Toxic People: Remind yourself your way is your right, and you don’t have to explain yourself to these people. If you want to do something, do it the way you want. Don’t fall for their judgment and condescension, even if you fail. Live your life your way.

7. Narcissistic Nate

Narcissistic Nate is a selfish type of toxic person. They turn each conversation about them, and their issues always trump yours.

For them, competition is how they establish themselves, but they will turn things around on you, so you feel responsible for them and even see them as being good for you. 

The Antidote to Toxic Narcissism: Remind the narcissists in your life that you have rights and are a person too. If they persist, simply stop responding. Narcissists like an audience, so don’t be one. 

8. Victim Verne

If you are constantly listening to someone’s sad tales, giving advice only to have them not follow it and struggling to focus on your life as this person drains your energy and time, you’re in the clutches of a Victim Verne.

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A toxic person will cleverly manipulate you, pushing you toward the decisions and actions they want from you. Your safety and happiness don’t even feature on their list of cares.  

Toxic people who cling to their status as a victim (even if it’s only in their mind) drain you of patience and power

They latch on, sucking the life from you with each tragic tale they tell—always with them as the undisputed victim in it all. You’ll quickly find yourself feeling confused and desperate to be free of them. 

The Antidote to Toxic Victimology: Accept that it’s not your job to save victims. You are not the toxic victim’s personal messiah.

Remember that some people develop learned helplessness, which gives them an excuse to be pathetic in life and feast on the labors of others—so kick out anyone who continually drains your energy. 

Start with a time limit on their pity sessions. Limit them to only five minutes of your time, and avoid getting pinned down by them in public places. 

9. Manipulative Mark

When you feel that someone is steering you toward their goals, you may be in the sights of a Manipulative Mark. This type of toxic person is out to get their needs satisfied, no matter the cost to you.

They will cleverly manipulate you, pushing you toward the decisions and actions they want from you. Your safety and happiness don’t even feature on their list of cares.  

The Antidote to Toxic Manipulation: Set limits and boundaries to keep them accountable for their actions. Enforce the stipulations you set. So if they want to borrow money, but don’t pay it back, refuse to lend money to them again.

10. High Horse Harry 

People who often put themselves on the line for others, sacrifice for people, and seem to piously place themselves last are not always as noble as you may think.

Seeming to be the martyr isn’t always about being selfless; instead, it can be about giving themselves the moral high-ground, so they are “justified” in judging people

This is exactly what a High Horse Harry is like. With an attitude of entitlement and “holier than thou,” these toxic people lord their opinions over you, making you feel less than.

The Antidote to High and Mighty People: Don’t get taken in by these toxic people’s stories of their own sacrifices and moral high-jumps. Instead, see their supposed nobility as the bragging that it is. Remember, you have nothing to stand back for in life. Remind yourself of your own goodness by keeping a gratitude journal

Final Thoughts on Types of Toxic People to Avoid

If you have any of these types of toxic people in your life, you should remind yourself you are worthy of being with people who are healthy for your mental well-being… people who want the best for you, and who want to bring the best into your life

While the easy answer would be to kick toxic people out of your life, this is not always an available option. However, knowing they are toxic is the first step in minimizing the damage and protecting what you value. 

Use protective tactics like minimizing the time you spend with them and not socializing with them to help keep you sane and healthy. 

For more on toxic employees, read our guide on handling their negativity; or, if you have a daughter who is becoming toxic, get all the info to confront her in our step-by-step guide.

And if you're looking for more articles about relationships, be sure to check out these blog posts:

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