13 Bad Intentions Examples to Recognize Before It's Too Late (2024)

You’ve always tried to see the good in people. You like giving others the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes that positive outlook and trusting nature can blind you to the bad intentions of certain individuals. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone took advantage of your kindness? Where were their motives and agendas not as innocent as they seemed?

Learning to spot the signs of bad intentions early on is a skill that can save you from hurt, deception, and damaged relationships. The truth is, there are people out there who will manipulate your goodwill for their own personal gain. But by recognizing the red flags, you can avoid being taken for a ride on the bad intentions express.

This article will explore some of the bad intentions examples you should be on high alert for so you can recognize bad intentions before it’s too late.

Table of Contents

1. Gaslighting: Manipulating the Truth

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Have you ever felt like someone is manipulating you, but you just can’t put your finger on how? Gaslighting is a sneaky tactic where someone makes you question your own perception of reality. The good news is, once you know the signs, you can spot them a mile away!

Gaslighters will deny that something you know happened actually occurred. They’ll say things like, “That never happened; you’re misremembering.” Don’t fall for it! Trust your own memories and experiences.

They will isolate you from friends and family who can validate your experiences. They want you to second-guess yourself, so you rely only on them. Make sure to stay connected to your support network.

Gaslighters will blame you for their abusive behavior. Comments like, “You made me yell at you” or “If you didn’t make me so angry, I wouldn’t have to criticize you” are red flags. You are not responsible for their actions; they are.

The best way to deal with a gaslighter is to get away from them. Their manipulation and mind games will only continue to make you anxious, confused, and insecure over time. You deserve to feel safe and happy; don’t let anyone steal that from you! Recognize the signs, trust yourself, lean on others, and make your exit. You’ve got this!

2. Love Bombing: Showering With Affection to Gain Control

Nothing feels quite as good as when someone showers you with affection and praise, right? But be wary if this happens right after meeting someone new. This is known as “love bombing,” and it’s a tactic manipulators use to gain control.

Love bombers will overwhelm you with texts, calls, gifts, and compliments to win you over quickly. At first, you’ll feel like the center of their world, but soon their true colors will show through. They become possessive, critical, and controlling.

Some signs a new person in your life could be a love bomber:

  • They demand constant contact and get angry if you don’t reply quickly.
  • They tell you they’ve never felt this way before and that you’re their soulmate, even though you just met.
  • They isolate you from friends and family by monopolizing your time and discouraging other relationships.
  • They alternate between showering you with affection and withdrawing it to keep you off balance.

Don’t be dazzled by grand gestures and sweet talk. Pay attention to how someone treats you from day to day. Healthy relationships develop slowly through mutual trust and respect. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to speak up or get out before the love bombing leads to manipulation and abuse.

You deserve real love, not an illusion of it. Stay true to yourself, keep your eyes open, and don’t be afraid to leave if love bombing turns into a disaster. The right person will love you for who you are, not as a means to control you.

3. Stonewalling: The Silent Treatment

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Stonewalling, also known as the silent treatment, is one of the most damaging behaviors in relationships. When someone gives you the cold shoulder and shuts down communication, it can be frustrating and hurtful. But don’t despair! There are a few tactics you can try to dismantle their stone wall.

First, stay calm and composed. Do not get emotional or lash out in anger. Respond with empathy and understanding, not aggression. Say something like, “I’ve noticed you seem distant lately. Is there something I said to upset you?” Let them know you care about fixing the situation.

If they continue to be unresponsive, give them some space. Take a step back and avoid contacting them for a day or two. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and they may become more open to talking after some time has passed. When you do reach out again, suggest going out for coffee or a walk together. A change of scenery can help facilitate an open conversation.

You might also get to the root of the issue by asking open-ended questions. Say, “I feel like there’s an unresolved issue hanging between us. What do you think it is?” Or “How can I support you in addressing whatever is bothering you?” Make it clear that you want to move past this rough patch together.

Ultimately, you cannot force someone to communicate if they don’t want to. But by responding with patience, empathy, and understanding, you’re more likely to break through their stonewalling defenses. Stay optimistic; where there’s a will, there’s a way! With time and effort, you can get your relationship back on track.

4. Future Faking: Empty Promises of Commitment

The charming new person in your life seems too good to be true. They shower you with affection, gifts, and promises of a wonderful future together. But these overly eager displays of commitment and connection can be a red flag for “future faking.”

Future fakers make empty promises of commitment to manipulate you into trusting them quickly. They lavish you with attention and talk about the amazing future the two of you will have in order to get what they want in the present, like money, status. The relationship moves at warp speed as they push for commitment way too early.

Once they’ve got you hooked, the mask starts to slip. The affection and attention dry up. Excuses pile up for why they can’t see you. They become evasive or defensive when you ask simple questions. The future they painted so vividly never comes to pass. You’re left confused, hurt, and out of whatever they managed to gain from you.

Some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Declarations of love and commitment way too soon. Anyone promising forever after just a few dates likely has ulterior motives.
  • Talking about major life milestones (marriage, kids, etc.) right away. This is a tactic to accelerate false intimacy and trust.
  • Never following through on promises or plans. If someone chronically cancels, makes excuses, or just plain fails to do what they said they would do, be wary.
  • Lying or having inconsistencies in their stories. If things don’t quite add up, they’re probably hiding something. Trust your instincts!

The best way to avoid getting ensnared by a future faker is to slow things down, pay close attention, and look for actions over words. Don’t ignore warning signs just because you really want to believe in them. While it’s exciting to feel swept away, true love builds over time through shared experiences and trust. If something feels off, it probably is.

5. Boundary Testing: Pushing Your Limits

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Watch out! Your friend may be testing your boundaries to see what they can get away with! Some people just can’t help pushing limits and buttons to serve their own selfish purposes.

Pushing Physical Boundaries

Have you noticed your friend standing just a little too close for comfort lately or touching you in ways that make you feel uneasy? This could be a sign they’re trying to push your physical boundaries. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and tell them their behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. Real friends will understand and respect your limits.

Pushing Emotional Boundaries

Is your friend constantly calling or texting and making you feel guilty if you don’t drop everything to respond right away? Do they share overly personal details about their lives or relationship issues that make you feel more like a therapist than a friend? These are indications that they may be pushing your emotional boundaries. It’s okay to not always be available and to set clear limits on what you will and won’t discuss. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you choose to spend your time or share your emotional energy.

Pushing Financial Boundaries

Watch out if your friend is frequently asking to borrow money or pushing expensive gifts, dinners, or trips on you that you don’t feel comfortable with. This behavior crosses financial boundaries and could be a sign they see you more as a personal ATM than a real friend. Don’t feel obligated to fund their lifestyle or lavish them with gifts to prove your friendship. Real friends value your time and company more than how much money you spend on them.

Trust your instincts—if something feels off about a friend’s behavior, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself by setting clear boundaries. True friends will understand and respect them. The ones who don’t? You’re better off without them!

Read more

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6. The Blame Game: Never Taking Responsibility

When someone constantly blames others for their mistakes and shortcomings instead of taking responsibility, watch out! This behavior speaks volumes about their character and intentions.

Have a friend who always has an excuse? “It’s not my fault the project failed; my team didn’t get me the numbers in time!” Or a co-worker who never admits when they’re wrong? “I didn’t make that error; the system must have glitched!” People who refuse to take responsibility for their actions often lack accountability and maturity.

They frequently play the victim card to gain sympathy and avoid consequences. “Why is this always happening to me?” Um, maybe because you never learn from your mistakes?

• They lie and make excuses to protect their ego and image. The truth is too hard to face. But the lies and excuses only make the situation worse in the long run.

• They blame external factors instead of looking inward at their own poor choices and flaws. It’s much easier to point the finger at someone or something else than to do the difficult work of self-reflection and change.

They lack empathy for those they hurt with their irresponsible behavior. When you don’t take ownership of the problem, you can’t begin to understand its impact on others or make amends.

People who chronically blame others and dodge responsibility for their actions will continue to hurt you and never really change. Don’t get caught up in their drama and excuses. Call them out on their behavior and set clear boundaries. You deserve relationships with those who are able to say, “I’m sorry, I messed up—and actually mean it! Surround yourself with people who take responsibility for their lives rather than playing the blame game.

7. Isolation: Cutting You Off From Support

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When someone begins isolating you from your support network, it’s a major red flag. They want you all to themselves, so they can manipulate you without interference from people who genuinely care about you. Be on high alert!

  • Your friend who always makes excuses why you can’t hang out with other people Claiming that “they’re not good enough for you” or “they don’t really care about you, but I do!” This possessiveness is not a sign of love.
  • The new romantic partner who gets upset when you want to spend time with friends and family They start arguments or make you feel guilty for not giving them all your free time. Don’t fall for it! Maintaining relationships is vital.
  • The colleague who subtly talks trash about your other coworkers to turn you against them Then they ask you to team up on projects, so you have to rely on them. Watch out; they may be trying to sabotage you professionally!
  • Anyone who makes you feel like they’re the only one who understands or cares about you This is emotional manipulation to break down your self-esteem and independence.

Stay connected to your cheerleaders, champions, compatriots, advocates, and supporters. Make time for casual meetups, calls, messages, and one-on-ones. Value each relationship in your life, and don’t let anyone isolate you, no matter what tactics they use. You deserve to be surrounded by people who appreciate you for who you are—never settle for less! By fostering community, you build resilience. That way, you can spot unhealthy intentions from a mile away.

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8. Crazy-Making: Psychological Manipulation

Crazy-making behavior is psychological manipulation at its worst. Have you ever been in a relationship where you frequently felt confused, anxious, or like you were losing your mind? If so, you may have been with a crazy maker. These sneaky manipulators employ stealthy tactics to make you question your own sanity and perception of reality.

Watch out for the following signs of crazy-making:

  • Gaslighting: They deny that something happened when you know it did. For example, you confront them about lying, and they insist, “That never happened; you must be imagining things.” This makes you doubt your own mind and memory.
  • Blame-shifting: Nothing is ever their fault. They always blame you or others for their mistakes and shortcomings. Then they make you feel guilty for accusing them in the first place.
  • Moving goalposts: They constantly change the rules and expectations, so you feel like you can never win. You fulfill one demand, then they impose another.
  • Isolation: They slowly cut you off from outside support by criticizing friends and family and discouraging independent activities. This amplifies their influence over you.
  • Inducing anxiety: They threaten punishment or abandonment to keep you on edge. You feel worried and unsafe, but you can never be sure why.

The good news is that once you recognize the signs of a crazy person, you can avoid their traps. Stand up for yourself by setting clear boundaries and calling out manipulative behavior. Don’t engage or argue, but remain calm and detached. Reach out to others who love and support you. And if the situation calls for it, get out of the relationship. You deserve to feel empowered and confident, not crazy!

9. Negativity: Constant Complaining and Criticism

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Negativity in the form of constant complaining and criticism is toxic and will slowly poison your relationships and happiness. Staying around negative people who are always putting you or others down will drain your energy and motivation. Their pessimism and fault-finding spread like a virus. Don’t let their stormy moods rain on your parade!

Recognize the signs of a chronic complainer. Do they nag, whine, or criticize frequently? Nothing is ever good enough. Every conversation turns into a gripe fest. Don’t engage or try to cheer them up—you’ll just get pulled into their vortex of gloom. Politely but firmly tell them you’d like to change the subject to something more positive. If they continue to sap your joy, spend less time around them when possible.

Don’t accept undeserved criticism. Stand up for yourself assertively and confidently. Say something like, “I understand this is your opinion, but I disagree and don’t wish to discuss it further.” Don’t argue or make excuses; just establish your boundary. Harsh or unjustified criticism says more about the critic than you. Do not take the bait.

Focus on surrounding yourself with uplifting people who share your bright outlook. Their positivity and encouragement will fuel your own optimism and help you achieve great things. Be very selective in who you give your time and attention to. Your energy and happiness depend on it!

Stay cheerful and keep your eyes on the bright side. Do not let the storm clouds of others rain on your sunny disposition! Surround yourself with people who lift you up instead of putting you down. And if anyone dares to harsh your mellow with constant complaining or unfair criticism, don’t feel bad about distancing yourself. Your joy and motivation depend on it!

10. Dishonesty: Cheating and Stealing

Cheats and thieves, beware! Those with dishonest intentions often show their true colors through their actions and words. Watch out for these signs that someone may have deceitful plans.

Have you noticed them telling little white lies or exaggerating the truth? Small lies can be a sign of a bigger issue with honesty and integrity. Do they make promises that they regularly break or fail to follow through on? Empty words and broken commitments are major red flags.

Do items go missing when they’re around, or do they borrow things without returning them? Thievery and “borrowing without asking” are not okay. Have you caught them going through your personal belongings when they think you’re not looking? Snooping and invading privacy are also warning signs to watch out for.

Do they blame others for their mistakes and faults rather than taking responsibility for their own actions? Deflecting blame is a sign of dishonesty and a refusal to be accountable. Do they manipulate situations or people for their own gain? Manipulation and exploiting others for personal benefit are unethical behaviors.

Read more

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Trust and honesty are the foundations of all good relationships. If someone in your life is exhibiting these unhealthy behaviors, be cautious about how much you share with them and set clear boundaries. You deserve to surround yourself with people who are truthful, accountable, and have your best interests at heart. Don’t ignore the red flags; call out the dishonesty and deceit before the situation escalates or causes harm. You’ll be glad you did!

11. Aggression: Hostile and Violent Behavior

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When someone shows aggression, hostility, or violent behavior towards you, don’t ignore the warning signs. Their intentions may not be good. Watch out for these troubling behaviors:

  • Physically harming you or threatening to hurt you. This is a major red flag that the person means to cause you harm. Get away from them immediately and call the authorities.
  • Damaging your property or belongings on purpose. If they disregard your things now, they may disregard your safety later.
  • Using intimidation tactics like yelling, screaming, or getting in your face Their goal is to frighten and overpower you. Don’t engage or argue with them. Leave the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Spreading malicious rumors or lies about you to turn others against you. This psychological abuse is meant to isolate you and make you vulnerable. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you.
  • Blaming you for their own problems or shortcomings. This refusal to take responsibility for their actions shows they lack empathy and may lash out at you in anger. Be very cautious around this person.
  • Controlling or monitoring your whereabouts and activities. They want to exert dominance over you and strip away your independence and freedom. This is a form of abuse, and you need to set clear boundaries or remove yourself from the relationship.

The sooner you recognize these troubling behaviors, the sooner you can protect yourself. Don’t make excuses for the other person or downplay the severity of the situation. Your safety is most important. If you feel you’re in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call emergency services. Surround yourself with your true supporters, set clear boundaries, or remove toxic people from your life completely. You deserve to feel safe and happy.

12. Selfishness: Only Caring About Themselves

Watch out for people who only seem to care about themselves. Selfishness is one of the biggest red flags that someone may have bad intentions.

Have you ever had a friend who only calls you when they need something? Or who never asks how you’re doing; they just talk about themselves the whole time? These are signs that the person is primarily concerned with their own interests and needs. Their motivation for interacting with you is what they can gain from it, not genuine care or concern for you.

Some other signs of selfishness to look for:

  • They frequently break promises or renege on plans if something better comes up for them. Your time and needs are secondary.
  • Conversations always revert back to being about them. They show little interest in listening to you or learning about what’s going on in your life.
  • They rarely do favors or offer help without expecting something in return. Acts of kindness from them always come with strings attached.
  • They get defensive or make excuses when called out on their selfish behavior. Rather than sincerely apologizing, they blame others or justify why their actions were OK.
  • lack of empathy. Selfish people struggle to see things from other perspectives and show little compassion for other people’s problems or feelings.

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The hard truth is that you can’t make a selfish person change. You can communicate how their behavior makes you feel, set clear boundaries, and spend less time with them. Don’t let their selfishness become your problem or hold you back from surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about you in return. Life is too short for that!

13. Deception: Lies and Untruths

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Deception comes in many forms, but lies and untruths are two of the sneakiest. It’s easy to be duped when someone is deliberately misleading you. The good news is that there are a few telltale signs that can tip you off to an untruth.

Look for vague or rambling statements. Liars often give convoluted explanations full of unnecessary details to make their stories seem believable. If something sounds confusing or implausible, it may not be legit.

Watch out for inconsistencies. Untruths are hard to keep straight. See if the details change or don’t quite match up each time the story is told. Different accounts of the same event could indicate fiction, not fact.

Notice the lack of detail. Liars tend to be light on specifics because they’re making things up as they go along. Ask follow-up questions to try to catch them in the act. The truth usually contains vivid details that remain consistent.

Look for dodged questions. If someone avoids direct questions or quickly changes the subject, they may have something to hide. Honest people will address inquiries head-on without hesitation.

Trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. Our intuition alerts us when people have ulterior motives or bad intentions. Don’t ignore the warning signs—they exist to protect you.

The truth has a certain ring to it. Lies and untruths, on the other hand, have a hollow or manufactured quality that arouses suspicion. Sharpen your senses and see if you can detect deceit before it’s too late. The truth will set you free, but first it may get on your nerves! Stay vigilant, ask probing questions, and go with your gut.


You deserve to surround yourself with people who treat you well and fully support you. Don’t settle for less. Now that you’re aware of some common signs of bad intentions, you’ll be able to spot them from a mile away. Trust your instincts; if something feels off about a new friend or relationship, it probably is.

You have so much wonderfulness to offer the world, so don’t waste your time and energy on people who can’t appreciate you for who you are. The next time you meet someone new, go in with confidence in yourself and your ability to discern their character.

You’ve got this! Stay true to yourself and keep your head high. The right people will come into your life, so make room for them by removing those with bad intentions. Your happiness and inner peace depend on it.


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13 Bad Intentions Examples to Recognize Before It's Too Late (2024)


What are some examples of good intentions gone wrong? ›

Let's explore the most common cases where people start with the right intention but get bad outcomes.
  • Postponing your dream job.
  • Chasing product management certificates.
  • Getting an MBA.
  • Being “nice” to your manager.
  • Believing conventional wisdom.
  • Making decisions from where you are rather than where you want to be.
Jul 9, 2022

What are some bad intentions? ›

Dishonesty and Deceitful Intentions

At the heart of many broken relationships and eroded trusts lie the sinister twins of dishonesty and deceitful intentions. These behaviors involve a spectrum of untruths, from telling lies to breaking promises, and often culminate in manipulation for personal advantage.

What is negative intention? ›

We may initially have an intention not to perform an action (a negative intention), but later develop an intention to perform that action (a positive intention), and vice versa. We may intentionally or unintentionally express our intentions, and we may intentionally or unintentionally act on our prior intentions.

How to know if someone had bad intentions? ›

4) They're always playing the victim

If you find yourself constantly sympathizing and never receiving any support in return, it's time to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Why? Because playing the perpetual victim is a red flag that someone might not have the best intentions.

What are examples of intentions? ›

For example, an intention could be to cultivate gratitude and appreciation for the present moment, or to prioritize self-care and make time for rest and relaxation. Intentions can also be related to specific areas of your life, such as relationships, career, or personal growth.

When your good intentions are misunderstood? ›

Good intentions can easily lead to broken relationships

It becomes troublesome when trust and relationships breakdown as a result. What started as a misunderstanding, quickly becomes a chasm of broken trust, maybe never to be recovered. This is what happens when we are blind to our own part and only focus on others.

What is false intention? ›

A false intention, on the other hand, which refers to an unlikely future action (since the person does not intend to carry out the claimed action), should be relatively abstractly represented.

Why do I always assume the worst intentions? ›

It is connected to anxiety and anxiety disorders.

When it comes to past trauma and anxiety, catastrophizing can be something you unconsciously use to actually try and make yourself feel better. If you assume the worse, you'll feel less threatened if something bad really does happen, right?

What's another word for bad intentions? ›

Some common synonyms of ill will are grudge, malevolence, malice, malignity, spite, and spleen.

How do you deal with someone with bad intentions? ›

How do you handle the evil intentions of someone who is close? In my experience, it has helped to: Confront them head on about the behavior and you do not let go until you know they understand. You do this every time they display the behavior.

How do I stop bad intentions? ›

Simple Steps to Stop Negative Thoughts
  1. Pause a Moment. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or stuck in negative thinking patterns, PAUSE. ...
  2. Notice the Difference. NOTICE the difference between being stuck in your thoughts vs. ...
  3. Label Your Thoughts. ...
  4. Choose Your Intention.
Dec 3, 2022

What does good intentions gone wrong mean? ›

A common meaning of the phrase is that wrongdoings or evil actions are often undertaken with good intentions; or that good intentions, when acted upon, may have unintended consequences.

What is an example of an act that is good in itself but becomes bad because of the malicious intent of the doer? ›

For example, telling the truth is a good act but to destroy another person's good name or character makes it a morally bad act because of the speaker's purpose or intention.

Do good intentions justify bad actions? ›

Good intentions can justify bad actions, provided the following conditions are met. First, the intentions are really good and the actions really bad, not mistakenly believed to be good and bad. Second, the intentions and actions are based on true beliefs about the relevant facts in the context.

Why good intention is not enough? ›

It's essential to recognize that having good intentions alone is insufficient. Even with the best intentions, communication can lead to misunderstandings, and people will react based on how they perceive things—after all, they can't read minds.


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