If you recognize these 11 behaviors, you’re in the presence of a manipulative charmer

by Adrian Volenik | May 8, 2024, 2:06 pm

Manipulative charmers are far more common than you think. They also have many different motives behind them, from power and control to personal gain and thrill.

That’s why it’s so important to recognize you’re in the presence of a manipulative charmer. 

And how do you do that? Well, they exhibit some pretty glaring but also some subtle behaviors.

So, let’s dive straight in and learn what they are. 

1) They’re excessively charming and charismatic

Picture someone who’s incredibly smooth and charismatic, almost like they’ve walked out of a movie. They make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room, even though you just met.

Now, you might be thinking that you’re extremely lucky to have met such a person for once in your life. 

But on the other side, wouldn’t you be at least a little suspicious? Well, you should be, as this is one of the main characteristics of manipulative charmers

You see, they can turn on and off their charm almost effortlessly, like the finest actor in the world. 

And one of the reasons why they’re so charming and charismatic is because they aren’t shy with compliments. 

2) They constantly shower you with compliments to gain your trust

I recently heard something funny and interesting: What’s the difference between a chef and you? They aren’t afraid of using way too much salt and butter. 

And it’s the same with these manipulative charmers. They aren’t afraid of showering others with (false) compliments. 

Even if only one person out of every 10, 20, or 50 people falls for it, it’s a success in their book. 

So, imagine someone constantly telling you how amazing and perfect you are, even for the little things. It feels good, but after a while, it starts to seem a bit over-the-top.

If you squint a bit harder, you might just see they’re trying to manipulate you. 

3) They establish a deep emotional connection very quickly

You know when you meet someone, and it feels like you’ve known them forever? That’s what they aim for. 

They’ll share personal stories and ask about yours, creating this deep bond right off the bat.

And the worst thing about it? They’re just so effective with this tactic that you don’t see it coming even though it’s right in front of your eyes. 

They also reveal just enough information about themselves to create a positive image.

They’re like a book with some pages missing. They share enough to keep you interested, but you never get the whole story.

They also aren’t shying away from fabricating, embellishing, and outright lying about them and their experiences.

It’s way easier to be interesting when you can lie through your teeth without any moral scruples. 

4) They show a lack of genuine concern for others’ feelings

Another thing that separates manipulative charmers from most of us is that they just don’t care about other people’s feelings

When you’re upset or going through a tough time, instead of being understanding, they’re indifferent or dismissive. It’s like they can’t really put themselves in your shoes.

Or they’ll hide the fact that they don’t care and pretend they’re devastated. So much so that you’ll have to console them even though you’re the one in pain. 

They’re just that skilled at it. 

5) They’re highly persuasive and skilled at getting what they want

Manipulative charmers wield words like a skilled swordsman, cutting through your defenses with ease. 

Their arguments are flawless, and their logic is impeccable. You’re basically caught in a whirlwind of persuasion and swept away by the force of their conviction.

For example, they “need” to borrow a large sum of money from you. To make that a reality, they’ll use their charm to paint a compelling picture of their financial need, emphasizing urgency and promising swift repayment.

Even though you know you shouldn’t mix friends and money, you go ahead and transfer the lump sum. 

Predictably, a couple of weeks or months later, they ghost you when it’s time for payback.

6) They push boundaries and make you uncomfortable

These people always tiptoe along the line between comfort and discomfort, testing the waters with every step. 

It starts with innocent jokes that make you squirm, then escalates to personal questions that leave you uneasy. They’re nudging you off balance, and you’re unsure if you’ll regain your footing.

By doing this, they get insight into your vulnerabilities and weaknesses, which they can exploit in the future

By making you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, they assert their power and influence, too. And perhaps most importantly, by observing how far they can push without facing resistance, they assess the level of control they have over you and adjust their tactics accordingly.

7) Their stories and details change or don’t add up over time

When you bullsh*t all the time, you’re bound to make mistakes and different versions of the same stories. 

Each tale they spin has a kernel of truth, but it’s buried beneath layers of embellishment and fabrication. 

If you get suspicious, they’ll gaslight you into believing that they never said the things you heard them saying. 

Because of that, they don’t really care if you catch them in a lie or not. They know they’ll dig themselves out of a hole, one way or another. 

8) They often portray themselves as victims to garner sympathy

These manipulators aren’t afraid to act powerless and parade their vulnerabilities for all to see. 

Their every setback and every misfortune is a tragedy worthy of a Shakespearean drama. It’s like watching a one-man show where they play the lead role of the perpetual victim. 

They know that most people have a natural inclination to help those in need, so they play on these emotions to gain sympathy and support.

They also do it to shift blame away from themselves and onto others or to keep people emotionally invested in them, making it more difficult for them to question or challenge their manipulative behaviors. 

9) They exhibit sudden mood swings to manipulate emotional responses

One moment they’re the life of the party, laughing and joking with infectious energy. The next, they’re as cold as ice, their smile replaced by a freezing glare. 

They use these mood shifts strategically to prompt specific responses from others, such as sympathy, guilt, or compliance with their demands.

They also love using guilt-trips. 

10) They use guilt as a tool to make you comply with their wishes

My mom told me that she learned guilt-tripping is a great thing early on. For her, of course. Because she used it to get me and my sister to do whatever she wanted. 

That’s until we figured it out, and it didn’t work on us anymore.

Most charming manipulators are like expert puppeteers, pulling strings you didn’t even know existed. Every sigh, every subtle glance is a subtle reminder of your perceived shortcomings.

They make up stories and embellish real emotions to guilt-trip you into capitulating to their wishes or demands.

11) They may be generous, but it often comes with strings attached

Their every act of kindness comes with an unspoken expectation, a debt you didn’t realize you were accruing. 

By offering favors, love, gifts, or help, they subtly imply that you owe them something in return, whether it’s compliance, loyalty, or validation.

And if they do it consistently, they make you dependent on them and probably wanting more. 

They also aren’t shy about reminding you of their past favors or help well past their due date, suggesting you owe them something in return or else.

Final thoughts

If something feels off in a relationship or interaction, it probably is. Trust your instincts and pay attention to how you feel around certain people or situations.

Most importantly, keep an eye out for signs of manipulation, like excessive flattery, guilt trips, or sudden mood swings. Recognizing these tactics can help you stay one step ahead.

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