Nine Signals That Tell You They're Not Right For You

You spend your life surrounded by people, so the criteria you use to select those you really want in your life are of paramount importance.
Nine Signals That Tell You They're Not Right For You
Laura Ruiz Mitjana

Written and verified by the psychologist Laura Ruiz Mitjana.

Last update: 03 January, 2023

Sometimes, you meet people who, at first glance, seem to be amazing. They appear to be interesting, good, and genuine individuals. However, not all the people you meet in your life will suit you or contribute something positive to your relationship with them. In some cases, it’s because they don’t connect with what you need, while in others they may display harmful toxic behaviors.

In this article, we propose nine signals that suggest someone isn’t for you. First, we’ll talk about the importance of deciding whether someone is right for you or not.

Meeting the right person

To meet the right person, you need to go through a process of personal introspection, self-knowledge, and identification of your own limits (what you need and why) and, sometimes, some effective psychotherapeutic work.

Knowing whether someone is right for you is a personal matter. Broadly speaking, it depends on whether they make you feel good, bring positive things to your relationship, and allow you to be yourself. In effect, whether having them by your side is a blessing and if they promote your feelings of well-being.

Man talking to his partner
If someone prevents you from growing, lies to you, and makes you feel bad, it’s better that you stay away from them.

They’re not right for you when …

Here are nine signals to help you recognize that they’re not right for you.

1. They prevent you from growing

According to a study led by Jose Alonso Andrade, from the University of San Buenaventura, (Colombia), relationships with significant levels of dysfunction present a certain toxicity for their members by not allowing individual growth.

Therefore, a partner (or other significant people) who allows you to grow emotionally and spiritually is showing you love and consideration. These are essential ingredients for building healthy and balanced relationships.

2. They make you go against yourself

Moreover, the study suggests that when an individual inhibits their partner’s free psycho-affective expression, this suggests certain levels of dysfunction and toxicity in the relationship. In other words, when someone isn’t for you they force you, in some way, to act against what you really want. Indeed, they make you feel that you have to (over) act or ‘play a role’ so that they accept or validate you. Sometimes, you do this without even realizing it.

The one for you will accept you for who you are. Consequently, you feel free to be who you are with them, without the need to pretend. Also, remember that healthy relationships are based on equality. This is achieved when partners can be themselves in the relationship and don’t need to wear a mask.

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

-Oscar Wilde-

3. They make you feel bad

Emotions are your most precious compass. They consistently help you know what you need and help you obtain it by regulating and directing your thoughts and actions.

If someone makes you feel bad, it means an emotion has been awakened in you that’s telling you that something isn’t right. You need to listen to yourself. If someone frequently makes you feel bad, they’re definitely not for you.

4. They bring out the worst in you

The way you behave depends on the context. This can be temporary and also social. For instance, have you ever felt that certain people seem to have a natural ability to bring out the best in you, and vice versa?

The ones for you don’t have to necessarily be the kindest people, nor the most attentive. In fact, you might even dislike them at first because they seem to be challenging. That’s because they often make you feel a little smaller than you think you are. However, with the passage of time, you just seem to fit together and they constantly encourage you to continue moving forward, making you feel better.

5. They don’t validate your emotions

Although you need to identify what you need from a partner to figure out if they’re the one for you, you must also ask yourself another question. How does someone who doesn’t validate your emotions make you feel?

For example, say you tell them that you’re feeling unhappy and they respond by telling you that it’s not that bad. Moreover, this doesn’t just happen once but on repeated occasions in different situations. How do their comments make you feel? Do you think that this person is right for you?

6. They judge or question you

Someone who contributes to your relationship and brings light to your life is accepting you as you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses. They don’t judge you. On the contrary, they listen to you, give you space, and respect what you feel without labeling it as good or bad. In short, they accept you. So, if they constantly question you or judge your decisions, this should set your alarm bells ringing!

7. They don’t respect you

It’s perfectly natural that they may disagree with you at times. However, there are certain boundaries they shouldn’t cross. You set these limits, and one of them is respect.

Contrary to popular belief, not all disrespect is intentional. Sometimes, others sabotage your autonomy by protesting that they’re acting in your best interests. When, in reality, they’re invalidating you.

8. They tell lies

We’ve all lied at some point in our lives. However, you must differentiate normal or cruel lies from white lies.

If someone lies to you constantly over things that just don’t make sense (or that make you feel bad), you must seriously consider whether they’re right for you or not.

Also, did you know that one lie leads to another? This is suggested by a study conducted by University College, London, (UK), in which researchers found that every time people lie, their brains become insensitive to the negative emotions that a lack of sincerity generates.

This means that their lies lead them to continue lying in the future. Therefore, being with someone who lies to you can be harmful, since they may well continue to lie to you.

9. Their shortcomings are damaging

We all lose control of our emotions at certain points. That said, when your partner loses control, it affects you directly. If it happens more than once, it should act as an alarm signal, warning you that they may not be for you.

This is because they clearly haven’t worked on their issues. Moreover, they’re harming you. As the saying goes, we all need to paddle our own canoe. In other words, they must take responsibility for their own emotional health. If they can’t do it alone, they should ask for help, but not involve or hold you responsible.

To find out if someone has good self-control, look at whether they know themselves. One way of improving self-control is to improve self-knowledge, claims Sandra Cano Murcia and Marcela Zea Jiménez, in a study about managing emotions.

According to the authors, “When we achieve self-knowledge, we’re able to achieve self-control, because we’re aware of everything that affects us, or causes us discomfort. Likewise, what puts us in a good mood and makes us happy, we can manage to our advantage”.

couple arguing
People who do not know themselves can emotionally harm others.

What to do when someone isn’t right for you

If you’ve noticed any of the above signals in someone and have decided that you don’t want them in your life, now is the time to move on. It’s time to take action.

You must tell them, clearly, respectfully, and assertively. Then, you’ll be able to start identifying which kind of people you do want in your life. It might help to make a list of aspects that you consider essential in someone you want to share your life with, whether they be a partner, friend, or acquaintance.

However, there’ll always be people to whom you want to give an opportunity, and wonder whether it’s worth waiting for them to change. But this change may never come and it’s never worthwhile investing your energy in trying to change someone. You have to build healthy relationships and bonds and, if you start from a complicated base, what benefits will you get from the relationship? Remember, relationships should always be easy, especially at the beginning.

Remember, you have the right to be yourself, and also to freely choose who you want in your life.

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  • Andrade, J.A., José, A., Castro, D. & Giraldo, L. (2013). Relaciones tóxicas de pareja, 17(2). RevistaPsicologia.com.
  • Cano Murcia, S.R., Zea Jiménez, M. (2012). Manejar las emociones, factor importante en el mejoramiento de la calidad de vida Revista Logos, Ciencia & Tecnología, 4(1), 58-67.
  • Garrett, N., Lazzaro, S., Ariely, D. & Sharot, T. (2016). The brain adapts to dishonesty. Nat Neurosci, 19(12), 1727-1732.
  • Stamateas, B. (2011). Gente Tóxica. Ediciones B, S.A.: Barcelona.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.