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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 April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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