19 Telltale Signs That Suggest Someone Isn’t Really a Good Person

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By Jonathan Trent

As the saying goes, ‘the truth will come out,’ meaning that even when a bad person pretends to be a kind person, there are many telltale signs that will eventually give them away. Here are 19 signs to watch out for that show someone is a bad person.

Exaggerating the Truth

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Often, a less-than-scrupulous person might not outright lie but still reveal signs of their dishonesty by constantly exaggerating the truth. This can be a sign that they’re trying to wriggle out of a situation or make others think a certain way. Dishonesty, in any form, is always something to watch for.

They Have No Empathy

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Being able to empathize with others is what leads people on a path of understanding and kindness toward what others are going through. If they’re always acting indifferent to other people’s feelings, it can reveal selfishness and even a lack of capability for understanding others.

They Don’t Take Accountability for Anything

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It takes a courageous person to own up to any mistakes they’ve made, showing that they’re willing to do better. So, a lack of accountability can be a key sign of someone not being a good person; as Psychology Today says, “defend, divert, deny and disengage” are all different examples of this behavior.

They’re Overly Charming or Flattering

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Being likable through excessive charm can actually be a sign that someone doesn’t mean it! Turning on the charm is a key tactic to manipulate others and to maintain control of people or situations. People can naturally be charming, but if it’s too much all the time, it might be insincere.

They’re Stubborn and Intolerant

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Intolerance towards a certain group, people, or mindset shows a clear lack of respect for others. A stubbornness to change one’s views means the person might be close-minded and unwilling to listen to anybody else’s perspective, leading to a lack of empathy.

Lack of Integrity

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If you’ve ever caught someone betraying the trust of others or disrespecting others for their own personal gain, what makes you think they won’t do this to you? It’s a surefire sign that they’re a person with a huge lack of integrity and not someone you want to put your trust in.

Controlling Behavior

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Healthline explains how a controlling person will “attempt to undermine your confidence” in an attempt to control you. Controlling behavior can manifest in many ways: they may try to dictate what others should or shouldn’t do, or they may have a jealous nature. Either way, it’s a sign of a bad egg. 

They’re Wildly Inconsistent

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A good person is going to consistently be that way because they won’t know any other way to be. A bad person, on the other hand, might be very erratic in their behavior. This could either be because they’re changing themselves to manipulate a situation, or they’re just an undependable person.

A Basic Lack of Respect

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Someone with bad intentions might constantly dismiss other people’s boundaries, including their personal space. They might also be rude through their words when talking about others and interrupt them when speaking to prioritize their own opinion, showing a basic lack of respect. It’s not a good look!

They Spread Rumors or Gossip

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You may have noticed that someone loves to talk about other people behind their backs, even if it’s something very inconsequential. This can reflect the type of person they are, showing a sign that they’re trying to twist the truth to suit their own gain by changing the story. That’s nothing short of evil!

Narcissist Traits

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According to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 5% of people in the U.S. may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder; it can be difficult to pinpoint this, though, because narcissists are good at getting people to like them. However, if someone acts like they’re the only person who matters, that’s a serious red flag.

Acts of Aggression

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Acts of aggression can be very common in someone who puts on a mask of flattery. They can become angry when their manipulation attempts fail, which can be a response to their frustration that other people aren’t doing what they want, something that a good person would never care about.


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You may have noticed that someone shows self-centeredness by always putting their own needs above others. They may act like they’re the most important person in the room—or maybe even on the planet—and they don’t show much interest in anybody else. There’s never anything good about that.

They Never Apologize

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Never being able to apologize is another key sign of being a bad person because it shows that someone never thinks they’ve done anything wrong. This plays again into the lack of accountability; they will never say sorry, and they will definitely never show remorse for anything, regardless of whether it has hurt others.

Lack of Gratitude

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If someone isn’t a good person, it’s common for them to take everyone else’s kindness for granted because they feel like they’re owed it. They won’t show any appreciation for other people’s support or help, and their sense of entitlement most certainly won’t allow them to reciprocate.

They’re Deceitful and Secretive

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It’s difficult to justify why a good person would need to be so secretive all the time, as this is only a sign that they’re up to something. Therefore, bad people might constantly hide their true feelings, intentions, or emotions or be extremely private people who never divulge anything personal.

Belittling and Judging Others

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Washington Daily News lists belittling as a form of emotional and psychological abuse, something that bad people don’t think twice about doing. They might make snap judgments about other people, and not only that, but they’ll take it a step further by belittling anyone they’re negatively judging.

They’re Very Irresponsible

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Most people with their hearts in the right place will try their best not to let people down and be responsible, while bad people will be the opposite. They’ll often neglect important things, act recklessly, and fail to commit to anything (especially if it doesn’t benefit them).

Emotional Manipulation in Close Relationships

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Last but not least, if someone isn’t a good person, it doesn’t just mean they’ll treat strangers or colleagues badly–it can also extend to the people closest to them in life. They might emotionally manipulate their partners, family members, or friends in order to exploit them, so don’t presume that everyone close to you is a good person!