15 warning signs you should stay away from someone (complete list)

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

People eventually hurt and betray each other.

Well…toxic people, that is.

You might wonder what you can do to avoid them, or to see if you have unknowingly been exactly that kind of person.

In this article, I will give you 15 warning signs that you should stay away from someone before they ruin your life.

1) They’re the bomb—and you’re trying not to set them off

Being friends with someone means being mindful that you aren’t making them any more uncomfortable than is necessary, or that you’re actively trying to make them unhappy.

But at the same time, you shouldn’t ever feel like you have to second-guess yourself every time in fear that you’ll set them off.

If, after a few interactions with them you’re left feeling like you’re walking on eggshells around them and trying your best not to set them off, or that you feel like you’re defusing a bomb even when nothing has happened yet, then be careful.

And if somehow you’ve managed to become friends with someone like this, you’re probably better off taking a step back.

True friends should trust each other not to assume malice out of one another. If you stay longer, you’ll start to doubt yourself. You’ll be convinced that you’re indeed an awful person.

2) They’re a little over-competitive

It’s natural for us to share our experiences and happiness with others. If they were to talk about how bad their workday is, for example, you might say “me too.”

But there are some people who are painful or exhausting to be around when they “share.” If you’re curious why, chances are that it’s because they’re over-competitive.

Whenever you share something, they will do their best to let you know they have it better or worse. Share something that implies you have it worse, and they’ll drag you into a game of one-upmanship.

Did you lose your keys? Well, she lost her car. Did you just get a job? That’s nothing—she got promoted!

You should probably stay away from people who turn every little thing into a competition. They generally make for incredibly stressful friendships, and you certainly could find better people to date or marry.

3) They take advantage of your insecurities

We all have insecurities, but some of us just don’t know how to handle these insecurities the right way—we get too sensitive or we’re not able to reach our full potential because of them.

There are some people who can easily sense this and use your insecurity to their advantage.

If you’re suffering from insecurity, it’s time you do something about it.

The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.

You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.

He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.

Because true empowerment needs to come from within.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.

So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.

Click here to watch the free video.

4) They want to be the star of the show

A common rule in all social interactions is that everyone plays a game of give and take.

You wouldn’t have conversation be all about you when you’re out on a trip with your friends, for example. Your friends should also have their time in the spotlight to talk about themselves and the things they want.

Unfortunately, some people don’t respect this. They want to have all the attention, and try to do their best to bring conversation back to them whenever it drifts off to someone else.

If you find someone who tries to always make the situation about them, step back and give them some space. They won’t give you the attention you deserve out of a friendship, while at the same time demanding more than their fair share.

5) It’s exhausting being around them

All of us have only so much energy to spare with other people. Once that’s spent, we get fatigued and need a moment to recharge.

Some people tire more easily than others but usually it takes a while—say, several hours—of socialization for that battery to run dry, especially if you’re extroverted.

However, there are people who drain your energy so fast that interacting with them always leaves you noticeably exhausted. You may find yourself thinking “gosh, they’re so tiring to hang out with.”

And it’s not even a “good” kind of exhaustion!

These people—sometimes called Social Vampires—drain you so quickly that simply being around them is tiresome. It’s like they’re a black hole, sucking the life out of you.

There is no single reason why these people are so exhausting to be around. But if you find yourself with someone who’s simply exhausting to be around and doesn’t even make you happy to make up for it, then stay away.

Why spend time with them when they drain you?

6) They say things like “all my friends leave me, and I don’t know why”

It’s natural to feel pity when someone says that they keep on losing their friends, especially when your first impressions of them are positive.

You might wonder why people can be so mean to someone who doesn’t seem at all that bad. They might seem especially sociable or adorable, and you might find yourself wanting to protect them.

But be careful. Most of the time, it’s because of how that person is. Maybe they had a history of manipulation, or maybe they’re just too argumentative for their own good.

Some people aren’t even “abandoned” by their friends, but simply decide that they have because their friends were too busy to give them the attention they wanted.

Sure, there might be times when people simply had bad luck or were simply stuck in the wrong crowd. And there’s always the chance that they might have changed.

But as the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

7) They share secrets

In general terms, people like to be “in the know” and you are most likely not exempt. There’s just a certain appeal to knowing the many little secrets others are trying to hide.

And there are people who exploit this desire. They share secrets around, hoping that it will make people like them for it. And it does often succeed, because it makes those people feel trusted.

Of course, things like these should be reasons for you not to trust them.

If they are truly sharing people’s secrets with you, chances are that they are also sharing your secrets with others. You’re not special, no matter what they might tell you.

Even if you have gone your separate ways, people are expected to be good friends and would not share any damning secrets of yours to the nearest bystander.

On the other hand, if they’re not actually sharing secrets and are lying to get your attention, then they’re being manipulative and that’s a red flag on its own.

8) They want support—or else!

We should support our friends and be there in their time of need, for sure. But that doesn’t mean that we should give them unquestionable support.

This can take on many forms. For example, they might want you to take their side in an argument, even if they’re in the wrong, or else you’re not a friend.

Another example might be that they would get mad if you ever criticized them or tried to point out that they made you uncomfortable in any way.

Friends help one another be the best version of themselves, and sometimes that means having to criticize them or call them out when they’re in the wrong.

9) They’re surrounded by a yes-team

Everyone wants to kiss the ground they walk on.

When you first meet them, you might find yourself thinking about how supportive their friends are, and how nice it is that they’re getting along so well. But eventually you’ll find yourself finding little signs that something’s not quite right.

Maybe you’ll  notice that their friends always agree with them for some reason, even if it means that they’d be going back on things they had said before. Or you might witness a fallout, and see all of them turn on that person at once.

That person is surrounded by a group of yes-men—people who validate them without question. And this is a very clear sign that you should stay away from these people at all costs.

Getting involved with them means that you’re always in danger of their entire group turning against you should you make one of them unhappy. Some even go as far as to “spread the word” and turn people you haven’t even met against you.

10) They’re crazy for the other sex

We all want to have a partner, and it’s not unusual for men and women to find a partner eventually. Most of us manage to keep that desire reasonable and keep a healthy balance between friendship and love.

But there are people who get so obsessed about the other sex that they thoughtlessly leave everything behind just to get on the chase. Think of those guys who stop hanging out with their buddies because they found a cute girl, for example.

You don’t have to be good friends with people to begin seeing the warning signs in them.

For example, when they’re in a group setting with new people, you might notice them pouring all their attention to the opposite sex instead of giving everyone equal attention.

And when you’re talking with them, you might find that they would talk about the opposite sex to an unhealthy degree.

It might seem like it’s nothing but these people tend to not put too much value on friendships. They just use it as a safe place to while away as they look for a relationship. Then they’ll probably ditch you afterwards.

11) They don’t tolerate differing opinions

We all come from different backgrounds and have gone through different life experiences. Because of that, we all end up with different opinions from one another.

Because of that, it’s a bad idea to be intolerant towards differing opinions. Sure, some of us may end up having similar opinions so it’s not like it’ll leave you completely friendless.

But people with different life experiences have so much to share with you. So many additional perspectives that, even if you ultimately disagree with, will enrich your life.

People who lock themselves in with people who only have similar opinions to theirs and are intolerant towards dissent often become shallow and stubborn, and especially hostile towards the things they like.

If you find someone talking in black and white, especially with extreme admiration or revulsion to the things they have an opinion to, keep your distance.

They might get along with you right now when your opinions are not in conflict, but you will find yourself being increasingly concerned about not setting them off. And should you stumble upon something you disagree with them on, expect them to turn on you.

12) They get jealous quickly

We all want to have some time and attention from the people we know, to an extent. Actively jealous people take that desire to a dark and unhealthy extreme.

Think of your friend getting mad because you decided to hang out with another friend over the weekend, or sulking because you found new people to befriend.

But it’s not even just about losing your attention to new people—there are people who get jealous when their friends get involved in new hobbies instead of sticking by the ones they shared together for the longest time.

It’s emotionally draining to humor an easily jealous person. Some of them can easily try to control you even tighter than anyone has a right to, and it honestly isn’t worth it.

13) They’re a sore loser

Sore losers are, as a rule of thumb, unpleasant to have as friends. As acquaintances, they’re barely more tolerable.

Thankfully, they’re also reasonably easy to spot, so you can easily figure them out yourself and act accordingly.

A tell-tale sign of a sore loser would be that they would attack the person they’re arguing with, instead of the idea they were sharing.

If you got into an argument about the proper way to cook rice, for example, they might say “and what, did you go to culinary school?” instead of admitting that they were wrong.

They might even try to find ways to make sure you lose, if they know they might end up arguing with you.

Life comes with its fair share of victories and defeats—no-one can win forever—and the sore loser will only drag you down.

14) They try to get close to you too fast

Friendship is a thing that takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, or so the saying goes.

It’s a long process where you build mutual trust with one another, and begin to appreciate each other for who you are.

But some people just don’t have the patience for that, and actively seek to fast-track their way into people’s hearts.

The problem with rushed friendships is that they are, ultimately, fragile. They do not have any of the depth and stability offered by simply knowing each other for a long time.

And to make it worse, the tricks used to ‘speed up’ friendship are manipulative and often leave behind a degree of distrust. These techniques include love-bombing, oversharing, and begging for pity.

So if you see someone trying to act especially close towards you, keep an eye out and be wary. Maybe they have a motive for wanting to be friends so fast.

15) They’re obsessed with you

Nobody really likes territorial people. The people they hover around often feel like they’re having their decisions taken for them. That their voices have been robbed.

And on top of that, they can lock you out of other people by chasing any potential new friends away in jealousy. A territorial lover is a lot of grief waiting to happen.

By nature, territorial people want to cut off the people they are “protecting” from everyone else, which then leads to dependence.

When you’re the one being obsessed over, you might notice yourself slowly losing agency as the territorial person says things for you. Think of being asked by a stranger if you could help them open a can of soda, only for your “friend” to tell the stranger that you can’t..

When you’re not the one being obsessed over, you might find them regarding you with suspicion and speaking on behalf of others, even when that ‘other’ person is right there.

Last words

People are flawed, and we should not expect perfection from the people we hang out with. That in itself would be a red flag warning people to stay away from you!

But at the same time, some people just aren’t worth it to hang around with.

When you’re met with such people, the best course of action is to back off and think about where your friendship is headed.

How much stress are you willing to endure? Are they worth the hassle? The answer will differ from person to person. Give your friendship a chance to grow but if you’ve noticed at least half of these signs, it’s time you find other friends.

There are 7 million people in the world. Choose the ones that are good for you.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

15 signs you are a powerful person that other people can’t help but admire

15 traits of a confident woman that separates her from everyone else