We’ve all been there. You make a new friend, who seems incredibly nice, only to later find that they really just wanted to take advantage of you. In hindsight the signs were there all along, but how come we never seem to see it before they take advantage of us?
After all, as Marilyn Monroe once so sassily put it: “Sweetie, if you’re going to be two faced, at least make one of them pretty.”
Fortunately, there are at least a few key signs that we can learn to commonly recognize in those who might be trying to manipulate and take advantage of us.
Consider these five key signs someone may not actually care about you, but are just looking for a chance to use you:
They don’t listen.
In particular, you may notice your conversations tend to be pretty one-sided: They want to talk about what’s going on in their life, not what’s going on in yours. These people are not naturally any good at actively listening to you, or participating in your side of the conversation. One exception: If they note that you’re losing interest, they may shift the conversation with a “So what’s going on with you?” but that isn’t because they’re actually interested. No, they’re just trying to keep you on the line.
They demand things.
Of course, they may not do so nakedly that you recognize their demands as such. Instead, they may try to trick you into thinking that it was your idea, or that they were just asking a small favor, but the truth is, nope, they just want things from you. You’re better than that, and you can say no.
They consider persuasion a game.
This goes back to the last point: They will demand things, but they’ll try and make it look like it was your idea. Similarly, they’ll do anything to convince you they’re just trying to help you help yourself, or use other persuasive techniques, including peer pressure. Again, stay strong: You can say no if it’s not something you want to do.
Their body language and eye contact may be…off.
When people are trying to manipulate you, they may be unable to maintain eye contact, or, aware of such a tendency, may try to maintain eye contact in such a way that makes it feel unnatural.
So pay attention to body language, as when it seems off, there may be a reason for it. You may also notice a certain deadness in their eyes, like their soul is broken, or just have a certain feeling in your gut. Learn to trust your intuition!
You feel off after talking with them.
Again, your gut and intuition know things, so learning to trust them can help you here. If your innate sense tells you something is off about someone you’re talking with, this could very well be why: They’re trying to take advantage of you or otherwise manipulate you, and your intuition is picking up on their inauthenticity and lack of genuine interest in you.
So if someone else doesn’t jive with you, there’s really only two possible reasons: 1) your personalities are just at odds, or 2) they’re trying to take advantage of you. Either way, you may be better off without them.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.