20 Red Flag Phrases That Are a Dead Giveaway Someone Is a Jerk

You know what they say: “Trust your gut.” That little voice inside your head that whispers warnings can be a powerful tool for being with other people. Now, why are red flags so important? Well, they act as our personal radar, helping us identify potential threats or unhealthy relationships.

One Redditor asked, “What is a phrase someone says that is an instant red flag?” Thousands of users shared their opinions, and we have compiled the perfect list for you!

1. ‘Trust Me’

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Picture this: You meet someone new, and they’re all like, “Hey, trust me!” And you’re sitting there like, “Uh, hold up, red flags alert!” Why is it that when someone tells us to trust them right off the bat, our internal alarm bells start ringing?

A Redditor highlighted it and said, “Trust me, I am not like the others.”

Another added, “I’m not like other girls. I’m like my dad.”

Someone wrote, “Another one in this line is “You’re not like any of the other…” Christians, women, athletes, etc… like no, dude, I’m not a unicorn. You are just a terrible person who sees me as more human than people you don’t know who think or look like me.”

2. Fighting

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One shared, “Just hung out with a girl last night that I thought might be a potential new friend, but she said she loves fighting with people and p***ing them off. She said this in the context of another girl she was working with who was irritating her, so she was intentionally saying things to get to her.

I already got slightly weird vibes from her from the start, too, that made me feel uncomfortable around her, but that kinda confirmed where they were coming from and made me realize I will prob keep a safe distance.”

Another Redditor shared their personal experience: “I “dated” this toxic loser for only 2 weeks because there were way too many red flags. But he straight up told me, “When I’m bored, I start fights with the person I’m dating.” Nope. I ain’t got time for that stuff.”

Now, while some might see it as entertaining or exciting, there are definitely some major red flags when it comes to people who fight for fun.

3. Being Blunt

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We all know this type—those with zero filters who say whatever is on their mind, regardless of how it might make others feel.

One said, “People think I’m an a**h**e because I tell it how it is/don’t hold back/speak my mind/am blunt…” Sooner or later, you’ll realize that they’re just an a**h**e.”

Someone else commented, “True. This is my coworker who tells pretty rude stuff and then says, “I just said the truth, if you can’t handle it then it’s your problem””

While some might appreciate their “honesty,” there are definitely some red flags to consider when dealing with blunt people.

4. The Family Lie

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Managers feel like they want to create this warm and fuzzy illusion of a tight-knit group. But hold up; red flags are waving like crazy! Because the truth is, when managers start spouting off about being a family, it’s often a load of baloney.

One user said, “We are like a family here.”

Another debunked: “Translation: I like to underpay my employees and meddle in their personal lives.”

Another person pitched in to say, “The owner of the restaurant I work at told me this during my interview. In a way, we are, I get along with all my coworkers. Love every single one of them; we fight sometimes because it’s a restaurant. But what really binds us together as a family unit, it’s our hatred for the owner.”

5. The Entrepreneur’s Deception

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There are people who go around proclaiming themselves as entrepreneurs, but when you dig a little deeper, you realize they’re not really doing much at all. It’s like they’re more interested in the title than actually putting in the work. And trust us, when someone is all talk and no action, it’s a major red flag.

Someone commented, “Fits nicely alongside “I’m an entrepreneur!” No, you’re not. You’ve run three businesses into the ground through your own hubris and stupidity.”

Another Redditor couldn’t agree more and said, “Even better the LinkedIn crazies that have “serial entrepreneur” in their tagline. “I repeatedly start businesses I’m no longer involved with.”

6. Alpha Male

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A Redditor wrote, “Any man who must say “I am an alpha” is no true alpha.”

Another person added, “The whole alpha-beta thing is just astrology for incels.”

Someone wrote, “Anyone who thinks “being an alpha” is a) desirable or b) even a thing is just an incel.

The wolf theories were wrong. Humans don’t behave that way, either. It’s all just overly aggressive pr**ks trying to justify their tantrums and reliance on abusive behavior to navigate life. No science to it, just a bunch of sad, rapey twats whose mommies never kissed ’em.”

We hate to break it to you, but when someone feels the need to flaunt their alpha status, it’s definitely a red flag!

7. Pedophiles

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Someone on Reddit said, “I can’t be near elementary schools within a 500-meter area.”

Another hilariously wrote, “Wait, that’s what you meant when you wrote “Loves kids” on your Tinder?”

Someone else replied sarcastically, “Say what you will about pedophiles, but at least they slow down in school zones.”

Here’s a life tip: Do not ever talk to anyone who claims to be a pedophile!

8. Handling My Worst!

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” Translation: I will be a d**k to people because I’m entitled.”

Someone else added, “Dear God, yes. It translates to “I have no self-control, and I have mood swings that make Donald Trump appear stable.”

This statement reeks of emotional manipulation. It’s a way for someone to justify their negative behavior or mistreatment by suggesting that you should accept it if you want to enjoy their good side!

But here’s the thing—healthy relationships are about mutual respect and growth together.

9. Mocking Your Likings

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First of all, our interests and hobbies reflect who we are and what brings us joy. They form a part of our identity and allow us to express ourselves. When someone makes fun of these aspects of our lives, it shows a lack of respect and understanding for our individuality.

Someone commented, “Makes fun of something you like.”

Another user added, “When you make fun of how someone laughs, dances, or eats, you’re making sure that’s the last time they want to do it with you.” -My grandma”

10. Blaming the Stars

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One user said, “It’s because I’m a Scorpio / Pisces / Etc.”

Someone else said, “People who obsess about astrology annoy me to no end. The month you were born has absolutely zero bearing on your personality. Things like family life, trauma, beliefs, and major life experiences are far more telling about who a person is and make much more interesting conversations. Yet there are people out there who will form their entire opinion of you and make a ton of arbitrary assumptions of you based on a made-up connect-the-dot project people made in the sky when they were bored before the internet existed. I literally can’t stand it.”

When someone uses astrology as an excuse for their behavior, it’s definitely a red flag.

11. Racism

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A Redditor wrote, “I’m not racist, but…”

Someone else added, “Mind-boggling interaction I had with a j**k in high school: I was talking about how much I liked going into the city, and he said, “Ugh, with all those [n word] and [slur for immigrants from south of the border]?” When I called him on being racist, he honestly looked gobsmacked and said, “But I’m not racist!” Yeah, loser.”

Someone said, “My ex-mother-in-law, who claims to be a Christian, loved saying that. “I’m not racist, but I don’t think people of different races should have kids together”. My current partner is Puerto Rican. It would make her blood boil if we had kids together, but we are too old now.”

Diversity is what makes our world beautiful and interesting. People come from different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, and that’s something to celebrate, not discriminate against!

12. Empathy

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Someone said, “I’m an empath”. Every single time someone says that, they later turn out to be anything but. Real empaths don’t go around advertising.”

Someone else agreed and said, “I absolutely hate people who claim this. Every time I’ve come across one they’ve taken other people’s trauma and made it about them.

I had a coworker once who claimed to be an empath. I had to leave work abruptly because my MIL had a stroke and was in ICU. It was a week of absolute chaos, leaving work to go to the hospital every night. The second day I come in, and COWORKER starts bawling her eyes out because “I looked so tired and sad,” and it was stressing her out.

People who have high levels of empathy absolutely do not advertise it, and they don’t try to pilfer attention out of other people’s tragedies.”

When someone repeatedly emphasizes their empathy, it can come across as self-serving. It’s like they’re trying to convince themselves or others of their emotional depth without actually showing it. They may use their ‘claim of empathy’ as a way to manipulate others, which is definitely a red flag!

13. Time Danger

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Picture this: it’s late at night, you’re walking down the road, minding your own business, when suddenly, out of nowhere, someone approaches you and asks for the time. Now, we are no detectives, but that situation can raise some serious concerns.

Someone wrote, “Have you got the time?” Said to you while walking alone at night.”

Another added, “This happened to me in broad daylight on a deserted street. I kept walking, dude followed. I managed to get into a public place, and I saw him just…watching, waiting for me to leave. Luckily I spotted a couple of women leaving, explained the situation, and they walked with me to my office.”

14. Being Always Right

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Someone commented, “I’m always right.”

Another person stated, “I had Interviewed someone for a job recently who said they have never made a mistake and don’t have any negative qualities/area for improvement. Nope, Red flag. That person will not be open to feedback.”

Here’s the thing: Nobody knows everything and true wisdom lies in acknowledging our limitations and being open to new information!

15. Emotional Abuse

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One user said, “Emotional abuse isn’t real.”

Another Redditor couldn’t agree more and said, “I had to scroll for ages to find this! I have an ex who actually said this exact line. Of course, he was extremely manipulative and played the victim every time.”

Emotional abuse is no joke. It’s a serious issue that can mess with your head and leave you feeling like a total wreck. It’s all about those toxic behaviors like constant belittling, controlling your every move, or playing mind games. And let us tell you; it’s as real as it gets!

16. Respecting

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Someone commented, “You have to earn my respect.” Great, so your default is just to be mean to people?”

Another person added, “I’m a teacher and had a toe rag teenager say this to me in class. My go-to reply destroyed him. “And what will you do to earn mine” Not easy to be arrogant when your teacher gets one up on you and all your “Peers” are laughing at you.”

Respect is something that should be given to every person by default. It’s a basic human right, not something that should be held hostage or used as a bargaining chip!

17. Trust

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Trust is vital in any relationship, be it romantic, friendship, or even with your pet goldfish! But here’s the thing: trust should be given initially, not held hostage like a secret treasure waiting to be uncovered.

Someone on Reddit said, “Either you trust me or you don’t.” It’s a silly statement. All trust is NOT the same: there are lots of kinds and levels of trust, and trying to bootstrap from one to the other with some flimsy guilt trip is dishonest.

e.g., I trust my sister to watch my kids, but I do not trust her to do my brakes. I trust my mechanic to do my brakes, but I do not trust him with my kids.”

Another replied, “This is so true, there are so many things that fall under “trust” that don’t have much to do with each other, and they often just lump them all together. I trust you not to lie to me. I trust you to mean well.

But do I trust you to have a specific skill? Do I trust your decision-making about your own skill? Just because I trust your honesty does not mean I trust you to have infinite wisdom and skill. Or to always be right.

And even worse: “Let’s do A, trust me.” I don’t want to do A. Trust you about what? That A is a good decision? That you have some inside info about why I should want to do A? How about you tell me that info?

Or when I question anything that they say or do, and they are hurt because I don’t “trust” them. No, I disagree about this specific topic because I think that you are wrong. What does that have to do with trust? How about they trust me that I could be right as well? It’s so stupid.”

18. Sorry, Not Sorry

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One Redditor stated, “Sorry, not sorry.” So you’re just a condescending piece of s*** then.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I hate that phrase, even just on a literal level. Either you’re sorry, or you’re not! Make up your d*** mind.”

A genuine apology involves taking responsibility for your actions and sincerely wanting to make things right. But when someone says, “Sorry, not sorry,” it’s like they’re mocking the whole concept of apologizing.

19. Serial Killer Vibes!

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Are people having a strange fascination with serial killers? Hold up, because when someone starts idolizing these twisted people, it’s like a giant red flag smacking you right in the face!

A Reddit user wrote, “Anything about how much they love Ted Bundy (or Dahmer or other serial killers, but they always do it with Bundy). You’re not cool or edgy for liking serial killers; no Ted Bundy was not that smart or masterful; please stop. No, Dahmer isn’t cool.

If you’re just interested because you couldn’t fathom that these monsters exist, or you just went down a rabbit hole to educate yourself, then fine. We’ve all done that. A lot of people have that morbid fascination from wondering what makes these people tick and why they’d do what they did.

But when you get to the level of people making anime fanart of Ted Bundy or comparing their “smartness” and going, “yeah, I’m well similar to him because I’m sMaRt”, it becomes creepily obsessive, it makes me feel unsafe and also makes everybody cringe.

My classmate thought he was the coolest because he liked Dahmer and wasn’t a “w*ss” like everybody else, but in reality, he was just a weirdo and turned out to be a horrible person.”

Someone else couldn’t agree but say, “That’s not a red flag; that’s a giant, wailing siren that you can hear from two counties away.”

20. Saying You’re Nice!

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When someone constantly boasts about how nice they are, it’s a signal that something might be off. It’s like they’re trying a little too hard to convince everyone, including themselves, that they’re this epitome of kindness.

One said, “I’m a nice guy.”

Another person agreed, “Any iteration of this. “I’m a good person,” etc. Most people who say that give off victim vibes.”

Someone commented, “Yeah, good people don’t actually announce it.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.