Am I a toxic person? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Eleanor Morgan

Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

“Toxic” is a potent word. It sounds like something dangerous dripping in a lab. By definition, to be toxic is to have the ability to cause harm, and it’s a term we often ascribe to human behaviour. We all have the ability to cause harm to each other; tangible and abstract, visible and invisible. But what makes a person toxic? A flesh-and-bones poison?

We could say that it’s acts of abuse, bigotry, bitching, spitefulness, selfishness, lying, gaslighting or an absence of empathy: all types of behaviour that cause pain. More generally, a person’s apparent poisoning of “everything they touch” – their romantic relationships, friendships, work relationships – in a way they don’t seem to understand.

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