It may still be spooky season, but spooky people are not on the wishlist. Sometimes it can be challenging to trust your gut in a situation where someone is rubbing you all the wrong ways so here are some psychology 101 back-up cues:
1. Avoids Eye Contact
We've all heard, "eyes are the windows to the soul," and it's not wrong. Eye contact is one of the most intimate, primal connections we have and much can be communicated through simply looking at someone directly. When people avoid eye-contact, it can mean they're nervous, shameful or hiding something. If you notice someone is shifty with their eye-contact with you, it could be worth looking into and asking directly about.
2. Frequently Contradicts Themself
When people contradict themselves it's usually a big red flag. It indicates that they don't have their story, intentions and/or morals straight which ultimately, can lead to you getting screwed over. If this person flip flops - or worse, flip flops without even being aware that they're even doing so - is not only a discrepancy in the relationship between you and this person, but in this person's relationship with themselves. This can be hard to trust. Call it out and tread lightly.
3. Goes Dark
We've all done it: other things come up, life gets busy, we need to recharge, we shut down and we go a bit MIA - it's all good every once in a while, but at odd, important or urgent times or if done often, this quality is something to watch out for. When people fall off and go dark, it can indicate they are going through something personal that they aren't willing or able to communicate with you about. At worst, it can signal some shady behavior is going on. After reaching out and receiving no response a few times, this can be a time to take a step back.
4. Doesn't Trust Themself
If someone you are deciding to trust doesn't trust themself, highly reconsider hanging around. Trust is an essential foundation to healthy relationships, so if someone can't trust themself, it's fair to feel a lack of trust with them. Without trust, the ground is unstable and shaky. Without inner trust, this person is unpredictable and therefore, generally, untrustworthy.
What's the best way to distance yourself from someone who is untrustworthy or manipulative?
Once you know the type of relationship or expectation you want to have, it's easier to decide how to act and what guidelines to put in place. It's okay for each of your individual relationships to serve different purposes. It's okay to let some people in closer than others. It's up to you to decide which people in your life are there for fun, for expansion, for comfort, for creativity, etc. It's up to you to draw the line and decide who needs to be cut out as well. Social boundaries must be formed once you know your social values and of course, once you know yourself.
Once you know someone is manipulative or untrustworthy, the best way to distance yourself is by letting them know your personal values and boundaries and letting them know yours are feeling infringed upon. Let them know you need to take some space to think. From there, you can decide if this is a relationship to keep at arm's length or completely out. If you decide to keep this person around for whatever reason, the boundaries need to be clear to approach this relationship in a new, supportive way to your needs.
Should you need to cut this person out, once you've communicated your need for space you can see if they assume the memo and fade out themselves, or you may need to let them know why you need to end the relationship, explicitly. Whichever happens, stay true to you and never, ever disappoint yourself.