If you want an easy way to discern manipulators from empathetic people, pay attention to the way they speak about others in relation to you.
Kind, decent people will go out of their way to make sure you know their friends & family really like you.
Manipulators, on the other hand, will always seek to triangulate. They provoke rivalries and jealousy by manufacturing competitions. They whisper in your ear that their friend, an ex, or family member is very jealous of you; or maybe that they said something nasty about.
Make no mistake , they're whispering the exact same things about you to those very same people.
So ask yourself: "Does this person create harmony or do they engineer chaos?"