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The discussion typically centers around toxic partners or parents when we think of toxic people. However, some toxic people can be found in all areas of our life.

The one area in which toxic people can cause us the most detriment, at least in our adult lives, is the ones who are our co-workers. The thing is, when a toxic person is your partner, you can break up. When they are your parents, you can distance yourself and limit contact. But, when they are your co-worker, there isn’t much you can do besides leaving your career or employer and for some, that isn’t always an option for everyone.

For some, the job you have might be the best job you’ve ever had (aside from the toxic co-worker) or, the money might be the best for your particular career. With that being said, if you are having some concerns over a co-worker, here are 4 significant signs of a toxic co-worker and what you can do about it.

1. They are straight-up vindictive.

Pay attention to how your co-worker navigates their relationships with other co-workers and even with personal connections. If you notice they are vindictive, and always trying to find a way to lash at people, be wary of them. While it’s one thing to stand up for yourself, it’s another to be a venomous snake waiting to attack.

2. They use sarcasm and ridicule to berate others.

Toxic people like to tear others down. In the workplace, you often have to be wary of how you act so toxic people get creative. A toxic person may make a backhanded compliment or use sarcasm to lash at you.

3. They display self-serving behaviors.

Toxic coworkers are self-serving. Instead of working with you, they will watch for the best moment to attack and then attack you hard. If you already feel uneasy around someone in the workplace, DO NOT tell them anything they can use against you. And be wary of how you act in front of them.

4. They act inappropriately in the workspace.

A toxic person may lack proper boundaries in the workspace. An example of this is a coworker who tells everyone in the office the uncomfortable details about their personal life. Or someone who is always lamenting about their issues with everyone in the office.

What to Do

First of all, call them out. Don’t sink to their level, but be clear in your boundaries. For example, if someone is trying to bring you into office drama – tell them you have no interest in their charade. If someone is always complaining or tearing others down, calmly explain that their behavior is not appreciated. If they are your boss, report them to their boss. And if you can- limit contact with them as much as possible.