10 Types of People You Shouldn’t Confide In (And What to Do Instead)16 min read

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Growing older is like climbing a steep hill. At some points it gets so hard, you become tired and feel like giving up. At those points, having people around to support and encourage you can be very helpful. Sometimes, all you really need is someone to confide in. 

However, not everyone should be confided in. The problem is, how do you know – the people to never confide in? 

Some Reasons Why You May Like Keeping To Yourself 

As an introvert with a stoic personality, I have always abided by ideas such as, “I am all on my own”, “It’s up to me”, “No one is going to rescue me”, and “I’ll have to figure it out for/by myself”. This mindset perhaps stemmed from the experience of having few age mates to make friends with or being looked up to as the firstborn.

While this is not necessarily the best, this “self-sufficiency” formed the basis of much of my life. And has helped in my personal development (even though it has its drawbacks). 

You may have good reasons why you don’t talk about personal things with others;

  • Perhaps it is the fear of opening up, appearing vulnerable—exposing the tender parts of yourself that could get hurt. You worry, “What if they judge you or think less of you once they truly know your struggles?” 
  • The fear of rejection, which can run deep. 
  • Maybe you grew up in a household where emotions weren’t discussed much. 
  • Perhaps you’ve been betrayed before by oversharing with the wrong person. 
  • Maybe it’s pride and ego that gets in the way. Admitting you have flaws or need help feels like a sign of weakness unbefitting of your self-image. You want to be seen as strong, competent, and totally in control. So you portray hollow perfection on the outside while crumbling on the inside.

It seems safer to keep things on the surface level. To deflect with humour or change the subject when conversations start veering into overly personal territory. Putting on that brave face and pretending everything is fine becomes an ingrained habit of self-preservation.

However, keeping everything to yourself for a long time comes at a severe cost.

What happens when you keep everything to yourself for too long?

The tragic irony is that keeping everything bottled up often leads to immense loneliness, anxiety, and depression. You could drown in your own thoughts, suffocated by the weight of your unspoken words. 

I have kept a lot to myself, which made people consider me a bit rigid. I would overthink everything, and worry about potential failures and awkward moments. I refrained from taking risks and exploring opportunities, and sadly, it cut me off from the generosity of fellow humans.

Yes, solitude can have its benefits. It can help you avoid awkward situations, like when you’re going through a breakup and don’t want colleagues prying, or not sharing your sexuality or a traumatic experience like rape so that you won’t be persecuted or judged. It provides autonomy, privacy, and safety.

But too much solitude can turn into a prison of your own making, where even the echoes of your thoughts become deafening. Bottled-up emotions take a toll. And you may end up distant from loved ones who could offer support during difficult times.  

It is not good not to have anyone to talk to.

Share your thoughts – your sanity, progress and success depend on it.

Not everyone, however, is trustworthy enough to share your secrets, actions and ideas.

Confide a secret affair to a loose lips, and they’ll sell it like a novel.

Reveal your projects to an opportunist, and they might steal your idea and execute it overnight.

Share details about your ATM card password with a thief, and they may go shopping in your name.

In the realm of socialisation, discretion is your shield – it protects your secrets and your dreams.

Not everyone should know your whole story. 

So, who should you shield from?

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10 Types of People to Avoid Opening Up To 

The depth of a river is unknown until you dive in, but diving without proper gear risks drowning. Similarly, it’s hard to know whom to trust with your secrets or news. So you must apply caution and observe behaviour.

Never open up to:


Watch out for people who love to talk about other people. It is tempting to be on top of the news in town, however, If someone enjoys spreading talks about people, what makes you think you will be spared by the wrath of their tongue? 

Gossip can often be a reflection of insecurities, experiences, desires, or behaviours.

For Instance:

  • Someone who struggles with their body image might gossip about someone else’s physical appearance as a way to deflect from their own insecurities.
  • Someone who is tempted by the idea of cheating on their partner might gossip about others who have been unfaithful, as a way to vicariously explore, or rationalise their own desires.
  • Someone who has experienced infidelity in a past relationship may be more prone to gossiping about instances of unfaithfulness among their peers, as it reflects their own fears or past experiences.
  • Etcetera..

At the close of the day, gossip is not the best place to find yourself. Loose lips sink ships! Don’t trust gossip with your secrets and dreams. 


The self-righteous individuals lack empathy and understanding. They may judge or dismiss your experiences instead of offering support or understanding. Self-righteous people often lack self-awareness. They may magnify your flaws while being blind to their own. 

Opening up to them about sensitive topics could lead to feeling criticised or misunderstood instead of compassion. This could be emotionally harmful.

Your true friends aren’t the ones who brag about themselves all the time. They’re the ones who really understand you, even if they don’t say much.

Envious Types:

When we desire something we don’t possess, it’s natural to feel envious of those who do. But for some, envy goes beyond simple desire; it reflects deep insecurity and low self-esteem. 

Share your achievements with them, and you trigger their envy, causing discomfort or resentment. Conversely, discussing your pain or struggles with them, gives them relief, as it confirms their belief that others also face challenges.

This mindset often stems from a belief in scarcity, thinking there’s not enough love, wealth, or status to go around. 

Therefore, pay attention to how people react to your news. 

Watch out for those who frequently compare themselves to others, are unhappy when others around them have success,  excited  when other people experience setbacks or failure.

Fair-Weather Friends:

You risk disappointment when you share sensitive information with fair-weather friends.

They may even discourage you from pursuing your visions or overcoming your doubts. Their negative attitude or lack of enthusiasm can dampen your enthusiasm and motivation. 

Some reasons you shouldn’t confide with fair-weather friends ; 

  • They place their self-interest over loyalty: Fair-weather friends are often more interested in what they can get out of a relationship. Share a secret or dream with them; they use that information to their own advantage or gossip about it to others. 
  • They are unreliable:  Fair-weather friends tend to disappear when things get difficult. Sharing something critical with them means you risk having no one to rely on for support when you need it most.
  • They don’t really reciprocate: If you’re pouring your heart out to someone who isn’t reciprocating that level of vulnerability, it creates an unbalanced dynamic. You might feel unsupported and even hurt if they don’t seem to understand the importance of what you’ve shared.

It’s important to have solid friends who value you for who you are, not just the good times. 

Who keeps your secrets close, never betray.

Who in your darkest hour, will light the way.

Listen to you, care for you, and don’t just nod.

Your problems are theirs, they’ll share the load.

They work to strengthen the bond you share.

A solid friend, who is always there, always aware.

The point; share your heart with those who’ve earned it, not those who just show up for sunshine.

Chronic Complainers

Having empathy for friends going through difficult times is important, but constantly engaging with those who are perpetually negative can take a toll on your own mental well-being

Chronic complainers have a tendency to vent incessantly, fixating on what’s going wrong rather than seeking solutions. By indulging their negativity, you inadvertently enable and reinforce their pessimistic mindset.

It’s wise to limit how much you share with those who consistently view the world through a gloomy lens. Oversharing good news or positive developments with chronic whiners often backfires, as they’ll likely find a way to give a negative spin to it. Their negative energy can be insidious, slowly draining your own optimism and dampening your spirits over time.

Instead of getting bogged down by those who wallow in problems, surround yourself with positive, solutions-oriented people. As Robert Greene advises, steer clear of unhappy, bitter individuals whose negativity can infect and demoralise those around them. Protect your own mindset by carefully considering how much you divulge to those perpetually draped in a metaphorical dark cloud.

“Lord, protect me from gloomy souls who keep thinking about the obstructions and never the means of overcoming them.”


In his book The Law of Human Nature, Robert Greene argued that we all are innately narcissists because we care a lot about ourselves, and most things we do are for our benefit.

However, he also pointed out there are people who have taken this behaviour to the extreme. Those people are known as narcissists. 

Here are some key points he made about such people:

  • They often lack empathy and exploit others for their own gain. 
  • They may react with anger or aggression when they feel their ego is threatened.
  • They have a need to feel superior and will often belittle or devalue others to boost their own ego.
  • They view people as either sources of admiration or objects to be used and discarded.
  • They engage in self-aggrandizing behaviour and may exaggerate their accomplishments or talents.
  • They may appear charming, confident, and successful on the surface, but this masks their underlying insecurity and fragility.

Here is an example to make you see the picture better; 

Imagine you’re friends with someone who always needs to be the star of the show. Whenever something good happens to you, like landing a new job or achieving a personal goal, instead of being happy for you, they act like it’s no big deal or try to take credit for your success. They might even belittle your achievements to make themselves feel better. It’s hurtful because you wanted their support and encouragement, but their constant need for attention and validation overshadows your happiness.

The point; tread carefully with narcissists. Keep conversations light and avoid anything too personal. They might use it to hurt you.

Irrational Rivals:

Rivalry is productive when it’s healthy and rational. It ignites a fire for innovation, efficiency, diverse ideas, accountability, and inspiration. You can see this in sports, business, or innovation. 

However, Irrational rivalry is the polar opposite. Irrational rivalry is unhealthy. It Ignites stagnation, wastefulness, homogeneity, irresponsibility, and discouragement. Your rivals aren’t happy for you. They think of success as a game where if you win, they lose, But in real life (IRL) there is enough success to go around.

In university, a colleague of ours would hide important information from us. He’d even keep quiet about makeup tests or assignments, and so much more. 

My friend and I suspected he was an irrational rival. He saw us as a threat to his academic crown, so he wanted us to drown. He didn’t want us to have any advantage over him. 

For irrational rivals, what should be a happy moment turns bitter. They try to ruin your progress out of spite, undermining your efforts with vindictiveness. The hardest is when competition leads to betrayal and disappointment.

Security and confidentiality hang in the balance,

Sharing thoughts with unhealthy rivals is a risky dalliance.

So keep your secrets close,

Tight lips, strong hands. 

Don’t show what you hold.

The more they know, the less you control.

Extremely Close-Minded:

Everyone holds certain beliefs close to their hearts, and this isn’t inherently negative because it reflects the diversity and beauty of our perspectives. Yet, some people are not open-minded – they are terribly intellectually insecure and prejudiced. They feel threatened by new ideas that contradict their belief systems. Out of knee-jerk defensiveness, they attack any new idea, philosophy or creative innovation that makes them look ignorant or obsolete. 

Talking to someone who is extremely close-minded can sometimes feel like hitting a brick wall. Here’s why:

  • Not open to new ideas: Close-minded folks often stick to their own beliefs and don’t want to hear anything different. They might ignore any evidence that doesn’t fit with what they already think.
  • Won’t budge: Changing their mind? Forget about it. They’re stubborn and won’t admit when they’re wrong, even if you give them good reasons.
  • Talks go nowhere: Conversations with them can turn into arguments fast. Instead of listening, they just want to defend what they already think, which doesn’t help anyone.
  • Waste of time: Trying to convince them of anything feels like talking to a brick wall. It’s frustrating and doesn’t get you anywhere.

However, some close-minded people can change if you’re patient and understanding. And sometimes, they might seem closed off at first but could come around with time and good arguments.

Still, whether it’s worth talking to them depends on a lot of things, like how important the topic is and if they seem willing to listen. If it’s going nowhere, it might be better to channel your energy elsewhere.

Unreliable Contacts

When facing difficult times, having a reliable friend to lean on can be invaluable. A true friend tries to show up and offers support, being present both in good times and bad. However, if a so-called friend is constantly making excuses, unavailable when needed, and unaccountable for their lack of presence, it’s natural to question the authenticity of that friendship.

Genuine friendship isn’t just about sharing happy moments; it’s about being there for each other through life’s challenges, taking responsibility, and being accountable. If you find yourself repeatedly let down by someone who never seems to have your back, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship.

A one-sided friendship, where you’re always the supportive one while the other person continually takes without giving in return, is unhealthy. It’s akin to constantly cleaning up someone else’s mess without any assistance. If this imbalance persists, it’s worth considering whether holding onto that friendship is beneficial, or if it’s causing more harm than good.

True friendship requires mutual understanding, effort, and care. While everyone experiences periods where they need to prioritise other obligations, a meaningful friendship involves a genuine willingness to make time, express care, and be accountable when you’ve fallen short. If those foundational elements are consistently lacking, it may indicate that the relationship has become unhealthy or has run its course.

Toxic/Abusive People:

Worse still are toxic people. They exist as family, friends, partners, etc. They crave power and dominance in relationships, easily offended and violently react to things. They are dangerous manipulators and gaslighters.   

Imagine you’ve been friends with someone since childhood. You’ve always been close and shared everything. However, over the past few years, this person has become increasingly toxic and manipulative in your friendship. They frequently put you down with backhanded compliments, make jokes at your expense in front of others and never genuinely apologise. When you try to set boundaries, they guilt-trip you about being “too sensitive” or accuse you of not valuing the friendship anymore.

Toxic and abusive people might use what you share against you, putting you in danger. They could harass you, threaten you, stalk you, or even steal your identity. 

Dealing with toxic people is exhausting and can really mess with your head, especially if you’re opening up to them.  Keeping things private helps keep you safe, both physically and emotionally. 

Giving attention or info to toxic people only encourages their bad behaviour. It’s like giving them a green light to keep being mean. It’s better to step back and not give them what they want. 

Don’t feed their fire.

Protect your peace.

You’re not obliged to tolerate abuse or involve yourself with toxic individuals beyond minimal necessary interactions. You can’t trust them either. 

Protect yourself by limiting engagement and oversharing. 

Respect yourself enough, by letting them go.

Conclusion: Share your heart with your tribe

As adults, we often feel the need to bottle up our innermost thoughts and emotions, viewing vulnerability as a luxury reserved for children. However, this self-imposed isolation and keeping to ourselves goes against our very nature as social beings. We are not meant to shoulder the weight of our pain alone, nor to savour our joys in solitude. However, we must choose rightly who to share those moments with.

True fulfilment in life comes from the connections we forge with the right people, allowing them to bear witness to the depths of our experiences – both the sorrows and the triumphs. It is through inviting others into the intimate world of our thoughts and feelings that we find genuine meaning, validation, and a shared understanding of what it means to be human. For it is in the act of opening our hearts and minds to one another that we transcend the boundaries of our individual existences and build a meaningful life.


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2 thoughts on “10 Types of People You Shouldn’t Confide In (And What to Do Instead)<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">16</span> min read</span>”

  1. Good evening
    I must admit, this article came at the right time.

    For context, I had a conversation with some colleagues today. Going through this article, i believe they could be considered as Extremely Close-minded people. The conversation escalated into an argument and It really got to me.

    In this article, you said to protect your peace, choose wisely, and ignore what others think of you, But honestly, that’s easier said than done.

    Are there practical steps to achieve that?
    Their statements may have been said in the heat of the moment, but it’s really getting to me and it’s making me question some of my beliefs.

    • I am certainly not a relationship guru. It’s just an opinion from my limited experience and knowledge.

      However, practical steps to diffuse or ending a heated argument with a closed-minded person, would be:

      1. Stay calm and speak evenly.
      2. Validate their perspective first. “I understand why you feel that way.”
      3. Reframe it as a disagreement, not a conflict. “We simply see it differently.”
      4.Suggest taking a break if emotions escalate. “Let’s pause this discussion for now.”
      5. Look for any common ground, no matter how small.
      6. Use “I” statements to express your view without blaming theirs.
      7. If they won’t de-escalate, end the conversation politely. “We’ll have to revisit this another time.”

      I hope this answers your question. I hope you find it helpful.


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