20 Signs Of Fake Friends And How To Find Real Friends

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I deeply value the small circle of women in my life who are my closest real friends, and I make a concerted effort to be authentic and not a fake friend to them.

Developing this amazing circle of friendships and becoming the kind of friend myself that I would like to have in others has taken a lot of time and energy.

It has taken years to realize exactly what I need in a friendship, how I want to relate to my friends, and how I want to feel when I'm around them.

Real Friends vs. Fake Friends

In the past, I was not as mindful or intentional about my friendships. I focused more on trying to make myself fit into the friendship rather than finding friends who were a good match for me. I spent more effort than was reasonable trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I now see more clearly how to spot a fake friend.

I sure wish I'd had more insight into myself and my real friendship needs earlier in life.

Maybe I would have avoided some painful relationships if I had known how to tell if a friendship was fake. Time and emotional maturity have helped me learn how to be a better friend and a better “friend picker.”

Even so, I've learned so much from all of my friendships, including those that were difficult or ended badly. I'm grateful for all of them because they have enhanced my life and taught me valuable lessons.

Sometimes it's hard to discern real friends from fake friends who are toxic, manipulative, or merely apathetic. It takes some time and life experience with someone to learn how to spot a fake friend.

If you have struggled with fake friends, here are some things you need to know.

What are the signs of a fake friend?

Sometimes it's hard to know if a new friend is real or fake.

This person initially might be caring and attentive, only to show their true colors once you are engaged in the friendship.

If you are highly sensitive or a people pleaser, you might be vulnerable to the kind of friend who takes advantage of you or manipulates you.

You might confuse their passive aggressive behaviors as signs that you need to step up and give more.

Here are 20 signs of fake friends that you need to be aware of:

1. They tend to disappear when you need their friendship most.

2. They frequently gossip about other friends to you (so they likely gossip about you as well).

3. They try to make you feel guilty or use passive aggressive behaviors when things don't go their way.

4. They have a hard time being happy for your successes and achievements.

5. They are disinterested in getting to know you on a deeper level.

mannequin head fake friends

6. They put you down for your opinions or beliefs.

7. They judge your flaws and mistakes harshly.

8. They rarely initiate get-togethers or calls to connect.

9. They always turn the conversation back to themselves.

10. They never stand up for you in front of others.

11. They frequently break promises or “forget” commitments.

12. They have a heightened sense of self-importance and entitlement.

13. They use back-handed compliments to confuse and wound you.

14. They say things to embarrass or shame you in front of others.

15. They call you only when it appears they have nothing better to do.

16. They are quick to take offense or get angry with you.

17. They hold your past mistakes over you and won't let them go.

18. They infect you and everyone else with their bad mood or ill temper.

19. They forget the important things going on in your life.

mannequin in window fake friends

20. They can easily drop you as a friend when it suits them.

How to deal with fake friends.

Any friendship that consistently shows these negative signs will be emotionally draining for you.

If the fake friend will not listen to your concerns and is defensive when you talk about your needs and boundaries, it is time to let go. Life is too short to hang onto a fake friendship that can turn into a toxic relationship.

Like any good relationship, a solid friendship requires effort and commitment from both people. You deserve the kind of real friend you want to be to others.

Sometimes it's hard to know if a friend is sincere and trustworthy. It's helpful to know the signs and qualities to look for in a true friend.

How to know who are your real friends.

Look at this list of real friend signs to know who your real friends are:

1. They are with you in good times and bad.

infographic of signs of Fake Friends2It's easy to be a friend when things are going well and life is easy.

But it's during the times when life is hard and things aren't going so well for you that you really need a friend.

A true friend doesn't disappear when the going gets rough.

When you are suffering through a divorce or break-up, struggling financially, or dealing with a health challenge, a real friend will be right by your side, offering a listening ear and loving support.

2. They want you to succeed and be happy.

Have you ever had a friend who seems jealous or dismissive of your success or happiness?

Maybe you've found a new romantic partner, and you're wildly happy. But your friend doesn't share your enthusiasm and finds a way to make passive remarks that are critical and hurtful.

Or you've had a recent promotion at work, but your friend diminishes your achievements by ignoring them or putting you down for bragging.

Read Related: A Simple Guide to Making New Friends

A real friend is authentically happy when you are happy and successful. He or she celebrates with you and is proud of you.

If there is a twinge of jealousy or envy about your good fortune, a real friend makes an effort to keep those feelings from spoiling your joy.

3. They are quick to forgive and forget.

We all say or do things with our friends from time to time that can be thoughtless or hurtful. Maybe we forget to call as promised or make a remark that is less than kind.

Some friends can't seem to let these things go, even after a sincere apology is offered. They frequently bring up the offense and use it as a weapon to hurt you or make you feel bad.

Maybe they try to use it as leverage to gain the “upper hand” in the friendship and manipulate you.

A real friend is quick to accept your apology and willing to move on without dousing you with guilt or shaming. A real friend wants to heal the connection, especially when you have apologized sincerely.

4. They respect your opinions, even if they don't share them.

In the past year, I've observed how the political climate has torn apart the friendships of some people around me. One or both people are so entrenched in their beliefs that they can no longer talk civilly with each other.

You may have had friends yourself who want to impose their beliefs or opinions on you. If you don't agree with them, they get angry, frustrated, or critical.

A true friend is able to rise above a difference of opinion in order to preserve the friendship. They are willing to listen and respond respectfully without making personal judgments or attacks.

5. They listen and show interest in you.

Some friends seem oblivious to your moods or state of mind. If you talk about something that's bothering you, they deflect the conversation to themselves or something unrelated.

They seem too distracted, disinterested, or self-involved to take the time to listen empathically and really understand you.

Read Related: 30 Almost Painless Ways To Meet New People

A real friend wants to go beyond superficial conversation and meaningless chit-chat. They invest the time to listen attentively and become more engaged in your inner life.

They care about who you are and want to know you on a deeper level.

6. They make an equal effort to connect.

Are you often the one in a friendship who is always initiating?

You always make the call to plan a dinner or outing. You make yourself available to your friend, but your friend doesn't prioritize you the same way.

This uneven balance of effort in the friendship is draining and frustrating. Over time, it makes you feel disrespected and unloved by your friend.

A real friend invests equal time and energy into maintaining the relationship. He or she initiates plans, reaches out to talk, and shows a similar willingness to prioritize the friendship.

7. They love you in spite of your flaws.

We all have our little quirks and flaws. Maybe we talk too much, laugh too loudly, or sing off key.

Some friends latch on to these flaws and try to embarrass or shame us about them. Or they seem irritated or embarrassed, believing our quirks reflect poorly on them.

A friend who truly cares about you can overlook these flaws, knowing that they don't represent the entirety of who you are. They love and care for the real you and can accept that we all come with baggage and blemishes.

8. They are loyal and trustworthy.

There's nothing worse than a friend who breaks your trust. They gossip about you, sharing your personal information or confidences when you've asked them not to.

They don't stand up for you in front of others, or they fail to follow through on promises or commitments.

A real friendship must be grounded in trust and loyalty. You need to have faith that your friend will never betray your trust, talk behind your back, or diminish you in front of others.


This may interest you:

Would you like to question your way to lasting love and intimacy?

If so, then check out my bestselling book called “201 Relationship Questions: The Couple's Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy“.

Mutual questioning is a powerful technique to draw out deeper emotions and desires and address potential areas of conflict before they disrupt your closeness. The right questions inspire understanding, compassion, and action for positive change.


9. They are non-judgmental.

We've all done stupid things or made poor decisions in life, and the last thing we need during these times are friends who say, “I told you so,” or who remind us how stupid we've been.

A real friend has a way of helping us through these times without shame or judgment. They will give us a hug, help us get back on solid footing, and laugh with us about it when it's all over.

They know our true essence and have faith in us that we will get back on track and do better next time.

10. They are fun to be around.

Have you had those friends who are draining to be around? They complain frequently, never seem excited about anything, and always seem to spoil the good mood of everyone around them.

Some people aren't happy until they infect everyone else with their sour mood or unpleasant attitude. They enjoy stirring the pot and creating conflict.

20 Sad Signs of a Fake Friend and 10 Amazing Signs of a Real Friend. Click To Tweet

A real friend lifts you up and wants to enjoy life with you. This friend generally has a positive attitude, is quick to laugh, and makes you feel good just to be around him or her.

Can a fake friend become a real friend?

Often these fake friends are selfish, immature, or unenlightened people who haven't learned emotional intelligence and don't understand what it takes to be a good friend.

Sometimes people grow and become more self-aware with age and maturity, and you may find a fake friend can evolve into a true friend over time.

In the meantime, it's important that you protect your emotional well-being by creating boundaries around these friendships or by stepping away from them completely.

If you find your friend is causing too much unhappiness and draining your emotional energy, then you may need to take a break and seek out other people who are more like-minded and willing to invest in a real friendship.

How to Make Real Friends

The best way to prevent yourself from falling into the fake friend trap is by being more mindful about who you develop friendships with moving forward.

A little preemptive effort and awareness can help you avoid the heartache and frustration of a toxic friendship. Here are some ideas to help you:

1. Define what a real friend means to you.

You've read through the qualities of real friendship that I outlined above. But do you have any other qualities that you feel are essential for a true, blue friend?

Take a few minutes to write down all of the qualities you want in a friend — and those that are unacceptable in a potential friend.

2. Pay attention and ask good questions.

When you meet someone who could be a potential friend, pay attention to how this person talks about his or her other friends.

Does this person gossip and share private information about someone whom they consider a friend? Are they quick to judge others during your conversation? Do they seem more interested in talking about themselves than in learning about you?

Without giving a new friend the third degree, ask questions that will reveal more about this person, like:

  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • How would your long-term friends describe you?
  • Do you have any friends that have different political opinions? How do you handle that?
  • What do you treasure or value most in life?

3. Go places where you'll meet like-minded friends.

You can't stay at home and expect new friends to show up at your doorstep. You have to go find them. Where do you think the people who are friendship material are most likely to hang out? Some ideas include:

  • At a party or event held by one of your real friends.
  • At a MeetUp or other interest-oriented gathering.
  • In a book club.
  • At church or another religious event.
  • During a volunteer gig.
  • On an online friendship matching site like Friend Match.

4. Initiate an outing.

If you meet someone who seems promising as a potential friend, invite this person out for coffee or lunch or to take a walk. Do something together where you'll be forced to talk and get to know each other.

This new person may have many friends already, and he or she may not be as motivated to initiate, but don't let that put you off.

Most of us who are interested in real friendships are happy to broaden our circles with someone new who is also authentic and seeking a mutually supportive friendship.

5. Don't give up.

It's easy to develop “friendly acquaintances” and even friendships that are more superficial or just for fun outings. But finding and developing true friends can take time.

Don't give up if you don't find that special and unique friendship right away. Keep looking and refining what you are looking for. And try to enjoy meeting new and different people along the way.

Before long, you will encounter that exceptional person who is waiting for a friend like you!

Did you find any value from the comparison of a real vs. fake friend?

I hope you found this post helpful. I hope you'll use these signs to make better choices when it comes to creating your circle of friendships. Which sign of a fake friend concerns you most? Which attribute in a real friend do you most desire?

Would you like to support others?

It would be really great if you could help me spread some love and help others who are struggling with their friendships. Would you be willing to share this post on your preferred social media channel?

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 26 comments
  • Lindsay Sunde

    I’ve had to cut everyone out aside from my husband. After too many years of too many problems it was necessary. I talk to people very vaguely and they usually just guess from there I think. Or, in my case try to cause drama. For many years now I have just stayed to myself.

    Reply
  • Natasha

    My Name is natasha and i’m 12, my “best friend” told me that her mom said i was a bad friend. she would always leave me for other close friends. is this a sign of a fake friend? and if it is, what should i do?

    Reply
      Leslie

      I don’t know if I would call that a fake friend but I will say that she isn’t a really good friend if she’s saying all that to you.

      Reply
      nmnnm

      idk

      Reply
      Stacey

      You should do what you think is right, if any of your friends go through the same thing , help them and make sure they stay safe, too show them you’re a real friend.

      Reply
      Laila

      They are fake then because they are leaving you out. Tell them how you feel about your relationship with them and stand up to them if they start beef

      Reply
      Emily malec

      I can highly Agree with this! If somebody Tells you Your fake, Not worth your time and saying its There “MOM” Saying this it may sound Fake, Most parents want to put positive not the other way around, Im 11 this summer i am 12 already there is drama and gossip. This sign you are given is a “BAD FRIEND” Reply from: Emily Malec

      Reply
      karla

      yes it is ture

      Reply
      destiny

      maybe tell her that u don’t like being left like that and if she does it again then maybe say that the friendship is over that is what i do when i have fake friends

      Reply
      Dana

      Yes they are fake friends sorry to tell you

      Reply
  • Leslie

    Recently I’ve found my close group of friends had cut me off. I’ve become busy with my own life often forgetting about them: canceling plans, forgetting plans, not being ‘present’ during our conversations. I look at these notes and I find I’m not a fake friend but rather, I was a really bad friend. And in turn of that my friends have become in holding resentment and anger towards me. Now I’m trying to work towards that and be more present, trying to remember our plans more… yet I still feel the awkwardness of our past friendship as now they’ve all become dishonest towards me. Understanding their anger I held it against myself and told myself if I keep trying maybe things will go back the way they used to. But the problem is, I feel the friendship has already gone beyond toxic and the only thing I can do for now is work on myself. And maybe one day we’ll all come together again and become all better friends. Yet at the same time this feeling still really hurts me. We all hold different values to the point where I now feel like ‘the outcast of the group.’ I’m very vocal with my opinions and I find as I’ve gotten older and seen more of life, I’ve become more open and factual with my information especially when it comes to people. I say things that don’t please them when we debate and I’m often the only one disagreeing with them. If not I’m often defending myself. I’m also calling them out when they’re being insensitive or when they’ve said something that has made me upset. Yet I still forgive them and hope they can as well, because…. I see we’re friends.. or I hope they still feel the same way. Yet despite all of this, seeing them become so dishonest with me like this is the thing that makes me the most upset. I feel the awkwardness whenever I come into the circle, I get thrown really passive-aggressive jokes towards myself personally, or sometimes when I make a comment I feel totally ignored or I’m not cared for. I wish I could do something to help revert things to go back to the way they used to but I can’t. From the way things are now I’ve felt things have just become so toxic and fake I’ve decided I can only find better friends for now and work on myself. And hope for one day we’ll all be better friends again when we all meet again… Maybe after we’ve all gone through our own trials in life. And I think that’s the only we can do

    Reply
      Lisa

      After reading your story, I had to reply. Your friends sound really awful. baaad sheeple. I know you hurt because of this but it really is not you doing anything wrong. I am glad you can see this too. I think you sound a lovely honest and caring person. I am in a similar boat. Best thing to do is keep away. Its lonely but nobody can bring you down anymore.
      My friend liked to gossip about me. She would use me for social leverage. It has put me right off ever trusting people but I hope one day in the future that will maybe change. Not everybody is bad like your friends and mine. Be your own best friend in the meantime. Giving you a wee mind hug. 😀
      A shallow friend once told me that I am too deep.

      Reply
  • kagiso

    Any friend who makes you feel inferior and believes they’re doing you a favour by hanging out with you because they’ve plenty of cooler friends they can hang out with cut ties with them because they’ll use you like a tool and drop you when they’re done.To them you’re just a messenger.

    Reply
  • Arya

    What do you do if you beacame best friends, and then they are going to be you boss next year?

    Reply
  • Stacey

    hi,I’m Stacey, I’m 11 years old, and i have really good friends, at least thats what i thought.You see I have a BFF named desirae, she was the best, she loves to draw, we have the same interests, but then something happened around February, she started to ignore and avoid me, something i probably should have mentioned is that I’m highly sensitive, so i will cry easily over small things, she told me that i was being too mean, or that i am to dramatic, i told her it was a part of me, but she still ignores me and is very judgemental, rude, gossiping, and other things i cannot describe.this is caring me to a state to were iiim nearly depressed, this is not the onl thing, i also have family issues, my BFF is making it harder for me, and my true BFF is moving away when she graduates, about 2 hours away from where i live.To this day, I protect my family members, but mainly my cousins, and my lil bro, i make sure they live happier than me, even if it means i have to give up my happiness for them and give it away to them.

    Reply
      Shealynn Sever

      wow though

      Reply
      Clementine

      Same situation here, I’m having a bad time figuring out whether my BFF is fake or not, it’s hard to determine…..she always left my messages on read and she doesn’t seem to want to know more about me.I hope I can figure it out

      Reply
  • Shealynn Sever

    Hi my name is shealynn and i have been having some problomes my two best friends in the world were so sad i was moving their names were kaityn and brooklynn anyways they were very sad i was moving schools and i was trying to stay at my old school but,they pushed me way too far and me and my family moved to somewhere else and so i had another old friend that moved there and her name was nadalie and so kaityn and brooklynn were trying to talk gossip behind my
    back when i was going threw alot and they tried to get nadalie to join i was supper sad

    What should i do?

    Reply
      Clementine

      Just ignore them, they just want to attract attention, these idiotic actions doesn’t worth to occupy your mind.

      Reply
  • Zara

    I have this friend, Mia. We have been friends for more than 2 years. Her birthday was coming up and I asked what are you doing for it. She replayed that she is going to invite 3 close friends. She looked right into my eye and said this. She had said this during lunch, so when I went to study one of her ¨close¨ friends said to another girl ¨did you get the invitation for Mia´s party¨ and then i said ¨Mia is having a party?¨ and the girl said yes. Then i learned that she did not invite me and that she invited like 7 other people, none of them me. Fake ass. I thought I would get invited, I am also 12 and in middle school. My mom was right, the people you trusted the most can betray me. I decided to drop her for me other friends. The thing is if I drop her i drop the friend group. and i was not ok w it and i am ok w it. 50 50. I am ignoring her fake ass and dropping her for other friends. bye mia

    Reply
  • peter otieno oduor

    hello am Peter 21 years old and i have two “frends”who dont mean what they say or always tend to break our plans are they realy true frends?what should i do to work out my plans and be sucessfull

    Reply
  • Ynah

    I already have real friends that i just met in a year they are 2 years ahead of me, they recently became my soul family, people i love and trust …
    While there are 6 of my long term friends from gr1 to gr6 that turned their backs on me for almost a year. i eventually forgave them and 1 of them became somehow of a real friend but the 5 of them are still topsy-turvy…
    Another one of them who WAS my 2nd best friend, she and i ended up as strangers, i forgave her but im still trying not to hate her, but she’s done a lot… And i want to talk to her about it but she’s so immature.

    Reply
      Clementine

      You should probably ignore her as well, she does not deserve a second chance, fake friends are always fake

      Reply
  • Ro

    I’m a 13 year old girl who has had argumentsupplied back and fourth with one of my best friends I was dealing with a lot of emotions finding my a exhaling and learning how to accept myself. During all of that time my best friend has been quite controlling towards people I care deeply about, these people turned on me for her and it annoys me I’ve been left to find who will accept me. Yet I really don’t know if this was a fake friendship I’m just unsure

    Reply
  • Lauren

    I had a friend named Dominic that was a good friend up until the time he got into a serious relationship then he didn’t make our friendship a priority he was good at contact but failed to keep his promises to hang out his girlfriend was kinda disrespectful to our friendship and I told him to dump her a thousand times or more but he wouldn’t listen so I had to cut him off I couldn’t support his relationship because I knew she was wrong for him and I hate her for what happened I honestly hate his girlfriend

    Reply
  • Mikki

    I’m Mikki. I have a friend who seems kind and genuine, but kind of doesn’t make much of an effort to talk to me as I do to her. I’m normally the first to reach out. I moved away from her and tried to keep in contact. It seems as though recently she hasn’t been interested. I would ask her to play a game or something and she said she was busy, and then when we finally call and stuff she would explain how boring some of the days were in her week, and how she played the game with others. I thought nothingof it. Then my friends and I are in a group chat, which at first again everything was fine, then she started making memes about the chat, none included me. She claimed it was because I was so inactive, but I’m more active on it than she is and she included herself in all of it. Then she made pictures for everyone in the group but me. She changed since this, but I can’t help but think back to a few years ago when I admitted to her and another friend that I had depression, because I wanted to reach out for help, and then she whispered into the other friend’s ear and they changed the subject completely. She would use me as a last resort to hang out. The whole last resort thing seems to carry to today though. When I talk to her about my problems, she often returns it with her own and doesn’t really try to comfort me and mainly says ‘oof same’ or something along those lines. She would tell everyone else about something that was going on but would leave me out of it. And when the friends who were told brought it up she claimed she was busy. Is this a real friend? I’m unsure.

    Reply
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