If someone does these 10 things, they definitely have a hidden agenda

Ever get that gut feeling that someone’s not being totally straight with you?

Like there’s something they’re not saying?

It’s possible they might have a hidden agenda.

Here’s a quick guide to spotting the signs. 

1. Overly Sweet Talk

Ever meet someone who’s just a bit too nice?

We’re talking about the kind of person who showers you with compliments, nods vigorously at everything you say, and seems to agree with you a tad too much.

While it’s great to meet genuinely kind people, someone who’s laying it on thick might be doing it for a reason.

They could be buttering you up to get something they want or to sway your opinion in their favor.

Remember, genuine kindness is spontaneous and feels real.

Overly sweet talk? Not so much.

If it feels like they’re serving you sugar with a side of ulterior motives, trust your gut!

2. Selective Memory

Ah, this one takes me back to a college roommate. Every time we’d discuss chores or shared expenses, somehow, she’d conveniently “forget” our previous agreements.

Sound familiar?

When someone consistently “forgets” or misremembers things that don’t benefit them but recalls every little detail that’s in their favor, it’s a red flag.

It’s as if their memory has a built-in filter for self-benefit.

A genuine mistake is one thing, but consistently “misremembering”? That’s a sign there might be a hidden agenda lurking beneath.

So, next time someone tries playing the “I forgot” card a little too often, it might be time to have a heart-to-heart.

3. They’re Always “The Victim”

It’s a tough world out there, and we all face our fair share of problems.

But have you ever met someone who always seems to be the victim, no matter what?

Every story they tell places them at the center of injustice, and they never miss an opportunity to point out how the world has wronged them

Llife is filled with challenges, but if someone perpetually wears the victim hat, there’s a chance they’re using it to manipulate those around them.

They might be seeking constant sympathy, trying to evade responsibility, or attempting to tilt things in their favor by making others feel guilty.

Real pain and struggle deserve compassion, of course.

But when the “woe is me” narrative becomes a recurring theme, it’s worth questioning if there’s a hidden agenda behind the sob story.

4. They’re a Chameleon

You know those folks who change colors faster than a chameleon on a rainbow?

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One moment they’re all about jazz music because that’s your jam, and the next they’re hardcore metal enthusiasts because they’re talking to someone else who loves it.

It’s admirable to be versatile, but when someone is constantly shifting their opinions, likes, or dislikes based on who they’re around, it’s a big red flag.

It’s not about genuine growth or change, but more about trying to be whatever they think someone else wants them to be.

This might be to gain favor, to fit in, or to manipulate an outcome.

Authenticity goes out the window, and you’re left wondering: who is this person really?

If they’re molding themselves constantly to fit different situations perfectly, there’s likely a hidden agenda behind the act.

5. They’re Consistently Transparent

Wait, isn’t transparency a good thing?

Typically, yes.

Ssomeone who is over-the-top transparent might be hiding something.

Imagine a colleague who constantly feels the need to share every detail about their day, or a friend who insists on showing you every single text in a conversation they had with someone else.

At first glance, it looks like they’re being super open.

But when someone goes out of their way to prove how “honest” they are, it can actually be a diversion tactic.

They might be offering up a lot of information—most of it irrelevant—to mask the one piece they’re hiding.

It’s like a magician drawing your attention to one hand, so you won’t notice what the other is doing.

So, if you find someone’s transparency feeling more like an overwhelming flood than genuine openness, it might be time to look a little closer.

6. Their Body Language Screams “Mismatch!”

Communication isn’t just about words.

Our bodies often spill the beans even when our mouths are saying something else.

For instance, someone might tell you they’re excited about a joint project, but their slouched posture, lack of eye contact, and crossed arms might suggest otherwise.

When someone’s words are all sunshine and roses, but their body language is more like a cloudy day, trust the storm signs.

Our physical cues often betray our true feelings and intentions, especially when we’re trying to hide them.

If you consistently notice this discrepancy between what someone says and how they physically react, there’s a good chance they’re not being entirely forthcoming.

Dive deeper and find out what’s really going on.

7. They Rarely Commit To Plans

A friend of mine, Jake, had this peculiar habit.

Every time we’d try to make plans, he’d be super vague. “Let’s see,” “I might be free,” or “I’ll let you know,” were his go-to phrases.

It wasn’t long before I realized that Jake was waiting for better options.

If nothing more exciting popped up, he’d hang out.

But if something did? Suddenly, he was swamped with unexpected work.

When someone is consistently non-committal, it might not just be about a busy schedule.

They could be keeping their options open, hedging their bets, or trying to maintain control over a situation.

They want the freedom to make choices based on what benefits them the most at any given moment.

It’s a strategy that, while savvy in some contexts, can be quite hurtful in personal relationships.

If someone’s always got one foot out the door, it’s essential to consider if they’re truly invested, or if there’s a hidden agenda guiding their hesitation.

8. They Overwhelm You with Generosity

We’re taught to appreciate and value generous people. But sometimes, there’s a twist.

Let me paint a picture: you meet someone, and almost immediately, they’re showering you with gifts, doing huge unsolicited favors, or going out of their way to help you.

It feels great at first—who doesn’t love being pampered? But why are they in such a rush?

Sometimes, such over-the-top generosity isn’t about kindness. It can be about obligation.

By making you feel deeply indebted to them right off the bat, they might be setting the stage to ask for a big favor or influence your decisions later on.

It’s a classic move, sometimes subconscious, to create an imbalance in the relationship.

Generosity is wonderful when it’s genuine.

But if someone’s eagerness to give feels more like a strategy than a heartfelt gesture, it might be worth asking what they’re expecting in return.

9. Their Stories Often Change

We all know that feeling: chatting with someone and thinking, “Wait, didn’t they say something different last time?”

If you notice that someone’s stories, facts, or details frequently change, it’s a sign that there might be more to the narrative than meets the eye.

Whether it’s the reason they couldn’t attend an event, details of a story they told you last week, or their stance on a particular topic, inconsistencies can be revealing.

While everyone can occasionally misremember a detail or two, frequent shifts in their narrative can indicate that they’re tailoring their stories for specific audiences or situations.

This constant shifting can be an attempt to paint themselves in the best light, avoid consequences, or manipulate perceptions.

If you catch someone in a revolving door of tales and details, it’s a good time to be cautious about taking everything they say at face value.

10. They Avoid Answering Directly

We’ve all been in conversations where we’ve asked a straightforward question only to receive a roundabout, evasive answer in return.

It’s like trying to pin down a cloud—frustrating and seemingly impossible.

If someone consistently avoids giving direct answers, choosing instead to dance around the topic, change the subject, or respond with a question of their own, they might be trying to hide something.

This tactic can be used to evade responsibility, keep you in the dark, or maintain control over information.

It reminds me of a former colleague who, when pressed about project details or deadlines, would often reply with vague statements like, “We’re looking into it,” or “It’s in the works.”

While it seemed professional at first, it became evident over time that this was a tactic to avoid committing or revealing that he was behind schedule.

Honest communication is the foundation of trust.

If someone is reluctant to be straightforward, it might be time to dig deeper and uncover what’s really going on beneath the surface.

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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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