Man Shares A Simple Trick To Reveal Someone's True Colors — For Better Or Worse

Reading people isn't as hard as it seems.

woman suspicious of someone's true colors AlexD75 / Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Don't you sometimes wish you could read people's thoughts and reveal their true colors? From those we date to those we work with, so many of our social interactions are fundamentally inscrutable, and people's true motives are often difficult to discern.

But a man on TikTok has a sort of mind game he says has never failed to bring out people's true selves, and it turns out there's some psychological basis to it as well.


His trick to reveal someone's true colors is to play dumb and watch how they respond.

TikToker Ace Buaga said he's used this trick time and again, and it is always revealing, in one way or another. 

His secret to sussing out hard-to-read people? "Play dumb."

"Act naive and pretend you don't know stuff," he went on to say, calling it his "secret weapon to see what people are really about."


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He said people tend to have one of two responses when he plays dumb, both of which reveal their character.

"It's wild because when you play a little bit clueless," Buaga said, "you really get to see what people's true colors are." And in his experience, they fall into two camps.

Some people are "gems," as he described them, and take your feigned naiveté at face value. "They'll still be straight with you," Buaga explained, "and continue to treat you right."

suspicious man Slatan / Canva Pro


Perhaps they'll choose to be clearer or more revealing in order to help you out and clarify the things you're pretending not to understand, for example.

But others will take your feigned naiveté as an opportunity. They assume you're not too bright and easily manipulable "and think they can pull one over on you," Buaga said, which, of course, is a major red flag.

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He said he employs this tactic anytime he senses that someone isn't who they say they are or has an ulterior motive.

Ace's approach is a useful lesson for those of us who tend to be hot-headed and outspoken when we sense someone is up to no good. There's power in waiting, keeping quiet, and observing, and that's exactly what this "playing dumb" game provides.


"I'm the kind of person who, if I pick up on something fishy, I won't call it out right away," he went on to say. "I'll sit back and just watch it unfold because the more they think they're getting away with something, the more they actually show their hand."

So, while he's sitting back playing dumb, the bad guy is taking advantage, doing his underhanded deeds, and exposing himself. "And that's when you see who they really are, for better or worse," he said.

There is an actual basis for his method, according to psychologists.

Princeton psychologists found in multiple studies that people who play dumb are usually seen as nicer and warmer, whereas coldness tends to signal competence. This has a major impact on how we perceive people.


There is, it turns out, something hard-wired in us that gravitates to the "lovable idiots" among us.

That is why playing dumb can be such a powerful — and often nefarious and abusive — tool of manipulation. But it is also what lets people's guards down in the ways Buaga described. We're more comfortable revealing ourselves to people we perceive as non-threatening and friendly. 

Not only is playing dumb often revealing, but it can also be beneficial to our psyches. Remember how Buaga said he's the type to sit back, fly under the radar, and let the mess unfold?


Well, a German study found that in stressful environments like the workplace, playing dumb actually lowers people's stress responses to whatever drama is flying around compared to, say, confronting people or whistleblowing.

So the next time someone seems a bit shady or the vibes are off, maybe take Buaga's advice and "just act naive… and let it roll." You might be surprised by what you find out.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.