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Top Signs of a Nasty Attitude

A nasty attitude can really go a long way in disrupting a relationship. Whether it’s a friendship, romantic relationship, sibling, parent, or otherwise. A bad attitude will drag others down around you and generally not help others feel supported. That’s why when my buddy Robert asked me, “Hey Ryan—what are the top signs of a nasty attitude?” I had to answer it!

“Bad” attitudes are generally those that are considered unreceptive. The best way to describe this would be a hypothetical situation. Let’s presume you and your friends are getting together for a nice evening. If everyone is asking each other questions about their lives—yet one person is sitting there and not asking anything… That’s a bad attitude.

It makes others feel unwelcome and unwanted. This is a top way to make people feel unloved, really. This is sometimes called negative reinforcement.

a man on the phone - nasty attitude

Top Signs of a Nasty Attitude in Men

—Signs of a negative/nasty attitude in men

1: Being quiet

Sometimes people are quiet… Yes! But, when they are ALWAYS quiet… Then it’s a different story. When you can’t tell whether someone is having a positive or negative response to a conversation or situation—that’s a problem.

It means this person might be emotionally closed off. They might be having negative thoughts to themselves that they aren’t willing to share.

In addition, it will just make you feel extremely insecure. It’s not you! It’s them!

2: Not asking you questions or responding

Engagement in a conversation is really important. If you’re asking someone something, they should be asking you an equal question in return. That’s just logical, right? Think conversation starter questions—these are designed to get someone to break out of their shell and talk to you!

Expert advice: A study performed by Dr. Abele suggests, “Several theories on emotion and mood have stressed the close relationship between emotion and motivation. However, assumptions on mood contingent motivations have mainly been studied in the field of social behavior, and there are only few studies concerned with mood contingent task motivations, an area in which nit is possible to distinguish between two motivational sets, the deliberative and the implemented mind set.” Meaning, the way you think is the way you behave and the way things come to you or don’t come to you.

3: Faces or body language that say ‘no thank you’—top sign of a nasty attitude

Body language is a really strong indicator of how someone is feeling. For example, crossed arms usually indicate that someone is feeling like they need to protect themselves from you. This is a sign that someone is closed off—for now…

A face, like raising eyebrows or other microexpressions can be a really strong sign that someone isn’t thinking positively in the moment. Take a read of the situation and decide what you think your boundaries should be.

4: Inability to focus on you in the conversation

Someone with a really strong nasty attitude will either verbalize it or internalize it. When they internalize it, that means they are reserving their negative and nasty thoughts. You’ll be able to tell that’s the case when they simply say “I don’t care about this conversation.”

One way of doing that is to simply check-out of the conversation entirely. This could be a really strong sign of a nasty attitude. Or just generally making you feel like it’s nasty! Either way, it’s valid!

two people treating each other negatively

Top Signs of a Nasty Attitude in Women

—Signs of a negative/nasty attitude in women

1: No engagement in the conversation

Conversation engagement is really important. If someone is engaging in active-listening, that’s certainly one thing. But if they’re just giving you a blank stare—then that’s not really showing engagement in the conversation.

Someone who is actively listening will usually reiterate what you’ve told them. Or try to paraphrase what you’ve said—then try to add on top of that or build on top of that. I won’t suggest that most people can do this well. In fact, most cannot! But it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.

2: Always thinking the cup is half empty

Watch closely at how someone is drawn toward particular parts of the world or the conversation. Are they always drawing you toward the negative parts of what’s happening in life? If that’s the case—that person might have a big chip on their shoulder.

Generally, you don’t want that person to always be bringing you down to those lows. The more a person is drawn to the negative, the more you will be as well! It’s important to have optimism and hope… In reality, that’s all we have!

A person who is always ‘half empty’ on the world is generally showing you they have a nasty attitude toward life!

Related: Negative personality traits

3: Being rude toward you (undermining you)

Let’s say that you share something vulnerable about yourself. Is that person accepting how you’re being vulnerable and answering you back? Or are they undermining you in the situation. For example, “Why would you do that? I know how it made you feel but are you a dummy or something?” There’s honesty in a situation and then there’s going a little bit too far.

When you’re already hurt and someone makes you feel MORE hurt—that’s generally a sign of a nasty attitude in a person.

4: Never speaking positively of others

How engaged are they in speaking negatively about people? This one is very common in women. Usually, they use the idea of putting other women or men down to normalize their insecurities. If that’s happening, it’s probably time to step out!

This person HAS a nasty attitude and will probably never change it. They may LIKE this way of living life. It’s up to you to decide if you do or not.

two people who are good and evil

My Experience With Nasty Attitude People…

I’ve been around a lot of people… I can certainly say that when someone has a nasty attitude there’s no way to get them out of it. Depending on your attachment style, you might try to help someone get out of it. And be helpful…

That’s certainly what happened to me. I found myself constantly trying to bring someone out of their funk that it consumed me. And eventually, through them, I became a sour person as well. I one day had ENOUGH of that. And decided it was time to move on. For me, it was a friend—and it was time to distance myself from this friend.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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