8 subtle behaviors that show someone is a bad person, according to psychology

We all have our own definitions of what makes a person “bad.” But, can psychology shed some light on this?

Psychology digs deeper, into the behaviors and traits that typically hint at someone being a ‘bad person.’ It’s more than just an occasional slip-up; it’s about consistent patterns.

In this article, we’ll explore eight psychological identifiers that someone might not be as good as they seem. And, remember, nobody’s perfect. We all have our flaws. But these are the red flags to watch out for. 

Let’s get started. 

1) Lack of empathy

Empathy is a cornerstone of human interaction, allowing us to understand and share the feelings of others.

But what happens when someone consistently lacks this crucial trait? Psychology says it might be a red flag.

Lacking empathy means that a person doesn’t or can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They struggle to understand or relate to the emotions and experiences of others.

This lack of empathy can manifest in many ways – from disregard for others’ feelings to outright manipulation or cruelty. It’s not about occasional social blindness; it’s a persistent pattern.

Psychology suggests that this lack of empathy might indicate that someone is not as good-hearted as they seem.

But remember, it’s not about labeling people as “bad”. It’s about understanding behaviors that can harm us or others.

2) Dishonesty

Ever had that gut feeling that something wasn’t right? I had that experience with a friend of mine, let’s call him John.

John had the knack for storytelling, but often the stories seemed too good to be true. As time went on, I started noticing inconsistencies and downright falsehoods.

Dishonesty, according to psychology, is another big sign of a ‘bad’ person. Frequent lies, even about trivial things, can indicate a lack of respect for others and a disregard for the truth.

In John’s case, his dishonesty began to erode our friendship. I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore. A chronic liar can create a toxic environment filled with doubt and uncertainty.

If you notice someone in your life who frequently bends the truth or outright lies, it may be time to reassess your relationship with them. It’s not just about a single lie; it’s about a pattern of deceit.

And remember, we’re not labeling people as ‘bad’. We’re simply identifying behaviors that could harm us or others. Let’s move on to our next psychological identifier: Aggression.

3) Aggression

Aggression is more than just physical violence. It can be verbal, emotional, or even passive. Aggressive individuals often use coercion, threats, or intimidation to get what they want.

Now, here’s something worth noting: studies show that people with aggressive behavior often have a lower emotional IQ. They struggle to recognize and interpret their own emotions, so they express them through aggression.

This lack of emotional understanding can make it difficult for them to connect with others in a healthy way. Instead of communicating their needs or feelings, they resort to aggression.

Aggressive behavior can create a hostile environment and cause harm to others. Therefore, it’s considered another psychological identifier of a potentially ‘bad’ person.

4) Self-centeredness

We all have moments of self-interest. It’s part of being human. But when someone constantly puts their needs above others’, it’s a different story.

Self-centered individuals often lack consideration for other people’s feelings or needs. They tend to dominate conversations, make decisions without consulting others, and show little interest in others’ lives unless it benefits them.

This relentless focus on self can be draining for those around them, often leading to one-sided relationships.

According to psychology, excessive self-centeredness can be indicative of narcissistic personality disorder. This is a mental condition characterized by an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

5) Inability to accept responsibility

We all make mistakes; it’s part of being human. But owning up to them? That’s where true character shines.

People who consistently dodge responsibility for their actions can be tough to deal with. They often blame others for their mistakes, or create excuses to avoid facing the consequences.

This inability to accept responsibility can create a cycle of negativity and mistrust. It becomes difficult to have faith in them when they’re always playing the victim or pointing fingers.

As anyone who’s been on the receiving end of this behavior will tell you, it’s a tough pill to swallow. It feels like you’re dealing with a child in an adult’s body, and it can be emotionally draining.

According to psychology, this consistent avoidance of responsibility could be a sign that someone may not be as good-hearted as they seem.

But remember, we’re not here to label anyone. We’re simply identifying behaviors that could potentially harm us or others. Next, let’s discuss the thrill of rule-breaking.

6) Thrill of rule-breaking

Growing up, I had a friend who loved breaking the rules. It didn’t matter what they were – school rules, societal norms, even laws. She got a kick out of it, a thrill from the defiance.

This constant rule-breaking was more than just teenage rebellion. It was a pattern that continued into adulthood, causing problems in her personal and professional life.

Psychology tells us that individuals who consistently break rules for the thrill of it may not be as trustworthy or reliable as they seem. This behavior often hints at a disregard for societal norms and a lack of respect for others.

While my friend’s rule-breaking initially seemed exciting, over time it became clear that her actions were causing harm to herself and others.

7) Insensitivity to others’ feelings

We all know the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated. But what happens when someone consistently disregards this principle?

Insensitivity to others’ feelings is more than just an occasional lapse in judgement. It’s a recurring pattern of behavior that can cause emotional damage.

Individuals who are insensitive to others often make hurtful comments without considering the impact, dismiss other’s emotions, or fail to provide support when it’s needed.

Psychology suggests that such insensitivity might indicate a lack of emotional intelligence, which is a key component of healthy relationships and effective communication.

8) Unreliability

The most crucial element in any relationship, be it personal or professional, is trust. And trust is built on reliability.

When someone consistently fails to keep their promises, cancels plans at the last minute, or doesn’t follow through on commitments, it’s a clear sign of unreliability.

Unreliable individuals make it difficult to depend on them, leading to disappointment and mistrust.

Psychologically speaking, this chronic unreliability could suggest a lack of respect for others’ time and feelings. In the long run, such behavior can damage relationships and cause emotional distress.

The importance of reliability cannot be overstated. It’s the foundation of trust, respect, and mutual understanding in any relationship.

Wrapping up: A matter of understanding

At the heart of human behavior lies a complex web of psychology, biology, and personal experiences. Understanding someone’s actions goes beyond labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Behavioral patterns, like the ones we have discussed, are not definitive labels of a person’s character. Instead, they serve as indicators, helping us to navigate relationships and protect ourselves from potential harm.

Remember, everyone has their moments of insensitivity, dishonesty, or unreliability. It’s when these moments form a consistent pattern that we need to take notice.

Psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” What if we applied this to others? What if we viewed these ‘bad’ behaviors not as defining traits, but as opportunities for growth and change?

At the end of the day, understanding these behavioral patterns can foster empathy and compassion. After all, isn’t that what being a ‘good’ person is all about?

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

8 things that introverts find exhausting according to psychology

7 things a narcissist will casually say to diminish your confidence and self-worth