In a recent podcast episode I heard from Gary Vee, he explained that when giving something away, there is a very simple difference between kindness and manipulation.
Kindness is doing something for someone with no expectation of a return.
Manipulation is doing something for someone with an agenda behind it.
There are times when you do something for someone and expect the kindness to be repaid, but it only becomes manipulation if you’re unclear with your motives.
I’ve seen it put another way, though I can’t determine where it first came from:
Honesty without kindness is brutality, and kindness without honesty is manipulation.
Kindness and honesty need to go hand-in-hand, or else you’re not likely a very pleasant person to be around.