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Worst Personality Traits

I got a question the other day, “Ryan, what are the worst personality traits that I should be looking for in a person?” Well, some personality traits (like ones that you think are bad) might not be bad to others! But, if you want some tips—here they are!

You have come across at least one person in your life who you don’t vibe with or someone whose personality or behavior turned you off. We all have different preferences and ideas about good and acceptable behavior.

However, some universally accepted negative traits in people’s personalities are deemed harmful or, dare we say, the worst among other characteristics. Below is a list we have come up with after scouring the internet for the worst personality traits. It may help you identify who is a toxic person or even help you take a deeper look into your personality traits and make changes. 

Worst Personality Traits in a Person (What to Look Out For)

Watch out for these!

They Are Very Dishonest:

A red flag is someone who constantly lies about almost every aspect of their life. One of the fundamental rules of human relationships is honesty. If you are dishonest, you are not doing a good job of upholding your end of the bargain in the relationship.

Of course, as humans, it’s impossible to live a life without telling a single lie. Some situations might have you compelled to lie for the greater good. However, the pathological liar is not your next best person award nominee. Apart from being unreliable, you cannot trust people who lie. If you’re trying to avoid lying, stay away from people in your life who are chronic liars. 

The more you surround yourself with honest people, the more comfortable you will be telling the truth about any situation because you know you can trust them.

Honesty truly is the best policy!

They Are Reckless:

Some people live for the moment. While it is good to always live life to the fullest, it’s not ideal to be reckless always, especially considering that you have other people’s well-being to think about. Being around people who are always irresponsible and reckless can land you in trouble because of their impulsivity.

They Are Dismissive:

If you have ever tried conversing with someone utterly dismissive about your point of view, you will soon realize it is one of the hardest things you will ever do. 

You cannot possibly have an engaging conversation with someone who is unwilling to hear your side of the argument or is entirely dismissive. Most of the time, they either want to avoid being vulnerable or don’t care about the conversation. 

It might also stem from a fear of confrontational talks and conflict, so they would rather avoid having to deal with it in the first place.

They Can Manipulate People:

This is one of the most complex traits to spot from the get-go, and rightly so, given that they are manipulative. They can trick you into thinking they are your good friends until you find out much later in the friendship that they were using you the whole time.

Manipulative people are usually narcissistic and use all kinds of tactics to win your trust for their gain. The easiest targets for master manipulators are people who are more mentally and emotionally vulnerable.

Related: Negative personality traits

They Have A Short Fuse:

Some people have short tempers and tend to get aggressive for no reason. Sometimes this can lead to hostility, and they end up creating more trouble than necessary. Being around such people is difficult because you never know when the next boot will drop, or they might lose their cool again.

Avoid negative people in your life by spotting their personality types!
Avoid negative people in your life by spotting their personality types!

They Are Full Of Negativity:

People with a negative mindset cannot see the world as a good place where good people exist. It is their extremely pessimistic worldview that makes them bitter. They are known as party poopers because they only see the worst in a situation or a person, and you will never stop hearing their complaints about anything and everything. Being around people like this is exhausting because humans radiate their feelings from one person to another. 

You might have also noticed that your mood automatically comes up when you are around happy people. When you spend too much time with pessimistic people, you start having negative feelings.

They Are Always Instigating Drama:

Some people are addicted to drama. They can’t seem to live a day in peace without creating some chaos. They get a good high off gossiping, saying hurtful things, and creating conflict between friends, family, and coworkers. They are the fire-starters in all kinds of drama.

They Always Strive For Perfectionism:

If you have ever met a perfectionist, you know that they are the highest level of control freaks you know. They always set extremely high expectations, sometimes even unrealistic, and strive for perfection, even knowing that no one is perfect.

The delusion of a perfect life makes these kinds of people challenging to deal with because they will do anything to reach their unrealistic goals, and when they don’t, it’s like it is the end of the world for them.

Expert tip: There are many studies that show some personality traits fall outside the common “norm” when it comes to positive qualities or negative qualities. Negative emotions or negative attribues can be found in almost every person in the world.

They Are Always Seeking Other People’s Validation:

As humans, we all want to be liked and seek validation from the people who mean something to us. However, some people go overboard with this and constantly want others to reassure them of their competence, whether in a romantic relationship, friendship, or the workplace. Often these people have very low self-esteem, so they always seek external validation to feel better about themselves.

Related: How dating a narcissist changes you

They Tend To Play The Victim Card All The Time:

This is one of the most prominent telltale signs of toxicity in a person. Although people who do this are often unaware of what they are doing when doing it, that doesn’t make it any easier for the people who have t deal with them.

People who always see themselves as the victims in all their stories are often quite manipulative. They do this to gain sympathy or have the spotlight on them, even if it is just for a few seconds, because they are always craving the attention of other people. 

They Seem To Judge People Easily:

Nobody wants to be around someone who is always judgmental. People who judge everything before giving it a chance are toxic because they are projecting their thoughts about themselves onto others.

Expert tip: Personality tests don’t typically help to identify negative behavior in a person (or negative attributes). It’s going to be up to you to learn how to identify negative character traits in a person over time. Studies have shown that Borderline Personality Disorder is increasing in abundance within the United States over the past 5-years.

Too many people in your life with negative personalities can cause hardship!
Too many people in your life with negative personalities can cause hardship!

They Get Jealous Quickly:

Some people are more jealous type than others. People who get jealous easily usually resent the party involved in the scheme of jealousy. This is very prevalent in relationships where one partner is more insecure than the other and hence tends to get triggered by anything or anyone that, from their perspective, threatens the relationship when in reality, it’s not the case.

If you’ve ever experienced such a situation, you must already know how mentally exhausting it is to be romantically linked with someone like that.

They Seek Attention All The Time:

Some people crave attention because it is what fuels their ego. They often fish for compliments by belittling themselves and appearing modest or humble, knowing full well that someone will negate their remarks and praise them, which is the goal.

They often fear being disliked by people and have low self-esteem, so they always seek the validation of others every chance they get.

They Are Condescending:

Some people have developed the natural ability to make you feel small. All they do is belittle your accomplishments while inflating their ego and dominating their superiority over you.

Condescending people always talk down to others, thinking everyone else is beneath them because of their superiority complex. You can always make out people like this in a crowd because they will always find a way to leave crude remarks and take digs at you every chance.

They Are Not Flexible At All:

Stubbornness is one of the personality traits which is extremely difficult to deal with. Stubborn people have a way of exhausting you of your energy. Try convincing them or have an intellectual debate or conversation with them, and you’ll know just how tiring it is to get your message across.

We all know someone who won’t budge on their personal opinions about anything, even when you shove hard evidence upon their faces. Typically inflexibility and stubbornness come from the lack of emotional intelligence and the unwillingness to open up or widen their horizons.  

They Are Too Competitive:

A little bit of healthy competition is okay. It is a good motivating source in the right amount. But it can be draining if someone constantly competes with you for superiority.

This typically stems from jealousy and envy towards the things you have achieved, your friends, or even your success in your workplace. You might encounter this among peers, family members, or even within your workplace colleagues.

They Are Narcissistic:

This might be the most unsurprising trait, as narcissistic people tend to be the most common red flags. With their inflated sense of entitlement and self-importance, they are always ready to gaslight and manipulate the people n their lives for selfish gains.

It is easy for them to maneuver the whole situation to blame others for the wrongs that they did whenever they get caught in a sticky situation. Even if both parties share equal blame, it comes so easily to them to throw their friends under the bus if it serves their needs.

They Do Not Have Empathy For Others:

People who cannot feel compassion and empathy towards others are the most malicious. They do not feel remorse or the need to lend a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on when their friends need it.

People who lack empathy cannot understand other people’s emotions and hence, come off as narcissistic people with only their selfish gains in mind.

They Are Cynical:

Some people think that they have everyone figured out in the worst sense! If a person is being nice to you, they have ulterior motives. If a waiter was kind to you, they wanted extra tips. These are the kinds of reasoning that a cynic has. They always think that people are never as they seem and always calculate why someone needs anything because they believe everyone is motivated only by selfish goals.

They Don’t Respect Boundaries:

Everyone loves having personal space in friendships, families, or romantic relationships. We all need the time to be alone and unwind, and most people, especially those who know and care for you, will understand. But some people need to learn personal space. 

They do not respect boundaries even after repeatedly telling them you need the space. It’s healthy to set personal boundaries as a sign of self-respect and self-love. But with these people, you will always argue about crossing lines and violating your space.

They Are Arrogant:

The know-it-alls are people we have all had to deal with at some point. Even if they don’t have a clue about the topic of discussion, they pretend they know everything and often dismiss what other people have to say because of their high need for attention and validation.

They Are Hypersensitive:

It’s one trait that makes you feel like you must always watch what you say and walk around eggshells with them. Hypersensitive people always take things too personally. Even if the remarks were meant as a joke, they would dot on the emotions, the tone, and the intention behind the comment, which makes them blow the situation out of proportion.

Very sensitive people often need to feel appreciated and validated by everyone. This situation is not ideal for either party because you want to tell your friends whatever is on your mind without worrying about hurting their feelings or disturbing their thoughts.

They Are Pretentious:

It comes easily to many people to pretend like they are someone they are not. Given the long list of possibilities, the reason for them being behind a mask around is uncertain. Still, they are masters at persuading people about the personality they have chosen to embody.

Pretentious people are also insincere towards other people’s feelings and do not care for anyone else’s well-being other than their own. Their desperation for admiration from the public drives them to do deceitful things to appear as sincere and genuine people.

They Are Very Disrespectful or Lacking Empathy:

We have all had days when we don’t feel particularly jolly or feel the need to be kind to strangers. We might have even unintentionally been rude to some people. Chronic rudeness is not normal because they are rude to people without reason. It might stem from a toxic personality trait due to mental dysfunction.

They Can Hold On To Grudges:

Some people can be very vindictive, but as human beings, we empathize and reason with people even if they have wronged us. We learn to forgive as we grow mentally and emotionally, but for some people, forgiveness is not a word in their dictionaries.

They are always looking for ways to get back at people for what they consider was done against them. Hence, they spend much of their waking moments planning and plotting their downfall.

Conclusion—Worst Personality Traits in a Difficult Person and How to See Them

Information is always on the rise in a fast-paced world like today. It is as easy as tapping a single button to access the information, so there is no excuse for being self-aware. Self-awareness is one of the aspects that makes a person mindful of their actions and how they affect people around them.

When you know yourself and your personality, you can benefit from changing your destructive behaviors. But everyone has a unique personality, so stating whether a personality trait is good or bad can become a very subjective topic. However, there are some universally “bad” traits like those discussed in this article. Hence, do good to yourself and try to recognize and change these shortcomings.

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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