13 signs a man has zero integrity, according to psychology

Integrity is a crucial quality for a man:

That’s why it’s so important to notice the warning signs that he truly lacks integrity. 

Psychology points to the disturbing indications that a man lacks any integrity:

Dishonesty, manipulation, lack of accountability, vanity, playing the victim and more. 

Let’s dive in and take a look at the red flags to watch out for. 

1) Inconsistency in core values 

The man with no integrity constantly betrays his core values

In fact, he’s not even in touch or aware of his core values. He shifts what he believes and values based on popularity and what he can gain. 

He doesn’t try to think about what he really stands for (or why) until there is some critical punishment or reward for doing so. 

This can have a very negative outcome for the man in question and those close to him. 

“Many men have not thought through their personal value system,” note Brett and Kate McKay.

“They’re not sure who they are or what they stand for, and they wait until the breaking of a crisis to make their decision. At that point, it’s too late.”

2) Excessive flattery

Men without integrity often become con men, sleazy gurus, pickup artists and cheating husbands or players running a “roster” of women. 

That’s because they are masters at excessive flattery and over-agreeableness. 

They get others to share and open up and then use that vulnerability to gain more control and ammunition to later use against the person if needed.

“They ‘yes’ you when you share something emotional, but then do not show understanding, awareness, or interest afterward,” observes psychologist Jonice Webb, PhD.

They say yes and act charismatic, loving and charming to get what they want. 

But underneath they don’t care at all about the truth or about the actual targets of their games.

3) Lack of empathy

He shows no real concern for the experiences or emotions of others unless it’s part of the dazzle-and-conquer strategy mentioned previously.

He avoids taking responsibility and always points the finger, focusing on how he’s not to blame if he hurt someone or lied. 

There was always a reason. He always claims he “didn’t mean to.” He always has an exit strategy. 

But behind all the machinations is a real coldness and disconnect with the suffering of others. 

This ties directly into the next point: 

4) Lack of genuine apologies

He says sorry without sincerity or follow-through, often using phrases like “I’m sorry you feel that way” rather than acknowledging that he actually did something wrong. 

Listening closely it’s crystal clear:

He’s not sorry at all. He’s just sorry he got caught or did something that led to inconvenience, and now he’s gaslighting the others involved and low-key telling them to stop being so sensitive. 

“Integrity is a critical component of personal character that has far-reaching implications for individual and collective well-being,” points out Psychology Professor Jessica Koehler, PhD.

When a man without integrity spreads his gaslighting and shiftiness in society it becomes a noticeably worse place overall, and tends to be contagious.

5) Selective truth-telling 

The man with no integrity isn’t always dishonest. It’s worse than that:

He uses honesty as a weapon. 

If this sounds confusing, it’s helpful to think of the oath that’s taken when given testimony in a court to tell the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

This formulation isn’t by mistake. It’s done in order to cut off any real excuse and wiggle room if perjury is later uncovered. 

The man without integrity mixes truth with lies. He honeys lies and deception with nuggets of truth in order to further mislead and confuse. 

He’s all the more devious because you never know whether he’s leaving out the truth, telling only part of the truth or telling the truth temporarily just to hit you with a bigger lie and get it past you later on. 

6) Pattern of broken promises

A man without integrity frequently fails to keep commitments and promises.

He says he’ll do something when he already has no intention to do so. 

He always has an excuse and a justification, but he rarely tries to actually make up for it.

This stands in sharp contrast to a man of integrity, where his word is his bond.

“A man of integrity is a man others can count on,” note the McKays.

“They know he will do what he says he will do. He is promoted at work because he can be trusted with greater responsibility. His wife knows that when he says he’s working late, he really is.”

7) Disregard for others’ boundaries

He can be found frequently overstepping personal and professional boundaries.

If his interests involve somebody else getting lied to, neglected or overlooked, he’ll go right ahead and do that. 

It’s only about whatever he wants, not who he has to hurt to get it. 

This leads to obvious ethical, moral and legal problems, since that’s just not how the world works. 

But the man without integrity doesn’t care and insists on doing what he wants and doing his best to get away with it.

8) Overemphasis on image

The man without integrity tends to be vain and rely on appearance over inner substance in both himself and others.   

This is far different from a healthy appreciation for grooming, style and hygiene which is perfectly healthy:

This, instead, is a man who tries to use his image to hide who he really is and what he’s really like. He also has facial expressions and behavior that masks what he’s really feeling inside. 

“Their apparent feelings don’t seem to match their words,”  explains psychologist Jonice Webb, PhD. 

“This happens when someone is visibly angry, hurt, or sad, for example, but they claim that nothing is wrong.”

Essentially, he’s a liar who tries to always keep up appearances or also uses his appearances to manipulate and mislead others (or, in some cases, guilt trip them).

9) Manipulative generosity

Giving gifts or favors with ulterior motives, such as expecting something in return or using it as leverage later.

10) Evasion of direct questions

The dishonest and unethical man refuses to answer direct questions that don’t serve his interest or could make him look bad in any way. 

He doesn’t want anything to harsh his buzz.

“Those who have a general tendency to avoid unpleasant or challenging things may also be prone to avoiding unpleasant or challenging feelings, both their own and others,” notes Webb.

He gives vague answers to avoid accountability and transparency and to avoid negative feelings as Webb mentions. 

He’s basically a psychological child in a man’s body.

11) Inconsistent treatment of people

The man without integrity is fully capable of treating people with consideration, kindness and respect. 

But he only does so selectively. 

He treats people differently based on what he can gain from them, rather than on mutual respect and fairness.

A man of integrity stands for his values and speaks out against unethical behavior,” points out mental health and self-development writer Rachael Pace. 

Unlike the above, a man without integrity only sees people as means to an end:

Even a romantic partner, for example, could be just a means to unburdening himself emotionally or having a physical, orgasmic release. 

12) Chronic complaining 

He constantly complains and plays the victim. 

Even when 9 out of 10 things are going well in his life, he’s hyper-focused on that tenth thing and ranting about it constantly. 

He shows a negative mindset and the consistent idea that others should bail him out, make it better or “fix” it.

“At the heart of integrity is the ability to own up to the fact that you are in control of your life,” note Brett and Kate McKay. 

“You are responsible for both your successes and your failures. Nobody else but you.”

The man who lacks integrity often has a deeply-embedded victim mindset which is how he justifies his selfish and manipulative behavior to himself.

13) Overreaction to criticism

A man with no integrity flips out when criticized. 

Even well-intended feedback leaves him angry and reactive, lashing out and trying to “get back” at whoever dared question him. 

He doesn’t want to learn, grow or engage in self-awareness. He just wants to get endless wins and move on from his mistakes without the patience of having to learn or repent. 

That’s because, like all the other signs on this list also demonstrate, he lacks any integrity. 

5 things high-value people always do before bedtime, according to psychology

7 traits of introverts that make them exceptional leaders, according to psychology