13 character traits that makes someone instantly untrustworthy

Do you find yourself always trusting the wrong people?

Well, it’s time you sharpen your “untrustworthy people” detector so you can easily spot them and be more watchful of their words and actions.

Want to know the traits that make someone instantly untrustworthy?

Here are 13 of them!

1) Being wishy-washy

Wishy-washy is someone who is indecisive and can’t take a firm stand on something.

I’m not talking about someone who takes a long time to make decisions—that’s totally normal. I’m talking about someone who kinda commits and goes “Hmmm, sure” and then later bail at the last minute.

These people aren’t bad or evil, per se. In fact, they try to do the opposite—they’re people-pleasers who are scared to disappoint others.

But while they’re not necessarily bad people, it’s risky to trust them

What if they just said something you asked them to do just because they’re “too nice” to say a firm no… and then later say “Oh sorry, I realized I can’t do it.”? Well then, you’ll be in trouble.

2) Tardiness

Someone who’s ALWAYS late is automatically untrustworthy in my book.

Now, being late five or ten minutes for a meeting is fine (not ideal, but still fine). But anything more than that? Eeenk. Red flag! 

Especially if you’re meeting for something related to work.

And if they won’t even feel bad for being late? Double red flag.

Being constantly late simply means that a person can’t be trusted to manage their time well. That, or they just don’t care about other people’s time.

3) Not being able to beat deadlines

Well, this is the same as tardiness except that it probably has more weight.

Whether we’re in school or at work, we’re expected to deliver projects that could potentially affect others (specifically, our groupmates and colleagues).

And so when someone keeps missing deadlines, then it’s definitely hard to trust them to do things on time. This means they won’t (or can’t) do whatever it takes to get a job done—period.

Now, again, it doesn’t mean they’re bad people. Some of them may be suffering from depression. Some of them just have difficulty focusing and overcoming procrastination

But the reasons why they’re late doesn’t matter. 

This is just plain and simple: It’s a big risk to trust them when they have a pattern of missing deadlines.

4) Stealing the credit

If they claim they did something when they actually didn’t, they’re untrustworthy.

If they claim they did all the work when they actually got help from others, they’re equally untrustworthy.

Not only are they stealing, they’re deceiving people, too! People who plagiarize, who announce they did something when they didn’t are…well, con artists.

It shows that they’re willing to do unethical things just to get to the top.

If you know someone who’s done this in the past, be more vigilant of them. They could lie to your face and steal in small and big ways.

5) Overpromising

I raise an eyebrow when I hear people say things that are obviously too good to be true like “Others do this in 1 month, I can do it in 2 days!”

I just know, based on my experience, that they’re the ones who find it hard to follow through and deliver. 

Some of them might be scammers. It reminds me so much of the Fyre Festival, a music festival that promised glitz and glamor, only to fail miserably. 

People who over-promise often underdeliver. So when someone does this, be wary.

“If something is too good to be true, it probably is.”

And the person who promises these things is, nine times out of ten, untrustworthy.

6) Kissing ass

When someone says “you’re the best boss/ teacher/ friend” and it feels fake because it’s just too much, they’re probably faking it…and therefore, they’re probably untrustworthy.

They’re saying flattering things to gain something from you—even if it’s as simple as your loyalty.

Watch out for people like this. They’re probably just using you.

And if you notice your coworkers and friends do this to others, be watchful too. If they pull manipulative tricks on others, who’s to say they won’t do it to you?

7) Cheating (even “just a little”)

Some people think small offenses are negligible…that they’re not really crossing any line.

They think that it’s not really cheating if they just hold hands with another girl, or kiss them on the lips for just a split of a second.

They think that flirting with another guy through text is alright…after all, “words are just words” and nothing more.

A person who has no problem with cheating is untrustworthy.

Would you trust them to be around your partner? What if they’ll flirt with them “just a little”.

Would you trust them with your hard-earned money? What if they’ll steal “just a little”?

Any kind of cheating is a nope for me…unless of course, they’re remorseful about it and they’ve shown that they have changed.

8) Lying (even about small things)

You ask them “How much did you pay for this?”, and they’d reply “Oh, it’s $200” when in reality it’s $150…and it’s not because they forgot.

You ask them if they talked to their ex, and they’d say “No way!”…but then you find text messages and they’d deny by saying “Well, we didn’t actually talk, we just texted.”

It’s simply hard to trust someone who has no problem bending the truth to their advantage.

They’re snakes who find clever ways to get away or get ahead.

9) Breaking “useless” rules 

I’m sure we’ve all broken some rules. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it.

But it’s not something that we would likely want to do again and again.

Someone who keeps doing it (and is even proud of it), is definitely not someone who can be trusted. 

I know some people who have a habit of breaking rules—falsifying some documents, cutting in line, pretending to be disabled when they’re not.

And you know what? They’re untrustworthy with other things too. You see, these people just want to take and take and take.

It shows that they have no moral compass, and they’re willing to “outsmart” anyone or any system—even you—just for their own good.

10) Being delusional 

There are people who are not in touch with reality—especially their own reality. These are the ones who can never be self-aware no matter how hard they try.

There are many kinds of delusions—some are more “normal” than others. 

Two of the most common ones are delusions of their worth as a person (grandiose delusions) and delusions of memories (delusional memory) wherein they reconstruct real memories.

Again, these people aren’t bad. We’re all a bit delusional to some degree, after all.

But can we trust them to speak the truth? No. Simply because sometimes, they CAN’T.

So even if they’re kind, and even if it’s not their fault they’re delusional, you can’t really trust them.

11) Gossiping

Do you want to share secrets and important information to someone who spreads gossip? Call me paranoid, but I won’t.

Those who gossip find joy in spreading juicy information. They also break their promises of keeping secrets.

But it’s not just limited to the things you tell them, being around them would also make you more susceptible to their gossip. 

They will have things to say about you—from the way you’re friendly with your neighbor, to how you (don’t) clean your apartment.

If you know someone loves to gossip, stay away. You might think they’ll be loyal to you and just gossip about others, but someone who loves to gossip will gossip about everyone, including you.

12) Being too dictated by their moods

It’s risky to trust someone whose productivity depends so much on their mood.

If they can’t deliver work because they’re “not in the mood”, well…it will be hard for you to collaborate with them, won’t it?

While passion is essential for any kind of work, being able to function and work despite one’s moods and level of excitement is essential.

And if one is highly dependent on their moods, it can be tough to trust them.

13) Inability to own up to their mistakes

If someone finds it particularly hard to say “It’s my fault, sorry.”, they’re probably untrustworthy.


They’ll do whatever it takes—even bend the truth and use manipulative techniques—just to make sure you won’t think they committed a mistake.

If they cheated on you, they’d say “Well, it’s because YOU’RE too busy at work.”

If they missed a deadline, they’d say “Well, you assigned it to me at the last minute.”

And if you caught them stealing, they’d say “Well, it’s because I was not paid right.”

It’s always someone else’s fault, they always see themself as the victim with “no choice” but to commit these mistakes…

They don’t have the capacity for self-reflection, accountability, and honesty. Untrustworthy.

Final thoughts

While respect should be given to everyone, trust should only be given to those who are worthy of it.

Make sure that you can trust each person in your life. Or at least, stay away from the unreliable, sketchy ones.

If you can see all these traits on someone you know, then sure…remain friendly and nice towards them, but only trust them when they’ve made necessary changes.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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