There is a moment of realization when working with a person who seems nice on the surface that something is not right. It usually comes in a flash and without awareness, it retreats just as quickly. It is important to listen to those warning signals. Deceptive people often mask their deviousness, anger, manipulation, and controlling nature behind a kind faade. But even the best of deceptions are unable to be hidden all of the time.

The problem is that most people ignore those signals through minimization (it wasnt that bad), rationalization (there must be a good reason), or justification (they must be having a bad day). The instinctive reaction is too often overlooked and this is how bad things happen to good people. But not all deceptions are the same. It is important to know the difference between an advanced con and a small ruse so both can be better avoided.

There are levels of deception:

  • Advanced usually done by psychopaths and sociopaths. These deceptions are rather advanced in nature as they have practiced successfully on many others prior to the current deception. They are also highly skilled in reading body language and are quick to add their own minimization, rationalization, and justification in order to put their victim at ease.
  • Above average usually done by persons with a personality disorder. One of the characteristics of a person with a personality disorder (such as narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, paranoid, or obsessive-compulsive) is a lack of an accurate perception of reality.
  • Slightly above average usually done by a person with personality traits. Personality traits are not the same as personality disorders. Think of a trait as a general characterization of a person. A perfect example is a passive-aggressive behavior. This can be an overall personality trait and/or the manner in which a person expresses anger.
  • Average usually done by defiant people. Deception at this level is much more obvious that the cases presented above as there are far more warning indicators. The naturally rebellious nature of this person lends itself to trying to get away with as much as possible without consequence.

The early warning signs of a deceptive person are the best indicator of potential harm. Whether the level is average or advanced, it is best to quickly dodge the person.