It seems that these days unless something is extreme, we’re not interested in it. I’m talking about human behaviour. You only have to see the word psychopath or serial killer, and you have a captive audience.

But what about the more insidious side of human nature? The sneaky, underhand types of people like a shady person? After all, let’s face it, we are extremely unlikely to come across a psychopath or sociopath in real life.

However, we deal with shady people all the time. And the consequences of meeting one can be just as damaging, if not worse.

You know the type of person I’m talking about. The dodgy friend that only calls when they want something from you. Or the co-worker that doesn’t pull their weight and gets away with it. Or the person that treats their partner with disrespect.

The problem with shady people is that their sneaky and deceptive behaviour makes them hard to spot. But here are 10 signs you should be looking out for.

10 signs of a shady person

  1. They don’t have any long-term friends

A major red flag is not the number of friends a person has but the quality of those friends. When we first meet someone, we tend to put on our best behaviour. Then, as we open up, we either form a good friendship or let that person drift away.

Well-balanced people will have friendships that have lasted decades, not just a few months. That’s because we stick around people that we like and trust. We gravitate and stay near those who benefit us, not those that use or take us for granted. Shady people don’t have long-term friends because they have upset them all a long time ago.

  1. They can’t hold down a job for more than a few months

Shady people tend to over-promise and under-deliver. They might get their foot in the door of a good employer, but it will soon become apparent they are under-qualified.

A shady person doesn’t like to put much effort in, so they’ll turn up late for work, have a habit of upsetting work colleagues, and be more trouble than they are worth. Many won’t see through the initial work trial period.

  1. You keep catching them out in little white lies

We all tell white lies from time to time, but the difference between you and I and a shady person is the frequency of these lies. Shady people tell lies all the time. Whether they want to boast about something in their life or to cover up a mistake.

Lying comes naturally to them. Shady people seem not to notice or care if you call them out on a lie. They will deny the truth until you feel as if you are going mad.

  1. They use gaslighting and manipulation tactics

Speaking of lying and feeling as if you are going mad, gaslighting is just one of a shady person’s weaponry. They’ll use anything to hand to undermine you. They want you off-kilter a little so that they can take advantage.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean. I had a friend once, we called her BS Sue. Sue would pretend to be my best friend, but behind my back would start rumours about me to all my other friends. It got so bad that a guy I was seeing broke up with me because he believed her. She fooled me for a long time because I couldn’t believe that a friend would do that to someone.

  1. They gossip about other people

Trust me, if they are gossiping about other people, they have gossiped about you in the past. Gossiping is natural, I know, but there are two kinds of gossiping. Bad-mouthing someone behind their back is two-faced and backstabbing behaviour.

Talking about someone in glowing terms when they are not there is perfectly fine. A shady person will use your absence as the ideal time to put you down and blag her way into your friends’ lives. Gossiping shows untrustworthy behaviour.

  1. They don’t practice what they preach

Shady people are often also fickle. What I mean by this is that their words don’t match their actions. So you might get a shady person banging on about how spiritual they are on social media, but then in real life, they might be rude to a group of churchgoers in the street.

Or they may boast about how much they do for charity, and then you hear them slagging off the homeless. They present one side that they want you to see, but when their mask slips you’ll see that the reality is much different.

  1. They don’t respect your boundaries

A shady person will think nothing of turning up unannounced and expecting to be put up for the night. This is the kind of person that won’t recognise your need for space over their need. Imagine you are having a candlelit dinner with your partner; a shady person will pull up a chair and order dessert.

They impose their will and their needs over your comfort. They are in control, and you have no say in the matter. This is almost a bullying tactic. At the very least, it is disrespectful.

  1. They make assumptions about people

Shady people are judgmental and tend to make unfounded assumptions about situations and people. They soak up rumour and gossip because it fuels their need to feel superior over others. The truth is irrelevant to them.

Facts don’t matter. If they can blemish someone’s character or ruin a person’s reputation – all the better. You can track this close-minded attitude across many aspects of their life.

  1. Everything is a drama to them

Have you noticed that everything that happens to them is a drama? Whether they’ve mislaid their keys or got to work late; it’s always the end of the world as we know it.

But you can bet that if you have a real emergency, it won’t even register on their radar.

  1. They are always the victim

Finally, whatever happens in the shady person’s life, it’s never, ever, ever their fault. Honestly, it is as if the universe has conspired to set every conceivable obstacle in their way. And isn’t their life just so unfair?

You’ll notice a pattern to their universe story. It usually starts with something they have done. For example, the facts are that they lost their job through habitual tardiness. But they will tell you the real reason was that the manager fancied them and had no choice but to let them go because their partner got jealous. Really?

How to recognise a shady person in your social circle

Now you know the signs of a shady person, is there one in your social circle? After all, they are shady and sneaky by nature. It took me a long time to work out that my friend was shady.

  • You feel drained in their presence
  • Other friends are warning you about them
  • You are their only friend
  • They rely on you for money/accommodation/food/work
  • Your other friends don’t like them
  • They don’t like your other friends
  • They only contact you when they want something

Final thoughts

Anyone that has experienced a shady person in their life knows how difficult it can be to trust again. Luckily, shady people are few and far between. Listen to your gut and your friends. If something doesn’t feel right about a certain person, there’s usually a good reason behind your instincts.



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nic

    My brother is like this, especially turning up unexpectedly, staying until I literally pay him to go somewhere else. For so many years he took my money and time, even taking from my friends. No contact from this shady person aroiund 5 years now and feeling much better for it.

  2. priscilla peluso

    Thank you. I have been the victim of a very shady individual for 5 years. I truly have ben hurt
    over and over again. My fault being a trusting person and generous. Now, the hard part–
    How to heal from the painful truth and reality that this friendship has been a fraud and a scam.
    Hope and prayer for help in overcoming the embarrassment of having been abused, used and “thrown under the bus”. Every red flag was there; but I never saw them. Why???!! the person is also
    an alcoholic. Is that common?

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