Skip to Content

The Characteristics of a Two-Faced Person: How to Spot Them on Time

Two-faced people are not always easy to recognize.

They may seem incredibly nice and pleasant to be around, but only until you realize you have been played.

Friends talking at the bar

Sometimes their behavior is motivated by pure interest, and sometimes they may not even be aware that they are acting two-faced. 

The real reason behind their behavior usually has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Two-faced people are not always dangerous, but it is important to recognize them so that you can protect yourself from investing in a relationship with them before it is too late. 

Bearing that in mind, we’ll share with you some of the most prominent characteristics of a two-faced person, as well as some tips on handling two-faced people. Stay tuned to read more about:

Too Polite to Be True 

Two young beautiful women in casual wear smiling and talking while enjoying camping near the lake

A two-faced person will often act unusually polite and compliant. Some people go out of their way to win the favor of others.

As children, we all made an effort to win our parents’ love or get them to purchase us a desired gift. 

When we try to please someone we like to get their attention, we may often resort to tactics we used as kids. But the problem with two-faced people is that they have never learned any other tactic.

They still behave as though everyone around them is their parent, whom they must win over to accomplish anything. 

Therefore, they try hard to be liked by people who don’t really matter to them at all, and once they win their approval, they move on to the next target.

On the other hand, they resent the people they feel they had to win over and therefore are likely to badmouth them behind their back, as this is their way of preserving their autonomy. 

This type of two-faced person is forever captured in the childish pattern of not being able to say no to parents, ask for what they need directly or assert any of their authentic needs openly.

If you manage to distance yourself from your experience with them, you will easily see that they actually behave like angry kids who don’t have the power to refuse their parents’ demands, so they bitch them with other kids. 

Two-Faced Behavior as an Act of Self-Defense 

Most individuals act deceitfully when they don’t want other people to know who they truly are. But the reason why someone might not want to show their true self instantly may not hide any bad intentions. 

We keep our opinions to ourselves when we join new societies as we strive to understand the social dynamics.

Nobody wants to come across as strange right away. In this sense, acting two-faced may be an act of self-defense.

This is particularly true for those highly sensitive individuals, who are too vulnerable to show their true selves and especially to expose their feelings to other people who they do not know well enough.

People who act two-faced for this reason will probably show their true face once they feel their surroundings are safe and will not be judged or ridiculed for who they are. 

Two-Faced Behavior as a Reaction to Past Trauma 

Some people cannot express their emotions honestly because of prior traumatic social experiences or some other trauma they experienced in life.

Maybe they have never been accepted for who they really are as kids by their parents.

They may have previously confided in someone only to have their trust broken, or their genuine selves may have been rejected in the past.

No one wants to always be on guard, despite how difficult it is to trust others, so if you approach these individuals with warmth and honesty, they could open up to you.

True Sociopaths are Actually Pretty Rare

The cold-blooded, hyper-calculated individuals who are ready to go above and beyond to meet their selfish needs at the cost of others are much more common in movies than in real life.

Most of us will not have the chance to meet them more than once. 

These individuals are dangerous as they often assert more than two faces. They can play any role they find necessary to accomplish their goals.

They may act in many ways, so it can be hard to see through them unless you already have some experience with this personality type. 

But, one characteristic that may give them off is the lack of empathy. In all situations where normal people typically show empathy, you will notice something is off about these people.

They may say the right words and act the expected way, but you’ll feel like something is missing. 

And something indeed is missing, these people have no capacity to empathize with others, and that’s exactly one of the reasons they feel no guilt when they act two-faced and betray other people’s trust.

The only way to protect yourself from this kind of two-faced person is to stay out of a close relationship with them. 

Quick Tips for Dealing with Two-Faced People 

  • Keep your distance and always act politely. 
  • Don’t fall for two-faced people’s charm – you never know what their goal might be. 
  • Keep healthy boundaries, and don’t accept the favors you don’t really need – this is a common way two-faced people try to control others.
  • Don’t liaise with them to badmouth a third person, a boss, or anyone you may feel bad about – a two-faced person may use this to stab you in the back.
  • Try to offer to understand and not judge the two-faced person. They usually don’t have a clue they could achieve their goals in a different, less manipulative way. 

Wrapping It All Up 

Two-faced persons are human performers and actresses who will present one face to one audience and a different one to another.

Their audience is confused since they don’t know which face is real. It’s an issue since dealing with other people isn’t a stage performance in real life.

Backstabbing and gossip have genuine implications for people’s feelings and reputations.

But, when you know how to recognize this type of personality, you will easily find a way to protect yourself against their behavior.