Learn To Recognize Toxic People In First 5 Minutes Of Conversation

June 13, 2018

Meeting new people makes our lives fuller, but sometimes it is hard to tell who it is you’ve just met: a future friend or a time and energy consumer!

Antonio Guillem /

Nobody is immune to getting acquainted with toxic people, who, like poison, are capable of spoiling the life of any of us. But it is in your power to learn to spot them as early as possible in order to protect yourself.

Here are 7 typical behavioral features that give away a toxic person in the first 5 minutes of the encounter.

1. Insincere

Antonio Guillem /

The main weapon of such people is lies veiled in beautiful words. However, body language and facial expressions don’t lie – while the brain is engaged in conversation, movements are controlled by the subconscious.

Trust your feelings! If you thought that a new acquaintance was hiding something or deliberately deceiving you, then look for these three important features:

  1. Weird facial expressions – during the conversation the corners of the lips are slightly raised as if to smile. However, the eyes remain serious, and the face muscles are unnaturally strained.
  2. Clichés – a new acquaintance is literally smothering you with compliments, using nothing but clichés.
  3. Tense forehead – eyebrows of your interlocutor are slightly raised or drawn together.

Note: although toxic people are characterized by the abundance of facial expressions, their emotions can suddenly change. So stay observant!

2. Mismatch between gestures and speech

In emotionally healthy people gestures always correspond to the speech. Within minutes of communicating with a toxic person, who is used to consuming other people’s energy, you will notice that the gestures, emotions, and words are all in a discord. For example, your new acquaintance can have an innocent smile on the face while standing in an aggressive position!

3. Instant “bonding”

Even when they are getting acquainted with the business, toxic people usually do not hesitate to take liberties. They let themselves into your personal space right away. If your new acquaintance is too pushy and way too personal, making you feel uncomfortable, then listen to your gut. Most likely, you are dealing with a toxic person!

4. Loud voice

Potential manipulators usually speak a little louder than other people. This is especially noticeable if you are in a big company. Typically, you can hear a toxic person right away – they laugh loudly and unnaturally, tirelessly chatting, so that their interlocutors can’t get a single word in.

READ ALSO: Toxic Behaviour: Ways To Develop Effective Coping Mechanisms

5. Lack of a normal dialogue

Toxic people speak only about their feelings and experiences. They are so absorbed in themselves that they talk without stopping, interrupting other. This is how the communication with them usually goes: Your new friend talks about herself or himself, brags, complains, or even asks for advice. But they don’t ask you any questions and don’t leave room for your response. And if a toxic person does not agree with something, then they simply barge in the conversation!

6. Ambiguous phrases

Another favorite tool of toxic people is ambiguous phrases that seem harmless only at first. As a rule, they emphasize them with small pauses to achieve the desired effect - to embarrass or rattle you.

Trick: when they don’t get the anticipated reaction, manipulators can repeat the same trick, but now with a different phrase. And then return to the previous topic.

7. Lack of eye contact

People, who are not aware of their own toxicity, usually avoid looking their interlocutor in the eye. In this case, within first minutes of the conversation, you can feel discomfort, as your new friend will try to look away and demonstrate closed gestures.

If you are dealing with an experienced manipulator, they will try to establish eye contact by all means. In this case, the interlocutor’s stare can make you feel awkward. According to psychologists, excessive eye contact is often a sign of a conscious attempt to manipulate others.

Spotting a chronophage or a manipulator, try to stick with defensive tactics. Don’t let toxic people intrude in your personal space. If necessary – just stop any communication with them. And don’t forget to share this useful information with your friends!

READ ALSO: Why You Should Part With Toxic People, Even If They Are Relatives

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.