20 Signs Of A Fake Friend and Incredible Ways To Deal With Them

In the age of social media, our networks of friends and acquaintances have expanded exponentially. However, amidst this digital connectivity, there is a growing concern about the prevalence of fake friends – individuals who present themselves as friends but lack genuine emotional connection or support.

Fake friends can manifest in various forms, from superficial acquaintances to manipulative individuals who exploit relationships for personal gain.

Research on Signs of a fake friend delves into the psychological and social dynamics underlying these deceptive interactions. Understanding the phenomenon of fake friends is crucial for navigating complex social landscapes and fostering authentic connections.

One aspect of research on fake friends explores the motivations behind deceptive behavior in social interactions. Studies suggest that individuals may engage in fake friendships to gain social status, access resources, or fulfill personal needs.

These findings underscore the instrumental nature of some friendships, where individuals prioritize their own interests over genuine emotional connection.

Moreover, Ryan & Xenos, in their 2011 research indicate that the prevalence of fake friends is not confined to offline interactions but extends to online platforms as well. The anonymity and distance afforded by social media platforms create fertile ground for the proliferation of fake friendships

Individuals may curate carefully crafted personas to attract followers and validation, blurring the lines between authentic friendships and superficial connections.

Furthermore, Gibbs et al., 2013; Wright et al., 2017 study on fake friends shed light on the psychological toll of deceptive relationships on individuals’ well-being. Research suggests that exposure to fake friendships can lead to feelings of distrust, isolation, and emotional distress

The erosion of trust in interpersonal relationships can have far-reaching consequences, undermining individuals’ ability to form genuine connections and maintain meaningful friendships.

20 Signs of Fake Friends

Selective Availability

They are always there for you when they need something but disappear when you need them. Fake friends often show up only when it’s convenient for them.

Constantly Competing

Instead of being genuinely happy for your successes, they try to one-up you or belittle your achievements. This competitive behavior is a sign of jealousy and insecurity.

Gossiping Behind Your Back

Fake friends may engage in gossip or spread rumors about you, betraying your trust and damaging your reputation.

Lack of Support

They are unsupportive or dismissive of your goals and aspirations. True friends encourage and uplift each other, while fake friends may undermine your ambitions.

Fair-Weather Friendship

Their loyalty fluctuates based on circumstances. They stick around during good times but disappear during tough times when you need them the most.

Manipulative Behavior

Fake friends may manipulate or exploit you for personal gain, whether it’s using your resources, connections, or emotional support without reciprocating.


They distort or deny reality to make you doubt your own perceptions or experiences. Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation aimed at undermining your confidence and self-esteem.

Conditional Friendship

Their friendship comes with strings attached. They expect you to conform to their expectations or meet their demands in exchange for their friendship.

Lack of Empathy

Fake friends lack genuine empathy and compassion. They are indifferent to your feelings or struggles and may even derive pleasure from your misfortunes.

Flattery for Gain

They shower you with insincere compliments or flattery to manipulate you into doing something for them. Their praise is often superficial and self-serving.

Betrayal of Trust

They betray your trust by sharing your secrets or confidential information with others. Trust is the foundation of any friendship, and betrayal erodes the bond between friends.


Fake friends are self-absorbed and prioritize their own needs and interests above yours. They rarely take your feelings or perspective into consideration.

Ignoring Boundaries

They disregard your boundaries and personal space, whether it’s invading your privacy, borrowing your belongings without permission, or overstepping your boundaries in social situations.

No Genuine Interest

They show little to no genuine interest in your life, well-being, or happiness. Conversations often revolve around them, and they don’t take the time to listen or empathize with you.

Negative Influence

They encourage unhealthy behaviors or habits instead of looking out for your best interests. Fake friends may lead you astray or drag you down with their negative influence.


They are inconsistent in their words and actions, making it difficult to trust them. Their behavior may change depending on who they’re with or what they stand to gain.

Using You as a Backup

They only reach out to you when their other plans fall through or when they have no one else to hang out with. You feel like a second choice or backup option rather than a priority.

No Reciprocity

There’s a lack of reciprocity in the relationship, with one-sided efforts and investments. You find yourself constantly giving without receiving anything in return.

Making You Feel Insecure

They subtly or overtly undermine your self-esteem or confidence to keep you reliant on them. Fake friends may criticize your appearance, abilities, or choices to maintain control over you.

Dismissive of Your Feelings

They invalidate or minimize your feelings, dismissing your concerns as trivial or unwarranted. Fake friends may brush off your emotions or tell you to “just get over it,” instead of offering genuine support and understanding.

Recognizing these signs can help you identify fake friends and prioritize authentic relationships built on trust, respect, and mutual support.

Impacts of Fake Friends

  1. Emotional Distress: Interactions with fake friends can lead to emotional distress, including feelings of betrayal, loneliness, and sadness. Discovering that someone you trusted has been insincere or manipulative can be deeply hurtful and damaging to self-esteem.

  2. Trust Issues: Being deceived or manipulated by fake friends can erode trust in others. Individuals may become wary of forming new friendships or struggle to trust even genuine people, leading to isolation and difficulty in building meaningful relationships.

  3. Self-Doubt: Constant exposure to fake friendships can sow seeds of self-doubt and insecurity. Individuals may question their judgment in choosing friends, wonder if they are worthy of genuine friendship, or internalize negative beliefs about themselves based on the treatment they receive.

  4. Stress and Anxiety: Dealing with fake friends and navigating the complexities of superficial relationships can contribute to chronic stress and anxiety. The fear of being taken advantage of or the pressure to maintain appearances can take a toll on mental health.

  5. Impact on Well-Being: The emotional toll of fake friendships can spill over into physical well-being, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or even exacerbating existing health conditions. Chronic stress resulting from fake friendships can weaken the immune system and increase vulnerability to illness.

  6. Social Withdrawal: Individuals may withdraw from social interactions or become more guarded in their relationships as a coping mechanism to protect themselves from further harm. This withdrawal can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, exacerbating the negative impact of fake friendships.

  7. Difficulty in Authentic Connection: Experiencing fake friendships may make it challenging for individuals to distinguish between genuine and superficial relationships. They may struggle to open up or trust others fully, hindering their ability to form authentic connections with others.

  8. Impact on Future Relationships: Negative experiences with fake friends can shape individuals’ perceptions and behaviors in future relationships. They may become more cautious or guarded, have difficulty in establishing trust, or exhibit avoidant tendencies to protect themselves from potential hurt.

  9. Loss of Time and Energy: Investing time and energy in fake friendships that offer little or no return can detract from pursuing genuine connections and meaningful experiences. Individuals may realize too late that they’ve wasted valuable resources on relationships that were never truly fulfilling.

  10. Reevaluation of Values: Experiencing fake friendships often prompts individuals to reevaluate their values and priorities in relationships. They may become more discerning in choosing friends, placing greater emphasis on qualities such as authenticity, trustworthiness, and mutual respect.

Ways To Deal With Fake Friends

  1. Learn from the Experience: Use the experience of dealing with fake friends as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself and your relationships, and use these insights to inform your future interactions and choices.

  2. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries in your relationships to protect yourself from manipulation or exploitation. Communicate your expectations and limits assertively, and be prepared to enforce them if necessary.

  3. Limit Exposure: Minimize your interactions with fake friends and limit the time and energy you invest in maintaining these relationships. Focus your attention and resources on cultivating genuine connections with people who respect and appreciate you.

  4. Avoid Confiding Personal Information: Refrain from sharing sensitive or confidential information with fake friends, as they may use it against you or betray your trust. Keep conversations light and superficial, maintaining a degree of distance and privacy.

  5. Confront the Issue: If you feel comfortable and safe doing so, consider confronting your fake friend about their behavior. Express your concerns calmly and assertively, and give them an opportunity to explain themselves or apologize. However, be prepared for potential denial or defensiveness.

  6. Seek Support from Genuine Friends: Lean on your genuine friends and trusted confidants for support and validation. Surround yourself with people who uplift and empower you, providing a strong support system to counteract the negative influence of fake friendships.

  7. Trust Your Instincts: Pay attention to your gut feelings and intuition about the sincerity of your friendships. If something feels off or inconsistent, trust your instincts and take the necessary precautions.
  8. Focus on Self-Care: Prioritize self-care and well-being to mitigate the emotional toll of dealing with fake friends. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, practice mindfulness and self-reflection, and prioritize your physical and mental health.

  9. Practice Detachment: Emotionally detach yourself from the toxic dynamics of fake friendships and avoid getting entangled in drama or conflict. Maintain a sense of perspective and prioritize your own happiness and peace of mind above all else.

  10. Move On: If attempts to salvage the friendship prove futile or detrimental to your well-being, consider distancing yourself or cutting ties with the fake friend altogether. Surround yourself with positive influences and focus on building authentic connections with people who value and respect you.

Identifying fake friends is essential for maintaining genuine relationships. Recognizing behaviors like selective availability and manipulation can protect against emotional distress. Addressing fake friendships requires proactive steps, setting boundaries, confronting issues, and cultivating self-awareness.

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