11 Reasons: “Why Do I Attract Toxic People?” & How To Change (2024)

By now you’ve probably realized you’ve been falling into relationships with toxic people everywhere from who you’re close to in your family, the friends you hang with to the types of people you love.

And this makes you constantly wonder, “Why do I attract toxic people?”

That’s why today we bring you the reasons you attract toxic people, how to stop it and more!

Let’s get started.

1. You Have a Saviour Mentality

It’s amazing to be a kind person who loves helping as many people as possible. To constantly help people fix their characters, their mental health issues, and everything you can get your hands on.

With this “fixer mindset,” you’ll often bump into toxic personalities who feel welcome in your life and therefore form lasting bonds with you. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself:

  • Constantly communicating with that toxic family member trying to help them
  • Falling in love with a narcissist while trying to nurse their emotional child
  • Calling people who pull you down your friends
  • Trying to constantly show a the bright side of everything to the super-negative acquaintance at the gym reception
  • Being surrounded by brutal liars and wonder why the world has many such nasty people
  • Constantly going out with friends who only want to hang out on their terms and never consider your needs and wants

I could go on and on but you get the point.

If you think you’re out to save everyone you’ll be taken advantage of by toxic people. This is not to say that trying to help others isn’t good but trying to save everyone isn’t healthy. In fact, you have to ask yourself, “Why do I feel of value only when I’m helping others. Even when I’m risking my wellbeing?”

The reality is, you don’t have to and can’t help everyone you meet. And you don’t have to thoroughly deal with everyone’s problems all the time.

It’s called pragmatism. And we’ll talk about it more when we come to how to stop attracting toxic people.

Why Do I Attract Toxic People
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2. You’re Recreating Your Childhood

This is usually the case for many people. Toxic relationships are what they’re used to since they were a child and therefore don’t believe they deserve any better relationships.

You might be one of these people if you grew up where:

  • Your loved one was abusing you
  • Your loved one was being abused by another
  • You witnessed much toxicity in your environment
  • You were being depended on as a child so you grew up welcoming needy people

Generally, we look after the relationships we had in our childhoods as adults. This is especially true if we haven’t dealt with our emotional baggage. So the broken/ toxic people you attract/tolerate as an adult could be your need to connect with the toxic loved one you lived with as a child.

If you can relate to a toxic childhood no matter how unique it is, then this is probably the reason you attract toxic people. 

3. Seeking Good in People Is Your Drive

It’s true what Oscar Wilde said, “Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone.” 

But if you go to the extreme with this in your life, seeking good in everyone you meet to the end, you’re bound to fall into many relationships with toxic people – whether romantic or non-romantic.

So you shouldn’t be surprised if you have many toxic friends, partners, and acquaintances you waited for so long to change.

Read: Toxic Family Members Quotes

4. You Fall For Charming First Impressions

Attract Toxic People
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Toxic people are good at manipulating, showing off the best version of themselves (some of it is usually fabricated) when you meet for the first time. 

If you easily fall for such, you’d probably be drawn in so deeply only to realize too late that the person you knew isn’t really their true self. Toxic people often ensure they compliment you so well, play humble, kind, brave, and all those great qualities only to drop bombshells when you get to know them.

They’ll make sure you’re so deeply in love with them that you feel disloyal for ditching them whenever you realize the truth about them.

So if you‘re the kind that hits it off with seemingly good people fast, this may be why you attract toxic people.

5. You’re a People Pleaser

Do you have these signs of a people pleaser? Be honest with yourself.

  • You rarely say no to things you don’t want
  • You pretend that you agree with everyone
  • You avoid conflict and confrontation
  • You’re highly afraid of being disliked or not fitting in
  • You don’t say anything when hurt
  • You apologize even for not doing wrong

If you show most of these signs, then you’re probably a people pleaser. And you’re a target for toxic people by a great deal. 

See, toxic people love people who are ready to do their bidding because they’re not secure in themselves enough. They’re looking for someone to say “Yes” to their every command and someone to agree with their thinking so they can continue feeling comfortable in their miserable character.

They’re happy that you’re afraid to displease people by confronting their toxic behavior and getting into conflicts which means they can walk all over you. They want someone they can hurt and still incur no consequences, someone afraid of being rejected by them.

If that’s you, then that’s the reason you’ve been attracting toxic people all this time.

Related: Psychology Behind Cutting Someone Off: 15 Insights

6. You Lack or Don’t Enforce Boundaries

  • Are you the type that never sets boundaries? You simply operate your life on a free flow and don’t know what to do when someone does something you don’t like.
  • Or perhaps you’ve set healthy boundaries in the past but struggle to hold them since you don’t know how to deal with people violating boundaries. 

If you’re any of these two people, you’re probably going to tolerate toxic behaviors which means toxic people are attracted to you. 

Read: CLEAR Signs You Should Stay Away From Someone

7. You’re Radically Loyal

Loyal people are a sure target for toxic people. 

If you stick with someone through the thick and thin, can’t tell on them, and find it sinful to abandon them even when they behave badly, you’ll probably attract toxic people. 

Think of the common “high school bullies narrative.” You’ll find someone in the group who’s kind-hearted but when someone asks them “Why are you friends with this cruel person,” they’re like, “They weren’t this way at first, and when you have a friend you don’t abandon them because they’re going through a bad phase.”

This is the case with many people who attract toxic individuals. They may fall for the first impression and when they get too deep into a relationship, the toxic person shows their true colors which may seem like they’ve changed. 

But the loyal person sticks with them hoping that one day they’ll change for the better.

However, this usually ends up in ugliness, and even death if the loyal person doesn’t get out early enough.

8. You’re an Open Book

Are you the kind of person that enjoys telling the story of your life? You’re honest and believe everyone would be honest with you too.

But little do you know, being too much of an open book positions you as a target to toxic people. They’ll use your own information to manipulate you, control you, and trick you into doing things for their own advantage.

While you’re being super honest, they’re freely fishing out lies knowing well you’ll believe them. While you’re opening up so you can know each other’s needs, they’re looking to fulfill their own needs and leave you to your problems.

So should you be a liar? Absolutely not!

However, you should watch out for toxic people by being careful with who you tell your issues, how much you tell, and after how long knowing them. Remember, you can live a pretty good life omitting unnecessary information and honestly relate with others without being an open book.

9. You’re Highly Insecure

Toxic Relationships
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Don’t believe you’re good enough? Do you feel you lost value because of some experience? Do you have low self-esteem?

If you’ve said yes to any of the above questions, then this is the reason why you attract toxic people.

Toxic people love playing on people’s insecurities. They’ll make you feel good about some of your great qualities but would pull you down constantly to feel good about themselves. Plus it helps them control you.

They’ll make comments to show you that you don’t deserve something in life. Then they’ll try to tell you how lucky you are to have them in your life. They’ll do all manners of brainwashing to you so that you don’t notice there’s a better life you deserve.

Many people who attract toxic people are highly insecure. This is a root problem you need to tackle if you want to stop attracting toxic individuals.

10. You Accept Circumstances You Don’t Want

If you tolerate something in one part of your life, it tends to flow to other parts of your life no matter how big or small. What do I mean?

If you’re the type of person that tolerates and doesn’t fight for your own life in bad situations, then you’ll tend to attract toxic people and end up tolerating their being in your life.

Check out these warning signs:

  • You stay in a job you hate
  • You don’t reflect and make conclusions around issues bothering you in your life
  • You neglect to solve problems as soon as possible
  • You tolerate people even when you no longer want to be with them
  • You’re complacent on several issues in your own life

If you don’t like doing your best to eliminate unpleasant people and situations from your life, you’ll likely attract toxic people who love leeching on complacent people.

11. You Hide Your True Self

  • Do you often lie about your modest achievements like saying you have more education and more money than you actually have?
  • Do you suppress your feelings to accommodate others?
  • Do you find yourself fitting in every situation because you change to make people happy?

Whatever form of pretense you take, if you hide who you truly are often to gain anything, you’re an imposter. And you’re a toxic person yourself. And for this reason, you’ll attract others like-minded, you know: toxic people.

Therefore, attracting toxic people isn’t about you being a victim always, it could be that you also exhibit a toxic person’s behavior and that’s why you attract others who are the same. After all, birds of the same feather flock together.

This is not a call to make you feel bad about yourself but to examine yourself and change.

Many things lead humans to become toxic people, some by their own doing and others by the forcing of others. Therefore, it’s wise to know who we are, what made us so, and what we can do to change for the better.

Whatever your reason for attracting toxic people, stick with me a little longer and learn how you can stop this problem and become a magnet for attracting those best for you — whether they’ll come to help you or you’ll be helping them.

How to Stop Attracting Toxic Relationships

Toxic People
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To stop attracting toxic people, we need to work on low self-esteem, learn from negative self-talk, practice positive thinking, acknowledge and tackle our own mistakes, and even seek therapy in case things get too tough to deal with on our own.

Check out these pointers in these tips:

Save yourself from the savior mentality

The savior mentality may seem on the surface as just a deep desire to help others but it’s often a lie “fixers” tell themselves to cope with an underlying issue. While those with the savior mentality are mostly people with a natural drive to help others, it’s usually a distraction from dealing with issues of their own.

That’s why  you need to liberate yourself from it by:

  • Studying which problems of your own you’re escaping
  • Understanding its best to lead by example rather than trying to directly fix people’s problems
  • Offering advice/help only when requested
  • Focusing on yourself for a while to observe instead of jumping from one toxic relationship to another
  • Learning to listen and empathize with people’s problems without trying to fix them
  • Debunking the belief that others can’t save themselves
  • Stopping the habit of taking responsibility for adults
  • Seeking professional help from a coach or counselor

Deal with your emotional baggage

Do you have issues in your past that are causing toxic relations in your life? Deal with such first.

You can study your past with the help of self-coaching strategies or get the help of a professional to understand and overcome your past once and for all.

Note: Your past greatly influences your character so dealing with it to form a healthier, more informed mindset as an adult is the core solution to most psychological problems.

Learn to let go of what’s not good for you without giving up on believing in people

Want to see good in people? Go for it!

But you need to know that you can see the good in people without letting their toxicity into your life. 

  • You can leave toxic relationships and still believe in the good of the person you left.
  • You can stop communicating with an emotionally unavailable acquaintance and still hope for their change
  • You can keep a toxic person at a distance and still support their change for the good

Letting go isn’t betrayal even if to some it feels like so.

Get to know people better before trusting them

If you’re the kind that falls for charming first impressions, this is a call for dialing down on your enthusiasm a little bit. You don’t have to trust everyone within a few dates just because they had a sunny disposition.

Be friendly yet don’t give someone your trust until they earn it. Also, believe people when they show you their dark side.

Do your best to meet other people’s needs but don’t seek to please

People-pleasing isn’t nice because you’re seeking your own interest – to be liked. 

However, genuinely trying to meet other people’s needs to the best of your ability is about putting your best out there – whoever loves you, well and good and whoever thinks you are not good enough, that’s their problem.

So be your best, just not a people pleaser.

Set and enforce boundaries

Boundaries are the only thing that helps others know what you like and dislike. This helps you know whether someone respects you or doesn’t – based on whether they strive to follow the rules of your life.

But then there’s the toxic person who intentionally violates your boundaries. In such cases, don’t give up.

Here’s Violating Boundaries: Helpful Strategies To Hold Yours

Understand that sticking to your values isn’t disloyalty

Of course, you may feel stuck in a relationship where someone does the wrong things and expects you to stick with them still. However, you have to know your rights.

If someone sticks with what you know is right, that’s your friend and you can be loyal to them. However, if someone expects you to lie, cheat, steal, and harm anyone in the name of loyalty, then that’s a toxic friend and they’re not worthy of you. 

Let them go. It’s okay.

Open up wisely

Of course, relationships are made up of two people opening up. But you don’t have to disclose private information with anyone for them to be your friend or even partner.

If someone can’t respect your decision when you tell them, “I can’t talk about that, it’s personal. Please don’t ask me about it,” then they’re not worth your trust anyway.

Accept and deal with your insecurities

Attracting Toxic People
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We all have some insecurity we had to deal with at some point in life. They’re not shameful.

Accept that you fear some things and that it’s okay. Then tackle them gradually to be truly free in your life.

With acceptance and proactivity, your insecurities can’t control you. Not even in the hands of a toxic person.

Improve your own life promptly

If you want to have a pattern of problem-solving in your life that gets you out of unpleasant circumstances, deal with the problems you’ve been putting away.

If you make that bold move to get out of the job you hate/ to leave that toxic relationship/ to tell someone how you truly feel about them, you’ll gain confidence to flush more garbage out of your life and attract positive change.

If you’re a great problem solver in your own life, settling for only the best you can get, you become unattractive to a toxic person so they’ll move on to more productive targets.

Express your best true self

If you’ve been ditching your true self for a copy of someone else no matter how cool they are, you’ve been wasting your time. 

You’ll never be truly happy and successful until you express who you are, improve on what you can change, and accept what you can’t change about yourself.

You can read more on this in Embracing My Imperfections.

Distance yourself from toxic people and situations

Don’t know where to start? This is the best place.

Get away from the toxic person or situation to analyze them properly and also get peace of mind. 

Related: Best Ways To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist

Change your own toxic behaviors

Last but not least, you know you’re not perfect. That you might have your own toxic traits.

Discover which ones they are and work on them. This helps you stop attracting toxic partners, friends, and other people.

Final Pointers on Attracting Toxic People

Wish to learn more? Come with me through this brief section.

Why do I attract mentally unstable people? Why do I attract narcissists?

You attract mentally unstable people like narcissists either because your past experiences conditioned you to think that’s what you deserve, you have a savior complex, you have identity issues, and rarely,  because the narcissist is attracted to your strong woman nature.

Why do I attract disrespect?

You can attract disrespect either because you don’t respect yourself, you present yourself in a way culturally incompatible with people around you, or because you have unrealistic expectations of respect from people. 

Why do I attract conflict?

You can be attracting conflict because you take things personally way too much, have too many toxic people in your life, or you disrespect people often.

Why do I attract dysfunctional relationships – Behaviors that attract toxic partners

The reason you attract toxic relationships is the same for non-romantic relationships. They include:

  1. You have a savior mentality
  2. You’re recreating your childhood
  3. Seeking good in people is your drive
  4. You fall for charming first impressions
  5. You’re a people pleaser
  6. You lack or don’t enforce boundaries
  7. You’re radically loyal
  8. You’re an open book
  9. You’re highly insecure
  10. You accept circumstances you don’t want
  11. You hide your true self

Moving on from Toxic People

Ready to do something about the toxic people in your life?

Remember, the more you deal with issues within yourself and become more self-confident, productive, and realistic, the more you keep away toxic individuals.

Which types of toxic relationships have you attracted in your life? What are you going to do about it? Let’s talk in the comments below!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.