Although abundant research documents positive interpersonal outcomes of perspective taking, a growing body of evidence indicates perspective taking can also induce negative interpersonal outcomes (i.e., it “backfires”). We aim at integrating these seemingly contradictory findings, suggesting that perspective taking backfires when it causes the perspective-taking individual to feel threatened. Threat can emerge from the very act of perspective taking whenever the target of perspective taking is perceived as too different from the self, or if adopting another’s perspective creates the potential for negative self-evaluation. Furthermore, threat may emerge if perspective taking successfully creates perceptions of self-other overlap, but the overlapping characteristics accentuate potentially threatening characteristics of the perspective-taking target. Our theoretical model affords predictions for other conditions when perspective taking is linked to self-threat and may backfire.