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How to spot the bad (and good) people in your life

Cheyenne gives her tips for recognising the unsupportive people in your life

Written by Cheyenne Downey and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"Never be afraid to remove a bad person from your life but too never be afraid to let a good one in either."

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It's very easy to get caught amongst the wrong bunch of people, so many people speak of meaning well but their behaviour says differently. It's important to spot the bad people in your life in order to recognise the good ones. So I've discussed some key signs to look out for when it comes to the not so good people around you.

They are passive aggressive 

A person with a constant passive aggressive attitude will avoid being straight forward with you at all costs. If they are upset or angry with you they will 'pass' indirect (almost subtle) insults or comments and perhaps give you the silent treatment to let you know they have a problem. I personally find this kind of behaviour to be very frustrating and hurtful, it can make you constantly wonder what you're doing wrong while also leaving you questioning whether or not you have a way about you that upsets people, bringing you down even more. Yet truth be told the person who is being passive aggressive is doing something wrong. They are avoiding confronting an issue, which will not solve anything. If you know anyone in your life like this, I would recommend not giving them your attention, the mind games are not fun so don't satisfy the person by playing along. Instead I suggest focus on the people in your life, who are honest towards you, who try to fix the cracks that occur in your relationships and who do their best to avoid arguments with you. These kind of people are worth keeping around, simply because they mean well.

They appear unsupportive

Growing up I had a few 'friends' who never seemed to be happy for me when I was happy. It ranged from if I was pleased that I did well on a school test, they would mutter "well done" without a smile and complain about how pointless the test was anyway, to if I wanted to lose a bit of weight or take part in a new sport they would try to say something to put me off the idea. I soon realized these kind of people were not good for me! If someone in your life tries to hinder your goals and does not seem happy for all your minor and major achievements, forget'em! Take notice of the people who sincerely congratulate you when you succeed, who smile and say "yeah go for it" when you want to conquer a goal or try something new. It's best to surround yourself with people who have got your back every step of the way!

You feel uncomfortable around them

If you find yourself sitting on edge about what you say or do around certain people, convinced that there is a high chance they'll laugh at you or judge you, chances are they're bad for you. You should not feel like you have to act a certain way or say particular things in order to 'fit in' with a group or a person. Don't alter who you are to suit someone else, especially when your gut is telling you something is not right. Walk away from crowds or a person that make you feel small. Stick with people who make you feel safe and content. It may sound cliché, but the right people will love and accept you for who you are and that's something I'm proud I've learned.

They don't listen to you

One of the nicest things you can do for a person is listen to what they have to say. A key sign to look out for when it comes to a person who may be bad for you is they will steer clear of listening to you in most conversations. They often want the conversation to revolve around them or something they’re interested in. If I'm caught in a situation like this I wouldn't continue to try and tell them anything. In my opinion these are clear signs that a person is not concerned with what you have to say. It is much better to talk to someone who is willing to listen and offer you advice if you need it.

They don't make an effort

A person who is not good for you will normally leave you feeling that you must repeatedly make the first move in order to "keep them" basically. This can mean you usually check up on them to see if they're okay, but they don't do the same for you and that you're always the one who makes plans in order for you both to see each other. Effort should come from both/all people in either a friendship or a relationship. It's unhealthy when maintaining the bond feels like you're dragging your nails down a chalkboard. If a person really cares about you, their actions will prove that. Be caring and loyal to the people who are happy to have you in their lives, and don't forget to remind them that you're thankful to have them in yours too!


In life we'll encounter many different kinds of characters. If I had to offer one main piece of advice, it is to never be afraid to remove a bad person from your life but to never be afraid to let a good one in either.

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Published May 23rd, 2016
Last updated May 30th, 2016
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