Ever wondered where the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” comes from? In the intricate web of human interactions, individuals who present themselves as genuinely nice and kind-hearted can sometimes conceal darker ulterior motives and hidden agendas.
Recognizing these individuals and deciphering their true intentions can be a daunting task, but doing so empowers us to navigate relationships with greater discernment and protect ourselves from potential harm. With that said, here are 5 psychology-backed warning signs that a seemingly “nice” person actually has bad intentions, according to experts:
One of the prominent signs of a person with potentially bad intentions is their tendency to excessively flatter others. While compliments and praise can be genuine and well-intentioned, people who consistently shower you with exaggerated admiration and compliments may have a desire to manipulate or gain something from you, explains clinical psychologist Dr. Melanie Greenberg. Such individuals often use flattery as a means to lower your guard and establish control over your emotions.
Beware of those who exhibit generosity with strings attached, warns therapist Dr. Julia Breur. A person with ulterior motives may appear exceedingly helpful and generous, but their acts of kindness often come with an unspoken expectation of reciprocation or future favors. They may keep a mental record of their deeds to exploit them later for personal gain, rather than genuinely caring for your well-being.
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Frequent Boundary Testing
Another red flag that someone has darker, hidden intentions is when they often push boundaries and test the limits of others’ tolerance. According to an article published by Power of Positivity, fake nice people intentionally engage in behavior that crosses the line of what is socially acceptable or respectful. By doing so, they gauge how far they can go in manipulating and exploiting others. So pay close attention to how someone responds when their actions are confronted or when you assert your boundaries. If they consistently push back or show a lack of respect, it may indicate their ulterior motives.
Overemphasis on Control
According to therapist Dr. Julia Breur, some people may use kindness to try to control you and manipulate situations to serve their own interests or put themselves in a more flattering light. Their seemingly nice demeanor may just be a mask to gain power and influence over those around them. Thus, recognizing the constant need for control in an individual can serve as a vital sign of their hidden intentions. They may employ subtle tactics to assert dominance, such as making decisions without consulting others, imposing their opinions, micro-managing, and even emotional manipulation — often under the guise of being “nice” or “helpful.”
Finally but perhaps most importantly, always watch your back with people whose words don’t align with their actions. A person with concealed intentions may exhibit a noticeable inconsistency, most often in how they engage in conversations about others. For example, someone who gossips about people they act friendly with are most likely insincere and inauthentic, explains therapist Hannah Rose. They often indulge in spreading rumors and stirring drama to manipulate social dynamics, create division, and divert attention away from their own questionable actions. They may be overly charming and agreeable one moment, but their actions fail to reflect their stated intentions, which indicates a lack of trustworthiness.
Recognizing the signs of hidden intentions in a person who presents themselves as nice can be challenging. However, by remaining vigilant and observant, it is possible to unveil their facade and uncover their true motives. It’s important to remember that not everyone who appears kind is genuinely so. By being aware of these signs, you can protect yourself from potential harm and maintain healthier relationships based on trust and sincerity.
So, dear viewers, what are your thoughts on this video? What are some other warning signs you’ve encountered that a seemingly nice person actually has bad intentions? Let us know in the comments down below! And if you found this video helpful/valuable, please continue supporting our work by hitting like and subscribe. ‘Til next time, Psych2Goers!
- Reynolds, J. L. (2019, Jul 22). Why Do Some People Express Insincere Kindness? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/human-kind/201907/why-do-some-people-express-insincere-kindness
- Rose, H. (2019, Jul 12). The Toxicity of Gossip. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/working-through-shame/201907/the-toxicity-gossip
- Power of Positivity. (2017, Feb 2). 5 Signs A ‘Nice’ Person Secretly Has Cruel Intentions. https://www.powerofpositivity.com/signs-nice-person-negative-intentions/