I remember once hearing the term “clubhouse cancer” used to refer to a baseball player who brought the entire team around him down with his attitude and negative energy.
Now that I have learned to recognize toxicity, I see that these “cancers” are all around us. There are just certain people who carry a cloud of negativity with them, and they bring everyone around them down.
We all have negative personalities in our lives. At work. In social circles. Sometimes even at home.
We have all experienced the toxic coworker. Their constant negativity drains the team of its ambitions and brings productivity to a grinding halt. They find every reason why something won’t work instead of finding ways to get things done.
Toxic coworkers are always critical of the company and its leadership. Nothing is ever good enough for their liking, and they always seem to find a way to sabotage projects and initiatives with their passive-aggressive behavior.
Do you have a friend that you feel drained after spending time with because all they can do is complain and talk about how life is conspiring against them? When you try to steer the topic to something positive or light, do they seem to have a gift for derailing the conversation and putting it right back on the train to Gloomsville?
How about that cousin, aunt or uncle that you see once a year at the obligatory extended family gathering who manages to take the conversation from exchanging pleasantries to full on soap opera in 4.8 seconds flat? It’s at that moment when you remember why your family drinks so much when they get together.
But hey, there isn’t anything we can do about it, right? We just have to take our lumps because being around toxic personalities is a necessary part of the human condition, isn’t it?
In a word: No.
This is an excerpt from 40@40: Beware the Toxic Personality.
In celebration of my 40th birthday, I decided to write 40 blog posts to reflect on 40 of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life. You can follow the full series here: