Creepy Habits Untrustworthy People Have In Common

While it’s not always easy to tell if someone is untrustworthy or toxic to be around when you first meet, their body language and what they say — as well as their overall vibe — can tell you a lot over time. Whether it’s someone you’re dating, a mysterious neighbor, or even a stranger on the street, if something seems “off,” trust your gut.

This is especially true if the person is being manipulative, which might mean they strike you as dangerous in some way, or that you pick up on the signs you’re being used. In that case, err on the side of caution and try to remove yourself from the situation as quickly and safely as possible — even if they try to convince you not to worry.

“If you have the sense that you need to get away from someone or end a relationship, try not to backpedal on it,” Nicole Issa, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. Follow your instincts, and reach out to a friend or authority figure for help, if need be.

Of course, not everyone who gives off “creepy” vibes is actually dangerous to be around. But if you recognize even one of the signs someone is untrustworthy, take time to consider who this person is, and whether they have your best interests at heart.

They Ignore Your Physical Boundaries

If someone is ignoring your boundaries, consider it a big red flag. “Some examples include standing too close to you (and following if you step further away), refusing to take no for an answer, or even ‘innocent’ activities like tickling you when you’ve asked [them] to stop,” Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells Bustle.

While some folks just don’t know how to take a hint, dangerous people might do these things as a way of testing you, Graber says, in order to see if it’s possible to go further.

They Don’t Break Eye Contact

When it comes to manipulative people — see: sociopaths, narcissists, etc. — many have a habit of staring intensely at others. If you happen to make eye contact, they won’t immediately look away. Instead, they’ll maintain that intense eye contact.

“They look at their target with [a] focused, intense gaze,” usually as a way to test boundaries, Patti Wood, MA, a body language expert, tells Bustle. “They may do or say something uncomfortable right before or after the hypnotic gaze to test how the target responds.”

To figure out if the situation really is unsafe, Wood says, try breaking eye contact or moving away in order to see how they react. If they get upset, or you feel a huge amount of relief, your intuition was likely correct.

They Dominate The Conversation

While some people just like to talk, manipulators will try to dominate entire conversations. “This ‘over talking’ involves auditory space invasion and other paralanguage factors that show they are in control,” Wood says. “They are often quite charming and good storytellers, so it may be hypnotic to listen to them.” Chances are, they’ll keep doing it if you keep giving them attention.

It’s why being an attention-seeker who loves to talk and dominate conversations is another sign of an untrustworthy person. According to Shannon Gunnip, LMHC, BC-TMH, a licensed mental health counselor, these types of people can never have enough of your time or attention. “They may say or do things in a dramatic or over-the-top way to shock you or keep your interest,” she says. “The more attention you give, the more they will persist. This type of person may not be trustworthy because they will take from you emotionally without giving positive energy back.”

Their Mood Changes Quickly

Since narcissists tend to get really upset when things don’t go their way, keep your eye out for shocking mood swings when interacting with others. As Wood says, “They can shift all their nonverbal behaviors in the blink of an eye and transform themselves.”

This might include switching from really sweet to super irritated, and then back again. Or they might morph into an entirely different “character” in order to get their way, Wood says. It can be so manipulative that you might not even realize it’s happening until the person’s already sucked you in. So take note of how someone acts when they don’t get their way. If you see them transform into a totally different person, you may want to stay away.

They Seem Disconnected

While intense eye contact can be a red flag, the same is true for eye contact that seems oddly disconnected. And this is doubly true if you’d describe the person as being “dead behind the eyes,” Wood says, as this is a trait common among narcissists and sociopaths.

Not everyone is great at making eye contact, but if you’re getting other bad vibes, add this one to the list of reasons it may be safest to cut the convo off and get away.

They Open Up Too Quickly

If you only just met someone and they’re already revealing all the skeletons in their closet, there’s a chance they’re not trustworthy or stable, psychotherapist Dr. Laura Dabney, M.D., tells Bustle. Not only does it show a lack of boundaries, but it can easily get out of control.

Basically, if someone is willing to pile all that on you within the first few minutes of meeting, it may mean they don’t have total control over themselves or their actions. It’s one thing to be trusting of others. But if this person sees you as someone they can vent all of their problems to, it can get emotionally draining very quickly. So at the very least, consider it a red flag.

They Make Rude Remarks

If someone is being rude, you likely won’t want to spend much time around them. And that’s a good call, seeing as it’s often a sign of deeper problems.

“Potentially dangerous people will often turn to belittling others in order to manipulate them,” Adamaris Mendoza, LPC, MA, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship coach, tells Bustle. So if this person is making you, or those around you, feel uncomfortable, take note.

“How they do it can take different forms, but their intention is to make the other person (their intended victim) feel unworthy,” Mendoza says. “They can turn to ridiculing how you look, your body, your goals, your friends, your work, and/or your dreams.”

Again, since it’s so manipulative, it can be difficult to spot. But by keeping an eye out for the signs, and knowing some of the tricks untrustworthy people pull, you can be safer.

They Know Too Much

If you show up on a date, and the other person already knows where you work, where you went to school, etc., don’t take it lightly — even if they try to act like it’s “normal to look people up.”

Sure, it’s common to do a quick search before spending the evening with a stranger. “But if someone starts telling you about information that likely showed up on, say, page five of your [search] results,” Issa says, “this could be a sign that [it] went beyond the norm and crossed over into stalking.”

If what they’re saying is making you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to reach out to authorities. You can also go up to a bartender or server, if you’re out to dinner, and ask them for help.

They Move Really Fast

If your relationship with someone new seems to be developing at warp speed, it’s easy to take it as a compliment. But, as Issa says, “oftentimes, people who are likely to harm others will sweep in quickly and forcefully and try to foster a sense of false trust.” If it all seems too fast, or too good to be true, you may want to take a step back.

This may be someone who is big on risk-taking, and loves the new and exciting. “They tend to be impulsive,” Gunnip says. “A risk-taker may not be a trustworthy person because they may bring you into situations that push your boundaries.” There’s a chance that this type of relationship could lead to something emotionally intense and unstable.