Ever met someone who seems a little too eager to make a good first impression?
Or, perhaps you’ve known someone for a while, and they’ve recently started to act differently to earn your approval.
People generally butter you up because they want something.
Best case scenario, it’s friendship or validation. Worst case, they’re planning to manipulate you.
Learning to read the signs enables you to stay one step ahead.
Here are 10 things people do when they’re trying too hard to impress you.
Don’t fall for their tired ruse.
1) They exaggerate their accomplishments
When people exaggerate their accomplishments, it’s a clear sign that they’re trying to impress others.
They might do it to elevate their status, boost self-esteem, or create a specific image in the eyes of others. Whichever it is, it often comes across as disingenuous.
If someone is particularly good at something, their reputation precedes them. They don’t have to go into great detail about everything they’ve accomplished to put themselves in a good light.
Additionally, there’s a big difference between sharing results you’re proud of and straight-up bragging.
Pay attention to the emotional tone of the story.
Genuine pride is accompanied by authentic emotions, while embellishments lack the same depth of feeling.
If the emotional display seems forced, the person you’re talking to isn’t 100% honest.
2) They romanticize their life
I’m all for romanticizing your life.
In a scary world, imbuing ordinary aspects of your day with a sense of romance and beauty, even if the reality might not match the idealized version in your head, can help you maintain your sanity.
I can spend a Saturday night listening to records and drinking prosecco on my bedroom floor and have a lovely time despite the floor being dirty and the prosecco being excessive.
Not only that, but I’ll post an Instagram story chronicling the experience because I want my followers to see how *carefree* and *chill* I am.
(In reality, I’m probably stressed over deadlines or worried about what I’m doing with my life.)
My problem is when people wax poetic about this romanticized version of their life to appear flawless or superior.
They craft stories that portray their life as journeys filled with adventure and personal growth in an effort to capture the admiration of those around them.
Like with exaggerating accomplishments, they downplay the mundane and share only the most positive aspects of their existence.
While this is expected from someone you’ve just met, if a friend never has anything to complain about, they’re not being completely honest with you.
More likely, they’re keeping up a façade meant to impress you, and your relationship isn’t quite as deep as you might have thought.
3) They name-drop
Name-dropping is another well-known tactic people use to get on your good side.
Casually mentioning the names of well-known or influential individuals in a context that suggests a personal connection enables them to establish credibility and create a positive impression by association.
Name-dropping is also a way to seek social validation by aligning yourself with well-regarded people.
As the saying goes, tell me who you hang out with, and I will tell you who you will become.
I stumbled upon many people like this while I worked as a journalist at a local newspaper.
They were trying to inflate their importance by saying they knew the mayor, a major political player, or one of the city’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.
The joke was on them because I knew those influential people, too.
And the association didn’t do them any favors, as far as I was concerned.
4) They self-promote
While a little self-promotion comes naturally, a lot makes you look arrogant and self-centered.
You probably know someone who:
- Talks exclusively about their wins, qualities, or milestones
- Plugs their website/book/podcast every three sentences
- Humble brags at every opportunity
- Gives a business card to every person they meet
These people network 24/7, and building a meaningful relationship with them is tricky at best.
If you want to connect with someone authentic, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
5) They overshare
When someone is trying too hard to impress you, there’s a good chance they’ll overshare.
You met someone at a party, and you’ve been chatting for a while.
Next thing you know, they’re spilling the beans about a work conflict or a personal crisis you wouldn’t typically open up about to someone you just met.
People overshare to create a false sense of intimacy.
By revealing personal details quickly, they hope to establish a deeper connection with others, assuming that vulnerability will foster closeness.
Unfortunately for them, it usually has the opposite effect.
6) They flatter
You might think that flattery will get you nowhere, but a nice word can go a long way.
Compliments boost our mood and increase our confidence.
We want to believe people when they say something nice about us, and there’s even a chance we’ll like them more for it.
Nonetheless, there’s a fine line between complimenting someone and flattering them to get on their good side.
Flattery tends to be more general and lacks specificity.
It also uses broad, positive language without pinpointing details.
For instance, if someone tells you that your eyes sparkle as they reflect the overhead light, they’re likely being genuine.
If they tell you you’re stunning and they feel blessed to just be in your presence, they’re not.
7) They flaunt their material possessions
A quick list of material possessions guys tried to impress me with throughout the years:
- Their cars (all I can distinguish is color)
- Their watches (they all look the same to me)
- Their sneakers (I have no idea which brands are expensive)
- Their phones (I don’t care)
- Their home entertainment systems (as long as a speaker plays music, I’m fine)
When someone flaunts their material possessions or brings them up in a forced way, they do it to impress you.
These people are more insecure than they seem at first sight.
8) They one-up you
One-upping is another sign that someone is trying to impress you during a conversation.
The tactic allows them to present themselves more favorably by sharing experiences, accomplishments, or stories they believe are superior to yours.
For instance, let’s say you bring up a relaxing camping trip you enjoyed recently.
The person who tries to one-up you will say that’s nice, but they once camped on the highest mountain in the country, shared their sandwich with a bear they still keep in touch with, and somehow felt no pain after hiking for 23 hours.
I’m hyperbolizing, but you get the idea.
9) They agree with everything you say
Authentic people say what they think regardless of who they might upset.
When someone agrees with everything that comes out of your mouth, they’re doing it to impress you.
If you want to test this theory, hit them with a controversial opinion.
Say something so outlandish that they must do complex verbal gymnastics to agree with your stance.
Based on how much they fidget, you’ll know for sure. You’ll also have a whole lot of fun in the process.
10) They use big words
Some people use big words because they have a naturally robust and vast vocabulary. Others do it solely to impress you.
This is obvious if the person typically uses simpler language but suddenly switches to pretentious words out of the blue.
The food is no longer delicious. It’s scrumptious.
The venue isn’t beautiful. It’s majestic.
Context matters as well.
If the big words seem out of place for the situation, it’s an attempt to impress.
If you’re crashing someone’s book club meeting, however, that might be just how people talk.
Trust your intuition.
When someone strains for approval, they build a reputation as a ‘person to avoid’ rather than coming across as likable.
The quickest way to impress someone?
Stop trying so hard and act like a real person.
Authenticity fosters connection.
Everything else is just noise.