12 Toxic Behaviors That Are Considered Normal (But Aren’t)


The only time that toxic was ever OK was Britney Spears circa 2003. Yet, there are certain behaviors that we’ve started to allow each other to get away with. And it’s not OK anymore. 

Regardless of whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of these, the outcomes are rarely, if ever, good. So let’s be better by avoiding them. 

Here are twelve toxic behaviors that are considered normal, but aren’t. Or at least shouldn’t be. 

1. Insincerity 

Insincerity is defined as not expressing or showing true feelings. Think of all the ways this can show up in your life. 

Whether in your professional life at work, your personal life in your friendships, or romantic relationships. 

It may not be intentional, and it could even seem harmless or necessary. But sincerity always prevails. For example, a friend asks you what you think of her new hairstyle. 

To be honest, it’s hideous. Should you be insincere to spare her feelings and fawn over how stylish she looks? No. 

Should you be honest and tell her it’s hideous? Also no. There are ways to be sincere, tactful, and kind all at the same time. It’s a balancing act that gets easier with practice, but it can, in fact, be attained. 

2. Ghosting 

For those of you who are fortunate enough not to have experienced it yourself, ghosting is when someone (usually someone you’re dating) disappears and stops all communication with you unexpectedly. 

It’s rejection, but without the finality. You’re basically left wondering without answers, forever. Or until you get over it. 

It’s become so common that we’ve started to accept it, but in all reality, it’s cowardly. And we owe it to ourselves and each other to be better than that. 

So, next time someone sends you thirty texts in a row and you’re just not interested, politely let them know. 

If you really want to be a decent human, you could even pick up the phone and have an actual conversation with them

3. Passing Judgment on Others 

Passing judgment is a natural occurrence. When we meet people, we judge them based on what they present to us. We call these first impressions. 

The problem is that we can only process what other people have shared with us. We never really know everything that someone else is going through. 

Let’s say one of your good friends wants to introduce you to another one of their friends. You meet, and that person doesn’t seem all that great to you. 

That’s a fair first impression, but what you might not know is that perhaps this person is going through a really tough breakup, and that’s why your mutual friend is trying to encourage them to socialize more. 


Passing judgment is going to happen. The important thing is to remain open-minded. Passing judgment too quickly or without the opportunity to learn more could cause you to miss out on some wonderful things in life

4. Arrogance 

Arrogance is defined as showing an offensive attitude of superiority. It’s NOT cool. 

Who wants to hang out with someone who thinks they’re better than you or makes you feel like you’re less than you are? It’s important to be confident, but not to the point of arrogance. And arrogance is usually a cover for insecurity anyway. 

5. Being Overly Competitive 

A little competition is always fun. It can be really motivating for some people, but like many things, there’s a limit to what’s acceptable. 

When you’re overly competitive, you value the victory over the people. And that can destroy your relationships. 

As they say, it can be lonely at the top. But it doesn’t have to be. Being competitive isn’t inherently bad, but if it gets to the point that it’s negatively impacting your relationships, then you might want to take a step back and reassess. Winning isn’t always worth it. 

6. Playing the Victim 

Some people have it really tough. We’re all going through our own things, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. But it’s important not to develop a victim mentality. 

The victim mentality handicaps you and limits you from reaching your full potential. Regardless of your past, or even existing circumstances, it’s up to you to make the changes you need to be happy. 

There’s no shame in asking for help, but helplessly waiting for someone to rescue you could leave you quite lonely

7. Attention Seeking 

Attention-seeking behavior, whether conscious or subconscious, is an attempt to become the center of attention, sometimes to gain validation or admiration. 

This might look like someone fishing for compliments or saying something completely outlandish just to elicit a reaction. 

Like arrogance, this is usually rooted in some deeper insecurity or past trauma. These attention-seeking behaviors tend to get progressively worse. 

And if things become risky enough, someone could get hurt. It’s better to get to the root of attention-seeking before things get out of control. 

8. People Pleasing 

People-pleasing is going out of your way to make others happy even when it costs your own time and resources. Like arrogance and attention-seeking, people-pleasing is rooted in insecurity and a lack of self-esteem. 

People pleasers often think so low of themselves, that they believe the only way someone else will like them, is if they do things for them. 

Doing things for others is great, but not when you’re doing it to gain their approval. This goes back to the issue of self-worth. Once you know who you are and where your value comes from, people-pleasing becomes easier to stop. 

9. Selfishness 

People-pleasing can be thought of as being overly generous. So, on the opposite end of that spectrum, we find selfishness. 

Someone who is always out for themselves will eventually lead a very lonely life. Being selfish puts you at the center and pushes everyone else out and away. 

So, while you might score now, in the long run, you’ll likely find yourself with little to show for it. 

10. Perfectionism 

Perfectionism is striving toward flawlessness or perfection. But perfection is unattainable, so it’s only a setup for disaster and disappointment. 

Striving for perfection is unrealistic and can lead to various problems, like depression or low self-esteem. 

Instead of striving for perfection, you should strive to be better and challenge yourself in new and exciting ways so that you are constantly growing

11. Not Speaking Out 

For some people, it’s a lot more difficult to speak out than it is for others. However, it’s important on many levels. 

When it comes down to it, we should all be brave and confident enough to say what we think. 

Sometimes people are too afraid to speak out first. But if you can muster up the courage to share your thoughts, you’ll often find that others were thinking or feeling the same thing and were just waiting for someone else to say something. 

12. Gossiping 

Gossip is just so tempting. But it’s so bad for you and everyone else! Think of all the other great, productive, enjoyable conversations you could be having instead of talking about the dirty details behind someone’s back. 

Sometimes you get caught up in it without even trying. You were in the breakroom at work, peacefully eating your Cup-O-Noodles, when Shirley and Nancy walk in gabbing about Fred and Roberta. 

Whether you call them out on it or walk away is up to you, but either is more admirable than joining in on the gossip

If you wouldn’t have that conversation with that person present, then you probably shouldn’t be having the conversation at all. 

We looked at a lot of toxic behaviors. Some we’re guilty of ourselves, and some we’ve had to endure from others. There were a few common trends in there too. Did you catch them? Lots of these behaviors are rooted in insecurity. How many are you guilty of? Let me know in the comments below.  


Thanks for reading!


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One response to “12 Toxic Behaviors That Are Considered Normal (But Aren’t)”

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