I’ve been there. You feel like every single person you’re surrounded with is toxic. Then, since it happens so much, you start wondering: Am I a toxic person? Chances are, you’re not. But how do you skim through everyone in your life and get rid of the toxic people?
You could have toxic friends, family members, coworkers, or even a toxic partner. Wherever you go in life, it can be hard to stay away from toxic people. Most of the time, you can deal with them, but if you are able to, sometimes getting rid of a toxic person can totally improve your mental health!
Toxic people can change, but let me make it clear: It is not your job to change them.
They need to be the ones who take that step to get rid of their toxic tendencies. Your mental health should be your number one priority.
A toxic person can cause you to become physically ill and depressed, and we don’t want that! Let’s get rid of toxic people from our lives!
This post includes:
How to identify a toxic person (signs they’re a no-go)
How to get rid of toxic people (some of my tips might shock you!)
DISCLAIMER: Anyone, not just a partner, can be toxic. When reading below, think of anyone that treats you like this so that you know how to proceed. Yup, I’m talking about toxic parents, toxic friends, even a toxic boss. They’re everywhere, so it’s your job to know how to get rid of toxic people. Okay, you may proceed!
SECOND DISCLAIMER: You might be feeling bad and undeserving in life, especially when you’re surrounded by people like this. Here’s an article I like that dissects that!
Signs of a Toxic Person (How to Identify a Toxic Person)
First off, it’s important to make sure that this person is actually not good to be around. There’s a huge difference between a friend/partner/family member who is toxic and one who is just going through something. Here’s a checklist to fill out that will help you identify a toxic person.
Do they constantly push your limits and make you uncomfortable?
Does your relationship with this person feel like a rollercoaster? Are your highs really high and your lows really low?
Do they say things that make you do a double take (like talking smack about a friend or making an off-colour joke)?
Are they sometimes condescending toward you?
Do they exclude you on purpose or isolate you from other people?
Have you noticed that they talk themselves out of things when you confront them?
Do they have a victim mindset?
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you may be dealing with a toxic person. These are what we call red flags: they’re traits of a person who will cause a one-sided relationship with you. This isn’t normal!
Now that we’ve established that you’re dealing with a grade A leech, let’s free you from their clutches. It’s important to note that you don’t owe anyone anything, even if you have a history with them. It’s their responsibility to better themselves and get rid of their toxic traits, not yours to make sure they do.
Ready? Let’s go!
Pest Control: Get Rid of Toxic People Forever
Ok, so you’ve made the decision to cut this person out of your life. Now, the strategies you decide to take depend on how comfortable with confrontation you are. So, while ghosting someone isn’t ideal, it could be the only thing you’re able to do. Don’t beat yourself up if that’s all you can do; the goal is ending the relationship and if you’ve done that, you’ve succeeded.
Hear me out. This is good when confrontation would only add fuel to the fire, or if it would give you a lot of anxiety. Ghosting is great when you know that you can’t keep your cool with this person or if you know that they’ll use harmful tactics like gaslighting when being confronted.
If you don’t know what it means, “ghosting” is when you’ve finally had enough and start ignoring the person who hurt you. While a lot of people disagree with me and think that ghosting someone is immature, I actually think the opposite!
It’s incredibly emotionally mature of someone to realize that a relationship is one-sided and toxic, and takes the steps necessary to ease them out of their life without hurting them directly. It’s way better than starting a yelling match because you’re feeling hurt.
STORY TIME: I once stopped talking to a friend in high school because I just could not do confrontation. She constantly ditched me for other friends, invited me to her birthday party only to take my gift and ignore me, and talked about me to her friend while I was sitting across from her on the bus. I was too shy to confront her, so ignoring her was the only viable option for me to preserve my mental health.
So, don’t feel guilty if this is the only method you can do to get rid of the toxic person is your life.
The Grey Rock Method
A technique typically used when dealing with narcissists, the grey rock method could be useful to distance yourself from any kind of toxic person. Named after the most unremarkable thing in the world, the grey rock method is used to escape notice from manipulative people.
Here’s how to do it: You act boring and monotonous to the toxic person, escaping their notice. The goal here is to avoid giving them ammunition to further manipulate you.
Keep your responses boring. Simple “yes” or “no” to questions, or be super vague. The less you say, the better. A lot of toxic people tend to persist and want to get a reaction from you, so it’s important to remain consistent with this method.
Here are a few guidelines for grey-rocking someone:
Talk about boring subjects
Speak in a boring tone
Keep your responses short
Avoid eye contact
Respond to their questions but don’t ask any questions yourself
We want to avoid drama here. A lot of toxic people want to get a rise out of you, and this method will shut that right down. A strategy like this is useful when you can’t cut that person off immediately, like if you live with them. Preserve your mental health, and use this method!
Tell Someone about Your Plans
This is a strategy that I swear by, because it’s genius. If you know you’re hesitant in cutting a toxic person off and feel like you’ll chicken out, tell someone that what you’re planning on doing. Here’s how the conversation might go:
“Hey Katie, I wanted to talk to you about Josh.”
“He hasn’t been the nicest to me, like he’s always grumpy and takes it out on me when he gets home.”
“I never knew that!”
“Well, I’m planning on breaking up with him tonight. I just thought I’d let you know in case I chicken out.”
“No, you need to do this. His behaviour is toxic! Let me know if you need help.”
In this conversation, Katie knows the reason why Josh is toxic, her friend’s plans (breaking up with him), and even offered to help!
Having people knowing about your plans acts as an accountability measure, and that extra support can be beneficial in your recovery from a toxic relationship. So, speak out to someone!
Be Honest and Set Boundaries
If you’re feeling brave enough to speak to your toxic person, be honest but avoid excuses. Don’t leave them an opportunity to come back into your life by saying things like “I just need time” or “It’s just a break”.
Clearly define that you’re breaking off the relationship/friendship, and you don’t even have to state a reason! If you do, you can say that you have different values or that you’re uncomfortable. Be mindful that they may try to talk their way out of it or make you feel bad, so avoid going back on your words!
Set boundaries with toxic people. Cutting them out has to be a complete, no-contact process, otherwise they’ll weasel their way back into your life and cause more destruction. (Recommended: How to Set Boundaries Easily)
This means that you delete their number, unfollow them on social media and refuse to answer them if they want to contact you again. You’re a sweet soul and want the best for people, I get that. But you don’t have to have that toxicity in your life!
A Final Word
Cutting off a toxic person is hard. They’re sly little dudes, talking their way out of things and manipulating you so that you don’t question them. Congratulate yourself if you can get yourself out of that vicious cycle!
It’s totally normal if you’re naturally empathetic to want to help these people, but you can only do so much. Pat yourself on the back if you tried.
Keep in mind that it’s normal to feel guilty when cutting anyone out of your life. You’re not crazy. However, isn’t it better to cut them off now to save yourself pain in the long run?
Tell me about a time you cut someone off in the comments!