“Everyone wanted to see [him] fall so they could devour his remains. As is usually the case, the army of sycophants had turned into a horde of hungry hyenas,” wrote Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Manipulative people are at their most dangerous when they are able to put on a kind front. Unfortunately, most of them are really good at this.
Do you have a friend who only wants to get close enough to stab you in the back?
Here are 21 ways to tell:
1. You often feel bad about yourself after talking to them. It can be difficult to pinpoint why.
2. They give lots of back-handed compliments. For example, “Congratulations on that promotion! I’m glad they went with you instead of someone more charismatic.”
3. You hesitate to share good news with them. You’re not sure why, but you always feel awkward doing so.
4. They gossip to you about mutual friends. Gossip can be fun and harmless, but keep in mind – if this is what they’re saying to you, who knows what they’re saying about you? Beware of friends who share other peoples’ secrets or spread nasty rumors.
5. They maintain eye contact for a length of time that makes you feel uncomfortable.
6. They make commitments that they have no intention of keeping.
7. No matter what you are arguing about – politics, religion, parenting – they will not quit until you have come around to their point of view. If you don’t, they may become angry and sad.
8. You often feel misunderstood by this person.
9. They are needlessly and excessively competitive with you.
10. It is more difficult for you to say no to them than to most people.
11. They rarely apologize. If they do, their apology likely focuses on your perceived wrongdoings. They might gloss over their own mistakes and/or highlight their good points. For example, “I’m sorry I snapped at you when you were bothering my dog. I’m just so protective of her. I’m not used to people getting in her face like that – but you’re not an animal person.”
12. They are often patronizing or condescending. They assume you are not as clever, educated, or well informed as they are.
13. They are constantly giving you “advice.” When you don’t take it, they become deeply offended. You may even feel guilty. As a result, you find yourself doing things you would not normally do because they’ve “suggested” it.
14. When you tell them things in confidence, other people have a way of finding out.
15. They are always asking you for favors. Whether their requests are personal, professional, or even charitable, they seem to be endlessly needy.
16. They’re nowhere to be found when you need help moving or are looking for a babysitter.
17. If they do offer to do a favor for you, they will hold it over your head for ages. They might even use it to guilt you into doing a much bigger favor for them.
18. They may tell you that they agree with you, only for you to hear later that they told someone else the opposite.
19. When you are speaking, they are not listening. They are waiting to talk.
20. They take offense if they do not have your undivided attention. Your eyes can’t wander, even for a minute.
21. They tend to dominate the conversation. You sometimes feel like you can’t get a word in edgewise.
“Be careful of who becomes your friend and why. The person who will bite off your lips one day will have to first promise you a kiss today. Be careful of hypocrites,” wrote Israelmore Ayivor.
Think twice about the people you let into your life. Value the loyal ones, and leave the back-stabbers behind. You don’t need their negativity.