15 Warning Signals You’re Friends With a Problematic Person

Red alert, readers! Has someone made you think, “Hmm, there's something a little…off here?” We all have! Sometimes, that gut feeling is just last night's questionable sushi, but other times, it's your intuition picking up on warning signals of a problematic person. 

1. Hypocrisy

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You've seen them. The ones who loudly champion causes on social media but contradict those same values in their daily actions. Like those who preach about saving the planet but won't recycle a soda can or religious people who believe God's word is final but can't even be kind to their neighbors. Their philosophy is “Rules for thee, but not for me.” The mask they wear varies depending on their audience.

2. They're Always Right

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Ever met someone who's allergic to “I was wrong”? Engaging with the die-hard members of the “I'm always right” club can be emotionally taxing. They think admitting mistakes is a fatal flaw. Even when the world screams evidence to the contrary, they remain anchored to their opinions. One person shares, “Known some people that not only don't admit when they're wrong, but they would gaslight me into feeling apologetic for even confronting them about something.”

3. Self-Proclaimed Nice People

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When someone loves to talk about how “nice” they are, it's like, who are they trying to convince — us or themselves? Being nice doesn't mean they're good people. Hold the humble brag, Please! Whenever someone insists that they are anything, it is a red flag. No one should have to state their good qualities — these things should be obvious in their behavior.

Imagine someone sliding into a conversation with, “Hey, just so you know, I'm probably the nicest and most humble person you'll ever meet. Wanna be BFFs?” We'll swipe left on that offer, thanks!

4. Their Adult Children Cut Them Off

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Deciding to distance oneself from their parents isn't like skipping dessert after dinner (though both can be challenging). It's a heart-wrenching decision that often takes years and decades to make. Children tend to excuse their parent's behavior and justify some cruel acts. So, when someone reaches that “enough is enough” point, it should make you wonder how bad the situation is.

Someone quips, “If your adult kids don't speak to you, you were not a good parent.” If they have one estranged child, it could be the kid's fault. More than one? Look in the mirror.

5. How They Treat Animals

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One's interaction with animals can reveal volumes about their soul. With their boundless love and purity, these voiceless beings deserve the utmost kindness. When someone can't show “lower animals” or animals that they can overpower kindness, it's not just a momentary lapse — it's a glaring character flaw. You best believe they'd treat you the same way if they had their way.

6. Weaponized Apathy

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Some people treat life like a giant litter box for their careless behavior. We're not talking about folks on the brink of burnout. We mean those people that simply don't care about anyone or anything. They expect others to clean their trash, and they “keep it real” by being complete jerks to the people around them. All they care about is what they can get away with.

These people are usually indecent and probably even know their behavior is wrong but don't care enough to change. Some might call this apathy, but let's call it what it is: weaponized incompetence.

7. Being Mean to Kids

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Children are the embodiment of pure joy and innocence. It's one thing not to like kids. Going out of your way to be mean to them is another thing. If you meet someone who finds irritation in a child's uninhibited laughter or sheer wonder, question what's missing in their heart. Anyone distant from such joy might be too removed from genuine human connection.

8. Lack of Reciprocity

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Always on the receiving end and never giving back? Honey, life's a two-way street! Relationships of every kind thrive on mutual exchanges of love, respect, and effort. You face a roadblock if you find yourself constantly on the giving end, with little to no return. Those who offer nothing but take endlessly often view relationships as transactions, not connections.

9. Manipulation

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Some people majored in Mind Games 101, and to such people, everyone is a piece in their game. Beware of these cunning puppet masters weaving webs of deceit. Strings are attached to every word and action, and they will twist tales and scenarios to fit their narrative. Manipulators don't see people; they see pieces in their grand game. Look for tell-tale signs like persistence despite boundaries, compulsive lying, gaslighting, etc. And once you're sure you're dealing with a manipulator, it's time to exit the game.

10. No Accountability

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Nothing sticks to them; no mistake is ever theirs. And they're professional victims. It's bad enough when you have to live with someone who loves stepping on your toes. It's way worse when they always find a way to blame you. It doesn't even have to be someone you're close to. If you know anyone who's always the victim in every story, you should question their genuity.

11. Gaslighting

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Mind games are in levels, and gaslighting takes the crown. What happens next after someone wrongs you, manipulates you, and accepts no accountability for their actions? They gaslight you! They literally have no other cards to play. Gaslighters have an uncanny ability to twist reality and make you question the validity of a situation.

12. Treating Service Workers Badly

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There's much to learn from how someone treats those serving them. The accurate measure of character is not how one acts in the limelight but in mundane, everyday interactions. Be wary if they treat their superiors respectfully and act friendly around a crowd, but treat waiters and servers like they're less than human! When they no longer need you, you'll surely see a different side of them.

Someone shares the perfect example: “You know like you got some people that go “tsk tsk tsk tsk” and make weird like animal sounds to call waiters over to take their order? I feel like that's pretty dehumanizing, and these guys really tick me off.”

13. They Can't Take “No”

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A simple “No” can unravel some people. Their inability to respect boundaries shows a lack of understanding and a profound sense of entitlement. Personal space and choice aren't up for debate; it's a blatant red flag if they think otherwise. No means no. And anyone that can't compute that will be too problematic to handle soon.

14. Bigotry

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If someone makes snap judgments based on skin, gender, or who someone loves, you should use the quickest exit route from your life. When one views the world through a lens of prejudice, it's not just about having opinions — it's about fostering division. In all its forms, bigotry is an ugly mask worn by those who fear differences instead of embracing them.

15. How They Treat People They Don't Need

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The ultimate character litmus test is how we treat those from whom we have nothing to gain. If you're only friendly when there's a benefit, that speaks volumes about who you are. Keep a keen eye on how someone treats those they believe they have nothing to gain from. If kindness appears conditional, you don't want to be around such a person for too long.

Source: Reddit.

Author: Boloere Seibidor


Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S., is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sights. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.