It is a natural part of being human to want to experience a meaningful connection with others. For that though, you need to become vulnerable to the other person. This way they can get to know you better and relate to you.
Because of the fact that we need to be vulnerable in order to make a connection, it is normal to want to protect ourselves from those who would use that vulnerability for their own selfish needs. Spotting these people can be hard as they hide behind a well-crafted character they have created.
Despite this, there are still a few things that can help you identify the fake nice people in your life. Here are 15 glaring signs of people who fake nice in order to accomplish their own selfish needs.
1. They act overly excited
Have you ever known anyone to act overly excited about everything? While being excited about things isn’t necessarily a red flag, being overly excited about most things and people is.
Fake people tend to exaggerate their feelings in order to draw attention to themselves and draw others in. It doesn’t matter if it’s something that they don’t necessarily like or a person they haven’t seen in years, they will act excited about it.
Anything that they can pinpoint that is something that another person likes and acting excited over it will get them closer to that person or thing that they want, they will do it.
One way to tell if this person is fake is if they don’t show interest in that thing or person after they have gotten what they want. Or if they excitedly invite you to hang out and never show up or call.
Have you ever been ghosted before? It doesn’t feel very good, does it? You get ready and get all your hopes up to go out to spend some time with a certain person, but suddenly they are a no-show or they just don’t answer any of your texts or calls.
A lot of fake-nice people are prolific ghosters. If this person is constantly leaving you hanging whether it is for simple things like going for a coffee, ignoring your calls, texts, or bailing on you when you most need them, it is most likely that they are fake nice people.
3. They are not around and are too busy
If they are not ghosting you, fake nice people will probably just come up with excuses. They will always be doing something important or be late for something.
They will tell you they will talk to you later but leave you waiting and never contact you back. They may even breadcrumb you, i.e. lead you on by dropping small morsels of interest such as an occasional message, phone call, date plan, or social media interaction. But never have any intention of following up according to Healthline.
4. Promise things they can’t accomplish
Have you ever had people promise you things but they never fulfill their promises? You will notice that fake nice people tend to promise things to many people but never go through with the promises.
Fake nice people only want others to think they can do things. They want people to think highly of them so they make many promises to keep that facade up. The thing is they don’t take into account whether or not they can actually fulfill those promises or how much time it will take them.
This ends up in fake nice people bailing or not fulfilling their promises when they realize the amount of work they require or because they simply don’t care and were only promising to look good or string you along.
5. Hot-Cold Behavior
Yesterday, Jenny seemed very excited and happy to see you. She even took some time to talk to you during your break. For some reason though, when you talked to her today she seemed distant, not interested, or even trying to avoid you. You realize this is something she does a lot, not only to you but to others around you.
Jenny always seems to be changing moods around you, sometimes being nice and other times being very cold or even nasty. You start wondering if you did something wrong. But, in reality, you probably didn’t.
People who are faking being nice tend to only treat people good when they want something from them or if those people are an asset. Once they get what they want, they tend to treat you poorly because you are no longer of use to them.
6. Passive-aggressiveness & Backhanded comments
Have you ever felt an underlying tone to something someone was saying? Like when your parents warn you about something or tell you not to do something but instead of worry and love, you feel as if there is a threatening and criticizing undertone to what they are saying.
As if they didn’t really mean the words that came out of their mouth. Instead, using them to put you down or get you to do what they want by sheer force. This is an example of passive-aggressiveness.
When it comes to fake nice people though, this passive aggressiveness can feel like an insult hidden in a compliment or a backhanded comment. It could also feel like an attack on your person disguised as constructive criticism.
Fake nice people seek to bring other people down. Sometimes because they are a threat to them and other times because they want to exert control and dominance to feel on top.
7. Status & Connection Seeking
You may notice that a fake nice person tends to be hot and cold with you but observe them when they are in the presence of influential or powerful people.
In front of higher-ups, fake nice people will try everything in their power to leave a good impression. They will be nice to their higher-ups all the time without exemption. Even going as far as turning into a brownnoser and kissing up to them.
By contrast, they will treat everyone else that they deem below that status as inconsequential and worthless.
8. Gossip & Bad Mouthing
Do you have a friend or a family member that only seems to talk bad about others? This is one of the things fake nice people do.
Although, at first, they may seem like they care about the person repeatedly saying bad things or spreading rumors is a red flag. Fake nice people get a kick out of putting everyone else down in order to feel better, especially if the fake nice people are seen in a good light.
The problem with this is that rumors, even if fake, can destroy someone’s life. We assure you that fake nice people won’t care at all if they destroyed your life, in fact, they will relish getting you out of the way.
9. Struggle to make connections and make people like them
The reason fake nice people over exaggerate and try to bring others down is that they struggle to make connections and make people like them.
Fake nice people hide behind a made-up persona that hides who they really are. This makes it difficult for others to connect with them as vulnerability and truth are two important aspects that help with relating and feeling closer to others.
As fake nice people don’t project this vulnerability or warmth to others, they have to work very hard to make others like them or in this case, like the character they have created.
10. Seek attention and validation
Have you noticed that one person always tries to get attention from other people, no matter where they are? Another reason fake nice people seek attention or seek to draw attention to themselves is for validation and feeling good.
They know that their persona is a fake one, so they try to get other people to validate their persona as a way to not only trick people into thinking that their persona is real but also to feel the connection that they secretly crave.
11. Humble Bragging
One way that fake nice people seek this validation and attention is when they humble brag. Putting themselves down in order to showcase something that they are secretly proud of, garner fake nice people sympathy and the attention they are looking for.
But, this is false modesty and it usually rubs others the wrong way because everyone knows that humblebragging is just an attention-seeking tactic that pulls on the good nature of the listener in a negative way.
12. They do not listen
You are in a café and are having a conversation with your friend. You are venting and opening up yourself to them hoping they will understand you and help you. Then you notice that all this time they have been looking at their phone or computer.
If not that then they seem to interrupt you constantly or start talking to other people in the middle of you saying something. Fake nice people are self-centered and self-serving. They do not care to listen to you as that is a waste of their time, especially if they are not getting anything from you.
13. Redirect the conversation to themselves or put you down
What’s not a waste of their time though is talking about themselves. Have you ever had the experience of having someone else turn something you said into their own story or experience?
Fake nice people always want and need to make everything about themselves. They will go as far as to put you down, in a seemingly nice way, to do it. Remember that they crave attention, and when they are not getting it they will create it or search it out.
14. Only contact you when they want something
Everyone has someone in their family or friend circle that only calls when they need something. That one uncle that only goes to your grandparents or your parents when they need money. Or that friend that only calls you when they need a ride or a free meal.
Fake nice people tend to only contact or communicate with you when they need something. Maybe it’s your help, advice, information, car, connections, etc. You will know this person is a fake nice person when they only talk to you if they need something and for nothing else.
15. They like to show off
In order to make themselves seem more important and affluent, fake nice people like to show off. Whether it is the new car they bought, their slim body, their house, their promotion, their grades, their partner, their house, or anything else, they will find a way to show it off.
They might use tactics like humble-bragging, excessive oversharing, or redirecting the conversation to themselves and their achievements. There will be moments when they only talk about themselves if they are not talking badly behind people’s backs.
Do you know anyone that exhibits these signs? Tell us your experience with these people in the comments and how you overcame their tactics. Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Don’t forget to tune in to our Youtube channel and our site for more interesting lists about life and psychology.
Brainy Dose. (2018). YouTube.15 Signs of Fake Nice People Who You Need to Avoid. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEqVMrCB1nI.
Figueroa, E., Wu, S., Cheong, C., & Napiart92. (2019). 10 Signs of Fake Nice People. YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACzlvDyTbIY&t=324s.
Quora. (n.d.). What are the signs of fake nice people? Quora. Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-signs-of-fake-nice-people.
Konya, K. (2020, June 30). What is humblebragging, and how can you avoid it in your writing? Grammarly. Retrieved from https://www.grammarly.com/blog/what-is-humblebrag/.
Raypole, C. (2021, February 12). Breadcrumbing: What it is and how to deal. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/relationships/breadcrumbing#:~:text=Here’s%20another%20term%20to%20know,don’t%20have%20any%20followthrough.