Home » Psychology: 9 sneak peak signs you’re being played: uncovering deception in friendships

Psychology: 9 sneak peak signs you’re being played: uncovering deception in friendships

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives: that sinking feeling when you realize you may have been manipulated by a friend. It’s a tough pill to swallow, isn’t it? That someone you trusted, someone you shared laughs, tears, and life stories with, may have been playing a double game. You start questioning everything, replaying conversations in your mind, looking for signs you’ve missed.

The painful part about deception in friendships is that it often comes wrapped in layers of kindness and trust. But beneath that pleasant exterior, there could be a calculated effort to mislead or control you.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Not every friend who disagrees with you, makes a mistake, or forgets your birthday is being deceptive. Just like you, they’re human and prone to errors too. But when a pattern of deceit begins to emerge, causing emotional distress or harm, then my friend, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

By sharing these ‘9 sneak peak signs you’re being played,’ my aim is not to make you suspicious of every friend you have, but rather help you identify the red flags and navigate your relationships more consciously.

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9 sneak peak signs you're being played: uncovering deception in friendships
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Remember, friendships are meant to be mutual – both parties should feel respected and valued in the relationship. And if that’s not the case? Well, let’s delve into what to watch out for…

1. Inconsistency in their words and actions

Ever noticed glaring disparities between what a friend says and their actual behavior? You know, the friend who insists they’re there for you, yet never shows up when you need them. Confusing, huh? Inconsistency between words and actions can erode trust and create confusion in a friendship. It’s essential for friends to align their words with their deeds to maintain a healthy and reliable relationship.

2. They’re frequently unavailable

I’ve been so busy lately! Does this sound familiar? When a friend consistently uses busyness as an excuse to evade plans or calls, it might be a sign they’re pulling away. Frequent unavailability can signify a lack of interest or a shift in priorities. Open and honest communication can help clarify the reasons behind their behavior and determine the state of your friendship.

3. They’re overly controlling

Not all manipulation is subtle. If your friend is always dictating your plans, conversations, or life decisions, that’s a red flag. Friendships should involve compromise, right? Overly controlling behavior can stifle your autonomy and individuality. Healthy friendships should be based on mutual respect and a willingness to make joint decisions, rather than one-sided control.

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4. They often play the victim

Do you know someone who’s always the ‘victim’ in their storytelling? This could be an attempt to gain sympathy or dodge responsibility for their actions. Playing the victim card frequently can strain a friendship, as it may feel like your friend is avoiding accountability. Honest discussions about responsibility and open dialogue can help address this issue.

5. They’re excessively secretive

While everyone is entitled to their privacy, excessive secrecy can suggest a hidden agenda. Does your friend avoid sharing details about their life while expecting you to open up? Excessive secrecy can create a lack of trust in a friendship. It’s essential to find a balance between privacy and openness for a healthy and transparent relationship.

6. They frequently break promises

Broken promises can sting, especially when it becomes a pattern. Is your friend continually failing to keep their word, leaving you disappointed? Consistently breaking promises can lead to a loss of trust and reliability in a friendship. Addressing this issue and understanding the reasons behind unkept promises is vital for rebuilding trust.

7. They give back-handed compliments

You know those compliments that feel more like insults? They are often used as a clever tool to undermine your self-esteem without appearing overtly malicious. Backhanded compliments can erode self-esteem and create a negative atmosphere in a friendship. Communicating openly about how such comments affect you can help rectify this behavior.

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8. They lack empathy

A key component of friendship is empathy. If your friend routinely displays a lack of empathy towards your feelings or experiences, consider it a warning sign. A lack of empathy can strain a friendship, as it may feel like your emotions and experiences are not acknowledged or valued. Open conversations about the importance of empathy in the relationship can be helpful.

9. They’re only around in times of need

Is your friend only available when they need something from you? This could mean your relationship is more about convenience than genuine care. A friendship based solely on convenience can leave you feeling used and undervalued. Discussing the expectations and boundaries in your friendship can help clarify each other’s needs and maintain a more balanced connection.

That’s it! Those are the ‘9 sneak peak signs you’re being played.’ Remember, these pointers are meant to help you reflect, not to encourage paranoia. Friendships can be complex, and not everything is black and white. But if you’ve noticed a recurring pattern of these behaviors, it might be time for an open and honest conversation with your friend.

You’re the best judge of your relationships, and the decision on how to proceed is entirely up to you.

Michael H. Clifton
Written by, Michael H. Clifton
Hi, I'm Daniel, a 37-year-old lifestyle writer with a passion for understanding the human mind. I live in the city but I also love taking nature walks to escape the urban hustle. Join me on my journey as I explore the balance between city life and the calming influence of nature.