Regardless of how great you are at friendships, the chances of you connecting with a fake friend at some point are super high. The reason is that there are so many people out there who either don’t know how to be a true friend, or they choose not to be.
Let’s start by talking a bit about what a fake friend may be like. What are some characteristics and how you might be able to spot them?
How To Spot Fake Friends
Those that cannot or will not form healthy friendships have some common characteristics. You’ll want to be sure you’re on the lookout for them as you try to cultivate and grow friendships.
- Selfishness– The first characteristic that comes to mind is selfishness. Fake friends will be selfish. They’ll primarily want a friendship with you because of what you can do for them. They’re not big on reciprocating. They want discussions to be about them, their lives, their problems, and so on. You might go to them with a problem or concern, and rather than listen and offer you some emotional support; they start talking about their own problems. Or tell you to get over it. And, they’ll rarely contact you unless they want or need something.
- Gossip – Another common characteristic of fake friends is gossip. If your friend is gossiping about others, chances are they’re gossiping about you too when you’re not around. Fake friends usually lack self-esteem, so by talking badly about others or judging them, they tend to feel better about themselves. If you’re around someone and they’re gossiping, take note that it’s a red flag.
- Won’t Allow You To Be Authentic – Fake friends tend to be horrible at allowing others to be authentic. If you’re trying to stand up for yourself or something, you believe in, and your friend is flipping out or obviously upset about it, take note. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to wear a mask or hide your authentic self with a true friend, as real friends can accept and love without conditions.
- They Are Dream Crushers – Fake friends aren’t going to get excited about your goals and dreams. They won’t be elated if you have exciting news to share. Sure, they may try to act excited and be like, “Oh, yay for you”. But inside, they’re silently hoping you won’t be successful because if you do, you’ll be stealing some of their shine.
Here are some other red flags to watch out for:
- You feel drained when you’re doing talking or hanging out to them
- You feel like you owe them something
- You have to walk on eggshells, for fear of upsetting them
- You can’t trust them
- Your friendship is primarily about them
- They sell you out when you’re around others, causing you to feel inferior or betrayed
How To Avoid/Drop Fake Friends
If you realize that you’ve got one or more fake friends in your life, it’s time to stand up for yourself and learn how you can avoid or drop them completely. Granted, it might not be easy, especially if you weigh some of your self-worth on the approval of others.
However, it’s possible with some consistency and practice.
The following are things to keep in mind if you’re ready to drop a fake friend:
- Realize that the person probably won’t like you avoiding them. When you take your energy away from them, they’ll likely feel the loss of attention. They might not admit it, but they love the way you’re always there for them. They need your attention to feel good about themselves, so be prepared for them to come to you trying to get you back.
- Set your boundaries. If you’ve decided to drop a fake friend, let them go fully. Don’t ignore them one day, and then reach out the next because you feel bad for them. It’s alright to cut ties with a toxic person, so set your boundaries and stick to them.
- If you want to ditch them slowly, simply be less available to them. Let them know you’re busy with other things, and each week, pull away more and more. Eventually, they should get the idea.
- Keep in mind that you can drop a fake friend in a kind and compassionate way. You don’t have to be mean. They might not react in a friendly way, but you can choose to be the bigger person.
How To Deal With Fake Friends
If you have a fake friend in your life, but you aren’t really wanting to cut them out of your life completely, there are some things you can do to tolerate them.
The first thing you might want to do is sit and have a real heart-to-heart conversation with them. Let them know how you’re feeling about your friendship. If they’re being demanding, mean, bossy, etc., let them know. And, let them know that you’re not willing to put up with it any longer. You’re setting a boundary and you’d appreciate it if they would not cross that boundary.
This gives them the opportunity to shape up. Granted, not every fake friend will want to shape up or even know-how. These are the ones that may get upset and ditch you, which you may not mind.
If having an honest conversation with them doesn’t help, you can learn to deal with them in various ways, such as:
- Keeping your distance emotionally and proximity-wise. Gravitate more toward your real friends.
- Visit with them in small doses. Don’t think you have to spend hours or all day with them. Just meet up with them in small doses, if you want to keep the connection between you two. This allows you to have plenty of free time to spend with true friends.
- Stay aligned with who you are. Remember that your worth comes from inside you; it’s an inner thing. If you have to deal with that fake friend, remind yourself that you’re worthy of respect, unconditional love, and happiness. And, remember that this comes from you first! So, practice self-care and self-love, and even if that fake friend tries to bring you down, it won’t work!
The Bottom Line
Fake friends can make friendship a daunting task. Know that you don’t have to hang onto them any longer. A toxic friendship makes for a drama-filled life, where you’re getting the raw end of the deal.
So, don’t be afraid to address that fake friendship in a way where you stand up for your awesome self. Set boundaries and do your best to keep them. Remember that you can call the shots when it comes to true, healthy friendships that last for the long haul!