February 4, 2020 | David Chung

People Share The Red Flags To Watch For When Meeting New People

You never know who a person really is just from a first impression, but you can get little hints of what you'll have to deal with down the road if you actually become friends. These stories focus on the red flags you should keep an eye out for when you first meet someone new.

Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!


#1 A Bad Habit

A guy at work always tells new people how much he hates being married. Apparently, he loves his wife but hates being married. Then he goes on to say she doesn’t let him drink because he “becomes a nightmare to be with”—I'm pretty sure he drank in excess on a regular basis—and that she will divorce him if she catches him. The dude still drinks and drives home to his wife. He keeps a toothbrush and toothpaste in a bag that he hides in a bush near his house so that she can’t smell the drinks on his breath.


#2 Trash Talker

They immediately talk badly about a stranger. I went to a meet-up recently and got some drinks with the people after. One guy gave me a bad vibe. He seemed like he had a really low tolerance for other people messing up and being a little awkward. He was like, "Yeah I was a little bit nervous about going to the meet-up, but then I realized that there are some really freaking weird people and there's no reason to be nervous."

It just sat wrong with me because I'm kind of awkward and just want to meet new people. The last straw was when we were playing pool at the bar and this one girl had something wrong with her voice and couldn't talk very loud. He actually asked her if "that's how her voice always was or if there's something wrong with it." What a jerk. He invited me to watch football with him the next day. I didn't respond.


#3 Brutally Honest

They proudly call themselves jerks, two-faced and other very questionable "qualities." They're usually freaking rude. "Brutally" honest just means you're a jerk about it and have no tact. You can be 110% honest while still not insulting people, belittling them, or being rude in public when the situation doesn't call for it.


#4 Don't Run. Sprint.

You barely know them but suddenly you are their best friend. Everyone else is just AWFUL. You are so special and awesome. Especially at listening to their (many) problems. Because you are so empathetic and smart and insightful...They expect you to start spending all of your free time with them and get mad at you if you don’t. It’s like they want to make themselves an important part of your life but the relationship isn’t strong enough to warrant that level of interaction. Don't run. Sprint.


#5 Trusting Your Gut

When you feel worse after meeting them than you did before. Sometimes, the person just seems off, but you can't put a finger on what exactly. Over time, you realize that your gut instinct was correct. I've had it happen a few times when starting a new job. Your manager takes you around the workplace and introduces you to everyone. Even though everyone will shake your hand and say 'great to meet you', there is usually a person or two that you just get a negative vibe from. Over time, you discover that a person is difficult to work with. Not always the case, but it seems to apply the vast majority of the time.


#6 Reflected Words

More specific to dating, but if someone always plays the victim in their other relationships, that's a red flag. For example, If they describe one to two people, okay; maybe they had bad taste or got unlucky. If everyone they dated was “crazy,” then they should probably look in the mirror. On a related note, I always watch out for people who introduce others badly. If the first thing you say about people is “Wow, this person looks funny,” or “They’re a witch,” I’m going to wonder how they’ll think and talk about me to others.


#7 The Two-Sheds

Always look out for the two-sheds: those people who can't go for five minutes without one-upping someone else. Not gentlemanly empathizing and sharing their experiences, but taking the whole "that's nothing; listen to my story" route.


#8 Mutual Interest

When they engage more about themselves than contribute to the conversation. I’ve met a few people who would talk about all the problems they’ve had and would hardly ask any questions back. I’ve always felt so uncomfortable in these scenarios and usually don’t pursue a relationship with these types of people. I should be more clear on my point by saying that some people are also very dismissive and sometimes refuse to hear what you have to say by cutting you off. I don’t expect an interview with the other person, but it would be nice to have a mutual interest in each other.


#9 Creepy Flirting

When a guy has absolutely nothing to say other than overly romantic or sensual stuff, or your possible future together, right after meeting for the first time. It's creepy and you don't even get to know each other better because there's no conversation happening.  Some guys just have nothing else to say besides flirtatious comments and I just want to know your favorite color.


#10 Pyramid Schemes

If they start talking about their MLM (multi-level-marketing) scheme, they see you as a prospect, not a friend. My friend was in a pyramid scheme. He said his manager had a job. I knew he was working a couple of jobs and the pyramid scheme so I wasn't sure which job it was. He called me while I was out at breakfast with a friend.

He put me on the phone with his "manager" and he tried to sell me the job. I was just trying to get information on what the job was. He told me I'd have to come in and be interviewed to find what I'd be doing. I instantly tuned out after that. You don't hire people without knowing the job you're hiring them for. So yeah, it was the pyramid scheme job and I just ignored my friend for a bit until he got out.

The Other Breakfast ClubFlickr

#11 Not For Everyone

"Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? Do you want to earn some extra income?"  It reminds me of a conversation I had on a bus recently: "Are you interested in being your own boss and running your own business?" I replied, "Oh gosh, NO!" The look of confusion on his face was priceless. I don't like being in charge. It's too much pressure that I'll mess it up for other people.


#12 The Venture Capitalist

I met a guy in the US earlier this year and, after hello, he literally said: "I'm a venture capitalist and I just made $10 million from a company that Google bought out." He then started banging on about Google, basically giving them money to go away. To be honest, I sympathized with Google. He was probably lying. None of it sounded true at all.


#13 Mayo Lover

I don't know if it's a red flag, but I opened a new friend's fridge and there were five mostly-empty jumbo-sized jars of mayo, like twelve two-liter bottles of generic soda, and a load of damp hot dogs just kind of sitting on a plate as if they were waiting for something, ominously. I took a peek in his freezer and there were about 50 Banquet pot pies, stacked all the way to the door. They were all "sausage and gravy." I bought one the next time I was shopping and I've got to say, they're not terrible. Anyway, I'll update you guys if I get smothered in mayo.


#14 The Husky Puppy

They keep interrupting or continue to use a shortened version of my name after specifically telling them not to. I don't know if you can get away with this but, I had a supervisor at one point who liked to call me a husky puppy. He kept doing it after I told him to stop so I started calling him an ugly face. After a few times of me calling him that in a setting that wasn't appropriate,  he asked me to stop. I told him he needed to stop calling me a husky puppy then. That got his attention and he stopped.


#15 Mistakes Happen

If they harshly criticize you for making a mistake. It's fine to be annoyed with someone for making a mistake, but it's not okay to bully them over it. I was called a bad name once as a teenager by a so-called 'friend' because I bought her the wrong item for her birthday present. I remember feeling like the stupidest person on the planet.


#16 The Golden Rule

If they quickly become enamored or shower you with too much praise before getting to know you. Especially if they put on a much too intense display of love and affection. I don't mean flirting, I mean declaring their love or emotional affection, or being overly generous. This can be a red flag warning of someone who is abusive, either as a relationship or even as a friend.

Abusive people at first, and usually for the first few months or even a year, can be extremely charming and pour affection onto you, but the facade will start to slip. It'll be subtle at first, but then their effort to make you happy will gradually slip away to nothing and you'll be treated quite poorly by them. They may still on rarer occasions be nice again, but this is to stop you from leaving them and they'll be right back to their bad behavior.

The effort at first is to obtain you, then they turn more self-centered and reveal they care little for your needs once they "have you" so to speak. This isn't always the case but it is something to keep a close eye on and not allow them to manipulate you if their care turns out to be a facade. And always remember the golden rule, live with someone for six months before getting engaged to marry them.


#17 Drama Starters

If you meet them and they're ranting about their witch of a girlfriend, their backstabbing friends, and how the whole world is doing them dirty, you should be careful Sure, they might be having a bad day and are venting but in my experience, people who openly and eagerly vent that stuff to strangers in public are usually much more at fault than they care to let on and cause a lot of drama.


#18 Where Are They Now

People who talk about all the people they know and how many friends they have. I met a lady recently who was nice but just kept talking about how she has so many friends and is so busy with how many people she knows. Like, look lady I get it. But where are your friends now?


#19 The "I, Me, My" Show

They don't bother to have a fluid back and forth interaction with you. I met a dude at a party with my husband and this dude only answered questions we asked about him. At first, we thought he was shy, but he got pretty detailed about his music interests. We got the heck out of there because we didn't feel like listening to his "I, Me, My" show.


#20 A Horrible First Impression

I had a doctor disregard my concerns in the middle of a visit. I was talking about my upsetting neurological symptoms and suddenly she started saying stuff that made no sense and eventually she pointed at her Bluetooth (it was one of those little ones that just goes in one ear, and she had taken a call in the middle of our appointment). Never went back.


#21 Too Much Inconsistency

Inconsistency. Maybe they are super charming towards the senior staff but rude to juniors, maybe they are really charming and helpful to you but rude to serving staff, maybe they say they like all the same things that you do... but when you probe them on a topic, all you get is superficial answers. There are lots of ways someone can show inconsistency but it usually means that they want you (or someone) to think they are a certain kind of person when it's not who they really are.


#22 Excessive Guilt-Tripping

When small talk becomes that person following you around. I had a more recent experience with this but I ignored the warnings mostly because of excessive guilt-tripping. There's absolutely nothing wrong about talking about rough home life, but when you bring it up every five minutes, it feels like you're fishing for compliments or begging for attention. They pry you away from others. I ran into my girlfriend at a cross country meet and couldn't maintain a conversation for more than five minutes without this person finding a way to get me to leave her I don't care what you have to do, stay away from these people.


#23 Overly Nosy

They ask if you live alone.  I always just get vague about this if I don't trust or know the person.

I once met a guy while waiting for a bus. Apparently he noticed me since we go to the same college, but we studied in completely different fields. Some small talk, yada yada.

And then he started asking where I live. I gave him a vague area, sure because if he got into the bus with me, I could get caught in a lie. He then asked if I live alone, out of nowhere. I luckily have an engagement ring, despite my fiancee living far away because of her own studies. So I just showed it to him, not actually making any comment towards the question. He answered, "Ah, married." And continued to stay silent for the rest of the wait.


#24 Southern Mentality

My father is a businessman here in South Carolina. He's fair and treats everyone equally. He told me that I would be surprised at the things that come out of some people's mouths because they see him, an older white southern guy, and think they can say whatever they want. He said he's lost a lot of respect for people he once considered friends because of what they've said about people.


#25 Gossip, Gossip

At work, when they start bad-mouthing co-workers within a few minutes of having met them. Because that just shows that they will gossip about me, behind my back too. I had this happen at my current workplace. At first, I was very bothered by it. Now I just think, "They don't have anything better to do with their life. I'll just let them."


#26 All About Me

When they dominate the conversation with their life story, all the problems they have or share deeply personal stories/experiences that are the kind you discuss only with your closest friends and are inappropriate to discuss with a stranger.

Or more simply: they dominate the conversation period, blabbing on and on about themselves with a glaringly obvious attitude of zero interest in you or anything you have to say.

Oh and this goes along with that type: the "one-upper." For example, you tell them about something, anything really... positive OR negative, and they immediately have the urge to "up" it with their own dramatic experience (which could be how they had it better or worse, depending on the topic).

Run from these types.


#27 The "Hero"

One that has always stuck out to me is whenever they recount events from the past, they are always the “hero” of the story or never seem to be the one making any mistakes. They either are trying to make themselves look better or they truly believe themselves to be infallible. Most people understand being the fool in a story is humanizing and relatable. Narcissistic people try to cover that up.


#28 Too Dismissive

Being generally discourteous and dismissive of people. Good people are typically nice and courteous almost all of the time. If someone is discourteous, especially on their first impression, they're probably a self-centered jerk. If they're dismissive, but nice to you later, it's probably based on some perceived status shift (of you) in their mind, in which case they're jerks who are nice to you if they think you're cool or worth it.


#29 Anti-Service

When they are mean to service workers. I met someone last night who was teasing a lady who worked at the bar, and he was right on the line of pushing it too far. I told him he was acting like a bit of a jerk, and he then made a racist joke. I stopped talking to him after that.


#30 A Bad Taste

On my first day at a new job, my boss picked me up to show me the job site. He started making small talk in the truck— how long have you done this type of thing, what’s your experience like, etc. Then he cut me off and said, “Yeah? Sorry, what? Yeah?” Confused, I repeated myself. He pointed to his ear. He’d answered a call on his Bluetooth with no indication of doing so, and left me to ramble like an idiot about the question he’d asked. It left a bad taste in my mouth from day 1.


#31 Blackcatting

Blackcatting people. This is where a person will tell a story and when they have finished, the person listening doesn't ask questions or even seem interested, they just jump in because they have a similar story but it's much bigger and better than his or hers... Hence, my cat is blacker than your cat, sort of thing.


#32 A Firestarter

If they immediately start gossiping about other people. I recently met a mom at the soccer field and we chatted casually while our daughters were practicing, maybe five minutes. Then, she started gossiping about the other parents and kids. We are new to the area so I have not met the other parents. She said, "Let me give you the low down on all the crazy moms here." A red flag in my book!!!


#33 Selfish Friends

When they insult your other friends and want to hang out more and more, to the point where you have to cancel things or interrupt sleep to not upset them. And when they throw their problems on you that you get so focused on helping them that you start ignoring yourself. You don’t want them to hurt themselves and they threaten to when you start trying to give yourself some space.


#34 Booksmart Or Self-Righteous

When they feel the need to say to you that they are, in fact, “very smart” multiple times in conversation. If you’re smart, you shouldn’t have to say to people that you’re smart to prove it to them. You just are smart. Sure, you could be a bit book smart, but anyone who is self-righteous about it without any real wisdom or empathy isn’t going to get very far in life.


#35 Getting Too Personal

People who tell you something personal about themselves very quickly after meeting. I don't know you, I have no idea what you want me to say once you tell me you're having terrible period cramps, suffering from PTSD, avoiding your stalker ex, allergic to dairy, etc. We have just met—this is not a conversation anymore, you are just throwing information out at me. My guideline for what is too personal is if the speaker telling you these things would dream of ASKING these things of the listener. No? Then it's too personal to share.


#36 No Howdy-Do

After you get introduced, they kind of just look at you silently and then go about their own conversation. No handshake or howdy-do; no nice-to-meet-you, and they sure as heck won’t include me in the conversation. At least with these folks you know they suck right off the bat.


#37 True Colors

People who just give you a subtle shit look, like a snarl or a sneer, when you first meet them. Or I have noticed this thing some people do where one of their eyes twitch. When they show you who they are, believe them.


#38 The Science Of Distancing

How close they stand to me when they talk. I never met a face talker that had too many positive attributes. I can hear you fine from two feet apart as I can from four inches. I've noticed when someone wants to CONVEY something in words they stay a respectable distance. When they want to GATHER something from you they get closer. When they get dead nose to nose almost they want to TAKE something from you. BAD idea on the last one.


#39 The Rude Handshake

Handshakes where the other party squeezes your hand much too hard, deliberately trying to inflict pain. In my experience, everyone that's ever done this has turned out to be a garbage human.


#40 A Proud Jerk

I was 21 when I started dating my now ex-husband. He proudly called himself a jerk all the time, but he was always sweet with me so I never believed it. Turns out, he really was a jerk and I realized that if someone defines themselves negatively, you should probably believe them... People who talk like this basically subscribe to the "if I admit that I suck, then you can't get mad at me" school of thought.


#41 Poor Treatment

Treating waitstaff poorly. Or anyone in a customer service job, really. Or... you know... anyone. Also, leaving rubbish on restaurant tables or cinema floors, being mean to friends, being on their phones the whole time or constantly pushing their opinions onto you.


#42 Faking Emotions

People who are mentally and physically draining because they constantly victimize themselves and seek pity and attention from everyone by faking emotions or exaggerating them. Not worth your time.


#43 Offensive Tats

I knew a guy with a tattoo that reads: “ Suck you, pay me," and that's a little off-putting. I also currently work with a guy that has “stay down” tattooed across his knuckles. Just awful people.

#44 A Short Fuse

People who get angry over the smallest thing. The cashier shorted you a dollar when giving change? Mistakes happen. It doesn't mean he or she was trying to scam you. I just quit my job because they moved something small in my area for a day. It had been building up for a long time but when my friends asked why I quit I usually am too lazy to explain the full story and just say it was that.


#45 Cutting Ties

If they make plans with you and then cancel later because they got a better offer. I dumped a friend of 10 years for constantly pulling stuff like this. It's really horrible to always feel like you aren’t good enough. She ended up getting mad at me for not bringing it up sooner... all the more reason to cut ties with her.

170101-Z-CI242-003Air National Guard



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