23 CLEAR Signs You Should Stay Away From Someone (2024)

Below, you’ll find a list of 23 signs you should stay away from someone.

While you should absolutely feel free to set your own boundaries for who you hang out with, the list below features clear signs that someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Signs You Should Stay Away From Someone
Photo By karlyukav On freepik

Hopefully, everyone agrees that it’s best to stay away from someone like that.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients better understand their relationships with other people.

That’s why I’m keen to share this list of signs you should stay away from someone.  

So, let’s dive in.   

How Do You Tell If You Should Stay Away From Someone?

I’ve split the list into three categories of toxic people/toxic behaviors. 

Signs Someone Has Bad Intentions

As mentioned, if someone doesn’t have your best intentions at heart, it’s best to stay away from them. Here are the most common warning signs that someone has bad intentions.  

1. They Are Controlling

If someone is attempting to control you, so you act in a way that they like, it’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable with this. They don’t have your best intentions at heart. They just want you to act in a way that benefits them. 

2. They Don’t Respect Boundaries

Hopefully, you have clear boundaries for how you expect people to act around you. Hopefully, you’re able to let people know when they break these boundaries. If you set boundaries around this person and they still break them, it’s a clear warning sign they have bad intentions.

3. They Always Take And Never Give 

Friendship should be a two-way street. You two are not close friends if they refuse to help you in any way. They are just using you.

Sure, it’s possible they’re going through a rough patch, in which case it might feel wrong for them to give and you to take. But these things should even themselves out over time.

4. They Are Manipulative

Does this person seem to always have a way of convincing you to do things you don’t want to do? Do they engage in guilt-tripping, emotional outbursts and other intimidation tactics? While it’s important to be strong enough to recognize and reject manipulative behavior, it’s also probably in your best interests to stay away from people who try to manipulate you.

5. They Gaslight You

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where one person tries to convince the other that they are crazy or stupid. They do this to make people feel anxious and convince them into taking their advice. It’s a common sign of an abusive relationship, but it happens between ‘friends’ and family members too. Stay away from gaslighters at all costs.

6. You Make Bad Decisions Around Them

While you need to take accountability for your own decisions, if you find yourself constantly making bad decisions in the presence of a certain person, a good solution might be to stay away from them altogether.

7. They’re Surrounded By Constant Drama

It’s true that drama can find us all at times. But if this person is constantly surrounded by drama in their life, that’s a clear sign that they have bad intentions. Your best bet is to stay away from someone like this before you get tangled up in their drama.

8. They’re A Pessimist

Good vibes are infectious. Bad vibes are too. If this person is always focusing on the bad side of life, their emotional energy will eventually intoxicate you. For the sake of your mental health, it’s best to stay away from negative people.

9. You Feel Bad About Yourself When You’re Together

This is one of the clearest signs you should stay away from someone. It’s a warning sign that the other things in this list are happening. Perhaps it’s because they’re one of those negative people that you should avoid. Maybe it’s because they’re manipulating you or putting you down.

Either way, it’s recommended to stay away from toxic people who make you feel bad about yourself. 

10. You Stoop To Their Toxic Level

It’s important to take accountability for your own bad behavior. But it’s a fact of life that we take inspiration from our closest friends and peers. So, if you find yourself engaging in toxic behavior, it might be worth evaluating which toxic people you’re being inspired by – and to keep away from them.

11. You Don’t Have Fun Around Them 

It’s a simple question to ask about your friends; do I have fun around them?. If you don’t, that should be the only thing you need to know to decide you should stay away from them.  

Signs Someone Looks Down On You

When you’re spending lots of time with someone who looks down on you, this isn’t great for your mental health. Unless you’re incredibly assured and strong-willed, it can harm your self-esteem and limit your potential.

Here are some of the telltale signs that you’re friends with a toxic person who is trying to make you feel small. 

12. They Dismiss All Your Ideas

Either they’re a pessimist or deliberately trying to drag you down. It’s more common than you might think for ‘friends’ to stifle each other’s growth and creativity, as a way of feeling better about their own mediocrity. If you want to thrive in life, it’s better to stay away from the nay-sayers and spend time with the people who support you.

13. They’re Flaky

If this person is constantly cancelling plans with you, that’s a major sign that they don’t respect your time or see yours as valuable as theirs.

14. They Blame You For Their Mistakes

This behavior can also impact your mental health if you let it. You’re better off deciding to cut ties with people who can’t accept they’re in the wrong.

15. They Don’t Listen To You

If you notice someone doesn’t seem to listen to you when you’re talking, that’s another sign that they see you as below them. Don’t feel guilty about deciding to stay away from people like this.

16. They Don’t Remember What You Tell Them

Another sign that you’re just not that important in their eyes. Clearly what you say doesn’t matter enough to remember. Cut ties with people like this for your own self-esteem and well-being.

17. They Put Other People Ahead Of You

If you’re constantly being overlooked in favor of someone else, that’s another sign you should stay away from someone. Pay attention to how you’re treated in group settings. Are you treated with the respect you deserve, or are you constantly overlooked?    

Signs Someone Might Be Dangerous 

Your safety should be the most important thing, no matter how ‘cool’ you think someone is. If danger follows a person around, that’s one of the most important signs you should stay away from someone. That’s why I felt it was important to include the warning signs of a dangerous person.  

18. They Have A History Of Dangerous Behavior

While it is possible for a dangerous or toxic person to change their ways, it’s fair to say that someone with a history of bad behavior is more likely to still be involved in it. 

19. They’re Secretive

People only act secretive if they have bad stuff to hide. Always remember that. If you’ve got a gut feeling that someone is hiding dodgy stuff from you, you’re usually right. 

20. They Won’t Meet In Public

If you’re meeting someone from a dating app or other online platform, it’s good practice to meet in a public place first. This is a common courtesy so you can decide whether the other person is safe.

If such a person refuses to meet in a public place, you should take that as a giant red flag and consider refusing to meet them altogether.

21. They Don’t Have A Lot Of Details About Themselves Online

While we’re on the topic of meeting people from the internet, it’s always helpful to have a scope of their online profiles before agreeing to unite in the real world. If they don’t have a lot of pictures or information on social media, take this as a reason to be suspicious of them. Remember, people aren’t secretive unless they have something to hide.    

22. They Don’t Have A Lot Of Friends

If people don’t tend to have a lot of friends, you can take that as a solid indicator that they’re not a great person to hang out with. Sure, there are some genuine reasons to not have a lot of friends. Maybe they’re new in town or something. But, even then, you should expect to see evidence of their previous friendship circle on social media.

23. Your Friends And Family Warn You About Them

Your best friends and family members usually do have your best interests at heart. If they warn you about a toxic person in your life, it’s usually because they see something you don’t.

Sure, it’s possible that they’re wrong or even that they’re jealous. But please at least take their opinions into consideration. Realize that it’s possible that you’re blinded by rose-tinted glasses. This is how people end up in toxic relationships with dangerous people.  

Frequently Asked Questions About The Signs Of A Toxic Person

Toxic Person
Photo By Isaiah Rustad On Unsplash

Let’s round off the article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about the warning signs of a toxic person.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Toxic Person?

If you’re trying to identify a toxic person, take another look at the above list of signs you should stay away from someone. They are one and the same.

The worst thing about these symptoms is that they tend to be infectious. We tend to mirror other people’s negative personality traits when we spend too much time with them. The only way to avoid it is to limit the amount of time we spend with them. 

What Are The 5 Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship?

There are articles out there where experts explain the five signs of an unhealthy relationship, but there are arguably far more than five signs that a romantic relationship is unhealthy.

It’s fair to say that all healthy relationships have trust, respect, stability, compromise and good communication. A toxic relationship is one that lacks some or all of these elements. Of course, if a relationship features violence, bullying or any type of manipulation, that’s an abusive relationship and you need to get out as quickly as you can. 

For more tips on creating healthy relationships, see this guide on breaking the cycle of push-pull relationships,

This guide on making a relationship work after several break-ups can also help in your quest to seek a healthy relationship. 

When You Should Stay Away From Him

Men are capable of treating women badly in a relationship, even if they really do love them. There’s no telling just what someone’s insecurities can lead them to do. It can be tough to leave guys with toxic personalities once you’re in a committed relationship with them, but it really is best to stay away from someone showing these red flags, before it impacts your life too deeply.

Signs You Should Stay Away From Her

Women are just as capable as men at having toxic personalities that are detrimental to those around them. In fact, all of the listed signs you should stay from someone can be shown by women, as well as men. As tough as it can be to walk away from relationships with beautiful and oftentimes sweet women, please know this is in the best interests of your mental health.

How To Stay Away From Someone You Are Attracted To

The answer is to develop an abundance mindset. Most men and women who can’t stay away from toxic love interests are deeply insecure, from a romantic standpoint at least. They don’t trust in their ability to find other relationships. So, despite seeing the \warning signs within this person, they make excuses why it’s OK to stay with them.

A confident person has strong boundaries for who they spend time with. The moment someone breaks these boundaries, they’re likely to be cut out of this person’s life. They have no time for toxic people. More importantly, they have no problem cutting ties because they have a strong belief in their ability to attract great people into their life.

If you struggle with low self-esteem and find it difficult to develop an abundance mindset, it’s worth exploring why that is, perhaps with the assistance of a life coach or a therapist.   

Why Do I Keep Attracting Toxic People Into My Life? 

There are a lot of good people in this world. If you keep getting into relationships with toxic people, it’s time to accept some responsibility for that.

Our own mental health plays a big part for who we decide to get into relationships with. Women will often seek men similar to the male role models in their family. Men will seek women who mirror the female role models in their family. So, if you were raised by toxic people, you’re more likely to seek a relationship with toxic people.

As previously mentioned, those with low self-esteem are more likely to ignore the red flags within the toxic people trying to become a part of their life.

If you have been with more than one person with the same surest signs of toxicity, that is a pattern. It can be tempting to fall into the same traps over and over again. The good news is: it is possible to break the pattern with some conscious effort.  

The first point to breaking this pattern is taking a moment to recognize it. In most cases, it can be traced back to your family or your low self-esteem. Either way, take a look at the previous relationship you regretted and recognize exactly what was wrong. More importantly, learn from it and make a conscious decision to stay away from people like that again.

Any More Questions About The Signs You Should Stay Away From Someone

Thanks for reading my guide. I hope it helps you avoid negative people moving forward in your life.

Please don’t feel bad about choosing to stay away from toxic people. They can do more damage to your mental health than you probably realize. Of course, you can and should cut ties with them in a healthy way.   

If you have any questions regarding this list of signs you should stay away from someone, feel free to ask it in the comments section below.   

I’ll do my best to answer all of them.

Related Content

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.