May 21, 2024


Are you or someone you know at risk for being negatively impacted by a cult? Read the list below to learn about what to watch out for. Then, look at 20 questions to evaluate if a group or leader is truly credible. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. Someone who becomes overly friendly right away. Instant friendships.
  2. Person or group who presents easy answers to life’s complex problems.
  3. Someone who is excessively pushy with invitations to lectures, meals or retreats.
  4. Someone who tells you it’s okay because look who else is doing it.
  5. Person or group using guilt to get you to agree to come to something or do something.
  6. Someone who invites you to a retreat or workshop at another location, could be a hotel or an isolated area, and won’t tell you what is going to happen when you get there.
  7. Someone who pressures you to make a decision right away and doesn’t give you time to think.
  8. Someone who turns all your questions back on you or makes you feel there’s something wrong with you for asking the question.

Remember, there are no free lunches, no instant cures, and no easy answers.


Dr. Janja Lalich

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. is a researcher, author, and educator specializing in cults and extremist groups, with a particular focus on charismatic relationships, political and other social movements, ideology and social control, and issues of gender and sexuality.