Men who are charming on the surface but deceptive underneath usually display these 9 behaviors

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We’re all supposed to be on the hunt for Prince Charming, but that charm might actually be a red flag in disguise. While authentic chivalry and charisma aren’t inherently a bad thing, charm overload in a man is your cue to hit the brakes and do a 180°. 

Manipulation is the name of the game here. A manipulator often hides their true intent behind a charming facade, and they’re so good at it that they deserve an Oscar for their performances.

The difference between charm and manipulation comes down to intent. True charm is genuine, while manipulation is sneaky and underhanded with selfish motives driving behavior.  

So how do you know?

Men who are charming on the surface but deeply manipulative underneath usually display certain behaviors. But these subtle clues are easy to miss, especially if you’re susceptible to their charismatic veneer.

Here are nine behaviors that might indicate that your charmer is charming for nefarious purposes.

1) Love bombs away 

If a man is coming on too strong too soon, there’s a good possibility that he’s love-bombing you. If he’s coming in hot with endless compliments and over-the-top romantic gestures before you hardly know each other, take heed. 

It may seem adorable in the beginning, but it could be a manipulative tactic intended to establish a bond of trust with you so they can exploit it.

2) Flattery and flirting

We all like to be appreciated and even fawned over from time to time. Deceptively charming people have a gift for making you feel like the angel atop a Christmas tree. 

Flattery from a manipulator always, and I mean always, comes with a catch. The compliments are rarely genuine, and even if they are, the end game is getting you where they want you. 

There will always be a request for some kind of favor driving their flirtatiousness.

So, if your new charmer seems too good to be true, he probably is. 

3) Pours on the charm

Many manipulative men will pour on the charm in a campaign to make you think they’re far more trustworthy than they actually are. 

Their perfectly-timed witticisms and their calculated and strategically employed Old World charm are meant to make you fall hard, so when they go all toxic, you’ll be quick to rationalize their crummy behavior. 

A manipulative man will work hard to get you addicted to their charm, making it easier to control you and get what they want.

4) Entitled behavior 

A manipulator will gladly weaponize charm in the dating game. When a guy goes completely overboard with the Mr.Nice Guy routine, it’s probably so he can use his “awesomeness” against you later. 

Because from the manipulative man’s point of view, you owe him because he’s been so good to you. And if your spidey sense is tingling and you decide to bounce, he’ll probably try to guilt trip you.

You should consider yourself lucky to have bagged such a prize package! According to him, anyway.

5) Forever testing boundaries

Boundaries play a crucial role in every relationship. Knowing and abiding by someone’s boundaries is respectful and protects our own well-being at the same time.

But then there are manipulative people. They make a habit of gradually pushing people’s boundaries until they’ve crossed the line so many times it’s pretty much disappeared.  

They tend to start small, like borrowing something of yours without permission or asking you to accommodate their plans at the expense of your own.

If a man is forever tap dancing all over your boundaries, it’s the reddest of red flags. You may want to rethink having a relationship with this person, no matter how outwardly charming they appear.

6) He is persistent and persuasive

Manipulators are very convincing at the part they play. They have to be. Their entire game plan depends on it. They have a knack for selling their ideas as the best, or the only, logical solution to the problem.

Now, we all try to exercise our powers of persuasion from time to time. We persuade our kids to do their homework or our partner to see a certain movie. It’s part of life. 

However, when someone uses their persuasion abilities to trick others into doing things that are against their best interests, youre talking about manipulation, not persuasion. 

I can think of way too many times when I’d agree to something I didn’t want to do. It wasn’t because the other person convinced me it was the best idea. 

Nope. I just wanted them to stop talking. I knew they wouldn’t let up until I acquiesced, so I did. That kind of emotional manipulation is nothing less than bullying.

7) Excellent people-reading skills 

Manipulators have a better-than-average ability to read other people. They pick up on the slightest change in tone or body language and use that information to their advantage. 

A manipulative man can sense if you’re feeling vulnerable or confused, and they’ll be right there to offer you a shoulder to cry on – all while carefully but deliberately pushing you toward doing their bidding.

Psychologists call this ability to read the emotional barometer of other people’s emotional intelligence. This is the measure of one’s ability to acknowledge, understand, and manage emotions, both your own and everyone else’s.

Emotional intelligence also refers to a person’s capacity for empathy and how they sway others’ emotions. It becomes a formidable tool that manipulators use to control others.

They hone in on your weaknesses and exploit them. That’s what manipulators do. 

8) Guilt tripping

Manipulative men are masters of making people feel guilty, even when they haven’t done anything wrong. It’s a technique they use to control someone else’s behavior.

This is called guilt-tripping, which is a type of psychological manipulation. Creating a power imbalance in the relationship is a toxic tactic

So, someone might be upset they didn’t get an invite to an event they had no business being at, or they may attempt to make you feel bad about a totally innocuous remark you made. 

Don’t worry, they’ll find an issue and run with it. 

The goal is to make you feel like you owe them and encourage you to behave in ways that suit their purpose and not yours. 

9) He gaslights you 

Ah, gaslighting. The behavior of choice for all manipulators. This is where a seemingly charming man is particularly dangerous because he’ll deliberately make you question your sanity. 

A manipulative man will outright lie and double down if you challenge them. You may even end up apologizing to them, which is beyond bizarre, but that’s what effective gaslighting makes a sane person do.

It makes you feel like you’re losing it. 

And not all charming guys gaslight women. But for the ones that do, their charm makes it easier for them to get away with it. 

So, when a charming dude starts gaslighting you, you probably won’t even notice at first. But while you’re hanging on their every word, you’re also doubting your own judgment more and more.

Final thoughts

Getting caught in the clutches of a charming yet deceptive man can teach you a whole lot of life lessons all at once, ready or not. 

These manipulative men are so wiley, calculating, and ruthless that you may not catch on right away. 

It happens. 

But hopefully knowing these tell-tale signs of a charming B.S. artist can help you dodge a little future hell, especially if you’ve been burned before. 

Stay safe out there. 

Kathleen Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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