If you recognize these 10 behaviors, you have a fake friend in your life

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Fake friends have to be one of the most disappointing aspects of life.

In a world full of people who value quantity over quality when it comes to friends, it can be tough to spot the real ones from the fakes.

More often than not, people mistake their actions for being supportive when they’re really just deceptive.

In fact, you’ve probably mistaken their fake smiles for genuine ones more than you care to admit.

Sound familiar? 

If it does, keep reading for the signs you need to recognize if you have a fake friend in your life.

1) They’re never around in your tough times

One of the most telling signs that you have a fake friend in your life is their absence during your tough times.

Sure, they’re all smiles and laughter when everything’s going great. They’ll be the first ones to join your parties, the first ones to celebrate your successes with you. But when things take a turn for the worse, they’re nowhere to be found.

Moreover, you may find that this supposed friend is not just physically absent, but emotionally distant as well.

This can be a painful realization, but it’s crucial to understand that a genuine friend is there for you through thick and thin.

You deserve friends who are not just there for the party, but also for the cleanup after. Friends who stick by your side through both the highs and lows of life.

2) They’re quick to criticize

Another revealing sign of a fake friend is their readiness to criticize you.

You see, I had this friend once, let’s call her Amy. She and I were close, or so I thought. We hung out all the time, shared secrets, and even had a few good laughs together.

But then I started noticing something odd. Every time we’d meet, she’d have something negative to say about me – my clothes, my job, even my other friends. It felt like she was always looking for something to criticize, some flaw to point out.

At first, I brushed it off as her just having a harsh sense of humor. But over time, it started affecting my self-esteem. I began to question if there was indeed something wrong with me.

That’s when I realized that a true friend would not constantly belittle me or make me feel less of myself. Sure, real friends will point out your mistakes, but they do so in a constructive manner and in private, not by making a mockery out of you.

If you find that your friend is quick to criticize you, especially in front of others, then you might want to reconsider the authenticity of your friendship. 

Genuine friends uplift each other; they don’t tear each other down.

3) They’re not genuinely happy for your success

Unmasking a fake friend can often be as simple as observing their reaction to your success.

Did you know that genuine happiness for another person’s achievement is a clear sign of emotional maturity? It’s true. 

In fact, psychologists refer to this as “compersion“, and it’s a trait that real friends typically exhibit.

However, if you notice that your friend often downplays your achievements or changes the subject quickly when you share good news, it could be a red flag.

They may even try to one-up you by sharing a bigger, better achievement of their own, effectively stealing your spotlight.

This behavior can reveal an underlying competitiveness or jealousy that has no place in a true friendship.

A real friend will celebrate your victories with you, no matter how big or small. They won’t feel threatened by your success but instead, they’ll rejoice in it because they genuinely care about your happiness.

4) They’re always asking for favors but never returning them

One of the most glaring signs of a fake friend is their tendency to take more than they give.

You might notice that they’re always asking for favors, whether it’s borrowing your notes, needing a lift, or asking you to cover for them. Yet, when the tables are turned and you’re the one in need of help, they’re suddenly too busy or unavailable.

This kind of one-sided relationship is not only draining but also damaging in the long run. It fosters resentment and can make you feel used.

A true friendship is based on mutual support. Of course, it’s not about keeping a scorecard of who did what for whom, but there should be a general sense of reciprocity.

Remember, a real friend won’t constantly take from you without giving anything in return. They understand the value of balance in a friendship and are more than willing to lend a hand when you need it.

5) Their words and actions don’t match

This is a tough one to swallow, but it’s necessary.

You might have a friend who’s always telling you what you want to hear. They promise to be there for you, to support you, to stand by you no matter what. But when the time comes for them to show up, they’re consistently letting you down.

It’s painful, isn’t it? To realize that the person you thought was your friend is just feeding you empty words. It’s like they’re wearing a mask of friendship that falls off when it’s time to act.

But here’s the raw truth: actions speak louder than words. A genuine friend won’t just tell you they’re there for you; they’ll show it through their actions.

So, if you find yourself in a friendship where there’s a constant disparity between words and actions, take a step back. 

Evaluate whether this person truly values your friendship or if they’re just keeping you around for their convenience. 

6) They gossip about others to you

Everyone deserves a friend who respects them, and respect includes not talking ill of others behind their back.

If you have a friend who often gossips about others to you, it can be quite uncomfortable. It may leave you wondering what they say about you when you’re not around.

But here’s the thing—it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel hurt or betrayed. Your feelings are valid and it’s important to acknowledge them.

A true friend wouldn’t put you in such a position. They would respect not just you, but also the people around them. They would understand that everyone has their own battles, and it’s not our place to judge or speak ill of them.

So, if your friend is a gossipmonger, it might be time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them or reconsider your relationship.

7) They only reach out when they need something

We’ve all been there, right? Your phone lights up after weeks of silence, and for a moment your heart lifts, thinking, “Finally, they remembered!” Only to realize that they’re just reaching out because they need something from you.

It’s a sinking feeling. It makes you question the entire friendship. Were all those good times genuine or were you just being used as a convenience?

A real friendship isn’t transactional. Friends don’t keep tabs on who owes whom. They reach out to each other because they genuinely enjoy each other’s company, not because they need a favor.

A true friend values your relationship for what it is, not for what they can get out of it. You deserve a friend who reaches out just to say hello or check up on you, not just when they need a favor.

8) They don’t respect your boundaries

Picture this: You’ve had a long day, you’re tired, and all you want is some quiet time. But then your friend keeps texting, calling, or even shows up at your place unannounced. They just can’t seem to get the hint that you need some space.

It’s like they’re a human version of that pesky fly that won’t stop buzzing around your head no matter how many times you swat it away!

In all seriousness though, respect for personal boundaries is crucial in any relationship, including friendships.

If your friend doesn’t respect your boundaries, whether they’re physical, emotional or time-related, it could indicate a lack of respect for you as a person.

A true friend will understand and respect your need for space, privacy, and alone time. They won’t take it as a personal offense or an indication that you don’t value their friendship.

Everyone needs their own space sometimes – it’s perfectly normal and healthy. You deserve a friend who respects your boundaries and gives you the space you need when you need it.

9) They don’t support your dreams

Okay, let’s get real here. If your so-called friend is constantly shooting down your dreams and aspirations, they’re not your friend. Full stop.

Dreams are precious. They’re the driving force behind our actions, our goals, and ultimately, our lives. So, when someone belittles them or doesn’t take them seriously, it’s like a punch to the gut.

It’s tough to hear, but you need to know this: a true friend will support your dreams. They’ll cheer you on, offer guidance when needed, and even pick you up when you stumble.

If your friend is always discouraging you, making fun of your ambitions or making you doubt yourself, it’s time to show them the exit.

Remember, you have every right to dream big and aim high. You deserve a friend who doesn’t just tolerate your dreams, but celebrates them with you. Don’t settle for anything less.

10) They make you feel drained

At the end of the day, this is the most telling sign.

If spending time with your friend leaves you feeling drained instead of energized, it’s a huge red flag.

Friendships should be a source of joy and comfort, not constant stress or exhaustion.

Pay attention to how you feel after spending time with them. Do you feel happier or do you feel like you just ran a marathon?

A true friend will make you feel valued and uplifted. They’ll bring positive energy into your life, not drain it out.

Remember, the right friend will add to your life, not subtract from it. You deserve a friendship that brings you joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Final thoughts

It’s painful to realize you may have a fake friend in your life. You can feel betrayed, used, or even foolish for not seeing it sooner. But remember, this isn’t a reflection of your worth—it’s a reflection of theirs.

Don’t let the existence of fake friends dim your light or make you cynical about forming new relationships.

There’s a world full of genuine, caring individuals who would be lucky to call you their friend. Don’t let the actions of one person close you off to the potential of amazing friendships.

Remember, everyone deserves a friend who respects them, supports them, and brings joy into their life—including you.

So if you’ve recognized these behaviors in a friend, take a moment to reflect. It may be time to reassess the relationship and prioritize your own emotional wellbeing.

And most importantly, know that it’s okay to let go of friendships that no longer serve you. You have every right to surround yourself with positivity and genuine connection.

Only those who truly value and respect you deserve a place in your life!

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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