6 Signs You Shouldn’t Be Hanging Out With Someone

Whether we’re diving into a new relationship, making new friends, or just watching as our old ones grow and change through life, sometimes it’s hard to tell if people are no good for us. They might occasionally do things that rub us the wrong way, or make us think that they’re not a good influence on us, but we let it slide — burning a bridge with anyone is not an easy task. But these six things are clear deal breakers that, if said person should commit them, warrant a total void on the contract of your romantic/platonic relationship.

1. They insult people’s appearance.

While we all occasionally slip up and make comments about others that aren’t as nice as we’d like, we should all be striving to keep whatever criticisms we’re going to lob above the belt (and that doesn’t mean just making fun of their boobs). If you’re hanging out with someone and a perfectly nice girl comes in, only for this person to make a snide, unwarranted comment about how she is “fat,” “ugly,” “skanky,” or anything of the like — you know you’ve found an utter loser. And if a man is referred to as looking “gay,” “weak,” or “like a fatass,” the sin is equally grave. The point is that, unless you walk around with a constant photoshop team behind you, no one is perfect — we all live in glass houses. And even if we were flawless (which we’re not), calling someone brutal names based on their physical appearance is an insult they a) didn’t do anything to earn and b) are probably profoundly insecure about, as we all are. Only the most unimaginable losers actually make fun of people for things they can’t control, least of which physical appearance, as that has absolutely no bearing on their person. It’s an ugly behavior, and we shouldn’t be hanging out with people who do it.

2. They treat waiters like crap.

I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation once or twice where we’re at a table with someone who is clearly being an absolute ass hat to the waiter — making them wait, making snide comments, not tipping, blaming them for things that aren’t their fault — and we just want to crawl in a hole and die. There is nothing more embarrassing, and even going up to the waiter in question and apologizing on that person’s behalf is not enough, should it come to that point. But beyond just making the waiter’s life miserable for the hour or so spent in the restaurant, this person clearly holds service jobs in general in extremely low esteem — something that should essentially be punishable by death at this point. They’ll say, “Oh, they’re just a waiter,” or make assumptions about their education level or income. It’s amongst the most classist, petty displays of arrogance and ignorance someone can demonstrate, and let’s just hope that their food is consistently spit in.

3. They participate in “hipster bigotry.”

If they are white and call people “my n*gga” and go on and on about how much they just love that word and how it’s just so cool — they’re awful. If they are straight and refer to people as “f*ggots,” even in jest — they’re awful. If they call women “cunts,” “bitches,” “sluts,” or “skanks” to be funny and ~provocative~ because they really respect women, and this is a total joke you guys — they’re awful. Beyond just the ugliness of the words themselves, the idea that someone gets to sit atop Mount Asshole and decide what everyone else is allowed to be offended by is almost comical in its obliviousness. If they’re really so pressed for humor and personality that they have to walk around yelling the n-word ironically at everyone they’ve ever met, they’re probably not worth your time.

4. They genuinely look down on others for their music choices.

We all have different taste in our entertainment, and that’s awesome. Some people enjoy horror films, some enjoy rom-coms, and some enjoy period dramas. We’re all allowed to like what we like, and generally seem to remain at least minimally respectful of each other’s preferences. But then there’s music, the arena in which some people arbitrarily decide that they are the Grand Master of all things audible and will now deign to tell us exactly what is and isn’t “acceptable” and/or “cool” to listen to. If you like really obscure electronic music from the less-touristed areas of Europe — awesome! But that doesn’t give you a right to be genuinely snide to people who like to listen to southern rap or Enya. There are few things worse than people who’ve deemed themselves some kind of authority about anything pop culture, and who have thus gone on to make actual judgments on who other people are as a person based on whether or not they listen to Daft Punk.

5. They refer to high school or college as “the best years of [their] life.”

It’s one thing to have enjoyed your formal education — not all of us did, but that’s fine! We all have phases in our lives that go more smoothly than others, and adolescence/early twenties are some particularly choppy waters to navigate. That being said, if you openly proclaim that your entire being peaked between the ages of 14 and 22, during a time in which you were almost entirely dependent on your parents and ate a constant combination of mystery meat and Ramen, that is just super bleak for you. The people who romanticize their education as the best time they lived through are also inadvertently admitting that the rest of their life is a slow, crumbling downhill roll towards some kind of unmarked grave, hopefully near the school football field upon which they were once a star. The fact that they have just stopped trying to improve things, and are resigned to a life in which the curious, interesting parts are long since passed, is nothing short of horrifying. We’ve all been pulled aside by a particularly exhausted middle-aged person during high school or college and told, with a certain degree of urgency, that “it’s not going to get better than this.” Yikes. The thing is, you meet people who clearly peaked during their formative years, and you meet those who are continuing to evolve and learn and adventure until the day they die. Do you really want to hang around with the former?

6. They make you work for it.

We’ve all had those relationships and friendships where you feel like you’re perpetually on a job interview. You’re constantly vying for their affection and approval, trying to be the person you think they want, because they’re important to you and you want to be around them. An unfortunate reality of life is that there will always be these lame, lame people who get their rocks off — and make no mistake, people do this intentionally — leaving other people hanging. It gives a sense of superiority, of control, of having the upper hand in things. And sometimes, these people can be the most alluring and interesting, and the masochistic part of us will want to win them over somehow, even though we know we should be forgetting about them completely. And whether it’s the ethereal party girl friend who knows everyone or the gorgeous guy with the chest tattoo who won’t meet our parents, we have to understand that we’re better than that — that we deserve someone who reciprocates the effort we put in and makes us feel loved back. Above all else, if someone is making you feel badly about yourself just for existing, you should not be giving them the gift of your company. TC mark


image – Sam Wilkinson

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/kreuzberg Katie Lau


  • Boris Lo

    Wow this article is bullcrap, just because you were clearly a loser in high school/college and is fat

    • Zulita Linares

      Scruffy seconds. I didn’t even realize we had to voice such things. Now go write for some ladies home journal where they’re more likely to think you have a grasp on the millenial group.

    • sense

      and likes linkin park

    • http://twitter.com/lrae93 Lauren Schechter (@lrae93)

      You probably think it’s “bullcrap” because you’re exactly the kind of person this article is talking about. Instead of simply saying that you don’t like it or don’t agree, you must put yourself on a pedestal and proclaim yourself King of the Internet and Judge of Value of Articles. You’ve decided that anything you don’t like is bullcrap, and you’ve assumed, based on the fact that they’ve said something with which you don’t agree, that someone you don’t even know “was a loser in high school/college and is fat.” Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s easy for someone to grow out of being a “loser” in high school or college (an arbitrary, worthless judgment to begin with) or to lose weight, but it’s much more difficult for someone to learn as an adult how to respect the people around them. And that shortcoming will cause you a lot more trouble in life than former social standing or a few extra pounds.

      • H

        Amen! Perfectly articulated comment to demonstrate what an unpleasant dick Mr Boris is.

      • VA

        Lauren Schechter is my new best friend, y’all.

    • H

      LOL. Dick.

    • Nori

      Wow, resorting to made-up personal attacks because you didn’t like something someone wrote ON THE INTERNET. Why don’t you say it to her face, Boris? Asshole.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dhruvsharma1992 Dhruv Sharma

      I agree, its really bad. I mean TC has some great articles, how did this even get approved ? The vocabulary is almost as immature as the ideas. The only thing I agree with is the first point on physical appearance – which means the writer has obviously suffered this ‘deal breaker.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/06/6-signs-you-shouldn%e2%80%99t-be-hanging-out-with-someone/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment Trigger warning: This post refers to very difficult subject matter and is not suitable for all audiences. […]

  • http://strugglingsingletwentysomething.blogspot.com Katie

    YES to everything, especially number four. There’s a special place in hell for music snobs.

    • Lee

      yes, they are called hipsters, and they are going to hipster hell.

      • http://twitter.com/rachelanyaa rachL (@rachelanyaa)

        oh come on we all know there is a 1000 varieties of hipster. you generalizing them all into 1 type makes you just as bad.

  • http://theiiiv.wordpress.com chandlerstephen

    Number 4! Good Lord, thank you for perfectly articulating this.

  • http://soonerandthecity.wordpress.com brittanyraeann

    Boris, this article is clearly about people like you…..

    Number 6 is dead on, and someone definitely popped into my mind as I read it.

    • BC

      Same here…still so hard to not try :/

      • http://soonerandthecity.wordpress.com brittanyraeann

        Exactly! I don’t know how to not try…

  • matt

    Number 3 is such fucking nonsense. Words are not ugly, they’re just words. Get over your sensibilities.

    • Flux

      Let me guess- straight/white/male?

      • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.antoine Shaun Antoine

        I dunno, I kinda agree with him. Words are only given power by experience – your own identity and personal experiences, how/were you were educated, and so on, and so forth. For example, the word “Zionism” probably invokes a certain feeling in the hearts of those who are pro-Israel, but an altogether different reaction may be experienced by those who aren’t. Even then, it’s so much more complicated than that!

        When strangers call me the N-word (at least once a week) it doesn’t really register, but it’s clear that the author finds the term repulsive. Am I more justified than her or vice versa? It depends who you ask, and also on the reasons why we may react in the ways we do.

        The uncomfortable truth is that as long as people are allowed to have opinions, everything is subjective, including the friends you choose. Why would a racist, sexist or homophobic person want to change their group of friends after reading this article? Not saying that they’re right, but that they have a right. Uncomfortable, but real.

    • http://twitter.com/Kai_Strife Ryan Mottley (@Kai_Strife)

      Thank you for proving the point of number 3 perfectly

      • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.antoine Shaun Antoine

        Forgive my persistence, but I think #3 actually proved its own point perfectly, “the idea that someone gets to sit atop Mount Asshole and decide what everyone else is allowed to be offended by is almost comical in its obliviousness.”

        I wouldn’t call the author an asshole since I don’t know them, but the first half of #3 says that the certain people using these certain words are “awful”: Not that they’re “probably” awful, or maybe “awful”. There’s an implication that you ‘have’ to be offended, otherwise you’re a rubbish person. I feel that’s just as judgmental as the people this article is talking about. That being said, one should be sensitive to others’ feelings, especially if you call one a friend.

    • Julie

      Words carry certain historical and political connotations that make them more than “just words.” Whether you like it or not, certain words should not be used by certain people if they want to ensure they’re being sensitive to these connotations.

      For instance, I’m a 20-year-old girl who calls her friends “slut” and “bitch” frequently–in a joking way, of course. This is not because I actually think they’re sluts, nor is it because I think widespread use of the word is okay; it’s more a matter of me reclaiming the word and taking away the power it has, because it has historically been (and currently is) used in conjunction with violence/discrimination against women. If I hear the word coming out of my own mouth frequently, it won’t hurt as much if it’s ever used against me in an insulting way.

      I don’t mean to be presumptive, but if you’re a straight white male you might not understand why this is so–I’ve had to explain this to a lot of guys who have never experienced these sorts of insults in their lives.

      • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.antoine Shaun Antoine

        So you call your friends certain words, in private. They seem to have no problem with this. Since that’s exactly what I was talking about, what’s the problem if it’s in private with consenting, approving adults?

        Yes, words do carry certain historical and political connotations. But we’re assuming that certain people using certain words actually care. Many people in this world happen to be callous, brash and unapologetic about it.

        I’m a 21 year old black guy. In my experience, black people (including myself) using the N-word amongst themselves has done absolutely nothing to “reclaim” the word and take away its power in the name of fighting its past discrimination against blacks. You can’t move for non-black people whining about not being “allowed” to use it.

        These same people will use it in their own circles. You might not hear them, but they will use it behind closed doors. But they’re all friends. My point is, if they all get along, then why would it make sense to admonish them for being crappy friends? In any case, this article is calling people out for deciding that people can’t be offended. But the article itself implies that even within closed groups, you should be offended by certain words. Whether you like it or not, it’s just as judgmental.

  • http://twitter.com/Amphx AnnamariaPhilippeaux (@Amphx)

    I’ve hung out with almost all of these people. It’s draining.

  • MsF

    hmm. i don’t want to be a wet blanket but i think you are over-generalizing somewhat in particular to Point 5. I enjoyed my college years, for the reason that they were my formative years and I appreciate the growth I made there. There’s nothing romantic about saying that those were the best years if there’s more to come. Perhaps there is more than one peak in one’s life. Things are best in different ways.

  • Domino

    i’m pretty sure some people popped into our minds while reading this… kind of an eye-opener

  • Erin

    But it’s okay for black people to call others the n word or for homosexuals to say faggot? I don’t think so.

    • http://theiiiv.wordpress.com chandlerstephen

      In short, yes.

    • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

      why don’t you think so? are you dying to use those words in casual conversation?

      • jen

        So a word can be both hateful and affectionate? What dire reason do black people have to call each other the n word or homosexuals to call each other fags? I’m Asian; does that give me a free-for-all to call my Asian peers chinks and gooks? Cool logic. You probably thought Gwyneth Paltrow’s “N*ggas in Paris* tweet was racist, too.

      • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

        yes!! what a surprise! words are situational! WHO KNEW!
        and don’t assume you know anything about what i think.

  • Lynette

    I tend to be a #6 in romantic (or pseudo-romantic) relationships. I can’t seem to help it. It’s like a surge of power to leave them wanting more. I’m an asshat. :(

  • Joe

    Trying to deal with a girl who’s a #6 (and a little #1), and I guess I just gotta let her go – any suggestions how (not that she’s care, I guess)?

    • dark struggle

      hmmmm who could it be…

  • Daniel

    Its ok to feel bad about yourself, but when you try to impose your opinions on us like the bully did to you in high school, are you any different?

    • Olive

      She isn’t imposing her opinions; you chose to read an article that she wrote and published for anyone who was interested

  • Kate

    I won’t meet people’s parents, it’s not because I like to make anyone work for anything. I just feel uncomfortable around people’s parents & families.

  • fecha247

    I agree. This article is bullshit. Sounds like the author has unresolved issues affecting her self-esteem.

  • jq

    #2 for sure, but the rest is kind of eeek and mundane

  • iwriteandstuff

    Sounds like my old best friend. Glad I dropped her. I deserve better. :)

  • uh oh

    Been having doubts about a friend who does 1, 2, 4 and 6. Hello wakeup call.

    • 123

      Me too. This article was right on point.

  • Alicia

    You always seem to sneak in some snide remark about how sad/bleak/pathetic people are for loving college or missing it, the condescending attitude is annoying after awhile.

  • hmm

    Being skanky or fat (barring genetics) is a chosen lifestyle — being ugly is not. Hardly uncontrollable.

  • ANNE

    A lot of people refer to college as the best years of their life…and why the hell not? More than likely you were being financially supported by your parents, getting drunk at least 4/7 nights a week and living with your best friends. Plus, your biggest concern was that 12 page paper about some dead philosopher, or whether or not that cute guy/gal in nutrition liked you too. Not saying there’s nothing to look forward to after college, but I mean, come on…for most people it’s probably the least stressful time of their lives. Don’t be so judgmental.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scarletbegonia1990 Tanya Eunice

      yeah this article seems hypocritical b/c in #1 you’re telling everyone not to hangout with judgemental assholes but this whole article is judgemental as fuck

  • http://joyandruin.wordpress.com Joy & Ruin

    good read. to me the concept of criticizing the critical collapses on itself, and i am a hyposcite. we are all critical like we are all racist. that’s the human animal. That being said I am a music snob who acts with extreme prejudice but i’ll own up to that. i liked the “hipster bigotry” bit, hipsters get a fair share of discrimination also, play that as it lies. lots of haters on your blog, assuming they read the whole article i would consider it a success. cheers.

  • Nori

    love love love thank you for writing this<3

  • K.D.

    Wow, Chelsea, I can’t believe that you’re condemning people for calling others sluts, when you wrote a pretty scathing piece that was scarily close to the perspective of a rape apologist.

    Guess you’ve come around to not being a slut-shaming asshole. Congrats.

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