A few years ago, I was in a (brief) relationship with a guy. Let’s call him Robbie. At first, he seemed like a total catch, but as time passed, I realized he was more than that. He was a master of deception.
His smile — more charming and warm than any I’d ever seen before — always made my heart flutter. Robbie had a gift for saying all the right things, so dating him feel like I was in a dream.
But as the months went by, I realized that beneath his charming exterior were lies. He wasn’t who he said he was.
Deception is a tricky game, and those who are masters of it can leave us blindsided.
In this article, I’ll share the signs that can help you uncover deceit in your relationships, whether it’s with a new partner, a smooth-talking colleague, or a friend who maybe doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
1) Fitting into any social situation comes easily to them
Have you ever seen the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley? In it, Matt Damon plays a character who is the ultimate chameleon, flawlessly morphing into the personas of those around him.
Perhaps you know someone like this. Maybe not to this extremity, but someone who adapts to their surroundings, blending in with different social or professional groups.
While this behavior alone isn’t evidence that they’re a deceptive person, when combined with other red flags, it could be. So, it’s essential to keep an eye out for other behaviors that may confirm your doubts about their character.
Just like a chameleon changes its colors to match its environment, skilled deceivers alter their personality and behavior to suit their audience. This adaptive social behavior can be a way for them to hide their true selves.
2) They drip-feed you selective truths
Does this particular person reveal selective truths while conveniently leaving out significant details that might change your perspective?
Another tell-tale sign of deceivers is the use of omission to their advantage.
This selective sharing means this person can control the narrative and manipulate your understanding of them and related events.
Just picture a scenario where an acquaintance tells you about a recent business venture that appears to be thriving. They share their tale of success, but completely leave out all the financial struggles and ethical issues they’ve encountered along the way.
By leaving out these details, they paint a warped picture of themselves and their success, but still they’ve already lured you right in.
3) Their behavior can be erratic
The very definition of hot and cold.
When it comes to figuring out whether someone is a master of deceit, keep watch for unpredictable, erratic behavior patterns.
This person might switch from being your closest confidant to a total stranger with very little warning.
Of course, this whole process can be emotionally draining and downright confusing. One day, they’re your most trusted ally, and the next, they’re distant and hard to reach.
This rollercoaster of emotions and closeness is a deliberate tactic to keep you off balance and prevent you from understanding their true motives.
By never allowing you to predict their behavior, they maintain control and keep you from seeing through their facade.
So, reader, it’s important to pay close attention to these patterns of behavior and assess whether your relationship with this person is built on trust or deceit.
4) They’re a smooth talker
Have you ever encountered a person like Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street film? They’re smooth and charming, plus they seem to have an answer for literally everything. But beneath that charm lies a hidden agenda.
Perhaps you have a friend who seems to always have a riveting tale to share, often involving their recent adventures or achievements. They pamper you with exciting, colorful details, making it hard to focus on anything else.
But here’s the catch: beneath the captivating tales lies a purpose – to keep you from diving deeper into their true selves.
These smooth talkers can be masters of spinning narratives. Their elaborate tales often serve as a smokescreen. By keeping you wrapped up in their narratives, they divert your attention from the questions you should be asking.
5) Their displays of empathy feel like a performance
One of the most disarming behaviors used by masters of deception is a surprising one: it’s empathy.
These people are able to display what looks like deep understanding and offer heartfelt apologies when it’s needed. This might leave you feeling convinced of their sincerity.
I once encountered such a person during a challenging work project. When mistakes were made, this person was quick to say sorry, taking full responsibility.
It was only later that I realized these apologies were a strategic move to maintain trust while concealing their ongoing involvement in the mess ups.
These types of people are good at sensing when their actions raise suspicions or cause harm. They know that a well-timed apology can go a long way in securing your trust.
They might appear genuinely remorseful and eager to make amends, leaving you hesitant to question their intentions.
However, it’s crucial to keep aware of this and evaluate whether their actions align with their words.
6) Flattery is always flowing
Deceivers are very in tune with the vulnerability of those around them. They know that people naturally enjoy receiving compliments and praise.
So, they often keep flattery as a tool in their kit. Take for example a character like Regina George from the film Mean Girls. She uses veiled compliments to increase her power and her social group.
Maybe you have a friend who never misses an opportunity to shower you with compliments. They have the ability to make you feel special, valued, and appreciated.
It’s crucial to remember that this stream of flattery can be a double-edged sword. It can cloud your judgment and make you more susceptible to being manipulated and lied to.
While compliments are a normal part of healthy relationships, excessive flattery should come as a red flag.
7) You know very little about their personal life
A few years ago, I had a neighbor who rarely gave any information away about their life. They would engage in friendly chit-chat, but they never let on any personal details.
Over time, this air of mystery turned out to be a shield to hide their true intentions and actions, which were far from neighborly.
Perhaps you know someone like this. They might be pleasant enough in passing conversations, but when it comes to deeper, personal matters, they stay tight-lipped. This unwillingness to share can be a sign of deception.
It’s necessary to see that this reluctance to reveal personal information is calculated, serving as a protective barrier so that they can remain in a position of superiority.
To sum things up, recognizing the behaviors of a master of deceit is important for your mental well-being.
Of course, not everyone who exhibits some of these behaviors is necessarily out to deceive you.
It’s vital to approach these signs with empathy and care, as some individuals may have valid reasons behind their actions.
Remember to trust your instincts, and when in doubt, don’t be afraid to get advice from those you really trust.