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How do you tell if a friend is fake or not? It’s not easy because nobody is just good or bad. We all got good sides and bad sides.
But in some people or relationships, the bad sides take over. And that’s when you got a fake friend.
Here are 20 signs that will help you tell your fake friends from your real ones.
1. Pay attention to how much they talk about themselves
I once had a “friend” who would call me almost every day to talk about his ideas and problems. I tried to be a good friend by listening to him and giving him my best feedback.
On some days I also had something on my mind I wanted to talk about, but there was never any space for me to talk. And if I did get to talk a little, he soon changed the topic back to him.
He wasn’t really interested in me or my life. After that, I understood he was a kind of bad friend because I never got anything back in that relationship.
I don’t think he was a bad person, but our relationship was bad since it was one-sided.
Fake friends are not interested in you, they’re only interested in themselves. A good sign to tell is that they almost only talk about themselves.
2. How interested are they in you?
Do they ask you a lot of questions about you? Do you get to talk about your problems and get support or help from them?
Real friends are interested in you and what’s going on in your life. Fake friends are not interested in getting to know you on a deeper level.
Some do care about you but just aren’t used to asking questions. But if you tell something important about you or your life – do they listen?
3. What type of people do they hang out with?
I remember when one of my friends started dating a new girl. He told me she was amazing, but she had some troubling behaviors he was worried about.
Then he told me how his girlfriend’s best friend was a super big douche bag. And she also regularly hang out with some sketchy people.
That got me thinking, why would a good person hang out with bad people like that? Sure, we all make bad choices and it’s often hard to know. But when someone’s best friend is a big douche bag and they even hang out with other bad people, that’s a BIG RED WARNING SIGN.
So, if you don’t like the friends of your friend, that’s a warning flag.
4. Do they apologize and owe their mistakes up to you?
My best friend once forgot about our date and I was left alone in the middle of town. I called him and he was extremely embarrassed and apologetic about it. He later made up for it by making a fantastic lunch for me.
A fake friend would probably not really care, maybe they would be a bit annoyed or irritated that you even mentioned it.
Real friends make mistakes, but they own up to them and apologize. Fake friends don’t.
5. Do they lie to you or others?
A white lie is one thing, but if someone regularly lies, that’s a good way to tell they don’t have a good character.
It’s not easy to know if they’re lying to you, but it’s usually easier to see if they’re lying to others or if they’re insincere.
6. How do they make you feel about yourself?
This is a tricky sign. But ask yourself how you feel when you are with your friends? And how do you feel afterward? Did they do or say anything that affected your mood negatively?
If your situation is hard to read, describe it in the comments below and I’ll help you out!
Here’s what bad friends can make you feel like:
- You feel bad about yourself
- You feel there’s something wrong with you
- You feel you’re not good enough
- You feel you need to change yourself to fit in
- You feel ashamed about yourself
Real friends lift you up and make you feel good about yourself.
7. Are they critical of your achievements?
Fake friends criticize
Good friends can give constructive criticism when you need it, but mostly they just support you and make sure you know how awesome you are for your achievement.
8. Do they understand your limitations?
Real friends understand when you can’t or don’t want to do something.
Fake friends will expect a lot from you, and get angry or irritated when you disappoint them.
Real friends have reasonable expectations on you, and they are understanding of your mistakes and flaws.
9. Do they respect your boundaries?
Fake friends overstep your boundaries and make you do and accept things you don’t want.
Real friends respect you and your boundaries. And if they accidentally go too far, they apologize when you tell them.
10. How do they react when you tell them something you’re proud or happy about?
Fake friends get envious and jealous when you do good and they will probably try to put you down in those situations.
Good friends will be happy for you.
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11. Do they stand up for you?
I remember when I was at this house party. Most of us knew each other, but the “leader” of our group never really seemed to like me.
He often gave me backhanded compliments and were always critical of me. And at this party he started making fun of me in front of some girls, it was all disguised as “a joke”.
I even tried to laugh together with them to play along.
I didn’t notice how mean he was until later on when one of my other friends told me how uncomfortable that situation was. He said he didn’t think it was ok to behave as our “leader” did. My friend actually talked to our leader about it after that.
Standing up for me like that really meant a lot for me, even if nobody dared to stand up for me immediately, I could tell by my friend’s reaction that he was a true friend. And that also made me see that our “leader” wasn’t a real friend.
12. Is there always some sort of drama going on in their life?
Ever heard someone say “I don’t like drama” even if they seem to constantly be surrounded by drama? That person is usually the one creating a lot of that drama.
Fake friends are often drama queens. They make a big deal of small things and because they can’t own up to their mistakes, the drama just keeps going.
Real friends try to solve your differences and find a nice middle ground where you both agree with each other.
13. Do they help you out when you need it?
Fake friends ask you to do a lot for them and help them out, and their requests are often borderline unreasonable, but you never get anything back.
Nobody can be expected to help you with everything, but real friends are ready to help you when you truly need it.
14. Do they act differently when around others?
Are they mean when you are one-on-one, but “fake nice” when around others? Or is it the other way around, that they’re nice one-on-one and mean toward you around others?
Fake friends act differently when other people are around. This is a manipulative behavior that’s not acceptable.
15. Do they talk bad about you behind your back?
Fake friends talk shit and gossip about others with you. That’s a sign that they might gossip about you behind your back when you can’t hear it.
Real friends mostly say good things about others and good things about you.
16. Do they seem happy to see you?
When I first got to know David (the founder of SocialPro), I remember how he always greeted me with a big smile and a hug. I instantly felt great around him and wanted to be with him more.
When someone makes you feel good around them, that’s a good sign they’re also a good person and a good friend.
Fake friends are often in a bad mood, they’re irritated on you or others and need to vent A LOT. Real friends need to vent too, but there should be a balance so you also get something positive out of the relationship.
17. Can you be yourself around them?
Can you relax and be yourself around your friend? Or do you have to put on a mask and fake it to fit in? If you can’t, it might be time to stop keeping in touch with them.
Real friends allow you to be yourself because they accept you and like you for who you are. Fake friends don’t.
18. Can you trust them to keep a secret?
Fake friends will tell your secrets to others because they don’t really care about you.
Real friends can be trusted with your secrets. It’s not black and white, but if someone has betrayed your trust more than once (and not apologized!), it might be time to rethink your relationship.
19. Do they try to one-up you?
Fake friends will try to one-up you. For example, if you tell them you got a new phone, they will claim their phone is better, or they will criticize your phone.
The reason they act like this is often because they have an inferiority complex and need to prove they’re better than everyone else.
20. “It was just a joke”
Have you ever told someone you got offended/hurt, and they defended themselves with the classic “I was just joking”?
That means they’re not owning they’re bad behavior and they’re not apologizing, both signs of a bad friend. A good friend will not (regularly) brush your feeling off like that and they will try to make amends instead of excuses.
Have you ever had any fake or bad friends? How did you notice? Write it down in the comments below and help others in similar situations as you!
P.S. If you’re still unsure about your friendship, read about the signs of a toxic friendship here.