Lord, protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies. --Robert Greene
Filling your life with supportive friends is good for your health. In fact, a 10-year long Australian study showed that participants with solid friend groups were 22% more likely to live longer. But finding a friend who supports you-- and is happy to see you happy--is not easy. Often, in our attempt to find a good friend we end up with toxic, manipulative person. Manipulators appear charming and friendly and we think that we have found the right person, it’s when they start their secretive attacks that we feel hurt but still are unable pinpoint the cause of problem .Awareness of the tactics that manipulative friends use is very important as it helps to identify them and the next crucial step is to deal with them in a way that you are protected from their toxicity.
Warning Signs of a Manipulative Friend
Below are common warning signs of a manipulative friend
Your Friend lies to you often
All manipulators lie.It’s the most potent weapon that manipulators use.If you catch a friend lying to you often then you should take it seriously.
A manipulative friend lies about her plans,ambitions,wants and needs.
Dr. George K. Simon, Psychologist and author of In Sheep’s Clothing , says that
’’ manipulators often lie by withholding significant amount of truth from you or by distorting the truth.they are adept at being vague when you ask them direct question’’.
she may never give you direct answers to your questions.While hiding her future plans and ambitions,she tries to get information out of you so that she can realize those ambitions.She sees you as competition and doesn’t want you to succeed before or after her.
Your manipulative friend is not there when you need them most
Your manipulative friend doesn’t like you and doesn’t care to be there when you need her.she actually secretly wants you to fail so that when you need her or you have something big coming up,she promises to be there but doesn’t appear.later on she gives you a lot of excuses.
Your manipulative friend’s got nothing nice to say about other people
Your manipulative friend talks badly about her colleagues,ex girfirends or her roommate.She tries to make the impression that other people are bad but you are somehow good and don’t have those flaws.if you pay close attention she may have many ex girlfriends.if someone has a lot of ex girlfriend then it means she’s a user.if a persons doesn’t treat others right why they would treat you right.
Your Friend appears very friendly and caring
you find your new friend to be very friendly and caring.she is caring to the point that Dr George K. Simon labels as ‘’playing the servants role’’. She gives you time,looks after you,showers you with expensive gifts.
Your friend gives you expensive gifts and favors
In the beginning of friendship,your friend gives you big favors and expensive gifts. You obviously don’t expect it so,it comes as a surprise to you.you begin to give her more importance because you feel that she really likes you that’s why she gave you those expensive gifts.But,in reality she has given those gifts and favors to get even bigger favors later on.Keep in mind nothing in life is free.
Your friend gets in touch Only when she needs something
She contacts you when she needs you exactly this is she why got friends with you ,to fulfill her needs.Manipulators are users. Only their own needs are important to them.’’ they are abusive and exploitative in their interpersonal relations. They view people as pawns (contest) in the game of life’’,Says, Dr.Simon.
Your friend exaggerates your flaws and makes you feel bad
Your friend exaggerates your flaws and repeatedly puts you down. Her insults might be delivered in a joking way so that she doesn’t get caught while hurting you.Keeping a good impression is important to all manipulators. If you have a perfect figure but some day or during exam you put on a little weight she will quickly notice and with a smile on her face, say something like’’your chair is not big enough for you’’ or ‘’you certainly need new clothes’’.
If you have recently achieved success, she will downplay your achievement and may remind you of your past failures. It’s simply not possible for a mean ,manipulative friend to be happy for you.
Manipulative persons have impaired conscience and they don’t care if their remarks make you feel bad.
“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.”—Paramhansa Yogananda
Your friend needs to be in charge
She needs to be in charge. She wants to do things her way even if you have a good reason to do things differently.Dr. Simon Observes that manipulators love power and they want to be in control.
’’Covert-aggressive ambitiously seek power and domination over others.they always want to be one-up and in control.they use an arsenal of subtle but effective power tactics to gain and keep the advantage in their interpersonal relations.The manipulative tactics they use make it more likely that others will retreat while simultaneously concealing any obvious aggressive intent’’
Your manipulative friend makes you feel guilty
Manipulators are experts at making others feel guilty.
An ex-friend of mine would give me silent treatment for days, after a few failed attempts of trying to engage her in conversation; I too would stop giving her attention and would join the war of silence. A few days would pass like this with silence on both sides. Then she would come to my room, with tears in her eyes telling me, how depressed she has been in the past few days, because of a personal problem(usually an excuse),and thus couldn’t give me attention, and being an uncaring self absorbed friend that I was I left her in lurch. I would agree with her. Manipulators convince you that it’s your fault even when its clearly their fault.
Your friend gives you Silent treatment
One day she is as close to you as a sister the other day she ignores you and doesn’t talk to you.you keep wondering what could be the reason for her cold behavious. Your friendship may jump back and forth between great and awful.
‘’The unpredictability takes a toll on you,’’ says Dr. Irene S. Levine, psychologist and author of Best Friends Forever.
’’It can make you anxious, nervous, or depressed when you don’t know what to expect from a friend whom you’re supposed to rely on.’’
Your friend treats you badly and then rationalizes her bad behavior
A manipulative friend may often rationalize her bad behavior,giving you plausible excuses for her bad treatment towards you,So that while she remains your enemy, you still remain her friend.
You feel drawn to a person who appears charming and friendly ,and become friends with them.
you may find your new friend very caring,showering you with attention and gifts/favors
Your friend insults you in a subtle way and puts you down.You also find their behavior unpredictable.
You begin to dislike their company and get confused why its so
How to handle a manipulative friend
Find out for sure that your friend has been manipulating you
We all know that you must admit there’s a problem before you can begin to find a solution.
Before taking action, Just be sure that your friend has really been manipulating you or not .Manipulation is hard to detect, because manipulators attack secretly. They play mind games and twist reality to serve their own ends. Detecting or spotting manipulation is the hardest part of dealing with a manipulator.
But there are ways to detect a manipulative friend most of the signs have been listed above.If you find three or more of these signs in a friend,this should be a red flag to you.but if you are still not sure to identify a manipulative friend ,then there’s an even more effective way to spot the frenemy .
Trust your feelings/gut response
If your friend has been giving you commonts or remarks that you found hurtful or made you feel uncomfortable and confused,then you are dealing with a toxic manipulative friend.If your gut response is telling you that something is wrong but you can’t exactly point it out take that too as a reliable sign of manipulation.you don’t need to reason bad behavior of someone.Do not pay attention to their words ,but to their actions and your feelings/gut response.The message of gut response is from God to protect yourself.
Dr.George k, simon writes, In Sheep’s Clothing
‘’Never try to ‘’mind-read’’ or second-guess why somebody is doing something,especially when they are doing something inappropriate.There’s no way for you really know,and in the end,it’s irrelevant.Getting caught up In what might be going in the aggressor’s mind is a good way to get sidetracked from something really pertinent.Judge the behavior itself.If what a person does is harmful in some way,pay attention to and deal with that issue’’.
Do Not accept excuses
If your manipulative friend has been treating you badly—ignoring you or not being there when you needed her—but later on gives some explanationan of their earlier bad behavior,like a exfriend of mine would do ‘’sorry,I ignored you,actually I was so depressed because of a family issue’’.Never accept such excuses,no one has the right to treat you badly or hurt you because of some of their own personal problem. It’s like an alcohol addict who wants his violent behavior to be excused simply because he can’t control his drinking.
A person who treats you badly but later comes with explanations or excuses that person is not your real friend.she’s using you.The explanationation and excuses should confirm your doubts that you are friends with a manipulator.
When you have identified your manipulative friend; take these steps
Hide your feelings from your manipulative friend
Once you have identified your manipulative friend ,You should begin to hide your feelings and thoughts from your friend.you have discovered that your friend has been intentionally hurting and using you—that’s valuable knowledge. Keep this knowledge secret. Don’t tell her that you KNOW she’s not real friend and has been using you.
Manipulators have this silly notion in their heads that they are the smartest people on earth ,and all those that they are manipulating are stupid and dumb. Let her think that you are not as smart.play dumb and try to know more about her, this knowledge might be of use to you. Observing her behavior will help you deal more quickly and effectively with any more manipulator that you may encounter in life.
Do the slow drift away from her, and in time you will feel free and happy. You can rebuild your self-esteem, find new and good friends. Don’t allow her to manipulate you anymore. Be strong.
Cut your manipulative friend out of your life completely
They put you down and expect you to pick them up, or drain the life right out of you for their own gain. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Manipulators spend a great deal of time creating a world in which their needs are met by others over whom they maintain control. Trying to shake up that foundational operating system is biting off a lot.
If she is a person that you can avoid--she is not a relative or a person who you get to see every day at work or classroom-- it’s better to completely cut her out of your life. Just simply stop socializing with her and don’t respond to her texts,phone calls and email.Give her the silent treatment she once gave you.
I think giving silent treatment to manipulators really shakes them up. They get some idea how painful it is to be at the receiving end of mind abuse . if she tries to contact you or becomes the caring,loving friend she was in the beginning of friendship, Don’t think that she’s has changed. When I find out that a friend has been manipulating me, I don’t confront her about her bad behavior, because I know it’s no use.Sometimes the tricks they play are so dirty and secretive that you can’t even put them into words and ask your sick manipulative friend to stop doing it.’’Silent treatment’’ is the best treatment to give to a close manipulative friend.
Keep your distance,if you can’t avoid meeting your manipulative friend
Cutting a friend out of your life is easy if you don’t study or work at the same place .
.But it’s hard if you can’t avoid meeting them every day
If she works at the same place and you have to see her every day,then don’t talk more than its necessary to be polite. Don’t reply to her email or phone calls, Don’t remove her from facebook but give her no attention. Just be polite and distant.
Hide your secrets from your manipulative friend
Manipulators are always looking for your weak points,insecuritires and secrets so they can use those against you.Try to hide your insecurities and weaknesess,I know its not possible to do that successfully all the time.people find out your weakpoints,like its impossible for a fat girl to hide her body weight,but you surely can hide your secrets.If you intend to apply for higher education,don’t tell people you suspect of manipulation.If you like a man and this could lead to marriage,don’t spill your happiness in front of your now ex friend.
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Aneesa (author) on December 05, 2015:
Thank you Dora.I'm glad that the information in the article is of help to you;-)
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 05, 2015:
I think I've had that kind of friend. You give very good advice including your quotes. Your article is an eye opener and very helpful. Thank you.
Aneesa (author) on December 04, 2015:
you are right,we should try to avoid bad situation before it happens.but sometimes we can't so its important to know what to do once you have fallen a victim.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 04, 2015:
We always have the power to say "yes" or "no".
A lot of folks are of the belief: "I'll trust anyone until they prove me wrong." That's is a conman's dream! Everyone should have an evaluation process.
Trust much like respect should be (earned) over time.
Playing the "blame game" weakens us where as taking responsibility for our (choices) empowers us. We can learn from (our) mistakes!
When we change our circumstances change.
Aneesa (author) on December 04, 2015:
yes i agree but sometimes we don't have a choice.manipulator find out our weaknesses and manipulates us into a relationship.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 04, 2015:
Everyone is a manipulator!
The reality is anytime you feel the need to "persuade" or "convince" someone to do something you want you're to some extent manipulating them.
Even children at an early age learn how to manipulate their parents!
Dale Carnegie made a fortune with his book:
"How to Win Friends and Influence People"
Having said that there is a difference in (level and intention) of one's effort to manipulate others in order to get what they want.
Betrayal or harmful intent are forms of malicious manipulation. Under those circumstances I see nothing wrong with ending the friendship.
Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.
We get to (choose) who we spend our time with.