Sometimes toxic people are easy to spot. They drain your time or resources away and you know you need to cut them out. Others can be harder. If you’re not sure if a person is bad for you, try redefining a boundary.
As advice blog The Art of Manliness explains, the people in our lives who are supportive or uplifting generally tend to respect our boundaries. If you need to change a boundary, people who respect or value you would probably understand. However, toxic influences will probably react negatively:
Toxic people disregard your boundaries. If you’re always telling someone to stop behaving a certain way and they only continue, that person is probably toxic. Respecting the boundaries of others comes naturally to well-adjusted adults. The toxic person thrives on violating them.
Of course, if you know someone in your life is having a toxic effect, changing a boundary is also a way to fix that problem. That makes this tactic doubly useful. It’s not always easy to figure out when you’re hanging out with a bad influence, or just going through a rough patch. Intentionally changing a previous boundary serves as both a diagnostic tool and a solution.