17 alarming signs you need to stay away from someone

Do you ever get a hunch that something isn’t right about someone, but you can’t quite put your finger on it?

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you have a feeling you need to stay away from someone.

Here are some signs that confirm you’re right about it.

17 signs you need to stay away from someone

1) They don’t seem to respect boundaries

Would you say this person in mind ‘oversteps the mark’? Do they feel like they have a right to say things to you that are judgemental and unhelpful?

Do you find yourself wondering why they feel entitled to tell you how to live your life?

This is someone you should be mindful about spending time around, who has little respect for your boundaries.

I have to confess that, at a point in time, a friend of mine asked for space from me because she thought I’d said things that were out of line about her relationship.

I accept that what I said did little to help anything, but make her doubt my integrity and the reason for our friendship.

She asked for space from me and during this time I reflected on my behavior.

When we met up some months later, I told her that I respected her decision to set boundaries and I understand why she did it.

I would have done the same.

As if that’s not enough, research shows that boundaries are necessary for mental and emotional health, and not having boundaries can negatively impact a person’s life.

2) The person lives in victimhood

I’m sure at some point you’ve had someone tell you to stop playing the victim, if you’ve found yourself blaming another person for your upset.

Or maybe you’ve taken something to heart and it’s affected you in a way that’s shocked the other person.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve seen this in another person.

Whether it’s a romantic relationship or friendship, be careful of victimhood dynamics.

This is when a person sees themself as a victim, a phenomenon researchers have defined as a Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood (TIV).

People with this personality construct aren’t able to brush off moments in everyday social life, like being interrupted while talking, just like others are. Instead, they find themselves in a state of rumination and, as the study authors explain, “persistently paint themselves as a victim”.

I know that I can be sensitive in situations and find myself feeling upset about little comments made, but this isn’t to be confused with victimhood.

People with TIV experience intense negative emotions on another level.

3) You leave their company feeling bad about yourself

Now: have you heard the term ‘energy vampire’?

You might have also heard the term ‘psychic’ vampire.

These people are known to zap energy from other people, leaving them feeling drained and exhausted.

If this sounds familiar with someone in particular, then it’s an alarming sign that you need to stay away from them.

It’s not to say that this person can’t change. However, at this point in their life, they’re needing to feed off others’ energy in order to fuel their life force.

Coach Melody Wilding explains that energy vampires can try to “one-up” you and prove they are more successful than you in life.

They also complain about other people.

As if that’s not enough, they never take accountability for the things they say and they criticize you or others.

This can be through small digs or through overt means.

Are you able to pinpoint what it is about them that makes you feel bad?

4) They make you doubt yourself

‘Gaslighting’ is a term you might have heard used in conjunction with narcissism.

It describes the sort of manipulation that takes place to create self-doubt.

Psychology Today explains that victims of gaslighting are actually fed false information deliberately, which makes them question their memory and sanity.

In my own experience, my mum spent over five years married to a narcissist so I’ve seen gaslighting first-hand.

She was repeatedly told that information had been shared with her when it hadn’t, that he was places that he wasn’t, plus she was deliberately left out of things.

She even once saw a photo where he’d taken off his wedding ring.

He denied doing it, even though the photo showed otherwise.

He would stick to his word that he was somewhere else, when she’d phoned up hotels to see if he was there or looked up train times when he’d said he was en route somewhere.

It sounds a little intense on my mum’s part, but his ongoing narcissistic behavior drove her to check-up on things to see if her intuition was right.

Of course, intuition never lies.

She was right.

If you’re wondering whether the person you’re thinking of is a narcissist, reflect on these three questions:

  • Does this person call you crazy or overemotional?
  • Does this person say one thing and do another?
  • Does being in this person’s presence leave you feeling powerless and confused?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, then take it as an alarming sign that you need to stay away from someone.

5) You feel as though they constantly need something from you

There’s a difference between someone making you feel needed and someone being needy.

Let’s admit it: feeling needed is something we all like to feel.

But no one likes having someone needy around.

Truth is: this sort of relationship finds itself in co-dependent territory.

My boyfriend has a friend who I think is quite needy.

It was worse in the early days of our relationship, but as we got more and more serious she seemed to stop messaging as much.

Some days she would call him multiple times a day and she would always add that she loved him so much on text messages.

She would get upset with him when he didn’t respond to her in good time and she made a point to say she felt like he wasn’t bothering to spend time with her

He made me aware that this was just her nature and it was nothing to worry about, which I have believed all along.

Nevertheless, I still found this sort of neediness so intense from another person.

Observing it, it felt sort of controlling.

What does this mean for you?

If you feel like someone is demanding more time of you than you’d like to give, think back to my earlier point about boundaries and put some in place.

Still working whether it’s neediness you’re observing? Author Sylvia Smith explains that always texting one another and losing a sense of self are two key components to neediness.

6) Drama follows them around

We all know people like this.

They’re miserable in their job; they’re having problems with this friend or in this relationship; things never seem to be going their way.

It’s the same pattern in whatever job or situation they’re in.

Moving to another city doesn’t change anything.

Sound familiar?

You’ve got a toxic person on your hands.

If someone is prone to drama, it’s safe to say it’s an alarming sign to stay away from them.

The more time you spend with them, the more likely it is that their drama will soon become yours.

This is what makes them toxic: all of their crap will seep into your lie.

Look closely at why you want this type of person in your life.

7) They don’t have long-term friends

This was the case with my mum’s ex-husband, the narcissist.

It was as though he’d lived his life without a trace.

And it was no surprise why: this guy had gone through life burning bridges, letting people down and being the creep he was that repels people.

Even though he was ‘charming’ on the surface – a classic covert narcissist trait – there was something that was just a little off about him.

Many people told my mum that they sensed his creepiness and wanted to stay away from him.

They used to run a business together and customers, who later became friends, even told her that they avoided coming in because of him.

I’m not kidding.

You see, it’s important to question whether someone has significant long-term friends. If not, there might be a reason.

Ask yourself: does it seem like they’re shifting from one group to another all the time? Then think about why.

Make a note of their relationship patterns – there will be a reason people want nothing to do with them.

8) Manipulation is their default

Master manipulators like to play on others’ insecurities.

This can show up as guilt-tripping someone and playing the victim, interrogating someone or being intentionally deceitful.

It could also include narcissistic traits like gaslighting or love-bombing.

Gaslighting, as we discussed earlier, may make you doubt your very self. Meanwhile, love-bombing is a term to describe intense bursts of attention and affection that create dependency.

darius bashar I8Q261NtB24 unsplash 1 1 17 alarming signs you need to stay away from someone

These games help the ‘abuser’ get what they want out of a situation.

For example, in a romantic relationship, the person may feel as though no one else could love them.

This is an alarming sign of manipulation that points to staying away from the person in question.

9) They can be inconsistent

Do you feel like one minute you’re in, the next you’re out? Maybe this person makes you wonder where you stand in the relationship?

This is a sign of inconsistency.

As if that’s not enough, do you doubt this person is going to follow through on their word?

Being a “flake” is not a good personality trait.

Someone is an inconsistent flake if they’re not reliable and they let you down at the last minute.

For me, one time is enough for me to doubt whether that person is consistent.

Research shows that flaking is more commonplace today because technology puts distance between us, allowing us to be more non-committal. But that still doesn’t make it OK.

If someone says they are going to do something, you should expect that to be the case.

Of course, unexpected circumstances come our way in life, but there is a difference.

If you spot this trait in someone, take it as an alarming sign to stay far away.

10) Your friends and family tell you to watch out for them

More than anyone, your friends and family know you – and they know what is good for you.

If these people highlight fears about your partner or a friend in your life, heed their advice.

Chances are, they can sense when someone isn’t right for you.

Sometimes, because we want to believe someone is who they say they are or what we want them to be, the reality is warped.

Your friends and family may pick up on signs long before you do, as they pick up on who the person really is without any preconceived ideas.

11) Their friends give you the creeps

Meeting a new friend or romantic partner can open you up to a wider circle of wonderful people.

But what if you feel as though that person’s friends creep you out?

If you struggle to connect with the people this person chooses to spend time with and you can’t understand what it is they gain from these friendships, it’s time to reevaluate.

Consider whether this person chooses friends who are:

  • Motivated
  • Adventurous
  • Hard-working
  • Thoughtful
  • Optimistic

Or whether they surround themselves with people who are:

These are important facets to consider as motivation speaker Jim Rohn once said we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

12) You constantly complain about them to your friends

Simply put: it’s fine to vent to your friends about your partner or another person.

But you need to check-in with yourself about how often this is happening.

It’s an alarming sign that you need to get out of this situation if you find yourself talking about how much that person upsets or annoys you.

Or even worse: how you don’t like their character traits.

This is just going to drive a wedge between you and that person, and become an incredibly toxic situation.

You owe it to yourself to be honest.

13) They don’t celebrate your achievements

The people around you should be your biggest fans.

If it’s anything but, rethink their role in your life.

Cast your mind back to the last time you got a promotion or an opportunity came your way – did this person genuinely show happiness for you?

Or did this person find a way to put you down subtly?

If it’s the latter then it’s a big indication that you should stay away from them.

When it comes to celebrations, a genuine “well done” can be enough, while gift-giving and organizing a day-out are even better.

14) They’re pessimistic

Psychology Today defines pessimism as a tendency to expect the worst in situations.

It’s linked to anxiety and depression.

Their default is to think that things aren’t going to work out, rather than seeing all of the opportunities in life.

Everything is doom and gloom.

Now: if we’re the sum of the five people closest to us, then we want to be around people who see life through the perspective of the half-full glass.

People who inspire us and lift us up.

Just like people bring good vibes, they can also bring bad vibes.

As if that’s not enough, research actually shows negativity is harmful and contagious.

If you feel like you’re constantly getting bad vibes, it’s a sign to stay away from this person.

15) You make poor decisions around them

This one calls for honest self-reflection: do you find yourself making bad decisions around this person?

It could be bad habits, like overeating junk food, or not applying yourself to your work or studies.

Try and notice the patterns that are triggered when you’re with this person and look closely at why this is happening.

If you feel anything more than your best self when you’re with this person, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t be investing your time into them.

16) The relationship feels one-sided

If you’ve felt like you’re giving a lot only to get very little back, it’s an alarming sign you should cut this relationship.

A one-sided relationship, an expert explains, sees a power imbalance.

One person tends to put more time and effort in and feels like they’re getting little in return.

If you’re wondering whether your relationship with the person in question is one-sided, ask yourself:

  • Do they only talk about themselves?
  • Do you find yourself helping them while they offer you little guidance?
  • Do you feel like you’re carrying the relationship?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, you could be in a one-sided relationship.

17) Other relationships suffer as a result of them

This one often applies in romantic relationships, but this pattern can show up in friendships too.

Is this person explicitly demanding all of your time or covertly making you feel obliged to give them all of your time?

As I say above, if you sense there is a level of neediness then it’s an alarming sign that you need to get away from them regardless.

If it’s actually damaging your other relationships, you need to think about whether it’s worth it.

What are you actually getting out of the relationship?

Simply put, unless you two can work things out: over time dynamic this will only get worse.

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

Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.