It can be pretty difficult to read a person's behavior sometimes.
But, it can also be so easy to give others the benefit of the doubt, even if you have a sneaking suspicion they're not looking out for your best interests.
It's natural to want to assume people have good intentions, but unfortunately, it's just not always the case.
Here are 10 ways to tell if a friend or loved one is trying to manipulate you.
1. They tend to play on your emotions.
You've noticed that, whenever you're vulnerable around this person, they use that as an opportunity to get you to do something, agree to something, or to act a certain way that only benefits them, and not you.
Vulnerability can work on multiple levels: If you're especially happy about something, a manipulative person will take advantage of your good mood to convince you to do something you normally wouldn't.
On the flip side, if you're crying and pouring your heart out to this person, they might coddle you and support you in the moment. But, somewhere down the line, when this person decides they need something from you, they'll remind you what a "good friend" they were to you when you needed them.
If you see that pattern happening over time, take it as your cue to boot this person out of your life.
2. You notice they get frustrated or impatient very easily.
It's either their way, or the highway.
A manipulative person's M.O. is to control the people around them. Whenever anything impedes that process, you'll likely see them get either emotionally or physically frustrated.
They may react in an over-the-top way, perhaps with a huge temper tantrum. More often than not, though, a manipulative person will communicate their frustrations in more subtle ways, such as giving you the cold shoulder.
3. They're always the one to make the plans.
If you say you want to go to the movies Friday night, they suggest you guys go to a concert instead.
If you want to stay in for the night, but they want to go out to some rager, they twist your arm until you agree to come.
Again, manipulative people have to be in control at all times, even when it comes to the most mundane things in life, like where to go for drinks after work.
4. They don't listen; they wait for you to be done talking.
Manipulative people can be absolutely infuriating in an argument, or even in a healthy debate.
They're the kind of people who, when they "respond" to something you just said, they're really just saying whatever they want to say. You can tell they don't actually listen to you in a meaningful way.
They simply wait until it's their turn to speak.
5. They're intellectual bullies.
Intellectual bullying refers to when people torment or humiliate others, acting superior to them.
Because we're often rewarded for being "more intelligent" than others in most mainstream cultures, this behavior is often overlooked, or even encouraged at times, particularly in educational environments.
Manipulative people might intellectually bully someone else as a way to gain the upper hand, and even garner support from other people who witness the bullying.
6. You notice they never acknowledge the good things you try to do for them.
No matter how hard you try to be a good friend to a manipulative person, it simply doesn't matter to them.
Even if it does, they'll never let you know about it, because that would be a sign of vulnerability.
In order to acknowledge someone else helped them do something, they would inherently have to admit they needed help, or that they didn't already know how to do something.
7. They're only nice to you when it's convenient for them.
The few times your manipulative "friend" has ever done something kind for you, it's almost always followed by a request for you to do something for them.
You find yourself always second-guessing the "favors" they do for you. It's as if everything comes with a price tag, either literal or figurative.
8. You're always being taken on a guilt trip.
Somehow, you find yourself always harboring the blame for literally anything bad that happens in your friendship or relationship with a manipulative person.
They're the kind of people who are worse at taking responsibility for their actions than a dog who won't look you in the eye after you blatantly caught them ripping up the sofa pillows for the umpteenth time.
9. They always play the victim.
Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with guilt-tripping.
If they're not responsible for anything shitty that happens, that means they're probably casting themselves as the victim.
As much as you feel like you should be there for someone who feels victimized, don't fall for it if you know they're just trying to manipulate you.
10. You've seen them manipulate others.
It's so easy to notice when someone is being cruel to another person. There's something about being an observer of a situation that gives many of us a much clearer and more logical perspective.
But, it can take you a literal lifetime to realize that same person is treating you like garbage, too.