In everyday interactions with people, you will likely come across those who perpetually advance their own agenda, and aren’t afraid to hide their true identity to do so. These certain characteristics often make up a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Sometimes they can be exposed, but other times they are sly enough to get away with things by playing on other people’s emotions, lying, and manipulation.

One thing is for sure, a wolf in sheep’s clothing is good at hiding their true intentions.

Maybe you have someone in your life who you have always had an uneasy feeling about, or you just can’t ever get a good read on them, no matter how many times you meet them.

What does a wolf in sheep’s clothing mean? The warning regarding the wolf references a sermon often taught by Christian leaders, from Jesus Christ “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Gospel of Matthew 7:15, King James Version) the message is to beware of false teachers in the last days. However, the message has since evolved beyond its origins in the church to serve as a warning not to trust someone in a friendly disguise who may not be a good person.

What is the moral of the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Generally, a wolf in sheep’s clothing will display “red flags” that can potentially unveil its true intentions. To find out if they may have secretly been pulling the wool over your eyes, look out for the following signs next time you see them in person.

Here’s how to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing

wolf in sheep's clothing

They’re playing on your emotions.

Emotionally, spiritually, physically; emotional manipulation is a primary tool of the wolf. They like to play on heightened emotions to engage you in behaviors that benefit them. They gather people that will serve their need to be in control, whether this is through a romantic relationship, a close friendship or a strategic partnership. The wolf in sheep’s clothing makes being with them fun and exciting at first, and then they shift the focus of the relationship onto them and their needs.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing moves too fast.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing will try to hook you with sweet talk and a false sense of interest. That is how they build trust and form a bond. It enables them to use us emotionally once the real motive of the relationship becomes clear.

Among the simpler ways to find a wolf in sheep’s clothing is to look for simple signs that show somebody only appears worried if something or someone will affect their desired outcome. They struggle with maintaining the “right kind” of associations because desired outcomes are everything to them, and they care about the way other people think in order to have control.

Take note of your friends’ feelings when you recommend something. If they harshly react when they don’t agree with you or when criticized, the wolf may be hiding underneath.

Things about their story just don’t add up.

After you hear their story, you intuitively feel that they have embellished major parts of it or just fabricated the entire thing altogether. For example, maybe you feel that your friend stole money from your wallet when you set down your purse to throw something away. While you can’t really prove it, you remember taking $100 out of the bank, and not being able to find $60 after hanging out with her. When you accuse her of stealing from you, she insists that someone else came up and took the money. But, why didn’t she ever tell you about this incident after it happened? Wolves in sheep’s clothing usually don’t have very good cover-ups for their stories, because they have to come up with a fictional tale on the fly.

They look troubled about something.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing will tend to not smile as much as people who live authentically and tell the truth no matter the consequences. There is a huge strain on their conscience, and consequently makes them feel like they have two tons of bricks weighing down on them.

This enormous pressure must come out somehow, and it usually reveals itself on their face. Watch the person in question’s facial expressions – you will probably notice that they don’t really show much emotion. Stories eventually eat people up on the inside. But their usual temperament is a telling sign of how they really feel.

wolf in sheep's clothing

They quickly grow impatient.

Impatience can be defined as the following:

  1. Irritable behavior that results from delays
  2. A restless need for change and excitement.

The display of impatient behavior often ties into someone’s goals; specifically, anything that hinders or aggravates the person in active pursuit of these goals. These goals could range from getting ahead of you at the drive-thru to getting that promotion at work.

As with stubbornness, we all have the tendency to be impatient at times. However, there are some individuals that take impatience to the extreme. These individuals detest being held up at any time, anywhere, for almost any reason, and as a manipulator, know how to get will manipulate any situation to suit them in order to come out on top.

Impatience is a trait that develops from early negative experiences, misunderstanding the nature of self and others, and a persistent sense of insecurity. The early negative experiences often happen during childhood. In many cases, the child was often barred from having a normal social experience resulting in a sense of “missing out”.

When dealing with an impatient person, it is important to understand how they “tick.” For example, these individuals prefer to be in control. When they are not in firm control, they become angry, annoyed and frustrated. The best way to deal with the behavior is to be polite but direct. Do not beat around the bush with impatient people; this will get you nowhere.