9 signs someone isn’t a very nice person, according to psychology

As human beings, it’s essential for us to feel valued, appreciated, and treated with kindness.

Unfortunately, not everyone we encounter has these qualities. There are people who, instead, make us feel uncomfortable, annoyed, or even stressed.

This article delves into those people who aren’t so pleasant—who consistently display negative traits that can make interactions with them difficult or upsetting.

In psychology, there are specific signs that can help identify these ‘not-so-nice’ people. These traits are often subtle and can be easily overlooked in the early stages of a relationship.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of psychological signs to help you identify if someone isn’t a very nice person.

So, let’s delve into the signs you should be on the lookout for.

1) Lack of empathy

Lack of empathy is often a telltale sign of a person who isn’t very nice, according to psychology.

Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes emotionally and understand their perspective.

If someone lacks empathy, they may often dismiss your feelings or experiences as unimportant or invalid. They might belittle your concerns, or seem uninterested when you share personal stories or emotions.

In conversation, they might focus solely on themselves without showing any interest in your thoughts or feelings. You’ll notice they rarely (if ever) ask about your day, your feelings, or your experiences.

This lack of empathy can make interactions feel one-sided and leave you feeling unheard and undervalued. So, if you find yourself dealing with someone who displays a consistent lack of empathy, it’s a strong sign they might not be a very nice person.

2) Frequent criticism

Another sign of someone who isn’t a very nice person is their tendency to criticize others frequently.

This criticism can take many forms. It might be directed at your appearance, your work, your hobbies, or even your dreams and ambitions.

The person will find fault in almost anything you do, often making you feel inadequate or self-conscious.

They make these criticisms seem like “advice” or “constructive feedback,” but the underlying sentiment isn’t to help you grow, but rather to bring you down.

You’ll start to notice a pattern: they never miss an opportunity to point out what they perceive as your flaws or mistakes.

Remember, constructive criticism should build you up, not tear you down. 

3) Excessive charm

While charm can be a positive quality, when it’s used excessively, it can be a sign of someone who isn’t very nice.

This person knows how to make you feel special and valued. They’ll shower you with compliments, tell engaging stories, and always seem to say the right thing at the right time. It feels good to be around them.

But this charm is often superficial and manipulative. It’s used as a tool to win you over quickly or distract you from their less desirable traits.

Over time, you may notice the charm fade away, especially once they feel they’ve won your approval or trust. What remains is their true character, which might not be as pleasant as you initially believed.

So while it might seem strange, excessive charm can indeed be a warning sign that someone might not be as nice as they appear.

4) Constant negativity

Let’s be real: No one’s life is sunshine and rainbows all the time. We all have bad days, grumpy moods, and personal struggles.

But someone who isn’t very nice often takes this to another level. They’re constantly negative, always finding something to complain about, and rarely seem content or happy with anything.

It’s tough to be around someone who’s always spreading negativity. It can affect your own mood and mental well-being.

Their negativity can be draining. It’s like they’re a black hole that’s always sucking the joy out of every situation. Their pessimistic outlook can make you feel down, even if you are in a good mood.

5) Inability to apologize

We’re all humans, and we all make mistakes. It’s a natural part of life. What defines us isn’t the mistake itself, but how we handle it afterwards.

A person who isn’t very nice often struggles with owning up to their mistakes. They find it hard to say, “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry.” Instead, they deflect blame, make excuses, or even try to justify their actions.

This doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It could be that they’re dealing with their own insecurities or past experiences that make it hard for them to admit when they’re wrong.

This trait can cause difficulties in relationships. It can lead to resentment and misunderstandings.

6) Unreliable behavior

Reliability is a fundamental trait of a good relationship. When someone is unreliable, it can be incredibly frustrating and hurtful.

They might cancel plans at the last minute, forget important dates or commitments, or fail to follow through on promises.

This kind of behavior can leave you feeling disrespected and unimportant. After all, if they valued your time and feelings, wouldn’t they make more of an effort to be reliable?

While everyone can be forgetful or late sometimes, if someone consistently shows unreliable behavior, it’s a sign they might not be a very nice person.

7) Lack of humor

Humor makes the world go round! It’s what makes dull moments vibrant and tough times bearable.

A person who isn’t very nice may lack a sense of humor. They might not crack jokes, or they could take things too seriously. Maybe they don’t understand your witty puns, or they could be the type who never laughs at a funny movie.

Now, this doesn’t mean they need to be the next stand-up comedian or laugh at every single joke. But a complete lack of humor can make interactions with them feel stiff and formal.

After all, laughter is the best medicine, and if someone rarely shares in this universal joy, it might be a sign that they’re not a very nice person. 

8) Lack of respect

This is a big one and, quite frankly, a deal-breaker.

A person who isn’t very nice often shows a lack of respect for others. They may interrupt you while you’re speaking, dismiss your opinions, or treat your personal boundaries as if they’re optional.

Their lack of respect might even extend to the way they treat others around them. Maybe they’re rude to waitstaff, dismissive of their colleagues, or disrespectful to their elders.

Listen, everyone deserves respect. If someone isn’t showing you the basic decency and respect you deserve, it’s a glaring sign they’re not a very nice person.

Don’t make excuses for them. You’re worth more than that. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, always.

9) Your gut says they’re not very nice

Sometimes, the signs aren’t as clear-cut. You might not be able to pinpoint why exactly someone rubs you the wrong way. This is where your intuition comes in.

You might feel uneasy around them, or perhaps you just don’t feel like you can trust them. Maybe there isn’t a specific behavior you can point to, but something about them just feels “off”.

In these situations, trust your gut.

Your intuition is a powerful tool that can help guide you in ambiguous situations. It’s your subconscious picking up on subtle cues and warning signs that your conscious mind may have missed.

Because you don’t need a checklist of negative traits to justify distancing yourself from someone who doesn’t make you feel good. Trust yourself and value your feelings. You’re the best judge of who’s a nice person in your life.

Final thoughts

So, you’ve identified someone in your life who isn’t a very nice person—what now?

Dealing with people who constantly bring negativity into your life can be emotionally draining and challenging. Recognizing these signs is the first step towards understanding how their behavior affects you and what actions you can take.

As Dr. Brené Brown, a renowned psychologist, says, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

If someone in your life consistently shows these unpleasant traits, it might be time to re-evaluate the relationship. You can’t change other people, but you can control your reactions and the boundaries you set.

It’s important to surround yourself with individuals who respect you, make you feel good about yourself, and bring positivity into your life.

Keep in mind that this article isn’t meant to label or diagnose people around you. Rather, it’s to help you identify patterns of behavior that may not be conducive to your well-being.

Having one or even several of these signs doesn’t definitively label someone as ‘not nice’. But it’s a good cause for reflection on whether or not these relationships are enriching your life.

At the end of the day, remember that everyone deserves respect, kindness, and positive interactions. It’s okay to distance yourself from those who consistently fail to provide these basic human decencies.

Your well-being should always come first.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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