Did you ever read fables as a kid?
Those fictitious short stories with a moral attached at the end. They teach us how to deal with life’s many obstacles. Along with lessons about right and wrong.
The common theme? HINT: it’s in the title.
That’s right! Dealing with cunning individuals.
And with good cause.
Cunning people have a talent for exploiting the weaknesses of others. Callously using their street smarts to outwit their prey in order to get what they want and reach their goals…
And by any means necessary.
More often than not, these shrewd individuals are portrayed by a charming yet crafty fox cleverly turning the tables on unsuspecting passersby.
But while these cautionary tales make for a good bedtime read, they don’t fully prepare you for dealing with a cunning person in the real world.
Especially when it comes to modern-day situations.
But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
If someone says these eight things in conversation, watch out! You’re dealing with a cunning person.
1) “Let’s keep this between us”
We all keep secrets.
Some small, some big, and others, well, they can be downright juicy. But mostly, they’re relatively harmless.
And when we’re asked to keep one for a friend, we’ll happily oblige.
It’s like an unspoken code of honor.
Not only that. But confiding in someone is an easy way to strengthen your bond.
But here’s the thing.
Sometimes secrets can be used against us or as a means of control. That’s why cunning people love them!
In fact, they have no qualms about using that aura of confidentiality to manipulate you or others.
They might be trying to use the information for their own benefit. Or they may want to keep you from sharing something important with other people.
After all, a lack of reliable information is one of the key components of any successful dictatorship.
Eitherway, if someone ends their sentence with this phrase – be on your guard.
2) “I don’t like to gossip, but…”
It sounds innocent enough, right?
But if anyone has said this to you before, you know all too well what’s coming next…
Gossip and drama!
That’s right. These slippery individuals have no problem spreading misinformation to confuse you, creating chaos, or manipulating situations.
All in an effort to control the narrative.
So the next time you hear this, be careful and don’t get caught up in their web of deceit.
Cunning people are excellent at spinning the truth. Something that leads nicely into the next point…
3) “I would never lie to you”
We’ve all heard this line before.
But if someone really means it (and is genuinely trustworthy), why do they feel the need to say it out loud?
Particularly when you never indicated that you didn’t trust them. Not even a smidge.
It’s like they’re trying to convince you (or themselves).
Let me explain.
Cunning individuals are skilled liars, and they know it.
But when someone stresses a point over and over again, it can signal that, deep down, they have a fear of not being believed.
In fact, this line comes straight out of the narcissist playbook.
So when someone says this, it’s like they’re waving a big red flag.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. If they fail to match up, you’re likely dealing with a cunning person.
4) “Let’s not overthink it”
Do you ever get the feeling that someone is trying to force your hand?
By that, I mean…
Make you act quickly, without having time to think things through properly.
Look. Being decisive isn’t always a bad thing. It can actually be very beneficial.
For instance, picking what to eat for dinner or selecting what to wear today.
I think you’ll agree, these decisions don’t require a lot of consideration. At least, they shouldn’t.
But when it comes to the important (potentially life-changing) things, these choices take time.
In fact, there’s a difference between being decisive and a good decision-maker.
So, when someone downplays the importance by telling you to “not overthink it”, consider WHY they’re being so impatient.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, be strong, firm, and assertive.
Most importantly, stay composed.
Take your time, consider the consequences, and don’t let them rush or pressure you into something you might regret later.
5) “You just don’t understand”
We all know someone who likes to play the victim card way too much.
You know what I mean.
Nothing is ever their fault and somehow, you or someone else is to blame.
Well, call it blame-shifting or gaslighting…
Chances are, they’re trying to make you feel guilty or doubt your own judgment.
They may even be trying to inflate their own feelings of superiority by pointing out they understand and you don’t.
Whatever it is.
Don’t fall for it. Instead, trust your instincts and stay vigilant.
6) “You owe me one”
When you do a favor for a friend, you don’t typically expect anything in return. Helping them is a reward enough.
But not if you’re a cunning person.
They’re always keeping score. Waiting patiently to cash in on that “good deed.”
So, if you know someone who only ever does stuff things with strings attached, be wary.
For them, having something to hold over your head is like Christmas coming early.
7) “Trust me, I know what I’m talking about”
Cunning people are also notoriously charming (machiavellian in nature).
They use their words to gain the upper hand at any opportunity they see, even if that means being less than honest.
This may include claiming to have expertise or information on something they have no clue about.
It’s a way to make themselves seem more knowledgeable and trustworthy to others.
But don’t be fooled.
This might be another case of simple trickery.
Before getting involved, always verify the information from multiple sources to ensure you’re not being lured into a trap.
8) “I’m just trying to help”
Surely there’s nothing sinister about this phrase, right?
They’re “just trying to help,” after all.
Well, what if I said, these words have been carefully chosen to mislead, or more likely, manipulate you?
Truth is, they’re trying to steer you in a direction that benefits them.
Cunning people are often insincere, using their shrewdness to outfox anyone in their way.
They may even contradict themselves to add to the confusion.
And because they prefer to fly under the radar, their true intentions are often hard to recognize.
When all is said and done, they’ll use anything and everything at their disposal to gain an advantage and achieve their objectives.
A lot of the time, they’re a wolf (or should I say fox) in sheep’s clothing.
That’s why, when you’re dealing with a cunning person, you should pay particular attention to everything they say – and how they say it.
And remember, protect your interests. Because, sadly they won’t.