By the time you enter adulthood, you realize that most people suck. You’ve had a few failed friendships or toxic relationships, you can quickly identify the areas in which your parents fell short and you’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with the general public.
Human beings are imperfect. They come with emotional baggage, experiences, circumstances and beliefs that mold their personality into a dangerously beautiful concoction. In some cases, you might even say you’ve encountered a toxic person, someone who was truly detrimental to your peace of mind and happiness.
Although incessant Facebook posts from that one guru on your friends list urge you to immediately rid yourself of toxic people, inner reflection is important too. Look in the mirror. Are there any toxic qualities you haven’t realized you possess? How do people perceive you? Can your behavior and interaction with others be better?
No worries, here are nine signs you might be a tad bit toxic!
1. You’re quick to remove people from your life.
One of the millennial hallmarks is what I like to call, “the cut-off culture.” When disagreements occur with friends, family members or romantic partners, some people (including me) don’t hesitate to end the relationship.
Cutting someone off can feel empowering because you’re refusing to be held hostage by emotional attachments. However, the impulsive mindset demonstrates a lack of maturity and poor conflict resolution skills.
Ask yourself: is the issue significant enough to destroy a long-term relationship? How much do I value this person, and what do they mean to me? Is the disagreement representative of a larger and recurring problem or merely a misunderstanding?
There’s nothing wrong with reevaluating a relationship, but in most cases, a simple conversation can lead to a resolution and provide opportunities for growth. Otherwise, your inner circle would shrink to the size of a Cheerio with you at the center!
2. You don’t hold yourself accountable.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re not always right.
Holding yourself accountable for your actions and their consequences is a major part of adulthood and your relationships in all spheres. You can’t blame others for your mistakes, poor performance or behavior.
3. You’re jealous of other people’s accomplishments.
When my college career was delayed for a year and a half, I watched my high school classmates enter their freshman year with vigor. My eyes flooded with an envious green, a hue that would put the Hulk to shame. However, a co-worker gave me the most valuable lesson of my late teens: “God places you in the classroom you need to be in.”
In other words, you can’t compare your journey to everyone else’s. Being jealous of other people’s accomplishments exhausts energy you can invest into your own path and efforts. Furthermore, jealousy prevents you from genuinely extending your support and encouragement to those that you care about the most — and trust me, they’ll notice.
4. You constantly have a negative attitude.
PSA: No one likes an Eeyore!
When you enter a room, does the energy instantly deflate like three-week-old balloons? Do you often find yourself with unlimited invitations to your pity-party, spewing a list of complaints to anyone who will listen?
Unfortunately, a negative attitude is one of the easiest toxic qualities to adopt, and it affects the people and environment around you. Everyone has problems, but constantly whining about the job you hate or your most recent breakup makes you one of the worst people to be around.
Look for silver linings (though there are few in the Trump era), and choose to be a ray of sunshine!
5. You’re the center of the universe.
Being selfless shouldn’t be restricted to your generosity around the holidays.
As your mother probably informed you mid-tantrum a few decades ago, everything isn’t always about you. Balance is important in every relationship and interaction. There’s a time to talk, and there’s a time to listen. There’s a time to give, and there’s a time to receive.
If you’re continuously shifting the spotlight to your problems and life developments, take the time to consider someone else’s wants and needs. How can you make their day better or put a smile on their face? Is there a favor you can return or a problem you can help solve? When’s the last time you checked in to see if they were okay?
Seemingly small acts go a long a way!
6. You’re manipulative.
Strategic thinking is crucial in a goal-oriented society.
However, if the skill is abused, manipulation takes its place. Lying, guilt-tripping, playing the victim and taking advantage of a person’s weaknesses or good intentions to get what you want are all signs of toxic ambition.
Regardless of the objective, remain honest in your methods.
7. You’re judgmental.
Believe it or not, being overly critical can land you in toxic territory as well.
Whether or not your advice is requested, solely focusing on a person’s failures or shortcomings and scrutinizing their every move is never beneficial. Everyone appreciates having someone in their life who can be open-minded, listen without judgement or preconceptions.
Simply put, you’re not Simon Cowell.
8. You enjoy gossiping.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Social media and vicious comment sections have transformed gossiping into America’s favorite pastime. Despite how innocent casual conversation may seem, discussing someone else’s private affairs is an unhealthy obsession that many people engage in.
If you frequently find yourself eager to expose other people’s secrets and embarrassments, some serious self-work could be on the horizon.
9. You have a quick temper.
There’s nothing wrong with displaying emotion. However, giving into anger without a regard for the repercussions indicates a lack of patience and control.
Think before you act. Try to remain calm and establish other ways to express yourself. Most importantly, consider who you might hurt. What words are you using, and what kind of power do they have? Are you prone to physical violence?
When in doubt, opt for a red-faced emoji instead of the real thing.
Trust the Process
Whether you relate to a few toxic qualities on this list or all nine, you shouldn’t be ashamed.
All human beings are works in progress. Continue to learn about yourself, embrace growth, examine your behavior and question your character. Honesty is the first step!