Signs of an Untrustworthy Person - 17 Reasons Not to Trust Someone

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Perceptions of trust in the United States

Putting your trust in dishonest people can be very fatal. Just ask the victims of Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, and even Mir Jafar. All these were men who lacked integrity in trusted positions whose betrayal led to the deaths of either significant figures or many deaths.

While betrayal may not always result in our deaths, it most definitely affects us emotionally. This is because trust builds expectations in us about the person that we trust and when these expectations are not lived up to, the disappointment hurts and most often leads to us being a little bit more cynical each time we are betrayed.

And even though betrayal is inevitable in human relations, we can reduce the frequency at which it happens by either avoiding untrustworthy people or knowing not to trust them in the first place even if we keep them around.

It is therefore important that we figure out the signs of an untrustworthy person so that we are better able to spot them and act accordingly. This is the focus of this article – to highlight some of those signs so that you can be a little bit more knowledgeable and guided when dealing with an unreliable person.

17 Reasons not to trust someone

1. They lie about little things

In order to trust someone, you need to be sure that the things they tell you are true. Dishonesty in a person is therefore one of the major signs of an untrustworthy person.

If you find that the person tells lies quite often, just know that they are not trustworthy.

Bear in mind that even if it is little things that they lie about, it is still lying. For instance, those times when they said, “I’m on my way” or “I’ll be there in five minutes” yet they hadn’t even started getting ready are still lies and something you should watch out for. If they can lie about such little things, imagine the larger things. This is why it is best not to put too much trust in them.

Pick up signs that a person is lying from how to tell if your husband is lying.

2. They ask but never share

There is a general tendency of untrustworthy people to keep trying to find out more about other people. This would not be so bad if it was a two-way street where they also shared information about themselves in a proportional manner but this is most often not the case.

You should be careful of such people because they could have an ulterior motive in finding out more about you. For instance, they might want to control you whilst leaving you with little information to do the same.

3. They share too much

On the flip side of the above, we have people who have the tendency to share too much. Such people are unreliable because a person that shares too much information with you likely has little self-control.

This is troublesome because it means that in conversation with others, they are likely to share anything you tell them in confidence because they were unable to stop themselves from doing so.

4. They keep telling you to trust them

There is an episode in Game of Thrones where King Jeoffrey kept reminding his grandfather, Tywin Lannister, that he was King to which his grandfather replied by telling him that a real king would not have to remind people of this fact.

It is the same with untrustworthy people. If you find that the person is always trying to reassure you that you can trust them, they are most likely overcompensating for the fact that you should not trust them.

5. Their social circle changes quite a lot

If you are looking for reasons not to trust someone, look at their social cycle and how often it changes if at all it does.

Most people cannot abide an untrustworthy person especially because they will eventually show that they cannot be trusted. When this happens, they will lose their group of friends and have to find another one.

Should you notice that the person keeps changing the people they hang out with, a likely reason would be that because they were untrustworthy, they kept getting kicked out of their previous social circle.

6. They never take blame

A mark of integrity is knowing when to take blame for your actions. People with no integrity will therefore shift blame around instead of ever taking it.

Such people are untrustworthy because they could blame you for their actions or when something goes wrong in order to escape judgement. Watch out for such people and be wary of them.

7. Their stories seem to always change

One of the major signs that you can’t trust someone is that they lack consistency in their stories. For instance, the reason they gave for missing your wedding had different details the three times they told it to you.

You are most likely to notice this when they tell different people the same story.

Regardless of how you notice it, be wary of the person because this is a sign of dishonesty and as we mentioned, you cannot trust a dishonest person.

8. They pass off insults as jokes

It is normal for people who are close to you to tease you every now and then but you should be mindful of those people who are a bit too derogatory in their remarks and those who tease you quite often.

There is a very strong chance that they are hiding actual negative feelings of you and trying to pass it off as humor.

You should not trust such people because they are the kind to enjoy moments when things are rough for you and if these are people you consider your friends, you should reconsider these untrustworthy friends and make adjustments to how you relate with them.

Here are smart things to say when someone insults you.

9. They insult/ gossip about others to you

A major sign of an untrustworthy person is that they gossip or make fun of other people behind their back to you. Such people are untrustworthy because logic dictates that if they can talk about other people to you, then they can talk about you to other people.

A major sign of an untrustworthy person

And while gossiping is traditionally associated with women and is one of the chief reasons why people say women are untrustworthy, the truth is that anyone can gossip so do be careful to observe this behavior in people you keep around.

10. They have constant mood swings

A person with constant mood swings is more likely to be unreliable because their reliability will change according to their mood.

You might for instance, be trusting them to get a project done but because their mood suddenly changed, they would be unable to meet up with the deadline because they simply did not feel like it.

A person with constant mood swings would also be easy to annoy or manipulate and when in either of those states, they could easily betray your trust.

11. They are manipulative

Look at interactions you’ve had with the person in question and check to see if they have tried or have been successful in manipulating you into doing things that they wanted as opposed to what you wanted.

For instance, they insinuated that you were a coward or kept pestering you until you did the thing.

Such people cannot be trusted because in influencing you to go against your values, they are influencing you to betray yourself

Also be careful if you observe them doing this to other people.

12. They disregard your boundaries

The boundaries you set in any relationship are an extension of who you are and what you value. Our boundaries tell others what they can or cannot do around us or with things related to us.

If you find that a person is unable to respect these boundaries, it is a strong sign that they are not to be trusted because a betrayal of those boundaries is a de facto betrayal of you because they are going against things that you hold dear.

13. They break promises regularly

If looking for who to trust, avoid people who constantly break promises they make to you regardless of how small the promises are.

Trusting someone means that you believe that they will fulfill their promises and if this is not the case, then that person cannot by extension, be trusted.

14. They don’t keep your secrets

One of the major signs of an untrustworthy person is that they are unable to keep your secrets. Trust entails that whatever you tell someone in confidence should be kept confidential.

A person who tells other people these secrets is indirectly telling you that you should not have trusted them enough to tell them anything in confidence.

As with the case of people who gossip to you, watch out for people who pass the secrets of others to you because this is also a sign that they tell others your secrets as well.

15. They use your secrets against you

As mentioned earlier, an untrustworthy person would want to stockpile on your secrets for the purposes of controlling you.

They can do this in several ways including blackmail or as a way to guilt trip you.

For those closer to you, they might pass this off as a joke or something casual by for instance saying things like, “remember how I kept it a secret that you did so so?” in order to get you to do something for them. Not only would they be betraying your trust, they would also be manipulating you.

In order to avoid situations like that, stop trusting such people enough to tell them secrets that you do not want to be found out.

16. They are selfish and egocentric

When trying to find out how to tell if someone is trustworthy, multiple studies say to look to see if they are selfish and egocentric.

A selfish person will have no qualms about betraying you because their primary concern is themselves and if throwing you under any bus would help further their goals and ambitions, they will do so.

Pick up on signs that a person is selfish from characteristics of a selfish husband.

17. Your gut doesn’t trust them

Your gut will often recognize an untrustworthy face before you do so if you feel as though you cannot trust someone even without concrete proof, don’t take this feeling for granted.

You should not of course write a person off simply because of a gut feeling but you should use it as a starting point. If your gut tells you that you cannot trust someone, look for reasons why this is the case by looking for the other signs above in the person.

This will then give you further insight as to whether you were right not to inherently trust the person.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can you tell if someone is untrustworthy?

  • They lie about little things
  • They never take blame for their actions
  • They are manipulative
  • They like to gossip about other people
  • They are selfish
  • Their mood can change easily

2. How can you tell if someone is shady?

  • They are very secretive
  • They are uncomfortable when you ask simple or personal questions
  • They are overly nice
  • They constantly lie – especially over little things
  • They are manipulative
  • Their social circle is always changing

3. How do you deal with an untrustworthy person?

  • Acknowledge that you cannot trust the person

The first thing you need to do is to tell yourself that you cannot trust the person in question as well as why you cannot trust the person. This way you can be sure that they are indeed untrustworthy.

  • Remind yourself the ways their untrustworthiness can affect you

You need to then convince yourself of why you need to deal with this untrustworthiness by coming up with possible effects of relating with such a person. You can also remind yourself of past instances where their untrustworthiness hurt you.

  • Decide whether it would be beneficial to cut the person out of your life entirely or whether to still relate with them but on a reduced level

You should then make a decision between cutting the person out of your life or leaving them in it.

You might be unable to cut them out of your life because they are in it in such a way that you cannot get rid of them completely, such as family or co-workers. In such a scenario, it would be best to simply reduce your interactions with them.


These signs will help you notice untrustworthy people but can you yourself be trusted? You might think that you can and that might very well be true but people have a tendency to betray others without even knowing it.

So, as much as you can use these signs to find out if others are worthy of trust, you should also use these signs to as well do some self introspection so that you do not come across as untrustworthy to others.





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