So, you have the misfortune of knowing someone who likes to cause conflict. We’re very sorry about that. They can be difficult people to be around.
At the very least, it’s worth knowing what words you can use to describe them.
This article has gathered the best synonyms to show you what to call a person who likes to cause conflict.
Keep reading to find out how to refer to someone who creates conflict. We’ve also provided definitions and examples to show you how each synonym works.
A great word for someone who likes conflict is “instigator.” It shows that someone enjoys provoking others to create conflict or start something that isn’t necessary.
The definition of “instigator,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to provoke.”
We recommend using it when talking about acquaintances. It shows you do not appreciate their bad attitude. It’s also a good way to warn others that they should expect conflict when talking to them.
You can also refer to these examples:
- Jack is nothing more than an instigator. I can’t stand the way he talks to people looking for a fight.
- You’re an instigator, and you always seem to cause drama. Please stop doing that around me.
“Provocateur” is a word to describe a person who likes to cause conflict. It’s not a very common word, but it’s an exciting alternative that’ll help you to mix things up.
We recommend using it to impress your friends when describing someone.
According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “provocateur” is “one who provokes.”
Generally, you can use it to show that someone always looks to cause problems. They might have a high-conflict personality and try their best to annoy everyone around them or create drama.
Here are a few examples to help you with it:
- You’re quite the provocateur, and I see right through you. I will not let you get in the way of my friends and me.
- I’m not trying to be a provocateur, but I seem to wind them up. How can I stop that from happening?
Another great word to use here is “initiator.” It refers to someone who initiates conflict wherever possible.
The definition of “initiator,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to cause or facilitate the beginning of.”
Of course, the word itself refers to many situations. However, in this case, we recommend using it for a person who stirs up drama when they can.
Also, review the following examples:
- She’s the initiator of most of these problems. Every conflict can be linked to her in some way.
- George is the key initiator of these fights. Is there anything we can do to stop him?
It might not be as common as some other choices, but “conspirator” is a fun word to describe someone who likes conflict.
It refers to someone who conspires against others.
The definition of “conspirator,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “one who conspires.”
We recommend using it when you know someone seeks conflict in others. It shows that they will always instigate problems (especially when there’s simply no reason for it).
Here are a few examples to show you how it works:
- She’s a conspirator, which makes it impossible to get along with her. I don’t know why she’s even part of this group.
- You’re a conspirator, but can you please tone it down a little bit? After all, we would all appreciate that.
For a more conversational term, try “troublemaker.” It’s great because it works in so many situations (both severe and insincere ones).
The definition of “troublemaker,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a person who consciously or unconsciously causes trouble.”
You could call your friends or family troublemakers. Of course, in this case, it usually means you’re saying it jokingly or lovingly.
However, a troublemaker also refers to someone who seeks conflict to create problems. In this context, it’s much more serious.
Check out these examples as well:
- They’re both troublemakers, which is why they get on so well. They’ll always look for drama wherever possible.
- Stop being a troublemaker. It’s like you enjoy trying to split up relationships and break up friend groups.
Someone who is “antagonistic” will always do what they can to share their dislike with others. That’s why it’s a good option to use when causing conflict.
According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “antagonistic” is “showing dislike or opposition.”
People with high-conflict personalities will often be antagonistic individuals. They’ll do their best to annoy those around them and try to encourage fights for no reason.
Here are some examples if you’re still unsure:
- You’re too antagonistic for my liking. Please stop trying to get involved in other people’s affairs.
- She’s so antagonistic. Honestly, I don’t understand why any of you like her.
Do you find someone annoying or disrespectful when they’re around others? Perhaps they’re an “agitator” because they like to cause drama between friends.
The definition of “agitator,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “one who stirs up public feeling on controversial issues.”
You can use this word to highlight someone’s need to create problems. It shows that they will always say and do things to annoy others.
Often, they will try to stir up negative emotions or feelings. They may also play into more controversial issues to try and generate poor reactions out of their peers.
We also recommend reviewing these examples:
- I don’t want to be an agitator, but I know something about Steven that he might not have told you.
- You’re being an agitator and making it really hard to like you right now. Do you see that?
“Schemer” is an alternative that works well. It shows that someone plots against people, meaning they will often look for holes in relationships and create conflict wherever possible.
According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “schemer” is “to form a scheme for.”
Of course, being a schemer is never a good thing. It implies that you scheme, cheat, and plot against everyone to try and get negative reactions out of them.
Here are some great examples to help you with it:
- Oh, Sarah is a schemer. There’s absolutely no way we can trust her to do this without interfering with them.
- You’re a schemer, and you can’t help yourself! Please stop trying to ruin this.
Conspiring against your friends or family always results in negative reactions. It can create conflict where there doesn’t need to be any. That’s why “conspirer” works here.
The definition of “conspirer,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to plot or contrive.”
When someone is a conspirer, it means they plot against their friends. They will often do so to create drama between people that trust them.
It’s a really horrible thing to do to your friends (and especially your family). However, sometimes, people just can’t help themselves.
Check out the following examples to see how it works:
- Why are we talking to that conspirer in the first place? He doesn’t know how to be a good friend.
- Sean is a conspirer and will do anything to break you guys up. You should ignore him!
Although it’s not as specific as some of the other synonyms, “spiteful” works well in this context. It’s a good word to describe someone who likes to cause conflict out of spite or hatred.
According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “spiteful” is “filled with or showing spite.”
For instance, if someone is spiteful, they may try to cause problems between close friends. So, they might instigate conflict or cause a fight between two people because they’re spiteful about their relationship.
You may also review these examples:
- She is one of the most spiteful people I’ve ever met. I know she’s only doing it to create conflict.
- He’s too spiteful. I don’t like him because he’s always looking for ways to start a fight.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.