6 signs someone is probably not a great person, according to psychologists

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Relationships can be a maze when you’re still deciphering someone’s character. Yet, observing someone’s behavior early on can tell you a great deal about their personality.

So, here are eight signs straight from the world of psychology that could be a bit of a warning signal that someone might not be the greatest person to hang around with.

1) They lack empathy

So, when you’re getting to know someone new or reevaluating a current relationship, one of the first things to watch out for is their level of compassion. 

You know, that ability to put themselves in your shoes and truly understand where you’re coming from? It’s what helps us feel connected and valued. 

According to Simon Baron-Cohen, a clinical psychologist, human cruelty comes from empathy erosion and viewing people as objects rather as individuals with psychological and emotional depth.

Those who lack empathy brush off people’s emotions, label others as overly sensitive, and just can’t seem to tune in to the people around them. 

Think about it. 

If a person is unable to feel your frustration when you want to talk to them about a problem you faced at work or a riff you had with the family, chances are they won’t provide you with the support you need during difficult times. They might even trivialize your situation by asking you to “get over it.” 

How will this leave you feeling? A bit out in the cold, no? Not to mention the discouragement you feel if you ever think of opening up in the future.

So, if you spot this vibe in someone new or maybe a fresh face at work, it’s a pretty clear sign that they might not be the best buddy material. 

It’s time to adjust expectations and maybe keep those interactions on the lighter side.

2) They’re questionably nice

Another sign that people might not be a good match for you is when they shower you with excessive niceties early on, making you feel like they’re “too good to be true.”

They might come off as super sweet at first, but don’t be fooled. Those manipulators who excel in gaslighting and emotional blackmail can easily cloak their true intentions with charm. 

You know, those people who lay it on thick with compliments and affection right from the get-go? That’s what they call love-bombing, and it’s all about making you feel super connected and vulnerable. 

But here’s the catch: it’s often just a setup for their own agenda.

I remember when I landed my first corporate gig. My boss was all about the praise, not just in front of everyone, but she’d also open up about her personal life during sales calls, chatting endlessly about her family and whatnot. At first, I thought we really hit it off.

But then the requests started pouring in—help with her assignments, reports to prepare, even chauffeuring her around. Suddenly, I was her go-to person for everything, almost like her personal assistant.

That’s when it hit me: her niceness wasn’t genuine. She was just buttering me up to get free help from the new kid on the block, yours truly.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that you need to get paranoid over every new person you meet.

Just trust your instinct and question their overwhelming nicety if that feels like a bit off behavior to you.

3) They take more than they give

Energy vampires are real, and they can manifest as friends, partners, or even acquaintances.

Yeah, they’re the ones who always seem to be taking without giving much in return. It throws the whole relationship off balance, leaving you feeling like you’re hanging out to dry when you need support the most.

I had this friend back in high school who perfectly fits the bill. She’d only reach out when she needed something—whether it was a favor or help with homework. It took me a whole year to catch on. 

But what really sealed the deal was when I was going through a tough breakup and just needed someone to listen. Suddenly, she was nowhere to be found. Ignored my calls, and made excuses—it was like she had vanished into thin air.

She was all about what she could get out of it. And that is a clear sign that she wasn’t friendship material.

Energy vampires not only leave us feeling drained, but they also stir up resentment. You end up kicking yourself for giving them your time and attention without getting anything back in return.

So, if you’re hanging out with someone who hardly ever offers the help and support that any meaningful relationship needs to flourish, it’s a pretty clear sign that this person might not be the best addition to your circle.

4) They’re inconsistent

Another sign that someone is trouble is when their behavior is inconsistent. People who aren’t as good as they project themselves to be often don’t live up to their promises.

When they act erratically, and their actions don’t match their words, they don’t really shout reliance.

I mean, how can you trust and feel safe around someone who treats you warmly one day and then gives you the cold shoulder the next, be it your boss, colleague, or even the person you’ve seen lately?

According to Dr. Roxy Zarrabi, a clinical psychologist, observing if someone’s actions match their words is key, especially early in a relationship. 

Paying attention to this while dating or adding new people to your close circle will help you spot red flags.

5) They disregard boundaries

People who intentionally cross boundaries, even after clearly communicating it to them, aren’t exactly those who you want to keep in your circle.

Say you’re not the type who opens up easily, yet you have this new acquaintance you made through a friend who keeps pestering you to talk more or share more. Or take for example that colleague who doesn’t take no for an answer.

People who disregard your boundaries don’t value your feelings and opinions, and eventually, they’ll make you resent yourself when they intentionally do things you’re clearly not okay with.

Genuine relationships are built on respect for each other’s values, personal space, and opinions.

So, remember that you have the power to keep those who show respect around you and bid farewell to the boundary-busters.

6) They never apologize 

As humans, making mistakes is inevitable, right? What really builds a strong, nurturing relationship is the willingness to own up to those mistakes and apologize when we’ve wronged someone. 

But if you encounter folks who always strive to appear perfect, never admitting to messing up when they do or ever apologizing for it, well, they’re not exactly equipped to mend relationships when things get rocky.

This inability to own up for their behavior will eventually put a strain on your relationship with them.

The key is to make sure you differentiate between a healthy, confident ego and a person who never takes accountability for their actions.

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