It’s human nature, but we like to assume that there is good in everyone. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to learn the hard way that someone we’re dating or are friends with is actually untrustworthy and doesn’t have our best interests at heart.
Here are the warning signs that a person you know might be untrustworthy and unworthy of your time.
Whether a family member, friend, coworker, or someone we just started dating, we like to assume the best in people. While having a social circle of caring and trustworthy people can make us feel loved, being surrounded by malicious people can make us feel vulnerable.
As hard as it is to believe, the world is full of unscrupulous people and not everyone has our best interests at heart. So what are the habits of people who are untrustworthy?
They’re Too Charming
In Cinderella, she meets and falls in love with a guy whose name is literally Prince Charming. While it might be a desirable attribute for a Disney prince, in reality, it can be a red flag.
If someone is trying too hard to charm you (such as with compliments) it could be a sign that they’re trying excessively hard to get on your good side so you’ll see them in a positive light.
They Hijack Any Conversation
When it’s Friday night at a party, do they keep people engaged and enthralled with their tales of adventure? You might think that they are the world’s greatest storytellers, but their wild stories might actually belong in the “Fiction” section of your local bookstore.
Their charm, charisma, fearlessness, and confidence can get people to fall for their stories and oversee any potential lies.
They Hit The Accelerator In Relationships
You’ve recently started dating someone and they’re already eager for you to move in or meet their parents. It’s easy to feel flattered and see it as an indicator that they’re just that into you, but sometimes untrustworthy people use this tactic as a method to create a false sense of security.
If they hit the accelerator in your relationship, don’t be afraid to pump the brakes.
They Blatantly Ignore Your Physical Boundaries
Any relationship (whether romantic or platonic) needs to have set boundaries.
But if someone takes pleasure in repeatedly violating boundaries that you’ve set (such as touching you when you’ve asked them to stop or standing too close), it could be a sign that they’re testing you to see how much further they can take things.
They Maintain Steady And Intense Eye Contact
Who are some of pop culture’s most famous psychopaths? Perhaps Dexter Morgan and Hannibal Lecter come to mind, and when you think of them, you probably get creeped out by their intense gazes.
This can be a common trait of untrustworthy people. They maintain steady and intense eye contact and view you as prey, watching your every move.
Their Moods Can Change On A Dime
Are you out to dinner with a friend and one minute they’re a charismatic ray of sunshine and the next they’re screaming at a poor server over a minor mistake?
Obsessed with always getting their way, body language expert Patti Wood said in an interview with Bustle that untrustworthy people “shift all their nonverbal behaviors in the blink of an eye and transform themselves” and can even “morph into an entirely different ‘character’ in order to get their way.”
They Refuse To Validate Your Feelings
Perhaps you’re distraught because you didn’t get a promotion at work or you just got into your first big fight with a significant other. You have the right to be upset and to process your feelings, but a dishonest person will invalidate your emotions.
Often, this is done as a method to sway you to feel a certain way, which in turn is an attempt to control you.
They’ll Unleash Their Emotional Baggage On You
Are you still getting to know a person and they’ve already unloaded on you like you’re a $500 an hour therapist?
Not only is it emotionally draining for people, but it could also be a sign that they can’t control their emotions or behavior. And you can guarantee that if roles were reversed and you needed a shoulder to cry on, they’d be nowhere in sight.
They’re Incapable Of Empathy
One of the hallmarks of a sociopath or psychopath is their lack of empathy. This allows untrustworthy people the ability to lie and hurt others without regard for their feelings.
So whether they’re simply indifferent to the plight of others or they take great pleasure in it, someone who lacks empathy is someone to be avoided. After all, if they don’t care about others, then why would they care about you?
The Word “No” Is Not In Their Vocabulary
In any sort of relationship, it’s important that you know when to tell people “No” so you can establish boundaries and not do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
So if someone is ignoring you when you tell them “No” or “Stop,” they attempt to change your no into a yes, or they act out when you do stand your ground, consider it a red flag that your comfort is not their priority.
Drama Is Their Drug Of Choice
If high school and teen TV shows taught us anything, it’s that teenage girls love drama. While some people eventually mature and grow out of the habit, for untrustworthy people, it’s their drug of choice.
Whether gossiping about coworkers in the office or trying to drive a wedge between you and a close friend, they set the fireworks and love to watch the drama explode as a form of entertainment.
They Refuse To Apologize
Sometimes in life, we make mistakes. While difficult to own up to, what sets a trustworthy person apart from an untrustworthy person is the ability to recognize that they made a mistake, apologize for it, and use it as a learning opportunity.
But in the eyes of someone untrustworthy, nothing is ever their fault and they are always the victim. They are always right while everyone else is wrong, and anyone who can’t see that is the enemy.
They Make Rude Comments
Some friends and siblings jokingly razz one another, but an untrustworthy person goes much further, often opting for hurtful comments about others, such as insulting their physical appearance or life goals.
Untrustworthy people will belittle others in an attempt to assert dominance and manipulate them, thus making them feel unworthy.
They Can’t Accept Criticism
No one is a fan of criticism, especially if it’s in regards to something you worked hard on and are proud of. While it can be a difficult pill to swallow, it’s also what allows for self-growth.
But dishonest people tend to get their self-worth from positive feedback, so if someone offers them a critique, they’ll become defensive and think that “if they deny something, it ceases to exist,” according to Affluent Times.
They Constantly Change Their Story
Dishonest people are charismatic and capable of weaving together engaging stories. They might be able to tell a thrilling story, but they can’t always keep their stories straight.
If they’re telling the story of how they once met a famous celebrity at a high-end restaurant and the next time they tell it the event occurred at a park, it could be a sign that they’re making things up as they go along.
Unpredictability is something you expect of the weather, not a close friend or romantic partner, and dealing with someone who texts you 100 times a day and then suddenly falls off the radar is frustrating.
In an interview with Bustle, counselor Leah Rockwell said, “Behaviors that are either aggressive or erratic are signs that someone hasn’t [yet] figured out who they are.”
They Project Onto You
You’ve probably heard of the term “projection” before, and this relates to when a person who has said/done something negative “projects” those negative emotions onto someone else. A common example is a cheating spouse who accuses their spouse of being unfaithful.
This is a tactic used by dishonest people to deflect from their own faults and shortcomings.
They Can’t Keep A Promise
For a lot of people, promises mean a lot, and breaking that promise—whether accidentally or intentionally—can be hurtful and break one’s trust in a relationship
It can be promising to meet a friend for coffee at a specific time or promising to pay someone back for concert tickets, but dishonest people won’t keep their promises nor care how it hurt you.
What Should You Do Instead?
So what should you do if a friend or romantic partner is exhibiting these red flags?
Unto themselves, these instances could be accidental one-offs because after all, everyone has bad days. But if they’re exhibiting multiple red flags and the behavior happens repeatedly (especially if you tell them that it bothers you), that’s probably a sign to walk away.