Every friend group has the potential to have one fake person. They aren’t robots or lizards in costumes.
Instead, they’re someone who you have a bad feeling about maybe because they gossip too much or explicitly seek attention.
They’re the ones whose actions and words aren’t aligned; that talk badly behind the backs of someone you know; the ones that aren’t available for you when you’re available for them.
Interacting with these people can be stressful. They only add negativity to your life, whether they mean it or not.
In either case, here are 12 ways to help you deal with fake people.
1. Stay Respectful
If you don’t have anything nice to say to them, the wise thing to say is nothing at all.
So be respectful.
Try to keep your cool as much as possible.
But if you find that the person is crossing the line, getting angry can still be your option if that’s how you genuinely feel about them.
Let them know that their actions or words were offensive without directing your remarks to anything personal. Getting angry doesn’t always mean being rude, it means you’re serious.
2. Keep Your Distance
This is usually your first option when you encounter someone in your life that you’d rather not spend time with — just don’t spend time with them.
If you happen to work with them, you physically put distance between the two of you; it’s subtle and non-disrespectful.
Or if you happen to attend a party where they’ve also been invited, you aren’t obligated to interact with them. Walk away and don’t engage with them.
You can also limit your engagement online too; you can mute their profiles on social media so that you don’t have to be reminded of them whenever they post.
After all, most people live a fake life on social media.
If you’re really willing to cut your ties with them, you start unfriending them and blocking them too.
3. Limit What You Say
Since you run in the same circles and have the same friends, it’s highly probable that you’ll still find yourself interacting with that person.
If you do find yourself in a conversation with them, you’re allowed to limit what you say.
You don’t have to share all the details about how your weekend was if they ask about it; a general comment should suffice.
Gradually holding back the information that you give them about your personal life is another way for you to put some distance between you and them.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your life with them, you shouldn’t feel like you have to. Keep the conversation short and try not to be rude.
4. Bring It Up To Them
There are some relationships that are too important to lose.
So if you notice that someone from your friend group suddenly had a change in behavior, you can bring it up with them.
Be honest and upfront about it. It’s important to approach them with sincerity and genuine care, not anger and judgment.
Although you might mean well, people don’t often take lightly to being called “disingenuous” or “fake”, so expect some push back and disagreement on their side.
You can still politely ask them how they’ve been doing and if the both of you may have some problem you need to work together to overcome.
What is important here is that you brought it up with them, and not let the problem fester into total resentment and a burnt bridge.
5. Listen To Their Side
If you choose to bring up the problem with them, have empathy and listen to them. You want to find out the reason for their “fakeness”.
Sometimes, people just want to be heard.
Maybe they’ve been going through a rough patch at home or they’ve recently uncovered insecurity about themselves; hearing their stories and emotions helps you find a compromise, and potentially even space for forgiveness.
Friendship is a two-way street.
If you’re asking for a good friend, it pays to be one yourself. The reciprocation of trust is the foundation of a healthy friendship.
If you can approach the person being fake with kindness and compassion, there’s a chance that you might’ve just saved a valuable friendship and kept a lifelong friend.
6. Avoid Stooping To Their Level
Responding to their antics with their own antics might sound like an exciting and even fun idea at first, but there are consequences.
Gossiping about them or recreating their mean behaviors fosters negative energy among your friend group.
It has the potential to cause a rift between your friends — one that might be difficult to repair.
When you stoop to their level, you aren’t being sly — you become fake and toxic yourself; the very thing you wanted to avoid in the first place.
So be the better person. Don’t make the situation any harder than it needs to be. Hold your tongue when you get the impulse to fire back at them.
You can choose to ignore their comments and deal with them in a healthier way.
7. Show More Interest For Your Other Friends
Fake friends make you realize the value of real ones.
To avoid the toxicity of your fake friend, you can always choose to spend your time with the ones that you know have got your back; the ones that are honest with you without taking shots; the ones who are there for you, especially through the bad times.
When you’re more attentive to your real friends, you nonverbally show your preference for genuine and honest individuals.
Your fake friend might even be discouraged to continue with their behavior.
8. Talk To Your Other Friends About Them
There’s a chance if you notice something off about the way that your friend has been behaving, your other friends will have noticed it as well.
You can try bringing up the issue to your friends and ask for their opinions on the matter; they might know something about your fake friend that you didn’t, which makes it easier for you to forgive them.
Since you’re talking about your friend without them, it can be easy for it to become a gossip session or place to vent your frustrations.
A study has shown that instead of letting off anger, venting might encourage negative behavior — this time, with you. So try to keep the respect lest you become toxic yourselves.
9. Ask For Advice
If you’re unsure how to go about dealing with your friend, it can be helpful to ask for advice.
The words from a close friend, your family, even your fake friend’s relative might give you some perspective on your friend and the right thing to do.
There can also be times when the actions of a fake friend can cause some harm to your mental health.
Remember that your self-care should still be a priority in this situation.
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a professional to seek advice on how to deal with your emotions and navigate your feelings.
When you express your thoughts and feelings, you’re more able to see the problem clearly.
Toxicity and negativity can be damaging, so it’s best to deal with it as soon as you can before it ruins any more of your relationships.
10. Don’t Take It Personally
There are usually deep and personal reasons why fake people behave the way that they do — it might not even be about you.
They might have an insecurity about their identity that they want to cover up; or they don’t feel comfortable with themselves which is why they speak badly about other people behind their backs.
The unseen battles that people are fighting underscores the fact that you need to remain respectful and cool when you’re dealing with your friend who’s behaving in a fake way, no matter how annoying and frustrating they may be.
You never know what they might actually be going through.
11. Find New Friends
Ending your friendship may be the last resort and can feel almost like a breakup.
But if you are too bothered by the person, then it may be time to move on.
If all else fails, you can always make new friends with new people.
Try not to let your past experiences get the better of you — it might only hurt your chances of finding a new friend.
That’s why the best way to attract genuine pals is by being genuine and authentic yourself.
Be open to getting to know different people; you might be surprised with who you find.
You’re bound to find someone who matches your wavelength and reciprocates the respect.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to encounter a fake person in your life.
When it happens, and you’ve found yourself meeting them often, the most important thing that you can do is be respectful and don’t let the toxicity get the better of you.
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