People who are polite and friendly on the surface but malicious deep down often display these 8 behaviors

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing, we’ve all come across them.

Those people who smile a little too brightly, a little insincerely.

Those who laugh a little too loudly, at jokes that aren’t even that funny.

Those who seemingly radiate kindness and positivity on the outside, but who nonetheless send an eerie chill down your spine.

It’s these uncanny individuals who are almost always polite and friendly on the surface, but carry a hidden agenda deep down. 

Like the poisoned apple in Snow White, all glossy, red, and inviting from afar…

But concealing nasty intentions within.

These individuals have mastered the art of showing one face to the world while hiding their true colors. They can be difficult to spot because their exterior is so convincingly pleasant.

But the more adept you are at spotting their malicious ways, the better chance you’ll have at telling the benign from the rotten.

So read on to find out more about the 8 giveaway signs that someone isn’t as genuine as they seem… 

1) Excessive obsequiousness

Obsequiousness being too much charm and flattery, usually for ulterior purposes…

Now, we all love a charming person, don’t we? 

They’re fun, they’re engaging, and they make us feel good about ourselves.

But be warned! 

If someone is too charming all the time, it might be a clue that they’re trying to win you over for their own benefit. 

Over-charmers often use their charm as a way to distract you from their true intentions. Using manipulative tactics like love bombing, they prey on your insecurities and make you feel glorious…

So that they have you eating right out of their hands and ready to do their bidding.

So, if you know someone who’s always laying on the charm thick and fast, it might be worth keeping an eye out for other signs of hidden malice.

2) Incredibly two-faced & prone to starting gossip

All that flattery isn’t all too genuine, as it turns out.

It’s easy to spot insincerity if you’re paying attention. 

Hopefully, you’re better at spotting too much flattery thanks to the point above, but keep an eye out for those people who shower you with compliments, yet talk dirty behind your back.

You only hear about their gossiping through whispers in the wind when these rumors circle back to you.

And the compliments they bestow upon you certainly don’t match these nasty snippets of information…

3) Always the victim, never at fault

No matter what the situation, they’re always the ones being wronged – never the wrongdoers. 

They love playing the victim as it helps them gain sympathy and manipulate situations in their favor.

Because if you pity someone, it’s very difficult to hold them accountable.

They’re full of sob stories and woesome tales, but shirk from taking any responsibility on their part.

4) Worryingly controlling

Like master puppeteers, these individuals just love playing with other people as if they were toys.

They have to decide where you meet up, when you’ll hang out, what you’ll do, and what you’ll wear.

God forbid you try and make a decision for yourself!

They don’t consider your preferences or opinions at all. 

They have a burning need to exert dominance over even the smallest details, and hate you thinking for yourself. 

5) All take, no give

They stamp their feet and demand that you wait on them, run errands for them, come sprinting in their time of need.

Yet (although they might promise to help you in return), do they ever show up when you need them?

Whenever you need a helping hand, they suddenly disappear. Or are horrendously ‘busy’.

They are masters at making their needs feel like emergencies, and will manipulate you into feeling obligated to help them, yet they’re mysteriously unavailable when you need assistance. 

This is a harsh yet clear sign that their friendliness is only skin deep. 

True, reciprocal kindness involves give and take, not just a one way street.

6) Forgiveness? Forget it!

Some people hold onto grudges like lifelines, and unfortunately, people who are friendly on the outside but malicious deep down often fall into this category. 

They’ll remember every slight, every mistake and bring them up at the most inopportune moments to guilt-trip you or make you feel inferior.

This inability to forgive is another nifty way of manipulating you into pitying them, as they use any past hurt as ammo to trick you into doing their bidding.

7) Everything is a competition

Whether it’s job success, who has the best partner, or simply a game of cards, they need to win.

A little healthy competition can be good, don’t get me wrong. 

It can push us to strive harder and achieve more. But there’s a line between healthy competition and obsessive competitiveness, and people who are nice on the surface but malicious deep down often cross that line.

Often, this competitive spirit stems from a place of insecurity. Feeling like they’re never good enough drives them to try and slaughter all competition and always come in first place.

But this isn’t a justification; someone who always needs to win will likely sacrifice everything (including you) to get there.

8) Empathy? I don’t think so!

People who are polite on the surface but malicious deep down often lack genuine empathy

Sure, they might offer a shoulder to cry on or lend an ear when you’re upset, but it’s usually more about appearing sympathetic than actually understanding and sharing your feelings.

When you share your problems with them, they might make it about themselves or worse, use your vulnerabilities against you later. 

True, genuine kindness involves empathy and understanding, not using someone’s feelings as ammunition. 

So, if someone never quite seems to get you, nor wants to try, chances are they have nasty hidden motives.

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.

 

If you want to be genuinely appreciated in life, say goodbye to these 5 people-pleasing habits

5 signs someone is stuck in a constant state of fight or flight (and how you can help them)