Bad people are all around us. Yet, the terrifying fact is that some keep their bad intentions tightly under wraps, and we don’t see their true nature until it’s already too late.
Nevertheless, keen observers and those who know what to watch for can pick up warning signs of bad people way before others.
So, to teach you how to spot a bad person before it’s too late, here are the warning signs to keep an eye on.
Keep in mind that for some of these signs, context is important, and it’s best to observe more than one sign to be certain.
1) They manipulate or use others for personal gain
Obviously, someone who uses manipulation for personal gain is not a nice person. The problem is that they might be using a manipulation method that isn’t that obvious at first.
They’re likely to employ tactics such as subtle flattery, veiled threats, or emotional manipulation to get what they want.
For instance, they use compliments to make you feel obligated to help them or utilize guilt trips to make you comply with their wishes.
These tactics don’t raise immediate red flags, but over time, they result in a sense of unease and imbalance in the relationship.
2) They constantly criticize or belittle others
Imagine you’re working on a project. Every time you present your ideas or work, a person nitpicks every detail, pointing out what’s wrong without offering constructive feedback.
This constant criticism erodes your confidence and creates a hostile environment, leaving you feeling inferior and discouraged.
You probably wouldn’t stick around at that place for too long. Now imagine coming home to such a person.
Many people would consider this emotional abuse.
3) They have a short temper
When someone has a short temper, it often negatively affects the people around them. Their anger is directed at others, leading to emotional harm or fear.
This creates an unhealthy and potentially abusive dynamic in relationships.
When someone frequently loses their temper over small things, and it keeps happening over time, it’s a red flag that they struggle with keeping their relationships in a good place.
For example, a friend often gets upset when you hang out. It makes your friendship rocky because you’re not sure when they might blow up next.
And if they do the following, you better cut ties with them.
4) They show prejudice or bigotry
There are still many, many people around us who have biased views against people of a particular race, ethnicity, or gender.
The first warning sign they’re bad people is when they use hurtful stereotypes or name-calling.
Most people won’t share their opinions with strangers, but with people they trust. So if they tell you their small-minded opinions about others, that means they at least somewhat trust you or even believe you’re the same as them.
They might not be a completely bad person, but they’re not completely good either. They also obviously don’t care that their words hurt others.
5) They aren’t empathetic and don’t consider others’ feelings
Picture a situation where you’re sharing a personal struggle with this person, but instead of offering a listening ear or words of comfort, they respond with indifference.
They may not ask how you’re feeling or offer any support. It’s as if they’re emotionally detached and can’t relate to your experiences.
When someone doesn’t have empathy or doesn’t feel it for others, it’s a clear warning sign.
That doesn’t directly mean they’re sociopath or something, but they certainly have some issues going on. That’s for sure.
6) They gossip or spread rumors about people
Although gossiping and spreading rumors is a favorite pastime for many people, others see it as horrible behavior.
Gossipers steal a person’s credibility and reputation, things that are very hard to restore in the eyes of others once they’re gone.
In this regard, they’re worse than thieves because you can typically replace stolen goods.
Above all, they enjoy spreading rumors and talking negatively about others, which makes you wonder what they’re saying behind your back.
7) They don’t show gratitude or appreciation for others’ kindness
When you’ve put in a lot of effort to help or do something nice for someone, and they don’t even say a simple “thank you,” that’s infuriating.
For me, that’s an evident indication of an entitled and even lousy person.
In relationships, it’s discouraging because it can make you question whether the other person values or cares about what you do for them.
You feel like your actions go completely unnoticed, and that can be a real bummer.
In that respect, they’re being a nasty person spreading negativity. Intentionally or unintentionally, it doesn’t matter.
8) They can’t keep their commitments and often break promises
Commitments and promises are the building blocks of trust in any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional.
People depend on each other in various aspects of life (in friendships, family, or work). So when someone consistently fails to keep their commitments, it results in others feeling let down and left in the lurch.
And when they repeatedly fail to follow through on what they’ve said they’ll do, it erodes trust. It’s a warning sign of someone who might not be the best to have in your life.
The same goes for the following:
9) They lie or aren’t honest about their actions
Suppose a person in your life frequently makes up excuses or even lies about their actions. How would you feel about them? At the very least, you’d have a sense of uncertainty and unease when talking to them.
You’d always be wondering if you can trust their words and actions.
I had a friend like that once, and I’d be skeptical of everything they did. I never knew when they were honest and when they had a hidden agenda.
Needless to say, we aren’t friends anymore. The friendship with them wasn’t worth the constant hassle and uncertainty.
I don’t know where they are now, but I’m pretty sure they’re in a bad place if they haven’t turned their behavior around.
10) They always play the victim instead of taking responsibility
The thing is, when you catch a dishonest or bad person, 9 times out of 10, they will start playing the victim card or make BS excuses.
Imagine this: You’re at work, and you have a colleague who’s notorious for never owning up to their mistakes.
Instead of saying, “I messed up,” they’re quick to point fingers at others or external factors, making it seem like they’re always the victim of circumstances.
As a result, you and your team have to clean up the mess and find solutions.
You all just want to get the job done, but it feels like you’re constantly navigating around this “it’s not my fault” attitude.
It’s like trying to drive with the handbrake on – it’s hard to make progress.
11) They don’t respect personal boundaries
Picture someone who consistently invades your personal space, both physically and emotionally, without your consent.
They touch you without permission or pry into your private matters. They invade your privacy by snooping around or sharing your private stuff without asking.
Or push you to do things that you clearly don’t want to do. They’re basically not giving you the personal bubble and freedom you have a right to.
Ultimately, this lack of respect for boundaries leaves you feeling uncomfortable and violated, making them a bad person.
12) They’re overly competitive and can’t celebrate others’ successes
When someone is excessively competitive, it means they’re so focused on winning or being the best that they often forget to appreciate or acknowledge the achievements of others.
They’re naturally a bad loser, too, and give you the silent treatment if you’re better at something.
They go to extremes to prove themselves superior, which creates a tense or unfriendly atmosphere.
They’re in a race where the finish line is always moving, and they’re determined to cross it first, no matter the cost.
13) They don’t apologize or make amends when they’re wrong
And lastly, a big red flag is when someone consistently refuses to apologize or make amends when they’re wrong.
That’s incredibly frustrating and hurtful. It’s as if they have a blind spot when it comes to recognizing their mistakes. They avoid admitting fault, even when the evidence is clear.
This behavior often results in unresolved conflicts and tension in relationships because it feels like they’re not willing to take responsibility for their actions.
Especially if they’re digging in their heels, unwilling to acknowledge their errors, and work towards a resolution.
Coupled with other warning signs, that’s a significant roadblock to healthy communication and the growth of the relationship. And a potential sign of a bad person.
If you want to be good at detecting bad people around you, you need to take off your rose-tinted glasses and be aware that bad people are all around you.
They’re the product of a society that encourages selfish and greedy behavior, and that’s why many people don’t hesitate to step over corpses to have it their way.