10 signs someone is actually not a good person, according to psychology

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Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a genuinely good person and someone who’s just pretending. But psychology has some insights that can help us discern.

The difference often boils down to behavior. A person might seem nice on the surface, but their actions may reveal a darker side.

According to psychology, there are certain signs that can indicate someone might not be as good a person as they appear.

And trust me, being aware of these signs can save you from a lot of disappointment and heartache.

Here are ten signs that someone might not be as good as they seem, based on psychological research.

1) They lack empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. And it’s fundamental to being a good person.

According to psychologists, a lack of empathy can signal that someone might not be as good-hearted as they seem.

Carl Rogers, a renowned psychologist, once said, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good.”

If someone consistently fails to show empathy – if they disregard your feelings, ignore your problems or belittle your experiences – it’s a major red flag.

A good person will always try to empathize with you, even if they don’t fully understand what you’re going through.

If they don’t, it could be a sign that they’re not the altruistic individual they appear to be.

2) They’re constantly lying

Trust me, this is one I’ve experienced personally.

I once had a friend who had a habit of twisting the truth. It started with small lies, but over time, they became more significant and harder to ignore.

It reminded me of something Sigmund Freud once said: “He who does not accept the truth is doomed to believe lies.”

The sad truth was, my friend’s constant lying revealed a deeper issue. It was a sign they were not a good person. They were using lies to manipulate situations and people to their advantage.

Psychologists agree that habitual lying can indicate a lack of respect for others and a disregard for the truth.

If someone in your life seems to lie more often than not, it might be time to reconsider their place in your life.

3) They’re always playing the victim

Let’s be honest, we all know someone like this. This person never takes responsibility for their actions and is always pointing fingers at others.

Albert Ellis, a famous psychologist, once said: “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

When someone constantly plays the victim, it shows a lack of personal accountability and an unwillingness to change. They would rather cast themselves as the innocent party than face up to their mistakes.

This behavior can be tiresome and damaging to those around them. It’s a clear sign that they might not be as good a person as they pretend to be.

4) They’re always the center of attention

Have you ever known someone who always wants to be the star of the show? I certainly have. They’re always telling stories or taking over conversations to divert attention back towards themselves.

Famous psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”

Everyone likes a bit of attention, but when someone constantly needs to be in the spotlight, it can suggest a deeper issue. It might indicate a lack of respect for others and an unhealthy need for validation.

If they’re not willing to share the stage and celebrate others’ achievements, it’s a warning sign that they might not be as good a person as they appear.

5) They’re overly charming

This one might seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t charm a good thing?

Well, as psychologist Robert Hare, who is known for his studies on psychopathy, has pointed out, “Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please.”

Charm can be genuine, but when it’s overdone or feels forced, it can be a manipulative tool. Some people use charm to gain trust and influence over others, only to use it to their advantage later on.

If you know someone who’s overly charming and always trying to win people over, be cautious. It could be a sign that they’re not as good a person as they seem.

6) They’re consistently disrespectful to others

Respect is fundamental in any relationship, be it personal or professional. Yet, some people seem to consistently disregard this basic principle.

Renowned psychologist Albert Bandura once said, “Moral justification is a powerful disengagement mechanism. Destructive conduct is made personally and socially acceptable by portraying it in the service of moral ends.”

When someone consistently disrespects others, whether through their words or actions, it’s a clear sign that they lack moral justification. They might not even realize they’re doing it, but their lack of respect can cause significant harm to others.

If you notice someone continuously disrespecting others, it’s a red flag that they might not be as good a person as they seem.

7) They rarely apologize

Saying “I’m sorry” can be tough. I know, I’ve struggled with it myself at times. But apologies are crucial for mending mistakes and maintaining healthy relationships.

Famous psychologist Harriet Lerner once said, “An apology isn’t worth a hill of beans if we haven’t listened carefully to the other person’s anger and pain.”

When someone rarely apologizes, it shows a lack of empathy and an unwillingness to accept responsibility for their actions. It’s a clear indication that they might not be as good a person as they appear to be.

If you’re dealing with someone who dodges apologies or makes excuses for their behavior, be cautious. It’s a sign they might not value your feelings as much as they should.

8) They’re always criticizing others

We all fall into the trap of criticism from time to time. But when someone is constantly criticizing others, it’s a problem.

Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist, once said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

Constant criticism can be a sign that someone lacks self-awareness and an understanding of how their actions affect others. They might use criticism as a way to deflect attention away from their own faults.

If you know someone who’s always critical of others, it’s a clear warning sign. It suggests they might not be as good a person as they project themselves to be.

9) They’re too good to be true

This one might seem counterintuitive, but there’s wisdom in the old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

According to Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”

Some people present themselves as perfect individuals with no flaws or mistakes. But the reality is that no one is perfect. We all have our shortcomings and mistakes.

If someone seems too good to be true, it could be a sign that they’re hiding their true nature. They might be putting up a front to manipulate others or to hide their insecurities.

If someone seems flawless, approach with caution. It could be a sign they’re not as good a person as they seem.

10) They’re frequently envious of others

Envy is a feeling we all experience from time to time. I recall feeling envious when a friend landed their dream job while I was still figuring out my career path.

However, psychologist Erik Erikson once said, “Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.”

When someone is frequently envious of others, it’s a sign they’re not content with their own life. They’re constantly comparing themselves to others and wishing they had what others do.

This constant comparison and envy can indicate deeper insecurities. It’s a sign they might not be as good a person as they seem.

If they were, they’d be able to celebrate others’ success without feeling threatened by it.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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