Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Signs of a Toxic Personality

toxic personality
Have you ever been in the presence of someone and you just didn't feel right? On the other hand, there are those who lift your spirits whenever they come around. Sometimes they don't say or do anything in particular. Just being in the same space is enough. Some theorize that human thoughts are made up of energy that is capable of penetrating the minds of others, which may account for the "bad vibes" we feel while in the presence of certain people. Whether you call it pseudo science or hocus pocus, we have all had this experience. Victims of the drive by toxic personality. Ok, so we cannot literally see that a person is toxic by examining their mental energy, but there are signs. This post identifies some of the most common signs to be on the lookout for.

Speaks Ill of Others

This is a particularly sinister trait because almost without exception, a person who bad mouths others to you, will bad mouth you to others. This is a really bad sign and a clear indicator this person is to be avoided, even if they be family members. 

Important note for entrepreneurs: Don't ever speak ill of your competition in from of your customer. This is considered poor etiquette and some will refrain from doing business with you because of this. If the customer says something negative about your competition, turn the conversation back to the unique benefits you bring to the table.

Complains Constantly

entrepreneur quotes
No mole hill is so small that it cannot be made into a mountain. They complain about everything-- finances, relationships, their health, the weather, even on a sunny day! When you attempt to steer the conversation to more upbeat topics, you are met with sharp resistance. After a while you start to feel drained by their very presence, which I will address later in this post.

Clever Put Downs Disguised as Jokes

This one is tricky but you often sense a problem at a gut level. They have a way of putting you down with what comes across as innocent jokes. Friends (guys especially) make digs at each other all of the time. But there is a difference between play amongst friends and hurtful comments. For example, you get a new pair of jeans and you ask your friend what she thinks. She says something like this, "Well, I wouldn't wear them, but they look good on you." 

Or how about this one. You cannot wait to tell her  you lost 10 pounds. When you do she comments, "Oh my god, that's great! Only 150 pounds to go!" Perhaps it is time to take her off of speed dial.

Feels the Need to Compete with You

Ever feel like you are part of some type of weird competition that no one told you about? That is because this person feels the need to outdo you and to rain on your parade at every opportunity. If your little Johnny got a "B" in physics, her little Suzie got a "B+". In the previous weight loss example, not only do you have 150 pounds to go but she lost 10.5 pounds to your 10. Ha! Top that!

Makes You Feel Drained

When in this person's company too long, you feel physically and mentally exhausted, less enthusiastic and less optimistic. A friend of mine jokes about not wanting to be around certain people because he does not want to "get any of it on him." It refers to whatever it is about them that turns clouds gray wherever they go. If you consistently feel this way around the same person or certain groups, perhaps the time has come for a change.

We all have our days and our less flattering moods. This does not make us toxic. In fact, when I'm feeling down, I seek out my upbeat friends because I know they will lift my spirits. Toxic types on the other hand do not want their spirits lifted because misery loves company. Seeing others happy and successful bothers them because it reminds them of how miserable they are. 

If you have friends like this in your circle, and you know who they are, time to make some tough decisions. Whether you realize it or not, their negative energy has an impact on you. If you are trying to do anything of real significance like start a business or achieve some other worthy goal, surround yourself with the most optimistic people you can find. Those who will encourage you when you do well and offer constructive criticism when you get off course. As the saying goes, "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are."

Godspeed and I look forward to seing you in The Players Lounge.

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