How To Identify Toxic, Energy-Draining People Immediately

In Blog, People Skills, Relationships
Check It Out

I like to think I am a skilled communicator. I record videos and podcasts literally every day. I write these posts every day. Judging by practice volume alone, I’ve gotten good at the back-and-forth that we call conversation. But I used to know a with whom a conversation was impossible.


She was an expert at talking people in circles. It didn’t matter if the topic was business or sports or relationships, she was a 5-Star general at this verbal war of attrition. Every conversation I had with her felt like setting my time on fire. I had to completely stop dealing with her because of it.


But, as I told you in a recent post, dealing with people is part of the game. We won’t succeed too far without human interaction and cooperation.


However, as was the case with this chick, not all people are created equal.


Actually, that’s wrong — we are all created equal, but, via our choices and actions, we don’t remain equal. Some people will not be as useful for you as others. And, some people are just cancers.


You’ve dealt with this cancerous, toxic-energy type person in your time. Just being around them makes you feel like taking a shower. Their presence does nothing to contribute to your life; you may be worse off knowing them than you’d be having never met them.


Problem is, you may feel guilty about disassociating from these types. Though they can’t help you in any way, you both know that you can help them — and you feel bad about washing your hands of that responsibility. In fact, that guilt may be clouding your vision so much that you’re unable to even see exactly who you’re dealing with.


The purpose of this post is to help you identify the energy-draining people in your life, so you’ll have no qualms about dumping them ASAP — because you need to.


You Feel Tired After Dealing With Them

Great people have a common trait: They make you feel great, too. Great people supply energy, ideas, and make you feel better about life in general — not because they deliver a motivational speech, but from their aura and energy, just being in the room with you. Every time I talk to Dawnna, for example, I have 10 ideas that I hadn’t had before, even if it was me who was offering the help or information.


This is the Law of Association working the right way: With great people, even when you’re the one giving, you feel great just from the association.


The opposite type of people, though, have the opposite effect: You feel worse.


Your energy is drained. You can share and give and help all you wish; at the end you feel depleted and robbed, as if something was stolen from you. Well, something was stolen from you: Your time, and your time composes your life. Run out of time, and you know what happens next.


Listen, if you got sick every time you ate potatoes, would you keep eating potatoes? If you developed a headache every time you tried reading while in a moving vehicle, would you keep doing it? See people and situations for who and what they are.


You’re Always The One Taking Initiative

I started playing basketball at age 14; I was a “good” player by 18. I stopped playing at age 33. That’s 16 years, inclusive.


In those 16 years, I never trained in some private gym that was closed to the public. The placed I trained, one may have had to pay for a membership, but there was nothing exclusive about any of those places. And I met many up-and-coming players who claimed to have aspirations of becoming somebodies in basketball. They’d ask me stuff like, how often do you come here to work out? Or, what time will you be here tomorrow? Over the years, I extended offers to several players to train with me, as long as they honked one rule: Show up every time, and be on time


Not one player ever lasted past a month.


Do you know someone who clearly needs help — help doing something that you know how to do really well — yet this person never goes as far as to call you or ask for help, or won’t even take the smallest step forward to get the help? For example, a family member who needs a job, and you can get him one, but he never reaches out. A teammate who needs to get in shape, and you’re in the best shape of anyone on the team, but they never ask you for advice.


You see their need, and know you could help, but the needy party won’t even take the first step. Should you reach out?


If you’re asking this, you probably already have reached out, haven’t you? Well I’ll tell you now anyway: Don’t even bother.


There’s a difference between needing help and wanting help. A person who really wants help will go find it and ask for it. A person who has a clear path to help, but won’t ask for it, doesn’t want to be helped. Save your energy.


You Help Them More Than They Help Themselves

This is what I call the you’re-too-nice disease. I personally don’t have this affliction, but I know many people who do.


Looking at your relationship with this helpless, always-needy, toxic person, you tally up how much you’ve done to help them versus how much they do for themselves: It’s the 80-20 Rule come to life. Maybe it’s more like the 95-5 Rule, depending how nice you are / guilty you feel.


A person who doesn’t want to help himself is just that: A person who doesn’t want to help himself. As Frederick Douglass said,


Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him; and even this it cannot do long, if the signs of power do not arise.


The help you think you’re giving is actually hurting: One day you won’t be around to provide support, and the person you’ve been helping will be left to fend for himself — something that, thanks to you, he is ill-equipped to do. Sometimes you have to let peple ink or swim on their own. If he dies, he dies.




Your energy is for you. People who are not willing to do for self are not your responsibility. They’re toxic. Stop ingesting the poison.