We’ve all met them at some point.
Those individuals who seem like the epitome of kindness when you first meet them, only to reveal a completely different side as you get to know them better. Talk about a plot twist!
But what if I told you there are telltale signs to spot these seemingly kind but actually mean individuals from a mile away? Intriguing, isn’t it?
As someone who has encountered quite a few of these “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, I’ve managed to pick up on some specific behaviors they often display.
Let’s look at 7 characteristic behaviors displayed by people who are kind on the surface but mean underneath.
1. They’re overly sweet at first
You know that feeling when someone’s kindness seems too good to be true?
There’s a fine line between genuine warmth and being overly sweet. People who are kind on the surface but mean underneath often cross that line.
They tend to shower you with compliments and attention right from the start. This can feel great initially, but it’s usually a strategy to win your trust quickly.
But here’s the catch.
Once they’ve won your trust, their true colors start to show. The compliments dwindle, and the attention fades.
You’re left wondering what changed when in reality, nothing did. They were just showing their true selves.
2. They’re quick to play the victim
This one hits close to home.
A few years back, I had a friend who was a master at playing the victim. Every conversation somehow turned into a sob story about their life. At first, I felt empathetic and wanted to help, but then I started noticing a pattern.
Whenever they were called out on their behavior or asked to take responsibility, they would immediately switch to their victim mode. It was never their fault, and they always had someone or something else to blame.
The truth is, people who are kind on the surface but mean underneath often use this tactic to divert attention from their actions. It’s a classic manipulation technique.
Remember, everyone faces challenges, but continual victim-playing is a red flag. Genuine people own up to their mistakes instead of playing the blame game.
3. They’re consistently inconsistent
I once had a co-worker who was niceness personified one day and then colder than ice the next. It was like walking on eggshells around her, never knowing what mood you’d encounter.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
This co-worker would play nice when she needed something from me or wanted me to do a favor. But as soon as that need was fulfilled, she would revert back to her cold demeanor.
People who are kind on the surface but mean underneath often display this inconsistent behavior. It’s like they have a switch they can flip on and off at will.
The inconsistency can leave you feeling confused and questioning your own judgment. But it’s not you—it’s them.
So remember, consistency is key. If someone’s behavior towards you changes like the wind, it might not be the weather—it could be their hidden true nature showing through.
4. They use passive-aggressive comments
Ever dealt with someone who’s a pro at making snide remarks wrapped in a sugar-coated tone?
This is the classic trademark of people who are kind on the surface but mean underneath. They’re masters at the art of passive-aggression.
These individuals will rarely confront you directly. Instead, they’ll drop subtle hints or make sarcastic comments that can leave you feeling hurt or confused.
The irony? They usually deliver these zingers with a smile on their face, making it even more challenging to call them out on their behavior.
5. They’re overly critical of others
Did you know that when people constantly criticize others, it’s often a reflection of their own insecurities?
Here’s how it works.
People who are kind on the surface but mean underneath have a knack for pointing out the flaws in others. They’ll often do it under the guise of helping or offering ‘constructive criticism’.
But what’s really happening is projection. They’re projecting their own insecurities and failures onto others to distract attention from their shortcomings.
So next time you come across someone who can’t seem to say anything nice about others, take a moment to reflect. It might not be about the people they’re criticizing at all – it could be about them.
6. They lack empathy
A few years ago, I went through a particularly tough breakup. It was one of those life moments when you need your friends the most.
One friend, however, reacted in a way I didn’t expect. Instead of offering comfort or understanding, she dismissed my feelings and told me to “get over it”.
People who are kind on the surface but mean underneath often lack empathy. They have difficulty understanding others’ feelings and tend to dismiss them as irrelevant or overblown.
Empathy is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship. If someone can’t empathize with your feelings, it’s a pretty clear sign that they might not be as kind-hearted as they appear.
So keep an eye out for those who dismiss or invalidate your feelings. You deserve friends who understand and respect your emotions.
7. They’re only kind when it benefits them
This, in my opinion, is the most telling sign.
People who are kind on the surface but mean underneath often display kindness as a tool rather than a trait. They use it to manipulate situations and people to their advantage.
When their kindness doesn’t serve a purpose or get them what they want, it suddenly evaporates. It’s like a disappearing act that leaves you wondering where the nice person you thought you knew went.
If you’ve recognized these behaviors in people around you, don’t be disheartened.
It’s important to remember that people’s behaviors are a reflection of them, not you. It’s their battle, not yours. The key is not to let their actions define or affect your sense of self-worth.
It’s also crucial to remember that it’s okay to set boundaries. It’s okay to distance yourself from individuals who make you feel uncomfortable or drain your energy.
After all, you have the right to choose who you let into your life.
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.