9 Subtle Signs a Person Is Not So Great

Could this be someone you know? Or even you?

Brooke Meredith
May 6 · 7 min read
image by Lukas Eggers from Unsplash.com

There are the obvious signs of a not-so-great person, such as habitual lying, being manipulative, cruel, etc.

And then there are signs that are less obvious. Those we might need to pay closer attention to, which signify someone with not such stellar character.

Here are a few of those sneaky, less obvious ones.

They Don’t Give Much Thought or Care to Their Behavior With Regards to People Around Them

This includes behavior or thought toward strangers, not just people they already know and like.

Think examples of people who act like this:

  • Taking loud cell phone calls on an otherwise silent public bus
  • Blasting music or videos from their phone in an otherwise generally quiet public space
  • Not making space for people on public transport
  • Spilling something and not cleaning it up
  • Always taking the bigger slice, or the better seat, or the more enticing looking option and leaving the lesser ones for others
  • Leaving dribble all over the toilet seat for the next person to have to deal with
  • Taking the last piece of chocolate every time so your partner/family doesn’t get it

In general, it boils down to a lack of thought or concern for others, for their feelings and thoughts, and for being kind and generous in the direction of others.

Dogs Don’t Like Them

Now, of course, this isn’t a blanket rule. There will be times a dog’s initial impression is skepticism or dislike, and it’s more a reflection of the dog than the person.

But, if a generally good-natured dog doesn’t like someone, this might indicate several things about the person. An aura that is…off. Aggressive body language or energy. Lack of boundaries (as in, a person who oversteps and touches or does things without thought for the other person’s feelings). A person who isn’t especially thoughtful to those around them.

Dogs sense things. Emotions, auras, body language, etc. So if a dog’s hackles are raised, this might be indicating something.

So while it’s not a certain statement if a dog is hesitant or even dislikes someone, it can be a sign worth noting.

They Leave the Spaces They’ve Entered Worse Than They Were Before

This includes things like:

  • Littering
  • Leaving a huge mess in the kitchen after you’ve cooked for someone else to deal with
  • Not bothering to take off your outdoor shoes when entering someone’s home and tracking dirt everywhere
  • Leaving dirty clothes all over the floor
  • Walking away from the pile of dog poop your pooch just left
  • Going to visit someone when you’re in a terrible mood and letting it ruin the occasion.

This applies to both, leaving a physical space literally worse off, or tainting and wrecking the emotional atmosphere.

They Don’t Ever Apologize For Anything

And, when or if they do, it either sounds forced, fake or gives off the impression they are doing it for personal gains.

Why is this problematic?

It either means someone is disconnected from the feelings of others and doesn’t particularly care about them, or that they are arrogant, defensive, and self-righteous.

Either one is troubling and a sign of poor character.

They Are Not Truly Interested In Others

We all have known people like this who, for the most part, only talk about themselves. All conversational topics lead back to them. Their favorite topic? Them, their own dramas, their feelings, and their opinions.

They might ask you questions, though you can often tell it’s out of obligation or surface social nicety, but not for genuine interest. When you do talk a bit and answer a question they’ve asked, you can see their attention wandering.

All of this indicates someone who is quite self-centered and entrenched in their own world, without much room left for anyone else. They might be painfully lonely or not, which is part of why they are so fixated on sharing things about themselves with others. It could be a desperate means of trying to feel heard and seen by others, of trying to get attention and connect.

Either way, it’s unlikely to be a mutually satisfying, fulfilling relationship with someone like this, who lacks legit curiosity in others.

They View Other People Through Black and White, Good or Bad Lenses

Check out The Coddling of the American Mind (The NY Times bestseller by two insightful, progressive, liberal professors) for more on this. It’s a superb, eye-opening read. In short, though, this is becoming a common American way of thinking. Of regarding others as “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, based on surface, simplistic, singular moments of judgment.

We look at someone who is saying or doing something we don’t like in a single moment and now often decide right off the bat that, “they are racist,” or “they are bad,” or “they must be a republican and are, therefore, not good,” or “they read this book by this author I don’t like so that means we could never be friends.”

You see where I’m going with this, yes? Swift, black and white judgments based on simple things made way before you get to know someone in a deeper, more complex way. This is a strong sign of people who live their lives in fear-based, shallow, simplistic, immature thinking.

They Dismiss Wisdom and Truth

This could be anything, from refusing to admit they behaved in a cruel, dishonest, manipulative (you insert the adjective here) way in a certain situation to someone.

It could be that when a loved one presents a counter-argument to something they’ve said that holds merit and logic, still they don’t allow themselves to be swayed because they are so attached to their own opinions and what they feel a need to keep believing.

It could be when someone who cares about them tells this person they’re worried about a certain behavior they’re doing that is either hurting themselves or others, they then grow enraged, dismiss them, and no longer speak to them because of the painful truth they were saying.

This can actualize as many different things, a refusal to acknowledge and listen to wisdom and truth. It’s a problem because it doesn’t make one’s life better, it makes it worse, and it also likely causes problems for the people around them too.

They Don’t Keep Their Word

This can be anything, from always showing up thirty minutes late, to promising they’ll call and they don’t, to saying they’ll help you with something and then bailing, to always canceling plans.

Watch out for these types.

You cannot feel trust toward someone who you cannot rely on, whether they are a nice person or not. And without trust, it’s going to be hard to have a good relationship with someone. This type of behavior also shows a lack of thought, respect, or care for those around them.

They Don’t Give You the Respect of Their Attention and Focus

We all have occasions when we feel scattered, are distracted, are not feeling good, or are struggling, which might make us subpar listeners. This is human.

But, if it’s a frequent occurrence that this happens with a particular person in your life, it’s a huge red flag. As in, a red flag that showcases a serious lack of respect, lack of interest, and lack of investment in the connection with you.

What might this look like? Here are a few examples:

  • Someone who is regularly checking their phone when in your company, looking at it, reading texts, responding to them, simultaneously doing Instacart when hanging out with you, etc.
  • A person who, much of the time, when you are telling them something, you see their gaze wandering, they appear distracted, disengaged, or not particularly interested.
  • Someone who is constantly bringing everything you say back around to themselves, their life, their feelings, their opinions.
  • A person who feigns interest and asks obligatory questions but with whom you can tell, the interest isn’t legit.
  • They rarely to never remember the details of things you tell them. The specifics of what is happening in your life or the things you told them last time you met up, they do not recall or ask about any of it.
  • They don’t retain knowledge about you as a person, things you’ve revealed to them over the relationship, such as food preferences, big things that have happened to you, your basic likes and dislikes, your main life goals and dreams, etc.
  • You realize that in a particular relationship in your life, you know a lot about that person, and they don’t know nearly as much about you.

All of this indicates someone who is just not that interested, and someone who isn’t giving you respect, effort, or thought. It also implies a person not actually capable of connecting with others.

The above behaviors and traits imply a person who does not have great character and thus, is likely to be someone you will not have a healthy or satisfying relationship with.

I’d recommend ceasing effort with these people and investing your time elsewhere, with those who do not act in these ways. It’s likely to result in far happier, healthier social connections.

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Brooke Meredith

Written by

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Brooke Meredith

Written by

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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