I've been a freelance writer for a long time. One of my favorite topics is the complicated one of human relationships.
We are generally happiest when we are with people who are similar to ourselves. We use expressions like, “We’re on the same wavelength.” Or, “We have the same sense of humor.” Most of us, though, make an effort to get along with all kinds of folk. However, there are people who don’t fit your personality preferences. And there are those that you should avoid at all costs if you want to maintain your equilibrium and happiness. Here are 10 personality types to avoid if you can.
1. The Awkward One
The awkward one may simply be shy, and you might find, with a little patience, they soon open up and become easier to get along with. Yet some awkward people will always be awkward. They resist every social cue; from being unable to make small talk, to rolling their eyes if they don’t agree with another person. They can make you feel exceedingly uncomfortable if there’s no apparent reason for their inability to be friendly. Of course it’s possible they have Aspergers or similar; in that case their behavior is understandable. But some people simply can’t make the effort, so once you’ve ascertained that things aren’t going to change, stop wasting your energy on them.
2. The Controller
The controlling person is one who is fearful with a low self-esteem. They will try to control you in order to shore up their own lack of confidence. If they can control their environment and the people around them, including their partners, children, and friends, it gives them a sense of, well, control. And it won’t matter how much you try to please them, there will always be some failing on your part.
They will insist on telling you what to do, disguised as ‘advice’. From your appearance to your career to your relationships. You can’t ever satisfy them because they cannot be placated by other people; they need to look inward and admit to their own fears and insecurity. Often the controller is a partner or a parent. You need to be firm to this person, even if you have fallen into the habit of doing their bidding. Assert yourself in order to retain your sanity. Occasionally, a controller will break down and you get a glimpse of their vulnerabilities. Maybe they will soften, maybe they won’t.
3. The Conversation Hijacker
This is the person who can turn any conversation around to themselves. And we all do it from time to time. The key is finding the balance between offering your personal experience of the topic to taking over the whole conversation. There are those who do this constantly. It really is all about them. If you have a friend who does this, they aren’t any friend of yours. You are simply there to be their sounding board.
4. The Emotional Vampire
It can be hard to define an emotional vampire because often they seem perfectly normal, or maybe slightly on the negative side of normal. However, after you have left their company, the feeling of relief is very strong. If they have been in your home, you might feel the urge to open the windows to let the breeze cleanse the atmosphere. An emotional vampire sucks the energy out of you like a Harry Potter Dementor. You feel drained and washed out when they leave. Avoid at all costs.
5. The Needy Victim
Similar to the emotional vampire, the needy victim wants your energy and your sympathy. What they probably don’t want is your advice or suggestions how they might help themselves in a practical way. Sure they’ll let you ‘help’ but usually they will simply carry on along their own path. They are masochists who enjoy being one of life’s victims. You will be left irritated and frustrated by their excuses.
6. The Critical One
The controller and the critical one share similar qualities. The critical one can’t bear to see any one happy, so they will pick holes in your achievement or your triumph. They will undermine you at every turn. A telling sign of a critic is that they will gossip about other people in a judgmental manner. You can bet your life that, as soon as they have the opportunity, they’ll be talking about you in the same way. Meanwhile, when you are with them, they will ask you if you think you could do better, or make different choices, or compare you to someone else.
7. The Dramatist
This person lurches from drama to drama and insists on regaling you with every detail. Often repeatedly. You start to wonder if they enjoy their crises. And you would be right. Getting into disagreements, usually with people like service providers, storekeepers, etc… people who aren’t close to them, makes them feel validated. “I am the customer and I have a complaint. So you must pay attention to me.”
Mrs W. took her children to a shoe store to have their feet measured up for new shoes. When they walked in there was only one assistant on her knees, tidying up a display. The assistant said, “Sorry, I won’t keep you a minute.” Then she said, “Would you bring your children over here so I can measure them?” Mrs W. was furious at being treated in such an off-hand manner. “She should have got up and come to us,” she fumed later. And kept on about the girl’s rudeness. And on and on, until she had wrung every atom of drama out of the situation.
You and I would probably only noticed the girl’s smile and her easy manner with the children. The fact that we had to walk a few yards across the store wouldn’t have even caused a blip on our radar. But, when you are looking out for slights and insults, you’ll find them.
8. The Gossip
A university study suggests that gossiping as a group activity has a health benefit. It bonds you to your peers by causing a release of oxytocin in the brain and a drop in cortisol levels. And, let’s be honest, most of us love a juicy bit of gossip. However the professional gossip is on a mission to gather up as much information as possible. He or she loves to be the one delivering the shock news, or the salacious fact. They thrive on the delighted ‘shock’ of their audience. Just remember, they could easily be discussing you, so avoid the gossip gleaner, if you can. And if you can’t, be very, very selective about what you share with them.
9. The Arrogant One
They will make you feel like you just crawled out from under your rock. How dare you breathe the same air as the ‘special one’. The arrogant one usually has a following of sycophants who hang on to his or her every word. Arrogants are often the source of harmful and hurtful rumors. They can be bullies, and gossips too. You see these people in all walks of life; from the school playground to universities and the workplace.
Often you can’t avoid interacting with them because they might be your boss. You don’t understand why other people can’t see them the way you see them. The truth is that they show a completely different side when they are with their own superiors; giving the impression that they are genuinely hard working and competent. As soon as they are back in your circle, the arrogance returns.
10. The Passive Aggressive
This person is angry, and often fearful. They aren’t able to express their anger or irritation so they find less obvious ways to do it. And being passive aggressive is an old favorite. One obvious passive aggressive behavior is ‘playing the martyr’. The person will carry out a task that someone else was supposed to do, but all the time sighing or wearing an expression of grim-faced determination. Ask if you can help and you’ll be summarily dismissed. The unspoken words hang in the air, “If you couldn’t see this chore needed to be done, then I suppose there’s only me to do it.”
Another indicator of passive aggression is the use of words like, “Fine, whatever.” Followed by the old favorite, the irritated sigh. Also look out for the sarcastic observation. When object, they’ll say, “I was joking, couldn’t you tell?” Sigh.
Dealing With Negative Personality Types
Of course you can’t always avoid such people but you can do your best to minimize contact. And the most important thing is not to be drawn into their game-playing, however that may manifest. So don’t fall into the gossip trap, or giving them your undivided attention. Don’t try to beat them at their own game, although a well-directed put-down can be very satisfying.
If there is someone who knows how to manipulate you, to press your emotional buttons to get a reaction, try to recognize it and leave the situation before it happens. If that’s not possible, smile and don’t react. Sometimes just leaving their words hanging in the air, unanswered, will highlight their aggression.
What If You Are Married To a Toxic Personality?
It’s possible that your partner’s negativity developed so gradually that you didn’t even notice it. You wonder to yourself when they changed from that light-hearted person you fell in love with into a monster. They may be scared or angry about some issue they feel they can’t share. And unfortunately, that frustration is redirected at you. Maybe you can help? Explain that their attitude is hurtful and uncalled for. Tell them you love them and simply want the relationship to work. Suggest relationship counseling or try to find out if there is something worrying them.
For anyone else, simply go about your life, ever grateful that you are not them.
Psychology Today: The 5 Types of People You Need to Get Out of Your Life
Questions & Answers
Question: If you have a wife with a negative personality, what do you do?
Answer: You get as happy, kind, and generous as you can be. It's not about her; it's about you. So it's your job to raise your personal happiness vibration. She'll either raise hers to match you, or the marriage will end.
Question: I've been a giant 'loser'. Basically I'm terrible at anything that involves movement. Any advice on this?
Answer: Yes. While you continually believe you are a loser, you will continue to experience life from that perspective. Change your deeply held belief and life will change accordingly. It takes time.
© 2018 Bev G
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 05, 2019:
Yes, indeed. People need to heed the warning signs!
Thanks Abitha :)
Abitha Deepak on September 05, 2019:
Nice read! I think it would require some expertise in understanding people to quickly spot the ones who are best avoided before it becomes a bit difficult to do so!
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 13, 2019:
A good description of different types. Nice reading. Thanks.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on October 03, 2018:
Many thanks, Gurav. Best wishes for your Hubpages career.
Gaurav Daniel Narula from New Delhi on October 03, 2018:
Wonderful piece..i am in process of becoming your ardent fan after reading some of your authored tasks..keep it up..God Bless You..!
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 18, 2018:
It's pretty much impossible to avoid meeting some of these, Pamela. The trick is to not let them too close. Thanks for reading. X
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 18, 2018:
Over the years I am sure I have run into each of these personalities. I try to associate with positive people. I sure don't like gossips, anyone that acts in a condescending fashion and the dramatist is annoying.
This is a very iteresting article.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 18, 2018:
It's a wise person who is able discern who is good for them, John Ray, and who is not.
Raycaptiosus from Philippines on September 18, 2018:
Recently, I've been hanging out with my friends I met a year ago and I suddenly feel uncomfortable being with them. They always throw jokes that are offensive and are below the belt which make me uncomfortable and annoyed. It is nice to avoid those kind of toxic people immediately.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on September 18, 2018:
Yes, Louise, and it wasn't until I was old enough and confident enough to understand that I could cease interacting with them.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 18, 2018:
Unfortunately, I have met a lot of people who have this time of personalities. I have little time for a lot of them, certainly controlling and arrogant people.