Red Flags of Toxic People to Watch Out For! How to Know When to Run for the Hills and Not Look Back!

Some relationships in life are choices and some are not. We cannot pick our family or our boss but we do get to pick our friends and our romantic partners. Especially if you just met someone new, it can be difficult to identify the red flags of toxic people and it is not always easy to know whom to avoid in life. Many wolves hide in sheep’s clothing and often you have to step back and take a closer look to see red flags in relationships.  Unless people really want to change and are willing to put the work into change, they will continue to do the same lousy stuff. Pay attention to the below list of red flags so you can avoid yourself big headaches in the future. If you notice these traits in your friends or romantic partners, evaluate the benefits of having these people in your life. Surround yourself with people that build you up and make your life better. No one is perfect and we all have our faults, but if you can identify some of these red flags in your relationships with your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, you may want to reconsider their role in your life.

Catching them fibbing– Lying tends to be a habitual behavior. It is also a symptom associated with many mental health disorders.  Lying about big things and little things is equally a big deal and a big red flag.  Can you spot inconsistencies in their stories?  Dating someone who has already cheated? You are getting into some risky business….. You need to trust your friends and romantic partners. If you have noticed a pattern of lying, you have no trust in your relationship. It is hard to have a healthy relationship if you do not have trust. Also once you lose trust; it is tough to get it back. Lying is a major red flag.

People who have a lot of crazy ex partners, crazy family members and crazy former friends

If someone shares with you early in a relationship that their ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, mother, or former friend is “crazy”, odds are it is not true. Healthy people do not usually go around calling people they once cared about “crazy”, especially not early on in a new relationship. Usually people with serious relationship difficulties like to blame their failures and wrong doings on other people being “crazy”.  In psychology, we call this projection. I do not like the word crazy so I will say emotionally  unstable…….often emotionally unstable people talk about  a history of “crazy” past relationships.  Red flag and get your running shoes on!

Superficial compliments,  shallow flattery, and being too nice– Therapists are often very suspicious of the nicest most charming guy or girl in the room.  That is because they tend to be on the high side of acceptable narcissism and putting on a show. They are not showing you their true self.   Be careful because this can be done is a flashy attention seeking or more humble way so it is not always easy to see.  If someone is constantly giving you compliments, flattering you, and being oh so nice and or so sweet, they probably are too good to be true.  People often demonstrate this behavior to hook you in only to disappoint you or manipulate you later. If someone is always bending over backwards and acts more like your butler than your friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, especially in the beginning of a relationship, they could have issues with boundaries or attachment too.  Find nice friends and romantic partners but if it seems over the top, phony, or not genuine, pay attention!

Drinking too much or doing drugs– For most people this is a no brainer but sometimes problem drinking behavior or drug use is not so easy to spot. If your friend or romantic partner cannot seem to have just one drink ever, this is a red flag.  If they want to have a few drinks before they go out on Saturday night, this is a red flag. If they only drink on Fridays but every Friday they get sloppy drunk, this is a red flag. If they are hiding what they drink from you or lying about it, this is a red flag. If they look to drink or do drugs when they are stressed or have a bad day to relax, that is another red flag. If they cannot celebrate something special without drinking or drugs, yep big red flag. A few drinks or using drugs every day, even if they do not get intoxicated is a red flag. Do you get in fights with them when they drink or use drugs or about their drinking or drug use? Yep, not good. Do they drink and do drugs and have no problem driving home? BIG RED FLAG. Do they make poor choices when they drink or do drugs? If so, you better think twice about having this kind of person in your life.  Proceed with EXTREME CAUTION if you observe any of the above behaviors in your friends or romantic partners.

Being physically aggressive:

If a friend or romantic partner ever hits you, pushes you, or threatens to hurt you. You leave that relationship. No further explanation needed on this one. If they do it once, they will do it again. You deserve better.

Name calling or being verbally aggressive:

Healthy adults do not call you names or scream at you. If your friends or romantic partners speak with you in a disrespectful way this is not healthy for you.  Watch out for backhanded compliments, passive aggressive behavior and put-downs. Not cool.

People who stand you up:

People who cannot keep their word, constantly show up late or are just unreliable will stress you out and make your worry.  Same thing goes for people who will not return your call or take hours to return a text.  People make time for you if you are important to them. These behaviors are red flags.

People who cannot commit to anything:

Individuals who constantly switch jobs, can’t make plans in advance, and struggle making decisions tend to have deeper problems beneath the surface. Watch out for these things!

Ups and downs… the rollercoaster relationships

If your friends or romantic partners are moody and you never know if you are going to see the nice version or the mean version, this is a red flag.  Mood swings, unpredictable behaviors, and emotional breakdowns are not normal parts of relationships.  It is perfectly fine to be angry or sad if you have a reason to be. It is not okay to flip out for no reason.

Always the victim

Many people have bad luck and we will all go through hardships but watch out for people who are always playing the victim role.  If your friend or romantic partner is always reporting that people are unfair to him/her, take advantage of him/her or some huge injustice is always happening to him/her, this could be a red flag.

Impulsive decision-making

Most people think before they make a big choice. If your friend or romantic partner all of a sudden buys a car, sells their house, quits their job, or  on a whim  wants to move to China with you with no plan, you may want to take a few steps back and evaluate this relationship. There is a fine line between being spontaneous and being irresponsible. In general, people who lack self-control and make impulsive decisions tend to be very problematic in relationships.

Not pulling their weight

Do you always have to pay the bill, make the reservation, plan the event, clean, cook etc.? Relationships are never 50/50 but you should not be the person always stuck doing all the work maintaining the relationship. You get to forget your wallet once, twice and it is a red flag!

These are just a list of some red flags to look out for in relationships. There are countless others. Listen to your gut and try to get in touch with your intuition. If something does not feel right, it probably is a sign that something or someone is not good for you. Watch out for those red flags guys and gals!

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