People who lack integrity often display these 12 behaviors (without realizing it)

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Ever met someone who never seems to do the right thing? 

You know, that friend who only cares about themselves or always does whatever they need to get what they want? 

They might even brush off their harmful behaviors or pretend it’s no big deal. 

But it is. 

And there’s a reason why they behave this way, over and over again. 

It’s because they lack integrity. 

People who lack integrity have little or no moral principles. 

They don’t know or care about what’s right or wrong. For them, it’s all me, me, me. 

Dealing with someone like this is frustrating. Because…

1) They’re dishonest.

Above all else, people who lack integrity don’t have an honest bone in their body. 

They have a habit of bending the truth or not telling the whole story. 

You can never rely on them for accurate info because almost everything they say is half-truths or outright lies. 

Building a healthy relationship with someone like this is basically impossible. 

Everything might be okay at first, but dishonest people get caught over time. And when trust is broken, it’s tough to repair. 

2) They’re unreliable. 

Think about that friend who always cancels plans at the last minute or never shows up when you need them, even after they promised they would…

In most cases, this signals a lack of integrity. 

Reliability is about being consistent and dependable. People with high morals know this. 

Without it, people become unpredictable. And it can be really frustrating when you don’t know if you can count on someone, especially when you need them the most. 

Unreliability also affects more than just plans. 

If you’re working with someone who is unreliable, you can’t be sure they’ll deliver. This can put more pressure on you to pick up where they slack and create a tense atmosphere. 

On a personal level, it can be hard to feel secure and valued in that relationship if someone is always flaky. 

Unreliability makes relationships bitter. 

But don’t even think about confronting someone who lacks integrity about this. 

Because…

3) They manipulate. 

Besides honesty, people with integrity value ethical behavior. This includes being open and transparent.

People without integrity, well, they don’t care that much. 

If they can gain or achieve something by deceiving you or influencing you to be dishonest, too, they will. 

Also, think about that person who always tries to get their way by guilt-tripping others or twisting their words…

This kind of manipulation can be really subtle, making it hard to spot at first. But over time, you’ll start feeling confused and unsure about your thoughts and feelings. 

Someone who manipulates this way is dangerous. For them, it’s about gaining control, but in a sneaky way. 

Another common form of manipulation is playing the victim. Sure, people can be wronged. But can someone really always get the short end? 

When someone always plays the victim, there’s a good chance they’re just messing with your head. If you start to doubt what you know is the truth, it’s a huge red flag. 

Integrity is built on trustworthiness, and manipulation undermines this by relying on deceitful tactics, no matter which form it takes

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of playing the victim, you can also spot someone who lacks integrity by the fact that…

4) They always shift the blame. 

When someone has integrity, they own their mistakes. Those who don’t avoid responsibility and put the fault on others. 

AKA, blame-shifting. 

Instead of admitting that they messed up, they’ll find someone else to blame.

Blame shifting is a classic sign of lacking integrity.

And not only is it annoying for everyone around the people who do this, it also stops them from learning and growing. 

Integrity is about being honest and taking responsibility for both the good and the bad. 

5) They treat people unfairly. 

Mistreating people is a huge red flag that someone lacks integrity.

When they do this, they essentially decide who deserves respect and who doesn’t, based on random things like what someone wears, how they talk, or even who their friends are.

This isn’t just mean. It’s also super shallow.

People who lack integrity might think they’re getting ahead by putting others down

But here’s the truth: 

Real respect comes from treating others how you’d like to be treated. 

I know it’s a cliché, but it’s on point. 

Someone with little integrity doesn’t get this, though. That’s also why…

6) They bully and intimidate.

Ever been in a situation where someone tries to act all big, using their words or even their presence to make others feel small? 

That’s bullying and intimidation. And it’s a clear sign that someone is lacking in the integrity department. 

You see, bullies use their power—whether it’s physical strength, social status, or just being louder—to push others around. 

It’s like they’re in a game where they think they score points by scaring or hurting someone. 

7) They exploit loopholes. 

Someone who lacks integrity won’t exactly cheat, but they’ll definitely bend the rules.

They have a sneaky way of getting ahead without breaking the law or rules outright. But what they do sure still isn’t okay. 

Exploiting loopholes might make them feel clever, but it’s actually the same as cutting corners. 

It shows they’re the kind of person who’s willing to take the easy way out, even if it means disadvantaging others. 

People with integrity focus on winning through hard work, creativity, and playing by the rules. 

Those who lack it don’t. 

And besides always being on the lookout for loopholes to exploit…

8) They misuse resources. 

This isn’t just about someone being greedy – people who lack integrity never think about the bigger picture. 

They believe they’re more important than anyone else and deserve everything.

Whether it’s using all the milk in the office fridge or taking too much time on a shared computer in the study hall, it’s all about thinking about themselves first. 

Misusing resources isn’t just unfair. It also shows a lack of respect. 

I’m not talking about minor mistakes here, though. Sometimes, people use a little too much of something without realizing they have to leave some for the next person. 

But if someone lacks integrity, they’ll have a selfish attitude, be short-sighted, and not care about the impact their greediness has on others. 

9) They break confidentiality. 

People who lack integrity have no problem breaking trust. When someone tells them something in confidence, they have no intention of keeping that information safe. 

They don’t respect other people or their feelings. And they couldn’t care less about the consequences someone could face if whatever they shared gets out. 

Breaking confidence is a serious issue. Depending on the situation, people could get hurt, lose their jobs, or worse. 

It’s not just about the immediate drama it causes. There’s always a ripple effect that can impact people’s lives in big ways. 

The worst part, however? People who break confidence often do it simply because…

10) They gossip and spread rumors. 

And they like doing it – a lot!

You see, they want the drama to unfold. They don’t care if people get hurt. They like to break friendships apart, ruin reputations, and even bully people. 

When someone does this, it isn’t just mean. Gossiping shows a disregard for other’s feelings. 

And a definite lack of integrity. 

11) They ignore ethical implications. 

Ever watched someone walk right past a “please recycle” sign and toss a plastic bottle into the trash? It’s like they see the rules but choose to ignore them. 

This might seem silly and small, but it isn’t. 

People who do things like this aren’t just breaking small social rules. They overlook the big picture of what’s right and wrong.

And it shows that they prefer convenience or personal gain over doing what’s right. 

When someone ignores the ethical side of things, it’s also not just about them. Their actions can hurt people, animals, or even the planet. 

It’s like when companies pollute rivers to save money on waste disposal. They might be saving a buck, but at what cost to the environment and communities? 

More often than not, if someone’s like this, there’s also a pretty good chance that…

12) They lack transparency. 

Whether it’s not telling the whole truth or keeping secrets about the important stuff, a lack of transparency is another clear sign that someone doesn’t have integrity.

I’m not talking about the small stuff. Sometimes, it’s better to be kind than honest. 

But when someone isn’t transparent about serious things that impact others, it can turn into a big mess. 

Besides leading to rumors, misunderstanding, and unnecessary drama, a lack of transparency can harm people. 

Some large-scale stories revealing this have appeared in the news before. But we often don’t realize that people right under our noses can be guilty of this, too. 

Having someone in your life who lacks integrity can ruin your mental health, which in turn can lead to physical symptoms due to stress or hurt. 

You could try to have a calm conversation with them about their behaviors, but if they refuse to budge, don’t beat yourself up. 

Sometimes, creating distance between you and someone with toxic traits like these is the best thing you can do. 

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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