19 Traits That Reveal A Cold-Hearted Person

When we say someone is cold, we’re not always referring to their temperature.

Sometimes we mean they have a cold heart. But what exactly does that mean?

To help you understand, here are 19 traits a cold-hearted person might exhibit.

1. They are uncaring and unempathetic. 

Cold-hearted people are often very unsympathetic about other people’s problems or pain.

They tend to lack the basic empathy that makes up a lot of our humility as individuals.

Because they’re quite stand-offish themselves, they find it almost impossible to imagine that not everyone is built that way.

They don’t realize that other people extend empathy and warm feelings to their friends, over even strangers.

They are so caught up in their world that lacks caring, friendship, and vulnerable emotions. 

2. They are distant and detached.

People with cold personalities may come across as shy or aloof at first, but they’re generally just detached from everything around them.

They don’t always experience feelings in the same way as most people, so can either find it difficult to be in groups of people or just don’t care enough to join in with anything.

More often, it’s the latter. They tend to keep distant from anything that involves too much emotion or interaction. 

3. They come across as superior and unkind.

There’s often an element of haughtiness around cold-hearted people – they feel as though they’re superior to you and act as if you’re not even worth their time.

They can be very unkind at times – this is down to the fact that they just don’t care about basic niceties or other people’s emotions.

They can even be mean intentionally, going out of their way to make you feel bad about yourself. 

4. They are often self-centered and self-absorbed.

You may have noticed that a lot of cold-hearted people are borderline obsessed with themselves – they seem themselves as above everyone else.

They tend to believe that they are incredibly important, attractive, and interesting, and don’t need to bow down to basic human interactions such as small talk or empathy.

They don’t really have any interest in other people, so probably won’t ask you much about yourself, and, if you reveal any personal information to them, they won’t listen or care, anyway. 

5. They are untrusting and untrustworthy.

Trusting a cold person is very hard – you never know if they understand how important things are to you, as they clearly don’t hold a lot of things dear.

They might not care why you want to keep a certain thing a secret, which makes it hard to know if you should confide in them or not.

They’re quick to lie – they don’t care what happens if they do, after all.

Equally, they don’t trust the people around them either. They often see the worst in other people – again, seeing themselves as superior to everyone else – and don’t forge many close friendships or relationships.

This lack of human interaction and empathy can further reinforce why they don’t trust other people. 

6. They are self-reliant and stubborn.

Because they see those around them as inferior, they only rely on themselves to get things done.

Being self-reliant can be brilliant in a lot of ways, and normally shows a healthy level of self-confidence and capability.

In cold-hearted people, however, it’s linked to the fact that they think they are just so much better than everyone else – at everything.

They tend to be pretty stubborn too. After all, they know best, right?

7. They are controlling.

A side-effect of being so self-reliant and stubborn is that cold people like to have things their own way.

This manifests as controlling behavior because not only do they think they know best, they care so little about how other people feel that they aren’t afraid to boss them about.

They will talk over others, insist things are done a certain way, and make choices for a whole group even if the majority want something different.

8. They are likely to betray others.

People who are emotionally cold lack empathy, and they don’t always see actions in the same light as those who have healthy levels of empathy.

As such, they can betray those around them, either intentionally or otherwise.

They may go out of their way to humiliate or hurt you, simply because they can and they don’t care about the consequences.

Equally, they may accidentally do something to upset you because they themselves wouldn’t be upset if someone did the same to them.

Either way, they probably won’t feel any remorse for it…

9. They are repeat offenders.

So, they’ve done a few things you don’t agree with. So has everyone, right?

Well, cold-hearted people are likely to keep doing those same things over and over again.

As we’ve mentioned, they don’t have the same empathy levels as most people, so don’t feel bad for upsetting those around them.

As such, they may keep treating you badly, or hurt you in the same ways repeatedly. This is often due to their belief that you’re inferior – that you deserve to be made to feel bad, almost.

They might cheat on you multiple times and not care that it hurts, or they might continually spread rumors about you, for example.

They know what they’re doing and they have a malicious intent. 

10. They are quick to move on.

If you ever manage to forge a seemingly genuine connection with a cold-hearted person, don’t be surprised if it ends abruptly.

They’re quick to leave you out in the cold and will disregard how sad that may make you feel.

This is due to the lack of any kind of emotional or spiritual connection that they make with those around them.

Whether it’s a defense mechanism or just being plain nasty, they will drop you as quickly as they picked you up, beware!

11. They are manipulative.

Cold-hearted people are so unfazed by the consequences of their actions that they can often ‘recruit’ you to become similar to them.

They may get you to do things you’re not comfortable with, or force your hand in terms of how you act and speak.

They might guilt-trip you or blackmail you into things, all because they can. 

12. They are destructive.

Because they don’t see the value in things that other people see as sacred, they have no problem ruining them.

Family events can be wrecked, friendships can be broken up, and other people’s relationships can be something to mess with for ‘fun.’

Cold people don’t appreciate or acknowledge other people’s feelings, so have no issue doing things that will massively upend their lives. 

13. They are soul-crushing.

If you’ve ever been friends with a cold-hearted person, you’ll know how bad they make you feel at times.

It’s so confusing being played with, never knowing if you actually matter to them and if they genuinely care about you or not.

They might make you second-guess yourself or force you to question your own self-worth.

They’ll be determined to stay on top and be superior, not caring how damaging their behavior may be for you and your self-esteem. 

14. They are perpetually single.

They’re not really bothered about forging emotional connections with anyone and are too self-involved and selfish to be in a good, healthy relationship.

As such, most cold-hearted people remain single for a long time, or have a string of very short, meaningless ‘relationships.’

Their inability to trust or be trusted makes it hard for them to commit.

15. They hate displays of physical affection.

Because they are aloof and not that interested in things of the heart, a cold person tends to detest any shows of physical affection – especially in public.

Hugs are like Kryptonite to them and they clam up or back away whenever someone tries to go in for one.

They don’t feel comfortable with affection in any of its forms, but physical displays are particularly difficult because they see them as unnecessary intimacy.

16. They see others as oversensitive.

Another consequence of their dislike of feelings and emotions is that they think everyone else is too sensitive.

So when they say or do something that upsets someone, they can’t quite understand what they see as an overreaction.

In their minds, they were just having a laugh or telling a truth, only their choice of words or their delivery was such that it hurt the recipient.

17. They rarely apologize.

Speaking of hurting feelings, a cold-hearted person isn’t all that likely to say sorry or try to make it up to someone they’ve upset.

Because they wouldn’t get offended by whatever it they did, they don’t see why they should apologize for it.

If they do apologize, there’s a good chance they are looking to gain something from it rather than because they are sincerely sorry for what they’ve done.

18. They are unreliable.

A cold person’s word doesn’t mean a lot because they cannot be relied upon to keep it.

They may make empty promises in the knowledge that they will break them because they don’t fear or even feel the consequences of doing so.

They can easily brush off not turning up to something or not taking care of something they said they’d take care of. They just don’t see these things as a big deal.

19. They don’t care what others think.

Part of why they are so unreliable is because they don’t care how other people view them.

Whether it’s as uncaring or distant or downright toxic, they are unlikely to consider the opinions of others as valid and so they are like water off a duck’s back.

In some ways, this is the one positive of being a cold-hearted person because many people would love not to care so much about what other people think.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.