Search icon

Being Petty In A Relationship (19 Signs Of Petty Behavior In A Relationship)

Being petty is usually synonymous with children. Yes, they are kids, so kids will always do their thing. But when an adult oozes pettiness, it's downright annoying. This behavior is typically being overly concerned and holding on to things that are of little or no importance.

Of course, there are those one-off moments we've all been in this boat. Perhaps, you've been trying to reach out, but those around you seem uninterested. So yes, I'd say it's technically allowed when you need a "lifeline or only kidding around." 

But when someone literally exists as a petty human being 24/7, trust me, it can be hard to deal with such a person, especially when you have to see them frequently. 

This article looks at the signs a person is displaying pettiness, so you can decide if you want to cut things off before they get too serious. This article is also a self-reflection piece. In the end, you'll know if you are the one with all the pettiness in your relationship. If you are, trust me, your partner is doing so much to tolerate you. It might be time to let go of petty things.

19 Signs Of Petty Behavior

1. They are pros when it comes to making a big deal out of every type of issue

One classic sign of this personality is blowing things out of proportion. Almost everything, no matter how trivial, becomes a huge deal. You can't simply apologize to them, hoping it will be enough. They won’t let go that easily. 

For example, you forgot to call or text back your boyfriend. Perhaps, you were busy at work, and it isn't something you usually do. Expect that it's going to be one very long evening of complaining when you return home later in the day. Not only will he bring up the issue, but he'll also look for ways it affected or could have been affected.

2. Overlook issues? I don’t think so

You know it's normal for relatively new couples to overlook each other's wrongdoings since the spark is still very fresh. Petty people also try, but their pettiness always makes them remember to stick it in your face. 

You may frequently hear them respond with statements like, "I just didn't want to complain when you came in two minutes late to dinner two weeks ago." That's not all; after trashing out the issues without, they'll still make reference to it every time there's another minor issue they want to jump on.

3. You almost can’t separate being petty and being sly

If you find yourself with a person that’s got pettiness written all over them, chances are you may overlook many of their "tantrums" to manage them and get along in peace. Most times, it's easy to think they are not behaving this way deliberately, so treating them like a "big baby” can sometimes help.

Make no mistake; they sometimes knowingly do their thing. They can also be sly. With their inconsiderate attitude, they'll make you bend to their wishes in the long run. You can quickly notice because playing the victim even when not hurt in any way is another one of their traits.

4. They are never wrong

One of the number one reasons these people display their pettiness is that they never want to be on the wrong side. Even if it's obvious your petty boyfriend did something wrong, don't expect him to admit it. 

Instead, he'll submit a counter excuse to twist the narrative and make you take the blame. If he can't blame you, depending on the issue, he'll look for something else to blame, like the weather, or the government, you name it.

5. Keeping grudges is their thing

Keeping grudges naturally comes with the "package." You may also want to know that while they can stick to a grudge like glue, they also might not make it very obvious or be totally honest about it. Most times, they behave this way because they've not had the chance to stick it in your face. Sometimes, one of the best ways to handle them is not to respond to their tantrums.

6. You'll start to consciously avoid making him mad

youll start to consciously avoid making him mad

With petty people, it's not uncommon to feel like you are walking on eggshells. If you just started dating a guy who behaves like this, a lot of overlooking might come from your end at first. 

However, as time goes by, you may become exhausted. That's because it'll be obvious he gets upset too frequently. The sad part is, that you may find it almost impossible to pinpoint what you've done wrong to upset him. If you can't live with that behavior, it might be best to take a hike.

7. Being judgmental is one of their strong “talents”

If you are unlucky enough to date a petty guy that is significantly more brilliant than you are, girl, that's one combination you can't handle for too long. 

At first, you may find that he's charming. His brilliant nature might make it seem like he notices small details and analyses them to the last atom. Trust me; you won't like it when he starts to audit and judge nearly every little thing you do and say.

Because he's judgmental, you'll also notice he's not that open-minded to agreeing with other people's opinions and yours. You probably have to condone some embarrassment if you are in a gathering with friends and family because he can be condescending too.

8. You can’t tell them to forget something you said

Have you sent a text but later decided to delete it because you felt it doesn't matter? Have you said something, and you later felt like there's no point going into the line of conversation? Don't do that with a guy who behaves petty. You can't tell him to forget about what you said, even if your intentions are noble. 

If he hasn't taken a screenshot of your message, he has memorized it letter to letter. Trust me; you can't sneak past him by saying it was a harmless joke. He'll make a big deal out of it and make you explain why you sent the message or said the statement in the first place. Again, it's okay to keep it cool and sometimes, not to respond to his pettiness.

9. They say they are only detailed

Sometimes, they are not aware they are dishing out pettiness or at least they deny it. If they'll agree to anything about their behavior, they only agree to be extra-detailed. If you tell them they are annoying or childish right in the middle of their usual attitude of making a storm out of a teacup, they'll deny it and get mad. 

If you notice this attitude in a person regularly, yeah, that’s classic pettiness.

10. Complaining about a harmless social media post is their thing

Yes, we can all display some signs of jealousy, especially when our partner is giving off signs they may be sneaking around. During these one-off times, we can always ask about a comment that looks like flirting. However, petty people can just whine about any post whether they look suspicious or not. 

Even after explaining and showing proof that your comment had no suspicious ring to your posts, they will still look for a way to make it look like you did something wrong. If it happens that you didn't send them any message on the same social media platform while you were making comments with someone else, they'll likely make a fuss about it. 

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool will do just that and pull up any hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more to hopefully help put your doubts to rest.

They might even make you feel like you are emotionally cheating or neglecting them but have time for others online. That’s just annoying. You might want to check yourself here too. If you equally make a big deal out of a harmless social media post, you might want to work on yourself so that you don’t ultimately push your man away.

11. They will keep tabs on how long it takes for their partner to call back

This is another clear sign of pettiness. I'm aware it sometimes makes us feel important, special and wanted when our partners quickly return a missed call. Similarly, it could make us feel otherwise when they don't, especially when it starts to occur too frequently. 

However, petty people always like to keep tabs on call timelines just so that they can raise issues afterward. Even when there's no reason to suspect infidelity, they just make a mental note of your call-back speed. While they could just let it go if there's no harm done, their pettiness will always rob them of taking the right decision.

12. They will always want to know who is calling or texting you

they will always want to know who is calling or texting you

Call it being insecure, overly jealous, or controlling, pettiness comes with snooping around for small details that don't mean anything. If your boyfriend always tries to see who's calling or texting when you so that he can raise an argument for no reason, then he checks the box of pettiness. 

You might want to examine yourself too if you equally do the same. Let the petty things go so that you don’t end up driving your boyfriend away or deprive yourself of the fun and quality time with him.

13. Using small, inconsequential things to score points

If you always remind your man how the small things you do make you better than him, you are undoubtedly reeking of pettiness. Relationships should naturally be about two teammates working together to build a future. 

However, when you are always making things look like a competition, e.g who bought the best gift on your last anniversary, who knows how to load the dishwasher, who's the better cook, and so on, then you need to work on yourself. 

There's only so much toxicity a person can handle. If you don't let your man feel like you and him are on the same boat, it's only a matter of time before what you have going will hit the rocks.

14. They like initiating a breakup over small issues

Another sign of pettiness is initiating breakups. Some people break up with their partners at least once a week for reasons that are almost unimportant. When they don't mind losing the fun and quality time they should spend with a partner, they are likely petty. 

If you yourself are guilty of this, know that you and your man are technically from two different worlds and are likely raised by people of different ideologies. So yes, you are not supposed to be naturally compatible unless you are lucky. 

Many couples in what seems like perfect relationships had to work on themselves to achieve what others see and hope for in their relationships. So, you might want to let all that pettiness go if initiating breakups to get at your man is fun to you.

15. They go on social media to rant about your tiny misunderstandings

Apart from having a fight with a partner over an unimportant issue, there's almost nothing pettier than taking one’s "dirty laundries" outside. If a couple lives together, under one roof, it makes matters worse.

If you are guilty of this, you could easily have a heart-to-heart and bury the hatchet without bringing anyone between you both. But no, you just had to let your pettiness drive you. So you'd make your boyfriend more annoyed by bringing your online followers into your relationship. These are petty things, it's time to work on yourself.

16. They start a "cold war" than letting the partner be aware of how they feel

Perhaps, you have been told on many occasions you are petty, but you won't just accept and work on yourself, here's one sign petty people don't fail to exhibit.

If you don't mention to your man that you are annoyed, but would instead start a silent fight he doesn't even know about, you are deep in the pettiness zone. Instead of telling him, you display a part-friendly/part moody aura. That's because you are waiting for him to ask or make a new mistake so that you can pull up his "rap sheet."

17. They bring up issues that have been trashed

Whether it's an anniversary, date night, or game night a partner man forgot about a year ago, they just have to bring up the petty things anytime there's another new issue they want to rant about.

They know that the new issue isn't that big a deal, and your partner isn't throwing many emotions into it, so they compound it up by adding past issues that are slightly sensitive. It's petty. It's best to let bygones be bygones. Perhaps, the partner happens to leave issues unsettled, causing them to bring them up whenever there's a fight.

If you are also guilty of this, it might also be best to adopt a new approach to dispute resolution. Try to avoid using sex to break the ice without really getting into the crust of the fight.

18. They are vindictive

they are vindictive

With people who show pettiness, unless they don’t relate to anyone and live isolated, it's impossible that someone else won't make them upset. When that happens, chances are, they may fantasize about getting back at the person. 

However, as mature adults, they don't go all the way with that thought. But if a partner ate your last pizza slice, and they retaliate by dipping his/her brush into the toilet bowl, then they are pettiness personified. If they are always vindictive towards a partner, it could lead to resentment.

19. They think small or are narrow-minded

I saved this one for the last because it pretty much sums up what being pettiness means in one word. Petty means small. When your thinking is small, it means you are narrow-minded. It means your views about things are not expandable. You won't accept people's opinions or ideas. Basically, you are just intolerant. In summary, you are petty. You need to change.


What does being petty mean in a relationship?

Being petty in relationships means a lot of things. One certain thing is petty people are annoying and difficult to deal with. It means being narrow-minded about issues, not willing to see things from people's perspectives, and always trying to blow simple things out of proportion just to make others wrong, and you on the right.

How can you tell if someone is petty?

Because there's a thin line between being petty, immature, and a hater, the term is sometimes used in the wrong context. Nevertheless, you can't miss a petty person if you are looking for one. One of the common signs is making a big deal out of trivial issues. They also hold on to grudges and almost never miss out on a chance to get back at others.

How do you deal with a petty boyfriend?

The first thing you need to do is take the high road. Petty people are insecure in a way. What's more, they are always desperate for attention. You don't want them to drag you down into their pettiness. 

Therefore, let your petty boyfriend know you understand his feelings. This way, you are not throwing out or invalidating his feelings in an insensitive manner. However, also add that you won't be having his tantrums as it's not helpful for the growth of relationships.

Is it normal to have petty arguments in a relationship?

Sometimes, petty arguments are common as long as they don't occur too frequently. They show up mostly due to misunderstandings, which leads to crazy and petty fights. Also, they come up in relationships because of cascades of issues not dealt with, which could lead to a sudden outburst with a slight provocation.

What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?

Unhealthy relationships are ones devoid of genuine loving emotions, emotional support, mutual respect, and connection. What's more, it's a relationship full of controlling and manipulative tendencies making one or both partners experience physical, emotional, or psychological pain.


Being petty is not pretty and can be sometimes difficult to handle. If you can't manage a petty boyfriend, it's okay to call it quits. I hope you enjoyed the article? Feel free to leave a comment and share it with friends.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


Join Our Newsletter

Receive weekly tips & tricks to improve your love life.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.