Can you tell the difference between someone who is genuinely kind and someone who is nice to you so he or she can manipulate you?
Manipulators are incredibly difficult to spot, especially if they mask their intentions with friendly and kind behavior.
But don’t worry, I’ve dealt with my fair share of manipulators and I’m about to share with you six behaviors you can look out for to ensure you don’t get tricked by a seemingly warm , friendly individual.
1) They always agree with you
Ever met someone who just agrees with everything you say?
They laugh at all your jokes and nod along with every word you say. It’s like they’re your biggest fan. They are yes people, like Jim Carey’s character in the movie.”Yes man’.
And it feels pretty good, doesn’t it? What’s the problem?
Here’s the deal: being super agreeable can be a sneaky way for someone to win you over. At first they seem like the best friend you never had, they just click.
Although it looks and feels like true friendship, these types of people have mastered the art of making friends quickly so that when the time comes, they can get their way.
The next time you notice that a new friend always agrees with you, pause for a moment and ask yourself; Is this real or is there something else going on here?
2) They shower you with affection and attention
In romantic relationships this is known as love bombing where it seems like a new partner can’t get enough of you and showers you with love.
But make no mistake: you don’t have to be in a relationship to have someone shower you with affection and attention.
Picture this: you have a new friend who seems very friendly. They will contact you via text throughout the day. They can like or comment on your recent social media posts to show their support. And they invite you to hang out a lot.
It feels like the friendship goes from zero to one hundred very quickly. You just met and now you’re best friends. But sometimes this is intentional.
It’s a common tactic that manipulative people use. They quickly make themselves a big part of your life, which encourages you to let your guard down, making it easier for them to control you.
New friendships are great, but just like in a romantic relationship, when things are moving very quickly, you have to put on the brakes and ask yourself, “Why”?
3) They flatter you with compliments
We all appreciate a nice compliment sometimes, right?
It is normal for friends to compliment each other. It’s a kind gesture and can even make someone’s day.
But sometimes manipulative people use compliments to make you feel safe with them.
Think of Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk), the super friendly yet crooked lawyer from break bad (and better call Saul)? He was incredibly charming and was always quick to give a compliment.
He was also a master manipulator and his charm and overuse of compliments were tactics he used to fool his unsuspecting victims.
A compliment here and there is fine, but if you start to realize that someone is constantly flattering you, take a moment to think about whether it could be more than just genuine admiration.
4) They overdo it with the physical affection
Is there anything more comforting than a warm hug from a friend or loved one?
If you think about it, whether it’s a pat on the back, an encouraging squeeze on the shoulder, or a gentle, reassuring touch on your forearm, it’s not uncommon for friends to show affection through touch.
And over time, it can make you feel closer and deeper. In fact, “research has shown that hugging can release large amounts of human oxytocin pair bonding hormone’, as described by Pyscology today.
However, if you notice that someone is always showing you physical affection, it could be a tactic to create a false sense of connection.
Manipulative people know that if you feel close to them, it will be easier for them to control you and get what they want from you.
Notice how much affection your friends show you. A little is fine, but if it seems excessive, you may be dealing with a manipulator, no matter how friendly they seem.
5) They offer strategic kindness and generosity
In one of my first jobs out of college, a girl in the office befriended me on my first day. I was grateful for it. We were about the same age and seemed to have a lot in common.
She was so nice, she even gave me a bouquet of flowers to congratulate me on completing my first week.
At first I was thrilled to have made such a wonderful new friend. But as time went on, I started to notice a pattern.
I wasn’t the only one who benefited from her kindness and generosity. Whenever she needed something from someone, she would first do something kind or generous for that person. That way it would be much harder for them to say no after she had been so nice.
Do you know someone who shows kindness and often gives gifts? Maybe they are genuinely nice and there is nothing in it for them.
But check carefully whether the gift is included strings attached to it or only when they need something, which is strategic generosity and classic behavior of a manipulative person.
6) They are quick to share too much
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone you don’t know very well confides in you and asks for advice on a personal matter?
They may be experiencing something at home or need advice about a problem at work, and they come to you with it.
Usually when someone shows it to you emotional vulnerability this way it suggests that they trust you and that you have developed a strong bond.
It feels good to be trusted and encourages you to show vulnerability as well.
But be careful: If it feels like this person is oversharing very early in your friendship or relationship, it may be a temptation to open up and share your secrets too.
It’s a manipulative tactic that people like to use because if they can get you to open up, they can gain valuable information that they can later use against you to get what they want.
Before you overshare, always remember to ask yourself, “Do I know this person well enough to trust them with this information?”
Although they may seem friendly on the outside, some people often use sneaky tactics to manipulate you.
Emotional manipulation is rooted in your trust and care for the other person. That’s why they often go out of their way to create the illusion of true friendship.
Beware of this behavior and trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, take a step back and assess the situation. If they are a true friend, they will understand your desire to slow things down.
And if they are a manipulator, you stop them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, rather than regretting it.
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