People who are friendly on the surface but two-faced deep down usually display these 8 behaviors

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Growing up in a small town and attending an all-girls school, I encountered my fair share of two-faced behaviors.

As a result, I’ve learned how to spot fake people from a mile off.

While I struggled to make friends as a teenager, the experience has allowed me to avoid the tricks of two-faced people in my adult life and ensure I make only genuine and meaningful connections. 

If you’re unsure if the friendliness of your friends, colleagues, or acquaintances is genuine, read on. 

Here are the eight most common behaviors of a two-faced person…

1) They give you compliments out of the blue

In school, I remember how the popular kids who never spoke to me occasionally complimented me on something like a new haircut. 

At the time, I thought how random the compliment was, but part of me wanted to believe it was genuine. 

But as time went on, I learned that if people who are usually not friendly with you compliment you, it is not a good thing.


Because if they are saying pleasant things in your presence, they are likely saying unpleasant things behind your back.

By complimenting you out of the blue, they pretend to praise you in public. But then they ridicule and laugh about the same thing they complimented you on behind your back.

A perfect example of this is the “I love your skirt” scene in Mean Girls. 

Here, Regina compliments a girl’s skirt, and then, as soon as the girl walks off, she comments on how ugly it is to Cady. 

At that moment, Cady recalls how Regina complimented her on her bracelet in the same way and realizes that Regina is two-faced. 

So why do people do this?

Well, sometimes two-faced people will have an agenda for dishing out compliments…

2) They use charm and charisma to get what they want

Two-faced people ruthlessly exploit others for personal gain without regard for the consequences. 

They subtly use charm (AKA giving compliments) and persuasion to influence people’s decisions or actions.

For example…

They may compliment you and then ask you for a favor. Because they just complimented you, you may feel pressured to do what they ask.

The problem with this behavior is that the fake person is adept at disguising their manipulative tendencies behind their friendly demeanor, making it difficult to see through their facade.

Moreover, two-faced people often have some authoritative power, i.e., they are the popular kid at school or a manager at work. So, you may feel compelled to do what they ask in the hope that they will like you.

3) They tell you other people’s secrets

This is another of the most common behaviors of a two-faced person and a huge lesson I learned during high school.

If someone is telling you other people’s secrets, you can be sure that they are telling YOUR secrets to other people.

No matter how close you appear to be, you can NEVER trust someone who tells you other people’s secrets.

Two-faced people do not have empathy for others, nor do they feel remorse for their actions. 

What they do always have, though, is an AGENDA. 

So if they feel they can gain something by sharing your secrets, believe me when I say they will do so without giving it any second thought.

However, with a two-faced person, it can be challenging to know if the ‘secrets’ are true, as they are also chronic liars…

4) They make up elaborate lies

Two-faced people love to gossip by spreading secrets and private information about others. 

But sometimes, the information they spread is untrue.

According to research published in Frontiers in Psychology, Two-faced people make up and spread rumors to maintain social order.

Typically, a two-faced person will create and spread a lie when they are envious of someone and see them as a threat. 

So, to eliminate the threat, they spread lies to tarnish the person’s reputation.

Here’s a classic example that happened all the time in my school.

If an average, unpopular girl started dating a popular or good-looking boy, one of the two-faced girls would start a rumor about that girl.


For two reasons:

  1. To tarnish her reputation and make her appear less attractive to other guys (making her less of a threat to them)
  2. To make the boy dump her (increasing their own chances of dating said boy)

While this particular example is less common in adult life, you might notice a similar situation in the workplace.

For example, if a colleague gets a lot of praise from management, a two-faced person might spread a lie to tarnish their reputation and stop them from getting a promotion.

When someone makes up lies, it is typically due to envy and jealousy.

5) They purposely don’t tell you certain things

Here is another standard behavior to watch out for…

Fake-friendly people are strategically very selective with the information they tell you. 

Rather than outright lying, they might distort facts or purposely leave out crucial information in a story to make you think something untrue.

This is commonly known as twisting the truth.

Remember that, like with all their other behaviors, there is an agenda for twisting the truth. 

They might try to manipulate your perception or gain control or power over you.

In my school years, two-faced girls would twist the truth to play two people off against each other. In psychology, this is a manipulative tactic called triangulation.

They would omit select information to make you question your perceptions and beliefs about someone else, leading to conflict and arguments. 

6) They constantly talk about themselves

When two-faced people aren’t gossiping about others, they are busy talking about themselves. 

According to Amanda Rose, Ph.D., professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, fake people talk about themselves to gain:

  • Attention
  • Affirmation
  • Validation. 

Interestingly, it is also a sign of depression.

Two-faced people prioritize their needs and desires above the well-being of others, including 

their ‘friends.’ 

Two-faced people are not concerned about what others have going on. And if you start to talk about your life, you’ll see how they quickly appear bored. 

At any opportunity, they will divert the conversation back to themselves. 

Whether boasting about their latest material gains or complaining about their problems, two-faced people must always be the center of any conversation.

As a friend or acquaintance of a two-faced person, your role is to be a spectator of their one-person show.

7) Their body language seems off

Sometimes, you can spot the fakeness in someone by how they act, specifically via their body language.

They might claim ‘how good it is to see you’, but something seems off.

In this situation, there are subtle body language cues that give off an energy of insincerity, such as:

  • Forced smiles
  • Tense posture
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Side glancing or rolling their eyes
  • Staring you down

Another thing that might give off an insincere vibe is if they react too dramatically to what you say, to the point that you wonder if they are being sarcastic. 

This behavior links to the following one…

8) Their tone of voice often changes

One of the more subtle behaviors you may notice in a fake person is the frequency with which they change their tone of voice.

Two-faced people often exhibit different personas depending on who they are interacting with.

They will have what is known as a ‘public face,’ which is very different from how they speak and act in private.

Typically, two-faced people put on an “expression of niceness” in public, using an energetic and high-pitched tone when interacting with people.

But when talking one-on-one with someone, their tone of voice will be slower and low-pitched. 

They will also appear ‘extra-smiley’ around people they want to impress, while you notice they rarely smile around others.

Likewise, you might notice they have two types of laugh – a fake/forced one and a genuine one.

These inconsistencies can manifest suddenly, leaving you unsettled and wary around the fake-friendly person.

Final thoughts

Two-faced people are NOT people you want in your life. 

Remaining vigilant and trusting your gut instinct will help you notice signs of fakeness and protect yourself from manipulative and deceitful people. 

In my opinion, the best way to deal with a two-faced person is to avoid interacting with them as much as possible. 

Avoid telling them private information, and shut down the conversation ASAP if they try to share gossip with you. Don’t let them pull you in and drag you down to their level!

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space.
I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of
words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

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