10 warning signs you’re dealing with a fake kind person, according to psychology

Navigating human interactions can be tricky. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether someone is genuinely kind or just putting on an act.

Fake kindness can be deceptive, leaving you feeling duped and taken advantage of. It’s a manipulative tactic that often hides selfish intentions.

Psychology offers us some handy tools to help discern the genuine from the fake. Being aware of these warning signs can save you from a lot of unnecessary drama and heartache.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the top 10 warning signs that you’re dealing with a fake kind person, according to psychology.

Let’s get started. 

1) Inconsistency in their kindness

Psychology tells us that one of the biggest red flags of a fake kind person is inconsistency in their behavior. Genuine kindness is stable and persistent. It doesn’t switch off when it’s no longer beneficial.

A fake kind person, on the other hand, is likely to show a different side when they think no one’s watching or when they don’t stand to gain anything. Their kindness often comes with strings attached, and you’ll notice it disappears when it’s not required for their personal gain.

This inconsistency can raise doubts about the authenticity of their kindness. So, watch out for those who only show kindness when it serves their own interests. This could be a sign that you’re dealing with a fake kind person.

Everyone has off days, and a single instance of inconsistent behavior doesn’t necessarily mean someone is fake. It’s a pattern of inconsistency that should get your antennas up.

2) Their compliments don’t feel genuine

Have you ever received a compliment that felt…off? I know, I have. It happened during a work meeting. A colleague complimented me on my presentation skills, but it felt insincere. As if he was just saying it because he felt obligated to say something nice.

Psychology suggests that fake kind people often give compliments that feel hollow or forced. They might be trying to win your favor or keep up their “kind” facade, but their words lack sincerity.

In my case, I later found out that this same colleague was spreading rumors about my work behind my back while praising me in public. That’s when I realized his compliments were not genuine.

Trust your gut feeling. If a compliment doesn’t feel right, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with a fake kind person.

3) They’re quick to claim their kindness

People who are genuinely kind don’t feel the need to broadcast their good deeds. They do acts of kindness because it aligns with their values and makes them feel good, not because they want recognition or praise.

On the other hand, those with fake kindness often make sure everyone knows about their good deeds. They might even exaggerate or fabricate stories to appear kinder than they really are.

People who are more concerned with appearing kind than being kind are more likely to engage in ‘moral self-licensing’. This is a psychological phenomenon where people use their past ‘good deeds’ as an excuse to behave badly in the future.

Beware of those who loudly proclaim their own kindness. It might be a mask for their fake kindness and a warning sign of potentially manipulative behavior.

4) They’re overly concerned with their image

Genuinely kind people are comfortable in their own skin and care less about what others think of them. They focus on being kind and compassionate, not on how they’re perceived.

In contrast, fake kind people are often overly concerned with their image. They want to be seen as kind, so they carefully curate their actions and words to project a certain image.

You might notice them being excessively nice in public or on social media, only to behave differently in private. They might also constantly seek validation or approval from others, a clear sign of image management rather than genuine kindness.

True kindness comes from the heart and doesn’t need an audience. If someone’s kindness seems more like a performance, you might be dealing with a fake kind person.

5) Their kindness comes with expectations

Genuine kindness is selfless. It’s about giving without expecting anything in return. It’s about helping others because it’s the right thing to do, not because there’s a reward at the end.

But fake kindness usually comes with strings attached. You might notice that a fake kind person often expects something in return for their good deeds. It could be a favor, recognition, or simply an obligation for you to be kind to them in return.

This transactional nature of their kindness is a clear sign that it’s not driven by empathy or compassion, but by self-interest. 

If you feel like you’re constantly in debt to someone for their kindness, it’s possible you’re dealing with a fake kind person.

6) They lack empathy

At the core of genuine kindness is empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s what drives us to help someone who’s going through a tough time, or to celebrate with someone who’s just had great news.

But a fake kind person often lacks this crucial trait. They might show sympathy – feeling sorry for someone – but struggle to truly empathize with others’ emotions. Their kindness might appear on the surface, but it lacks the depth that comes from genuine empathy.

This lack of empathy can leave you feeling unheard and invalidated, even when they’re acting kind. It’s a poignant reminder that true kindness involves more than just nice words and deeds; it requires understanding and connecting with others on a deep emotional level.

If you often feel like someone’s kindness is skin-deep and lacks emotional connection, you might be dealing with a fake kind person.

7) They use kindness as a weapon

Years ago, I had a friend who would always be the first to lend a helping hand. At first, it seemed like she was just being kind. But over time, I realized her kindness was often used as a weapon. Every time we had a disagreement, she would bring up all the times she had helped me, making me feel guilty and obligated to agree with her.

This is a common tactic of fake kind people. They use their good deeds as ammunition, reminding you of their kindness when it suits them. It’s a form of manipulation, designed to make you feel indebted to them.

Kindness should never be used as a weapon or a bargaining chip. If someone uses their good deeds to manipulate or control you, it’s a clear warning sign that their kindness might not be genuine.

8) They’re always the victim

It may seem odd, but sometimes those who constantly play the victim are not as kind as they appear. You may have come across someone who always seems to be at the receiving end of unfair treatment or bad luck. They often share their tales of woe, seeking sympathy and support.

While it’s natural and kind to empathize with those who are going through tough times, be cautious if it’s a recurring theme. Some fake kind people play the victim to manipulate others’ emotions and gain their sympathy or support. This tactic allows them to remain in a position where others feel obligated to help them or overlook their wrongdoings.

Remember, genuine kindness is about empowering others, not constantly playing the victim to gain their empathy or support. So if someone always seems to be the victim, you might want to take a closer look at their behavior.

9) They’re rarely happy for others

Genuine kindness includes being able to feel and express happiness for other people’s successes. It involves celebrating with them and sharing their joy.

However, a fake kind person often struggles with this. They might smile and congratulate you, but you’ll notice their words lack warmth and sincerity. You might even sense a hint of jealousy or resentment.

This is because fake kindness is often driven by self-interest. So when others succeed, especially in areas they wish to excel, it’s hard for them to be genuinely happy.

So, if someone’s congratulatory words often feel hollow, or if they struggle to celebrate your achievements without turning the focus back on themselves, it might be a sign that their kindness is not genuine.

10) Trust your instincts

The most important sign of all comes from within. Our instincts are powerful tools in distinguishing genuine kindness from fake. If something feels off about a person’s kindness, trust your gut.

Often, we sense the insincerity but ignore it, giving them the benefit of the doubt. But our intuition rarely fails us. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about someone’s kindness, there’s probably a reason why.

Your feelings and instincts are valid. Don’t ignore them. Trusting your gut may save you from the negative impact of dealing with a fake kind person.

Ultimately: It’s about authenticity

The complex dance of human interactions often comes down to one fundamental element: authenticity.

According to the American psychologist Carl Rogers, authenticity, or genuineness, is a critical aspect of effective and meaningful interactions. When we interact authentically, we show our true selves, with our feelings and behaviors aligning with our personal values and beliefs.

In the context of kindness, it means acting out of genuine compassion and empathy, without expecting anything in return.

Unmasking a fake kind person can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort to protect ourselves from potential manipulation and emotional distress.

Remember that true kindness is consistent, selfless, and empathetic. It doesn’t come with strings attached or hidden agendas. And most importantly, it feels right.

So as you navigate your social interactions, trust your instincts, value authenticity, and remember – true kindness is always genuine. It’s something felt in the heart and reflected in actions.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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