Michael Josephson, the founder of Institute of Ethics argues that toxic behaviours and relationships not only make us unhappy; they corrupt our attitudes and dispositions in ways that undermine healthier relationships and prevent us from realising how much better things can be.

There are certain habits that we subconsciously perform in our daily lives and don’t give much thought to the larger impact of these activities. If these behaviours are consistent in our lives, then it leads to a very dysfunctional lifestyle with toxic relationships and ineffective attitudes.

Here’s a list of 5 deadly, poisonous behaviours that we indulge with in our day-to-day lives but don’t notice them:


While making sure your problems are heard and voicing your concerns over any form of unfair treatment is healthy and avoids people taking you for granted, complaining if done unnecessarily and constantly, can become very poisonous.

It creates unhealthy relationships, where constant bickering can make someone an unbearable obstruction in the lives of those they love and may lead to people growing distant from them, seeing no solution to their unending complaints.

Moreover, this is a highly toxic behaviour for the ones doing the complaining; blaming all sorts of misfortune on external factors and abandoning all efforts to improve oneself can lead to a dysfunctional life both at home and in the workplace.


Critical thinking and scepticism are effective when done in a positive manner where outlining flaws is merely done to improve a situation, event or a person. However, criticism is also done negatively, purely to undermine the actions and behaviours of others without realising that all the critique only has a destructive impact on the self-esteem and motivation on those around them.

It also leads to people perceiving critics as bitter and not expecting anything positive on their part. This behaviour often leads to people finding it difficult to maintain personal or professional relationships.


This habit is less about a particular behaviour and more about a long-term cognitive thought process. People with this aspect of personality, tend to translate most situations in life in terms of hopelessness and distrust. In very simple terms, they’re the ones who see the glass as half empty.

They often attribute their own shortcomings to “bad luck”, misfortune or something that “was bound to happen”. They lose the motivation to do anything about a bad situation or to self-improve as they have a very “deterministic” view on life and see no point in making a positive effort towards their goals.


This is the most common of the 5 poisonous behaviours as at some point every individual does tend to spill the beans here and there. But it often tends to become a sort of hobby for some people as they frequently engage in this act of all sorts of social gatherings without really caring about the larger impacts of a word said here and there.

It leads to people personally being responsible for ruining someone’s reputation and spreading false information for the sake of having a “fun” chatter. Moreover, if you’re responsible for creating an environment where such discussions take place, it is highly likely that you too can be a target of gossip. This prevents positive communication between individuals, promotes mistrust and creates toxic relationships.


This habit is also likely to develop a long-term cognitive process. People who tend to make excuses when things go wrong, avoid taking any personal responsibility and might have narcissistic tendencies where they have trouble dealing with blame when rightfully accused.

Excuse making is also seen in the form of procrastination where individuals keep putting off important daily tasks and reassure themselves with pointless excuses. This will lead to people not being efficient at simple or complicated tasks and those around them will simply not rely on them.

In summary, these five habits, if not improved can have lasting, negative impacts on an individual’s life and it becomes difficult maintaining personal and professional relationships.

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