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There are a plethora of people who are kind-hearted, honest, empathetic, warm, those who truly care about the welfare of other people (and don’t just say this but make it obvious with their actions), and who are humble, loyal, trustworthy, thoughtful, and hard-working.

And then there are people who are not these things.

It isn’t always easy to know right off the bat if someone is not-so-great though. This can take months and over the course of a lot of experiences with someone to figure it out. Sometimes, such a thing is obvious right off the bat (that someone has a crappy character), and other times, it isn’t. Other times, it takes far more observation of a person in order to see this.

In the meantime, here are some telltale traits that likely indicate someone is not so fantastic.

They Are Stingy

Just because someone is stingy doesn’t automatically make them a terrible person. Yet, it heavily implies they may not be so great. Here is why: stinginess indicates things like a lack of generosity, selfishness, a lack of willingness to extend oneself for others, and a generally more restricted kind of soul.

Stingy is the opposite of giving.

It’s the opposite of open.

It’s the opposite of welcoming.

And stingy need not relate only to money. Stinginess can come in many forms. Being stingy can happen with one’s love, with one’s words, with apologies or forgiveness, with one’s focus and listening, as well as, yes, one’s money.

They Make Fun of the Underdog and Don’t Feel Quite Sad When Innocents Are Treated Badly

Anyone who makes fun of other people for no reason is a jerk. This especially holds true for putting down the underdog. Think A Beautiful Mind (movie), the scene when Russell Crowe is walking across campus and several of his fellow students (unbeknownst to him) begin miming his limp and abnormal walk, mocking him behind his back. These people? They are terrible humans.

Those who are cruel and mock others just because? They are not good at heart. This indicates someone lacking in empathy and someone who is intentionally trying to cause pain, harm, and a sense of being cast out to other people, and that, my friends, is not a good person.

If Ever You Have an Issue With Them, You Are Automatically the Problem

We all know someone like this. It’s never their fault. You have an issue with something they did? They never did that in the first place! Someone else is to blame anyway (most likely you).

These people are perpetual victims. They are never at fault. Someone else is always causing problems in their life. Someone else is always too sensitive, misconstruing it, or seeing things wrong. But the other person did something crappy too, they insist. The universe is out to get them. They tried their best but, you know, this always happens to them.

These types of people? Not so great. Why? They have no sense of personal responsibility, they do not see clearly, they are ever pointing the finger at others, and thus, problem-solving or actually working out issues with them is never going to happen.

They Never Apologize, or if They Do It Usually Comes Off Inauthentic or As Though They Want Something From It

Watch out for this one. Someone who rarely if ever apologizes is a person who is self-righteous. They are also likely lacking empathy. And worse yet, they might not even actually care. And, if or when they do apologize, it’s a means of advantage for them, a way of getting something they want, a method of paving the way for things to be better for them.

They Have No Legitimate Curiosity in the Lives, Interests, Challenges, and Feelings of Their Loved Ones

This, again, relates to lack of empathy (since empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and to image what another person might be feeling), which, in order to possess, one needs to actually have an interest in other people. This also relates to extreme self-centeredness and someone with who, generally, you will never be able to have anything beyond a shallow connection. People who have zero interest in the feelings, experiences, and thoughts of others are islands, they are disconnected and likely selfish.

They Do Not Keep Their Word

Another word for this: unreliable. And people who are unreliable are not those we can or do trust. When someone says they will do something, a good person keeps their word. Why? Because they know it’s the main evidence of how they earn the trust of others. And this is something that good people want and care about.

They Are Always Angry About Something, Always Resentful, Always Cynical

Many of us also probably know someone like this. The person who is always resentful and angry about something, who is ever complaining, and routinely looking on the negative side of things. This is someone whose heart has curdled and hardened and will ultimately be a major bummer to be around most of the time.

They Are Bitter About the Successes and Joys of Their Loved Ones

People who are angered and embittered by the joys in the lives of their loved ones have serious issues. They have experienced disappointments, sadness, and things in their life they aren’t happy about over the years, which they have ruminated on and now blame others for.

This is because they have no sense of agency toward improving their own life, toward personal responsibility, or towards empowering themselves to make changes, so they do the easier thing: sit around and stew. All while getting mad at everyone else who does have a sense of agency and motivation toward their own life choices.

They Feel Good When Cutting Other People Down or Causing Others To Feel Uncomfortable

These are people who feel a rush of power inside when they scream at others and watch those others shrink back. They are the ones who enjoy inserting a backhanded compliment (aka, an insult) into a conversation with someone and watching that person flinch. They feel a boost when talking about how ugly or stupid or pathetic someone else is as if by comparison, this somehow makes them hotter or smarter or awesome.

One note: there is a difference between making character observations about others versus cutting them down just to be cruel. If I meet someone and, over a few interactions, observe they seem to be controlling or unfriendly or dishonest, and then I tell one of my friends this observation about that person, this is not necessarily “cutting someone else down.” This is normal human talk, to observe and form thoughts about the people around us.

Cutting someone down and feeling good about it instead refers to saying cruel things about someone which have nothing to do with their inner character and have more to do with just mocking them for sport. There is a difference. And people who do the latter don’t have good character.

They Rarely, if Ever Feel Deep Remorse

When someone has caused another pain, or disappointment, or insult, a good person feels awful for this. They feel it in their stomach, in their chest, and deep in their bones. They think about it afterward. They ruminate on it. They might even lose sleep over it. This is a good person. And then, they offer a heartfelt apology.

Then there are people who feel badly briefly and then, for the most part, forget about it. There are also people who don’t really care at all. These people are lacking a sense of empathy, care, respect toward others, and are even lacking a sense of love for others.

If you run into people with these traits (stinginess, those who make fun of the underdog or innocents, people who are never to blame, those who never apologize, people without much interest in others, the ones who don’t keep their word, those who are always angry and bitter about the successes of loved ones, people who enjoy cutting others down and the ones who rarely to never feel remorse), keep your distance.


Brooke Meredith

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