We all want affection, not deception, in our relationships.
So how do we know when what we’re feeling is genuine, and how do we know when we’re having the wool pulled over our eyes?
The truth is that while we’re all prone to fudge the truth once in a while, there are also some naturally deceptive people out there who are really hard to identify.
Think James Bond-level career spies, people for whom lying and misrepresentation are just second nature.
Have you ever run across one?
OR worse, do you think you’re wrapped up with one right now?
These seven signs you’re in a relationship with a naturally deceptive person will help you figure out the truth!
1) They’re a chameleon
They can change their colors at the drop of a hat and adapt to fit right into any situation.
There’s a fine line, though, between being socially intelligent and deliberately setting out to deceive.
But if your partner is able to make big changes in how they speak and act suddenly and without showing the slightest effort, they have the skills to be able to deceive effectively.
Here’s what I mean:
I have a friend who has what he calls “wandering accent syndrome.” If he talks to anyone for enough time, he will start to speak in the same accent as them.
Now, is he trying to fool them into thinking he’s from the same place?
No, definitely not, because he already started out by introducing himself and saying where he was from, all in his natural accent.
So he’s just really social and easily affected by other people’s accents.
Contrast this with someone who can actually walk up to a stranger and start talking like them. When you speak in the same way as someone else, in their sociolect, it can put them at ease.
It shows them you are from the same place and you are the same kind of person. This might be a tool to get them to let their guard down and help you gain some advantage.
So, this can be a skill used to make friends or manipulate people, depending on how it’s used.
2) They surprise you with gifts
Don’t you just love surprises?
I did, too, until I learned that they can actually be used to manipulate you.
If you’re in a relationship with someone for a while, it’s definitely normal (and believe me, usually expected!) to give each other gifts.
These can be little things just to make the other person smile or bigger things to celebrate them on special days like birthdays and anniversaries.
All sounds pretty normal, right?
So, how about giving someone a big gift out of the blue?
Isn’t that weird if there’s no specific reason behind it, like getting a promotion or even cheering you up when you feel down?
The truth is that a big surprise gift can be used to manipulate and deceive you.
Well, first, it makes you feel delightfully surprised and flattered, so it can really give them a boost in your eyes.
But at the same time, it can be a distraction – something to focus on and keep you from noticing something else altogether.
That’s not always what a surprise gift is about, but just be aware that it can be.
3) They make you share first
A: “How did you like that movie?”
B: “Oh, I loved it!”
A: “Yeah, uh, me, too!”
This simple little conversation is a basic illustration of what I mean when I say they make you share first.
In other words, they ask you to give your thoughts and opinions first before they offer theirs.
All the time.
This behavior might strike you as something different.
You might think they simply lack confidence, so they don’t like to be the first ones to give an opinion. Sure, it’s possible.
Or you might find this actually flattering. What a lovely person who always asks me what I think and gives me the opportunity to express myself first. How generous!
OK, also possible.
But when this behavior is combined with other signs you’re in a relationship with a naturally deceptive person, you might start to see how everything adds up to a pattern.
They could be doing this to habitually cover up their own thoughts and opinions in order to manipulate you.
4) They take credit they don’t deserve
The most common deception you’ll face in a relationship is one person trying to make themself look good through any means necessary.
This is one of those situations when, for the naturally deceptive person, the ends justify the means.
They want to appear smarter, more talented, more sensitive, more industrious, more generous – whatever – than they truly are.
One of the ways people can do this is by taking credit for things that they didn’t do or really have much part in.
A simple example of what I mean is a situation where they’re hungry and decide to make themself a great dinner, not knowing that you’re going to join them.
But as soon as you walk in the door, “I made you dinner!” they’ll chime.
No, they didn’t! But they’ll manipulate the situation to give themselves an advantage.
Another easy example? You walk into a room and find them mopping the floor.
“Just thought I’d clean up a bit,” they shrug, and you swoon. How thoughtful.
But what you missed was that they’d spilled their drink before you walked in.
This kind of reframing is really deceptive and might be second nature to some people.
5) They’re intimate… to a point
You can’t really be in a real relationship without engaging in at least some level of emotional intimacy.
Otherwise, it’s not that kind of a relationship!
But for people who are naturally deceptive, there are definite limits to how intimate they’ll let themselves be.
Of course, they’ll portray themselves as open and honest, but in reality, they’ll hold back information or avoid talking about certain topics.
If they’re naturally deceptive, they will normally also have a fear of intimacy because intimacy reveals truth. It also requires vulnerability, and these are two things that deceptive partners don’t want to add to the mix.
It’s almost as though they see their ability to deceive as a strength, and intimacy can take away from this power that they hold.
6) They play dumb
It takes a certain amount of intelligence to deceive others, and naturally deceptive people are usually at least as intelligent as average and often more so.
Then why is it that your intelligent partner suddenly acts so dumb about things sometimes?
It really depends on the situation they find themself in.
If you notice that they often act dumb around other people, it’s probably because they are concealing their intelligence as a strategy. This might help them get the upper hand with people later.
But if they sometimes act uncharacteristically dumb around you, chances are they’re hiding something.
They might suddenly not be able to remember details when their memory is normally excellent.
Or they might tell you they don’t understand what you’re talking about as a way to gaslight you and get themself out of trouble.
Either way, this is a common strategy that naturally deceptive people keep in their arsenal.
7) They’re unpredictable
How can you ever know where you stand with someone if you never know how they’re going to act or react?
Naturally deceptive people can be this way, being happy one minute and then exploding with anger the next.
There could be two reasons.
One is that they’re a ball of contradictions, with so much going on internally that it can be hard for them to keep an even keel.
They may be dealing with things that they’re hiding from you, but when they suddenly come out, you have no idea where those emotions came from.
On the other hand, this could also be a strategy.
They might feel that by keeping you confused, they’ll always have the power in the relationship because only they really know what’s going on.
If this feels like how things are in your relationship, it might be time to seriously re-think how things are going and whether it’s actually good for you or not.
Being in a relationship with a naturally deceptive person
If these seven signs are things you recognize in your relationship, you’ve probably got some serious thinking to do.
You can choose to let things continue the way they are, or you can decide to get out of the relationship.
But there’s also a third option.
It’s key to remember that a naturally deceptive person is not necessarily that way by choice. Their life experiences may have made them use deception as a coping mechanism.
Perhaps with your support and encouragement, they can learn to be more open and reject opportunities to manipulate the people they care about.