7 non-obvious signs you’re dealing with someone who has a secret agenda

Ethan Sterling by Ethan Sterling | April 25, 2024, 8:21 am

You know that old saying, “actions speak louder than words”?

Well, sometimes they whisper.

It’s those subtle, almost imperceptible behaviors that can give away a lot about a person’s true intentions.

You might even be dealing with someone like this every day, not realizing they have a hidden agenda.

We’re not fear-mongering or turning you into a paranoid skeptic.

This is to equip you with the tools to spot the non-obvious signs.

So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Is there more to this person than meets the eye?” this article is for you.

Let’s dive into the less evident signs you’re dealing with someone who has a secret agenda.

1) They’re overly charming

They’re smooth talkers, always knowing just what to say to win you over.

It’s almost like they’ve studied you, know your likes, dislikes, and even your vulnerabilities.

Now, being charming isn’t inherently a bad thing.

But when someone seems too good to be true, they often are.

Overly charming individuals can use their charisma as a tool—a sort of smoke screen—to divert your attention from their hidden agenda.

So, while it’s nice to be around people who make you feel good, it’s important to stay alert and not let charm cloud your judgment.

2) They’re always fishing for information

I remember a friend of mine whom I used to hang out with a lot.

He had this peculiar habit of asking questions. Lots and lots of questions.

At first, it felt like he was just interested in getting to know me better. But over time, I began to notice a pattern.

He was always trying to find out more about my work, my connections, and even my family’s vacation plans.

It dawned on me that he wasn’t just being friendly. He was fishing for information.

He had an ulterior motive.

I found out later that he had been badmouthing me behind my back to get our other friends and colleagues to hate me. 

To this day, I don’t know why he did that.

Perhaps it’s insecurity or just plain envy.

Regardless, it was a lesson learned for me.

So, when someone shows an unusual interest in your personal or professional life, it could be a sign they have a secret agenda.

Keep an eye out for those who ask too many prying questions; they might be fishing for more than just friendly conversation.

3) They’re conveniently absent during your tough times

Let’s be real. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

We all have those days when we feel like the world is caving in.

Now, think about that friend.

The one who’s always around when things are going great but somehow disappears when the going gets tough.

I’ve seen this happen. I’ve felt it.

The celebrations, the parties, the good times—they were there.

But when I was grappling with a personal crisis, dealing with a loss, or just having a plain old bad day?

Radio silence.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

But it’s crucial to understand that someone who only sticks around for your highs but vanishes during your lows might not have your best interests at heart.

Their presence could be tied to what they can gain from you rather than a genuine care for your well-being.

4) They exaggerate their achievements

We all know that one person who can’t resist blowing their own trumpet.

Whether it’s about how they clinched a deal single-handedly or how they saved the day during a crisis, their stories always paint them as the hero.

But here’s the thing:

If someone is constantly exaggerating their achievements or capabilities, it’s not just about ego.

It could be a sign they’re trying to manipulate your perception of them.

When people overstate their accomplishments, they’re often trying to gain your trust or admiration.

Once you’re impressed by their feats, you’re more likely to overlook any inconsistencies in their behavior or actions.

So, when someone seems too keen on showcasing their laurels, take a step back.

Their self-promotion might be a cover-up for a hidden agenda.

5) They’re quick to place blame on others

It’s hard to accept blame. That’s true for all of us.

But when someone consistently pins their failures or mistakes on others, it’s a different ball game.

This could be their way of maintaining an image of perfection.

By diverting attention away from their flaws, they keep you focused on their strengths instead.

Someone who never takes responsibility and always seems to have someone else to blame might be hiding more than just their shortcomings.

6) Their apologies lack sincerity

We all mess up sometimes. It’s part of being human.

The important thing is to own up to our mistakes and apologize sincerely.

But what if the apology you receive feels empty, almost robotic?

I’ve encountered this before.

A person who seemed always ready with an “I’m sorry” but whose actions didn’t change.

The apologies felt hollow, devoid of any real remorse or intent to make amends.

But apologies aren’t merely empty words.

They’re there to show regret and a willingness to change.

If someone’s apologies feel insincere, it might be because they’re not truly sorry.

Instead, they could be using the apology as a tool to keep you hooked while they continue their hidden agenda, or to rid themselves of the guilt.

7) They make you feel uneasy

Trust your gut.

It’s age-old advice, but it holds true, especially when dealing with people who might have a hidden agenda.

You might not be able to put your finger on it, but something about them just makes you feel uneasy.

It’s like a nagging feeling, an intuitive sense that something isn’t quite right.

That’s your instinct talking.

And more often than not, it’s worth listening to.

Your intuition is a powerful tool honed by years of human evolution.

If someone consistently makes you feel uncomfortable or wary, don’t ignore that feeling.

Final thoughts

Realizing you’ve been dealing with someone who has a secret agenda can be unsettling.

It’s like pulling back the curtain only to find a reality you hadn’t anticipated.

But remember, knowledge is power.

Recognizing these non-obvious signs is the first step towards safeguarding yourself from hidden agenda.

Don’t beat yourself up if you missed these signs before.

We’re all learning, growing, and navigating this complex web of human interactions.

The key takeaway here is to trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is.

As Maya Angelou rightly said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

People’s actions, patterns, and behaviors reveal their true intentions more than words ever could.