Some of us are better than others at spotting manipulative behavior.
We can separate the sheep from the wolves by noticing certain patterns of behavior, word tricks and tactics they use.
How well can you spot a trickster who’s trying to take advantage of you?
The following signs show you are extremely discerning and able to distinguish between a straight shooter and a con man very rapidly and easily.
1) You know a lot about manipulation tactics
In any battle, the first step is simple:
Know your enemy.
Familiarity with common manipulation tactics and psychological strategies enables you to identify when they are being employed.
You know what to watch out for, and are familiar with manipulation tactics like:
You don’t fall for any of it, because you know how it works.
2) You’re hyper-aware of body language
You also have a high awareness of body language.
You don’t just hear words somebody is saying. You’re also exceptionally perceptive of non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
All of these can reveal subtle signs of manipulation.
When it comes to online or telephone interactions, you’re also very aware of vocal tone, word choice and mannerisms in the way somebody speaks that sets off your alarm bells.
You’re not paranoid, you’re just highly aware.
3) You have above-average pattern recognition
You don’t judge a book by its cover, but you do look for themes that keep showing up.
You’re a pro at recognizing patterns in behavior, speech, or actions that are indicative of manipulation or mind games.
If somebody gaslights you casually a time or two, you may not read that much into it.
But when you notice a lot of gaslighting-adjacent behavior in this person’s behavior over time, it’s a different matter.
You’ve spotted a pattern with how they interact and know to watch out for this person: they can’t be trusted.
4) You listen closely and critically
You’re an active listener.
You can read between the lines and hear not only what’s being said but also what’s left unsaid and what’s implied.
You pay close attention to not only what is being said but also how it is said, identifying inconsistencies or attempts to deceive.
When any telemarketer trying to sell you a shady product or service calls your line, they’re making a big mistake.
Because the chances of you falling for wooly language or misleading claims and missing context is pretty much zero.
5) You trust and understand your intuition
You trust your instincts and have a strong gut feeling when something feels off or manipulative in a conversation or situation.
You respect your emotions and your feelings with regard to people, places and situations.
You’re not necessarily a highly sensitive person (HSP), but you are finely attuned to what’s going on around you.
You know that when your heart is telling you to step on the brakes it is usually better to listen.
At the same time as you’re deeply in touch with your emotions and are emotionally intelligent, you balance that with cold, hard facts.
6) You are logical and analytical
You are a rational and analytical person who avoids snap judgments.
Although you have high emotional intelligence and take that into account, as noted in the previous point, you also approach situations with a critical mindset, analyzing information and motives logically to uncover any attempts at manipulation.
You don’t get blindsided nearly as often as some other folks do, because you are able to spot logical gaps and inconsistencies quite rapidly.
Even with somebody you like or feel attracted to, you’re able to see when they’re not being truthful to you or when they have ulterior motives that are guiding their interactions with you.
7) You are agenda-aware and question motives
You are very aware of transactionalism and are on the lookout for agendas.
Even somebody who just wants to use you as an emotional pillow, for example.
You are always questioning the motives behind others’ actions, allowing you to see through potential hidden agendas.
You stick to a healthy level of skepticism without becoming overly cynical, allowing you to question information and intentions appropriately.
When there is no hidden agenda, you evaluate based on what’s taking place. When there are ulterior motives that can be considered deceptive or taking advantage of you, you tend to draw a firm line in the sand.
Which brings me to the next point…
8) You have healthy and robust boundaries
You have boundaries and you stick to them.
If somebody is taking advantage of you or being dishonest in a way that’s a dealbreaker for you, then you speak out.
You’re not a pushover, and you have no shame about standing up for yourself and saying “no” when that’s the right answer.
You’re helpful and empathetic, but it has limits, and those limits are centered around your wellbeing and also taking care of your needs.
9) You’re able to remain emotionally detached
Even when a friend is trying to get you to help on an ongoing basis in a way that’s become codependent, you’re wise to it and don’t fall for it.
You are able to separate friendship from obligation and are able to detach emotionally from a situation to objectively evaluate it, preventing manipulation from exploiting your emotions.
You know that it’s possible to love and care for your friend, for example, while also recognizing that you are not responsible for bailing out or fixing your friend’s problems or always responding when they ask for help.
10) You learn from experience and mistakes
You’re able to draw on past experiences and learn from them.
If you trusted the wrong person, you won’t do so again.
If you fell for a job that seemed too good to be true and ended up being an exploitative nightmare, you’re never going to fall for it again.
You’re getting older and wiser every day.
You’re constantly refining your ability to recognize manipulative behavior over time.
Spotting shady and sus stuff
All of the above signs show that you have a far above average ability to spot shady and sus behavior.
You don’t get roped in easily, and anybody who tries to scam, cheat or lie to you, is in for a rude awakening.
For those of us who are still improving our ability to note shady and manipulative behavior, the above signs are also helpful.
Indeed, developing these skills can be a valuable asset in navigating social interactions and relationships, helping you stay aware and resilient against manipulation.
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