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  • The unfortunate truth is that many people lie, and it isn’t always easy to tell when we’re being deceived.
  • And while we all are at risk of being lied to on any given day, some are particularly vulnerable to deception such as those who lead with empathy, passiveness, or optimism.
  • Empaths feel deeply for others and don’t think twice when someone comes to them with tears or other concerning emotions, making them an easy target for liars.
  • The passive or naïve are also easily deceived as they think simple thoughts and lack the experience or judgment it takes to catch a liar in the act.
  • Finally, optimists are also vulnerable as they give everyone the benefit of the doubt, including liars.

One of my shortcomings, according to my older brother, is that I’m too nice. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think twice when a homeless person asks me for money. If I have it, I’ll give them $5 and assume they’re going to spend it on food or another necessity. Similarly, if someone is rumored to be cheating on their significant other, but they insist it isn’t true, I’ll probably believe them. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve always viewed my overkindness as a strength, but as time goes on, I see my brother’s point. For example, one afternoon I was stopped at a stoplight in the city, right next to a homeless man with a sign that read, “Need money for food.” I didn’t have any cash on me, but I did have a brand new pouch of granola—perfect (or so I thought). I put my window down, and with an outstretched arm and a smile offered him the granola. But he didn’t take it. “No thanks,” he muttered.

After telling my brother about the bizarre occurrence, it dawned on me that the homeless man probably wasn’t that hungry if he didn’t accept the food I offered him. The odds were more likely that he had a full belly and was planning to spend that money on something else—or maybe he wasn’t homeless at all, my brother proposed. The thing is that being “too nice” makes me an easy victim for liars. And those who know me to be extra kind just might take advantage of me if or when they get the chance.

Are Liars Targeting Me?

Am I ridiculous for worrying that liars might target me? Not completely. It’s okay to be cautious, but as Caleb Backe—Health and Wellness Expert from Maple Holistics—explains, if someone is intent on telling a lie, they’ll likely maneuver their way around any which individual to get the job done. “Someone who lies easily doesn’t necessarily have a specific target. Liars tend to alter their techniques depending on who they’re trying to manipulate, which means that anybody is theoretically susceptible,” Backe says. “And while some personality types are easier to lie to than others, that doesn’t mean anyone is particularly immune,” he concludes.

I could certainly benefit from taking my brother’s advice and treading more carefully. I shouldn’t be so quick to trust others—at least when it comes to strangers. This will save me from being deceived easily and often. That said, I shouldn’t be overly paranoid to the point where I’m questioning or doubting every person that entrusts in me.

3 Personality Types That Are Easily Deceived

So, which personality types is Backe referring to above? Who (besides myself) is particularly vulnerable when a liar chooses his or her target? People with the following character traits might be deceived more easily:

1. Empathetic

First on the list are those who feel deeply for others. “Empaths are highly attuned to other people’s emotions, which means that they’re more susceptible to falling for lies,” Backe explains. “It doesn’t cross their mind that when someone is crying, they might just be shedding crocodile tears. This can mean that they easily fall victim to being deceived by liars.” Those with a hidden agenda will take advantage of an empath’s kindness and urgency to help.

2. Passive

Next are the passive or naïve: these individuals are simple-minded. They are less likely to think twice when a liar deceives them. “Someone who is overly passive or lacks judgment and experience is likely to fall prey to liars. The naïve personality type sees the world through simple lenses and believes others do the same,” Backe explains. “This means that then a lie is thrown their way, they often don’t see it coming.”

3. Optimistic

Finally, optimists are particularly vulnerable when it comes to being deceived. “The optimist sees the world through their rose-tinted glasses. Even the most disturbing of lies can go unnoticed by the optimist because they are honest with themselves and expect the same from others,” says Backe. “The term ‘benefit of the doubt’ was coined by an optimist, which means that they’re susceptible to falling victim to liars.”

As the saying goes, you can never be too careful. If you have a gut feeling that someone is deceiving you, listen to it. And if one of the above traits dominates your personality, you might benefit from paying a little extra attention to those gut feelings and signs that someone is lying to you.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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