There is a statistic that goes something like: "90% of people classify themselves as great drivers." This is of course, an impossibility. What that means is that a huge chunk of people who think they are great drivers arent actually good at driving. This also applies to personality traits and character. Most of us think we are pretty decent human beings, yet, that cannot possibly be true. A huge number of people who think they are doing awesome are actually, not so awesome. Many are even downright toxic.
But, how can you tell if you are one of them? Or, if someone to whom you are close might be?
First, with stark, bare bones, harsh self honesty. And second, in reading books and articles about what makes for someone healthy/with good character versus someone who is toxic/unhealthy/not so great, these can help you identify those people (or, those traits in yourself which are in need of change- or you risk a life of stormy, difficult relationships with others).
Here are 6 chracter traits that make you unhealthy/not so awesome, and in some cases, even toxic, company:
Being very self centered. Almost all of us can be self centered at times. Its partially a human thing. Each of us loves to discuss and think about ourselves, our own experiences and lives. But, then there are the people that generally dont show much of any interest in others. You know them. The topic of their conversations almost always revolving around them. Their opinions. Their thoughts. Their interests. Their experiences. What they are feeling and thinking. Perpetually on their cell phones, often ignoring the real people right in front of them. Inconsiderate. Dismissive. Hardly ever inquiring about others, or if they do, its lacking genuine interest. These are just a few ways to describe the self absorbed.
People with this character trait quickly grow loathsome and dull. They are offputting and irritating. Rarely will these people have truly deep relationships with anyone (though they probably think they do), until they are able to step outside of their own orbit and learn to not just ask questions to appear as though they care, but to actually and truly be interested.
Bitter people with a chip on their shoulder. Yes, all of us complain or get angry from time to time. But then there are the people who are angered at the drop of a hat. Always complaining. Constantly pissed off over nothing. Endlessly defensive to the degree that you walk on eggshells around them. These people are both miserable on the inside and make those around them equally so. Ultimately, these people will end up alienating those around them pretty regularly.
The perpetual victim. Each of us feels hurt and wronged from time to time. However these are the people that constantly chant things like, "no one likes me" and "people always reject me" and "I can never win or get ahead" and "my life is crappy/empty/lame and I am powerless to change it" and "I have to settle because I will never get anything better." The list of ways that they are victims persists. These people are always the one wronged. Its never anyone else. People are always mean to them. It never has anything to do with their own behavior. Nope. Everyone else is the bad guy.
These people lack insight and maturity. They are often alienate and irritate those close to them, pushing people away with these false mindsets they cling to. These people are wildly self centered, making every preceived slight all about them.
Backstabbers. We all get frustrated, even angry with our loved ones from time to time. This is normal and all good. But there is a difference between respectful venting and nasty gossiping. Backstabbers are the latter. They are the people who act sweet to your face (surprising and sadly, you will even have people you consider friends do this to you) and then talk shockingly hateful behind your back.
These people lack spine, are insecure, bored and often angry individuals. They dont have the guts to come to you with their hurt or concerns, so they talk to others instead. They attempt diminishing you in others eyes as a means to boost themselves inside and feel better.
The in-your-face aggressive. We all lose our cool from time to time when something gets really upsetting, but these people are always looking for a fight. This trait ties in with the "perpetual victim." With the in-your-face aggressive, everyone else is always the baddie. The aggressive is always the one offended or wronged. "How dare they" is their tagline.
These people are angry, bitter and insecure. Often explosive, they lack the maturity to approach communication with people in a calm, considerate way. They feast on drama and love to watch people cower in their wake. Its the only way these people feel "big."
The Negative. This person more often than not has a downtrodden air to them. Life is just "meh" for them most of the time. If something can go wrong for them, it usually will. They tend to expect the worst. They are often tired, complaining, and relatively unhappy. These people are draining to be around. In spending time with them, one feels a dark cloud settle over them in tandem. Things feel...grayer in this persons company. They are not often uplifting or inspiring company.
Why are articles like this important? Because sadly, our world is filled with toxic, unhealthy people who will diminish and take away from the quality and joy of our own lives. And yes, these people come in the form of family members, close friends and romantic partners as well. Keeping toxic people in your life and close to you only serves to make for a more stressful, less happy life of your own. Learning to identify these behaviors so you can watch out for them and not get closely involved with these kinds of people is one of the #1 steps towards living your best life.
And yes, often times people we love end up being some of them. It isnt an easy thing, but the more you can keep unhealthy people at a distance, the less complicated and happy your life will be. Their unhealthiness, issues and/or misery shouldnt also become yours. Whether you love them or not.
On the flip side, its also important to be truthful about what you are bringing to the table. Many of us are decent people and yet still posses some traits that can be offputting or toxic to others. In being honest with yourself and open to growth, you can identify these traits within, then address and work on them, moving towards being your best self.
This will make for a much happier life of successful, harmonious, deep relationships with others. You will get along better with colleagues, connect easily with others, enjoy close relationships with the family members you like, have better quality friendships, and have healthier, happier romantic relationships.
A short and sweet list on Psychologytoday.com of other traits that make a person generally someone to keep your distance from.