18 “fake nice” behaviors you need to keep an eye out for

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It’s nice to be nice.

The world would undoubtedly be a better place if we were all a little kinder.

But there’s a caveat: It has to be sincere.

Because “fake nice” sucks you in, but you can never really trust it. It’s just an act.

Here are a few behaviors that give the game away:

1) Overly familiar pet names

I once had a guy call me babe on our first date.

Er, excuse me…did we skip 6 months?!

I’m pretty sure he must call every woman that. It’s just a little over-familiar. And so it comes off as seriously insincere.

The same applies to women who call every other woman they’ve just met “hun”, “girl”, “babe” etc.

Pet names are meant to be a term of endearment that we use to show intimacy. So that level of familiarity too soon comes across as fake.

2) Patronizing smiles

I can’t even describe it really, but you know it when you see it, right?

It’s a vibe.

A warm smile is welcoming and puts you at ease. A condescending or fake smile makes you feel really uncomfortable or even paranoid.

Fake smiles tend to:

  • Be isolated to just the mouth area (when it’s real we smile with our entire face)
  • Lack that sparkle factor (it’s an energy thing)

3) Playing the martyr

They love telling you how many favors they have been busy doing that day.

People never seem to appreciate them. They easily get taken advantage of. But oh well, that’s what you get for being “too nice”.

When we do something for someone it should come from kindness and cooperation, not expectation.

So if someone is only being nice to use it to hold over you for a later date, it’s pretty fake.

4) Insisting just how nice they are

You know what:

The nicest people I’ve ever met have also been some of the most humble and unassuming.

They don’t brag or boast about what a great person they are.

They don’t catalog all the selfless and kind things they’ve done.

So when you meet someone who never shuts up about what a nice person they are, be cautious.

Who are they trying to convince?

5) Sucking up

Sucking up comes in many shapes and forms, but its overwhelming hallmark is insincerity.

It’s all about winning favor.

We’re talking about:

  • Extreme flattery
  • Platitudes
  • Vague congratulations
  • Neediness
  • Intense people pleasing

The bottom line is that sucking up always takes place when someone wants something from you. Even if that something is just your approval. 

6) Being way nicer to certain people than others

This is similar to our above point about sucking up. But it comes with a twist.

They only suck up to the people they think have a higher social status than them.

You may have thought someone was a really sweet person because they’d always been that way around you.

But then you observed how dismissive and rude they acted towards their waiter. 

If you’re not nice to everyone, regardless of who they are, then you can’t really claim to be nice.

7) Generic compliments

All compliments need to be sincerely given, otherwise, they lose all meaning.

When I was in high school I noticed one particular clique of girls would pretty much say to anyone they met something along the lines of:

“I love your skirt”, “I love your bag”, “I love your hair”.

But it felt like they just took a quick scan of someone and complimented the first thing their eyes happened to fall upon.

Genuine compliments should always:

  • Be based on something we genuinely feel/think
  • Be specific rather than generic or exaggerated
  • Avoid superficialities

8) Cheesy lines

Trying too hard to impress is a major cringe. And the epitome of this has to be acting cheesy.

Cheesy lines don’t just include your standard old-fashioned pick-up lines. It includes anything someone says just to try to sell themselves to you or show off.

Why are people still doing it? Surely everyone sees through the fakery by now?!

9) Prying questions

Ok, they’re showing an interest in you which is nice. But it is crossing a line.

Being bombarded with too many questions feels like an inquisition. And the tone of those questions goes far beyond polite chit-chat.

It’s more like they are digging for information or gossip about you than showing genuine intrigue.

10) Not taking no for an answer

“Come to the concert on Friday. It’s going to be soooo much fun and we need you there. No excuses, you’re coming!”

“Try one of my muffins. They are insanely good. Have at least one bite. I made them especially. I insist!”

Even when it seems to come from an enthusiastic place, it’s still crossing boundaries. Even pushing “kindness” on someone is still being pushy.

Really it’s just about them getting their own way and not about being nice.

11) Hinting at plans they have no intention of making

“Let’s do this again some time”

“Be good to catch up soon”

“I’m crazy busy right now, but will let you know as soon as I’m free”

I know it’s not easy to tell people the truth — you don’t really care if you never see them again.

And ok, you don’t have to say that.

But don’t make out like you want to see someone again when you have zero intention of ever doing so.

12) Getting all touchy-feely

We’re specifically talking about people you don’t know so well here.

Because I’m personally a very touchy person with those I’m close to. I like to greet friends with a hug.

But you need to have established some sort of bond before you go gate-crashing someone’s personal space.

13) Giving backhanded compliments

Thanks!… I think?!

Not sure whether it is a compliment or a slight?

Maybe it was both combined.

We should probably relabel ‘backhanded compliments’ as ‘poorly disguised insults’ — because that’s what they are.

“You look really pretty today, you should make an effort like that more often”

“I love how you just don’t care what anyone thinks of you”

“I wish I was brave enough to wear that outfit”

It’s actually a way of being passive-aggressive under the pretense of being well-meaning.

14) Preaching what they don’t practice

I once knew this girl who would always share inspirational quotes about feminism on her social media.

Her main thing was “collaboration over competition” and “women empowering women”.

Then one day I noticed she had blocked me on Instagram. I text her asking what was going on.

Turns out she felt like I had been “stealing her followers” because a few of her followers had started following me too.

I was pretty dumbfounded.

She talked non-stop about how “the sisterhood” shouldn’t feel threatened by each other — how we should celebrate one another instead.

Her actions highlighted loud and clear: She didn’t practice what she preached.

15) Agreeing with everything someone says

Most of us like to surround ourselves with similar people.

That’s why it strengthens a connection if we like the same things, share similar interests, and have the same values.

But that’s not the same as being a “yes person”.

When someone always agrees with whatever you say, no matter what, it’s not nice, it’s weak.

I’m not trying to be unkind. But the reality is that it suggests they have super low-self esteem and are desperate to please you.

16) Needing to be the savior

Having someone to lean on is priceless.

That’s why a friend, partner, or family member who is there in your time of need is a real treasure.

But they should be there because they care about your well-being. They should never get a secret kick out of your misery.

You may have met some people who only really like you when you’re struggling. When life is good, they seem jealous or pretty negative.

They are only looking to play the savior to feel good about themselves.

17) Love bombing

I like to think I’m pretty vigilant to fake nice people. Especially in the dating world as I generally go for more low-key guys.

But even I’ve been sucked in by this one.

Love bombing involves coming on really strong, only to put a dampener on things later.

I was once dating a guy who acted like Prince Charmnig in the first few weeks.

He cooked a three-course meal, wanted me to meet his roommates, and even invited me over for Christmas.

Yet not long after…he stood me up and then ghosted me.

18) Being overly excited to see you

“OMGGGGGG **squeals with excitement** How have you been? Tell me everything!”

Er, I just went to the bathroom, I’ve only been gone 5 minutes.

We can pretty much tell when someone is genuinely thrilled to see us and when they’re just being over the top.

That level of excitement is maybe understandable if your bestie has been off on a round-the-world tour for the last 12 months.

But if it’s a friend of a friend who you barely know that you simply bump into in the grocery store — it’s just creepy.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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