We’re bound to meet manipulative individuals one way or another – whether it’s within your family, in your workplace, school, or even the community you reside in.
They have one thing in common – to use everyone around them for their benefit.
Sometimes, these individuals hide behind charming personalities, to disarm those around them and win their trust.
This helps them take advantage of the people around them – exploiting their trust and manipulating them into doing things they may not want to do.
It may be tough to identify them because they’re very skilled at playing tricks with your mind.
Dealing with such people can be very draining, so today we’ll explore 6 signs that indicate you’re interacting with a charming but manipulative individual.
1) They’re masterful storytellers
One common characteristic of charming individuals is that they’re able to spin captivating and exciting stories – regardless if they’re telling the truth.
Successful manipulators are able to reel you into their web of lies and convince you to believe scenarios that may not be a true representation of what actually happened.
They will find a way to twist the narrative so that you’ll see them in a much better light.
If they were at fault, they’ll also find a way to present themselves as the victim or to convince you that whatever happened wasn’t entirely because of them.
These individuals can also shape the way you perceive them or your opinions of them to their favor.
You may have been present when the incident happened, but they’ll somehow manage to convince you that you remembered the entire situation wrongly.
With their ability to tell convincing stories, these charming and manipulative individuals are able to lie their way through all kinds of situations.
If your gut tells you that there’s something amiss, trust yourself and resist the urge to go along with whatever these people say!
2) They flatter and praise excessively
It always feels nice to have someone compliment you.
We feel good and tend to lower our guard, or perceive that person to be a ‘nice person’.
But when you’re dealing with a manipulative individual, remember that they’re doing this for their benefit.
They don’t mean anything they say, as these are all strategies to convince you to do something for them.
Of course, there are people who enjoy making others feel good, as they’re genuinely nice people.
It’s always important to pay attention to the context of the situation, as well as the tone that the other person is using.
Flattery is a tool that charming and manipulative people use to toy with the feelings of others.
The next time you receive a compliment that makes you think twice, stay on guard and listen to what else that person has to say.
3) They guilt-trip subtly
The thing about interacting with people we like or look up to is that we try to avoid letting them down.
It makes us feel guilty that we’ve disappointed them because of how kind they are or how much we want their approval.
And manipulators know this.
After they’re able to sweep you off your feet with their charming personalities, they know that they have your trust and will use this to their benefit.
So if they try to convince you to help them with something but you refuse, they know how to guilt trip you into changing your mind.
The thing is that they’ll do it subtly, using phrases such as:
- ‘I thought you would understand.’
- ‘I thought we were friends.’
- ‘Just so you know, I’d do the same for you.
They’ll convince you that you’re the bad guy and they’re the victim. If you lower your guard, you’ll play into their hands.
4) They love-bomb
Ever met someone who in the first two weeks, showered you with too much attention, gifts, and affection?
It may have only been the early stages of a relationship, but already they seem to be head over heels in love with you.
The thing about charming individuals is that they know how to play with your feelings. They’ll have you convinced that you’re the center of their world – the only thing that matters to them.
They’ll manage to find ways to win you over, whether it’s with gifts, acts of service, or words, because they’re experts at reading people.
This creates emotional dependency and gives them the upper hand in the relationship.
You may find that you crave their approval in everything you do.
You may even be unable to make decisions without their input or will start changing your behaviors and beliefs to align with theirs.
By creating this unhealthy dynamic, these manipulators are able to use you to their benefit.
So before it gets to this point, it’s good to identify if the person you’re seeing is love-bombing you and if they are, to stay away.
5) They show conditional kindness
Another trait these manipulators have is that they lack empathy. They care for no one but themselves.
If they have to show empathy or kindness, they’ll do it only if it’s to their benefit.
Their charming persona can have everyone convinced that they’re the kindest person in the room. They know what to say and how to behave or react in situations that require an emphatic response.
But they will do it only if it benefits them.
You may find that they’re distant or cold outside these situations. They only don this mask when they need to.
A classic example is if they need something from you. They may suddenly become very nice to you, or help you out with a task to soften you into doing something for them.
6) They isolate you
Because of their charming personality, they’re able to convince others to agree with whatever they say.
If they have a problem with you, they’re then able to convince everyone else that you’re the bad guy.
With their persuasiveness, they can turn the whole room against you, and no matter how hard you try, everyone will just sympathize with the manipulator.
Isolation is a key strategy they employ to control you, separating you from your support network, like your friends and family so that you will have no one else to turn to.
You will end up having to give in to their demands because they now have the upper hand.
You may even find yourself turning to them for support, as these manipulators may also want to foster a sense of dependency.
By doing so, they’re able to control the decisions you make.
Identifying charming and manipulative people can be tough. It can be challenging to see past this exterior that they have successfully built that has convinced everyone else that they’re the sweetest person in the room.
If possible, try limiting your interactions with these people, but if you’re unable to, stay guarded when you’re talking to them.
Always listen to your gut. If you find that something is amiss, it’s important to tread lightly and carefully.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.