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14 Red Flags When Someone Seems Too Perfect

Your "perfect" relationship may not be what you think it is.

Key points

  • It's important to distinguish true matches from matchsticks that could set your world on fire in a bad way.
  • Once you are hooked and under their control, it may be harder to resist their true agendas and selves.
  • Look for inconsistencies with what may be their carefully manicured image presented to you.
Source: Engin Akyurt / Pexels
That seemingly perfect person may not be who he or she seems to be.
Source: Engin Akyurt / Pexels

So, you've finally met someone who seems to fit everything you've been looking for, and it all seems perfect. Well, maybe a little too perfect.

Sure, you may have gotten lucky and finally found your true such-and-such. On the other hand, though, the world does have plenty of people willing to present themselves as your match just to get what they want. These pretenders may even deliver sweet lines like "Where have you been all my life" when your answer should be "Trying to avoid pretenders, manipulators, or con artists like you."

So, how do you distinguish the true matches from these matchsticks that could set your world on fire in a bad way with their manipulative tactics and hidden agendas? If you look closely, there may be one of the following very non-Valentine 14 red flags that show that these seemingly perfect people are nowhere near perfect and, in fact, are nowhere near the people you think they are:

  1. They exhibit controlling tendencies: Maintaining false images can be like keeping a shaky Jenga tower upright where one out-of-place piece can cause everything to fall apart. So, if you notice that they are trying to control everything, even things that do not seem to matter, you may want to see what happens when you give a little tug on one of those pieces.
  2. They limit what you see of them: Are they like Batman where you only see them in certain settings? Are there big parts of their lives that you haven't seen directly, like most of their friends, family, and work lives? Maybe it's time to ask to meet Alfred and Robin the Boy Wonder.
  3. They're reluctant to meet your friends: Your friends may be able to see what you can't see. And your seeming matches may be worried about not being able to maintain their carefully crafted images in front of others, especially in group settings.
  4. They're highly critical of others: A common manipulative tactic to make themselves look good is to criticize others. Of course, you are supposedly the exception to the rule that everyone else sucks. But if their rule seems to be picking apart everyone else, guess what they may say about you someday.
  5. They play the victim and always blame others: Another classic approach is to make you out to be the hero there to rescue them because, you know, everyone else has been oh-so-mean to them. Blaming others for things that have gone wrong can also maintain their "perfect" image. But you may actually be the victim here of people portraying themselves as the victim. Just wait until you go from being their James Bond or Ellen Ripley to being their Dr. No or Alien Queen mother. Remember your perfect match didn't have to do everything perfectly. But they do have to be perfectly willing to accept responsibility.
  6. They get too personal way too early: By getting you to reveal intimate details about yourself, they may be manufacturing the impression of intimacy and gathering information about you like a dark social media company so that they can present to you what they think you want. Yeah, maybe it's not pure coincidence that they like to play the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" during sex, too.
  7. They positively label themselves: Do they call themselves positive things like "an empath" or "a loyal person" to create such images of them in your mind? But as the saying goes, don't look at what people say; look at what they do and form your own conclusions about who and what they are. When people repeatedly tell you something positive about themselves, the line "Thou doth protest too much" may come to mind.
  8. They negatively label others: At the same time, they may pin one-dimensional negative labels on others such as calling an adversary a "narcissist." After all, if the person giving them grief is nothing but a narcissist, surely they must be the opposite of that, right? Well, there is something called "projection" where people call someone else what they themselves are guilty of being.
  9. They make dark and cruel jokes about others: Sometimes the humor that people use can reveal who they really are. The guise of jokes can allow them to make very harsh statements about someone (maybe even you) and then pass off the statements as "just joking." But, again, if they are trying to make others look bad and themselves good by comparison, the joke may be on you.
  10. They gossip: Spreading rumors and other bad stuff about others is another way they lower others to make themselves seem elevated by comparison. Guess who may someday be the subject of their gossip? The answer rhymes with "ooo."
  11. They show vindictiveness: Do they hold on to grudges like Thanos held on to the Infinity Gauntlet? Do they make veiled threats about what may happen if you ever dare to stray, even if it is in a joking manner as in "If you ever do that, I would cut your [body part that you would not like to lose] off, ha ha ha?" Call that laughter in the reign of trying to control you.
  12. They repeatedly tell you how great a match the two of you are: OK, this one may be genuine when done appropriately. But be wary when it feels more strategic than genuine.
  13. They seem cold and calculating: While they may portray themselves as warm, compassionate people, do you notice moments where they show a cold, cold heart? Maybe it's when you tell them something very sad or are going through a very challenging situation. Do you feel their warmth or is it more ice, ice, baby?
  14. They don't follow through on promises and commitments or show other inconsistencies: Again, talk is cheap. What they actually end up doing is more important than promises, promises that end up being naked in your eyes. Did they say that they would help you but eventually bail? Do they call themselves empaths yet exhibit inconsiderate or even cruel behavior?

They may not reveal their true selves and agendas until they think they've got you hooked and under their control. By then, it may be a lot harder for you to extricate yourself from the relationship. Plus, who knows how much you may have already invested and lost? That's why it's important for you to get the proper take on such pretenders before they end up taking a lot from you.

More from Bruce Y. Lee M.D., M.B.A.
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