Unfortunately, petty people are everywhere; at work, in social situations; as guaranteed as death itself; you will meet this person or people on life’s journey. But what are the reasons for their behaviour? Immaturity? An evil streak? Insecurity? Or all the above?

They mingle within us yet stand out like a sore thumb; they like to be noticed and more than that they need to be listened to. 

They don't usually know what they want or like - but they do know what they don't like! They also know who they like (all those people who will agree with them) and who they don't like (everyone else who doesn’t agree with them).  Regrettably they display a range of common traits and behaviours to spread both unhappiness and discomfort in setting the scene to maintain their control.

The first unfortunate trait is backstabbing; this is something that comes naturally and happens to whoever stands in their way given they will have a ready supply of evidence, true or untrue to undermine their enemy-of-the-moment; usually someone in their paranoia or anyone they feel threatened by or feels could just expose their weaknesses.

If they attempt to take you into their confidence, the reality is you are being invited to be an ally against whoever is the chosen one they are out to get.  They want you to agree with them for you to remain in their favour.  Its all mind games, so best advice is don’t get involved just step away from the manipulation!

Divide and Conquer is another common tactic used by a petty person.  Life can become tough if the invitation is refused.

Finding fault not capable of offering genuine praise goes without saying for these small-minded individuals who don’t have the mental capacity to understand the bigger picture; their insecurity will simply not allow it!  If they do manage to praise anyone, it will be retracted later with an undermining sting in the tail.

They will have rigid but un-written rules about what they perceive important in their world.  Failure to recognise and follow these rules will result in an enthusiastic campaign to line up people against you.

They are envious of the recognition or success of others ‘Well we all know why he/she was selected for promotion, don't we!'

Sarcasm is a natural response ‘Oh, that's a great idea!' which could be read as praise. But when delivered with a certain intonation and emphasis it becomes an undermining comment that is not easy to challenge.

The petty person rarely confronts since that would enable people to respond rationally. Instead they favour non-verbal communication as a means of letting you know you're ‘in trouble'. Raised eyebrows, head shaking, eyes looking to the sky, pursed lips, voice tonalities, and shoulder shrugs are just some of their tools for keeping people in line.

Petty People focus on ‘making friends against' people.  They are not interested in getting close to people. They don't want friends - they want allies in their campaign to put others down.

For Petty People friends are merely means to ends. You can be their friend if you agree with them, support their views, and join in criticising the current enemy. However, if you show a lack of loyalty or disagree with them or are less than fully supportive of their campaigns, you could well become the next target of their venom.

Petty and insecure people are desperate for recognition and will rob you blind when it comes to credit. But don’t let that derail your momentum. They desperately need credit because they can’t come up with original ideas on their own.


Be creative. If they try to pull you into gossip or other petty activities, just gracefully find a reason to leave.

Never back down, don’t be a doormat & never let petty people walk all over you.

It’s a pity that the petty person should be pitied as it will be a while before indeed if they ever do realise what a horrible and unbearable person they have turned into!