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Have you ever wondered what small, seemingly innocuous habits in others could be telltale signs of trouble ahead?
Our daily lives are filled with little things that we take for granted, facial expressions, body language, subtle sound cues, without which the texture of our days would feel odd.
But when these smallest tells signal warnings rather than normalcy, it’s time to pay attention and act accordingly.
Let’s examine 16 overlooked yet significant indicators that can indicate something is off in a relationship or someone is being dishonest, something that shouldn’t be ignored.
#1. Unusual Communication Patterns
It’s normal for people in relationships to have different communication styles and frequencies, but big changes in patterns can be a red flag.
Examples of this include someone suddenly becoming unresponsive or changing their timeline for getting back to you without explanation.
If it seems like the other person is being evasive and avoiding substantive conversation, try probing further.
#2. Leaving Out The Details
If you notice they’re holding back information about their activities or whereabouts, it could be a sign that something is wrong in the relationship.
This could range from declining to mention what happened on their night out with friends to not telling you where they are and why.
In any case, open communication should be encouraged so you can talk through potential issues together.
#3. They Say That All of Their Exes Are Crazy
Granted, this may be true. Some people have a person in their past who may not have been a good person or engaged in bad behavior.
However, it’s doubtful that every person someone has dated in the past was a bad or crazy person.
If this happens, it could raise awareness that the person you’re talking to has had an issue with everyone and may have bad habits like poor communication.
If everyone else is the problem, there’s a good chance that the person you’re talking to is the one with the problem. Proceed with caution.
#4. They Can’t Ever Be Wrong
Know-it-alls are people who we often consider to be the worst.
But those who act like they know it all and don’t are far less tolerable. The reality is that everyone is ignorant about something.
Still, some people will argue with you regardless of the facts you present.
They may not accept that they’re wrong and try to figure out ways to make themselves sound right to be on top.
Of course, this can cause friction and resentment in a relationship, but why might this cause mistrust?
Perhaps they’re coming in with wrong beliefs that could put you or them in harm’s way.
Maybe they have misconceptions about certain things that could ruin your reputation or your financial health.
There’s no shortage of things that could go wrong when someone refuses to admit that they’re wrong.
#5. Going Against Your Wishes
Having boundaries is a healthy thing. It protects your peace and ensures that people don’t do things that could put you and your mental health at risk.
But much like with actual boundaries, putting up a fence or a wall doesn’t deter everyone from still coming in and violating those boundaries.
If you consistently ask someone to obey your wishes and they violate them, no matter how small, that’s an indication that they will likely keep doing that to you.
They may even keep pushing boundaries and doing things you won’t tolerate.
If someone shows you that they don’t respect you at the beginning of the relationship, especially if you’ve told them how you feel and why they shouldn’t do it, believe them.
#6. They Gossip
You might tell them a secret or even something private, only to find out everyone else now knows.
If you have a person who cannot keep their mouth shut, it is a sign you can’t trust them.
#7. They Only Do Things Because It Makes Them Look Good
Some people do good things out of the kindness of their hearts.
They may volunteer locally, do small things for their friends and family because they matter so much to them, or even just take time out of their day to brighten someone up when they see they’re feeling down for whatever reason.
Others do it because they get to enjoy the bragging rights.
As with the above, if someone consistently talks about how they helped someone out and how good that makes them, it could make you wary of that person.
After all, if they hold that situation over your head and guilt trip you later, it can spoil the relationship.
Some of the more trustworthy people are those who don’t seek approval or attention after they’ve done something they consider good.
#8. They Don’t Follow Through on Things You Ask Them to Do
When starting any relationship, you may not ask for much.
You’re still getting to know someone, and you haven’t quite reached that stage where you can rely on them for small things.
But as that relationship progresses, you may feel comfortable asking them for small favors.
Once you reach this stage, it can be obvious whether someone should be trusted with your relationship.
For many, they’ve come across people they’ve asked to do basic tasks, and the person says they will, only to fail to follow through.
This isn’t just about forgetting to do something. This is them making a conscious choice and saying, “What you asked me to do simply isn’t important enough for me to do for you.”
#9. Subtle Manipulation Is Going on All the Time
We tend to think of manipulation as a significant sign that someone is toxic or problematic. But manipulation can be a tricky thing to spot, especially if we’re not outside looking in.
One example of this might be engaging in behaviors they know you don’t like to wear you down and get you to accept more problematic behavior later.
Another example could be minor guilt trips that are weaponized to get you to do something you don’t want to, even if it’s not a big deal.
Manipulation can be very subtle. However, once you catch it, it’s a massive sign that someone close to you shouldn’t be trusted.
If you’re ever in doubt, you can ask someone close to you what they think about someone.
How they describe your relationship with another person can be very eye-opening!
#10. There Are Subtle Signs of Projection
No one is going to get along with everyone. We’re all wired to gravitate toward certain things, and it’s natural that we will butt heads with people along the way.
But some people consistently judge others and believe that they’re above them.
What’s worse is that untrustworthy people will often judge others for the same things they do themselves.
This is called projection, and you’ve likely encountered it in at least one of your relationships.
This can be adjusted with some self-awareness, but you may not want to hold your breath, hoping it will develop in your relationship with that person.
#11. People Talking About Someone Behind Their Backs
We’ve all met someone just a little too quick to open up a conversation with gossip.
While some people merely need to vent and harbor no ill will toward someone, others will constantly gossip.
They may reveal things about others that are rather personal and criticize them.
As such, you never know what you’re going to potentially tell them that they may talk to others about.
However, there’s a glaring red flag that gossips often share: talking up themselves.
In many cases, they may be complaining about someone else while explaining why they’re better or while they’re in the right.
If someone can’t have a conversation without bringing up someone else, that could be a major red flag that tells you that you shouldn’t trust them.
Even worse, it can make you feel like you’re not important enough to them.
#12. They Lie About Even the Smallest of Things
Big lies are signs that you shouldn’t trust someone, but you may not catch this until it’s too late.
If you catch it early, you’ll likely leave the relationship quickly.
There are people you’ll encounter who don’t always tell big lies.
Some people are habitual liars and will lie about anything and everything, even if there’s no reason to or if they don’t know why they’re doing it.
For example, if you ask if they went somewhere when you know they did and they tell you that they didn’t go, this could be a sign to walk away.
If they’re lying about small things, what will they lie about later on? Trust is essential throughout any relationship.
#13. They Avoid the Topic of Giving Something Back That They Borrowed
Borrowing something from someone is a very common thing. Something of ours might be broken, or we may not have that item yet and need to borrow it from our friends.
Most of us will remember that we borrowed something and need to return it as soon as possible.
However, not everyone is like this.
Some people will avoid bringing up the topic to avoid giving something back.
When you ask for it back, they may make excuses or even say that you never said to give it back by a specific time to delay you and hope you forget.
This is untrustworthy behavior, and it’s normal to feel distrustful when you run into someone who does this.
#14. Jealous of Friends Success
Most people are excited and happy when their friends succeed in life.
But untrustworthy people get jealous.
They make up excuses as to why it happened or talk about how the good times won’t last.
We all know someone who loves to boast about how they’ve gotten away with breaking a rule or regulation.
Whether it’s parking in the wrong spot, skipping work, or lying on their taxes, some people just can’t resist flaunting their deviousness.
Such behavior usually masks deeper feelings of insecurity and an inability to forge authentic connections with other people.
#16. Constantly Reassuring You They Are Being Honest
People who are dishonest often feel the need to constantly “prove” that they are trustworthy.
As a result, they may go out of their way to make sure that their words and actions match up with what they said they would do.
This type of reassurance is usually done in order to convince others (and themselves) that they can be relied upon, even when they’ve been deceptive in the past.
While it may seem like a genuine attempt to make amends, it can also be a way for them to manipulate others and get away with their dishonest behavior.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether or not someone’s actions speak louder than their words.
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This thread inspired this article.
Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.