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Last Updated on July 9, 2018

10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

Is it time to do some spring cleaning with the group of people who make up your circle of acquaintances, colleagues and friends? There are probably some toxic persons in there who are undermining your confidence, betraying your trust, and spreading negativity. There is no escaping the fact that we cannot live in total isolation, as we are social animals. We need to find empathy, compassion and positive stimuli to survive in the jungle. To avoid shutting off from everyone completely, here are 10 toxic persons you should get rid of or, at the very least, avoid as much as possible.

1. Those who soak up your time like a sponge.

These may be family members or friends who seize your time like bank robbers! Yes, you have heard it all before. They repeat the same old refrain and there is nothing for you to gain. Friendships need a give and take.

As soon as you ascertain that they do not even want help or can’t offer you affectionate support in return, it may be time to drastically reduce your exposure to these people or just get rid of them. They will waste too much of your time, if you let them.

It may be impossible to get rid of family members, though. So try a few tactics like switching off your phone at certain times of the day or simply invent urgent messages or callers. We all need alone time.

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

2. Those who criticize you far too often.

Nothing wrong with a bit of honest and fair feedback. But when you find that certain people are engaging in constant criticism, it may be time to take action. When the criticism is not constructive in any way, you might even drop them a hint that they are going to lose any friends they have left.

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You can also always tell them that their constant criticism is not helpful in any way and it upsets you.

3. Those who play the victim all the time.

These are the experts at the blame game. They never take ownership of their own shortcomings or mistakes. They are the victim and it is never their fault! It always seems to be the fault of their colleagues or their upbringing which never really gave them a chance.

These people just have to be avoided at all costs and avoid being pulled in, because they may start to involve you in their blame game.

4. Those who have a negative mindset.

These people spread negativity like a contagious disease. Try to get vaccinated by avoiding them at all costs. These people get into a negative downward spiral and it is sometimes difficult not to get dragged down there. These are the people who are always anxious, worried, pessimistic, depressed and complain a lot.

You need to get rid of them because if you want to live longer, a positive outlook will add years to your life. One Yale study has found that having a positive attitude to aging can help you live seven years longer.

5. Those who lose their temper and zap your energy.

These are the ones who really drain your energy. Why do you have to absorb their silly and sometimes childish outbursts? We all have difficult moments. Keeping self-control will test us to our limits and we usually have ways of controlling it. Letting off steam may help these people but why should you have to absorb the fall out?

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These short-fused people are underdeveloped psychologically and their emotional intelligence is hovering around zero. There is no need for them to be part of your inner circle.

I remember having to witness my doctor insulting, berating and screaming at his son on the phone while I waited to have a check up. It was awful having to listen to all that. Needless to say, I changed my doctor as soon as I could!

6. Those who show no compassion or empathy.

You do not want these in your inner circle either for the simple reason that they are not capable of lending a sympathetic ear or understanding your problems when you need them to be around. These people have personality problems and some of them display narcissist tendencies.

They do not have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. This is the key to social interaction and sound, ethical behavior. That is why you do not want them around you.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity can not survive.” – Dalai Lama.

7. Those who are dishonest and lie to you.

“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich

Some friends will swear secrecy when you tell them something confidential. When you find this information is now common knowledge, you may well be furious and decide to end the friendship. But dishonest and untruthful people can also do harm in many other ways. They may lie to you about their debts or if they are having problems at work. They may also be insincere and lie to you about what they think of your behavior when you ask them for feedback.

These people can only damage friendship over time because trust, truthfulness and honesty are the most precious qualities in any friendship. If they do these things, they are not worthy of your friendship.

8. Those who are manipulative and will exploit you.

There are some friends who just want to use you to get an introduction to an important person you know, a job interview or even a date. They use gossip as a weapon and there is always a hidden agenda. They are angling for that job so they will make sure you do not apply.

They will tell you scary stories about the job, the boss and the miserable salary. They are just reducing the number of contenders to their advantage.

Manipulative friends know how to extract information from you or get you to reveal certain weaknesses which they will then use against you. They will exploit your generosity and your social conscience and will rarely give anything in return. You can soon spot it if you are the one who is always the giver or the one who pays for everything! These people have to be avoided because they are using you.

9. Those who are deliberately hurtful.

These people have a range of tactics and remarks which can be very hurtful. It might be your parents criticizing how you are bringing up your children when your own upbringing was nothing to write home about. It could be an off the cuff remark, which is sly or hurtful, and leaves you feeling wounded.

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Sometimes, people make nasty remarks which call into question your own honesty, diligence or ability. Other occasions are when friends fail to deliver on their promises such as not doing you the favour you requested or just forgetting to call you.

These are hurtful tactics that you should not overlook and have to put up with. These friends and family members seem to be more intent on laying mines than displaying warmth, affection and support. That is why you need to get rid of them.

10. Those who are stressed out.

Did you know that humans are programmed to think negatively and they are always worried about safety, health and survival? Anthropologically, this makes sense, since as cavemen, things were not that great. It is amazing how this built-in stress is still with us today. That is why, when stressed out people appear in our cubicles or phone us, we have to be ready to withstand them.

And there is no shortage of these people, as between 75% to 90% of all visits to the doctor are stress related! Research studies show that any exposure to stress in the long term will affect our brains and performance.

We have enough stress of our own to deal with, without having to deal with stressed out people hovering over us. We need to distance ourselves from them to survive.

How have you have managed to get rid of toxic persons in your life? Let us know in the comments!

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Featured photo credit: couple silhouettes on the beach with horses via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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