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21 subtle signs of fake people (and 10 effective ways to deal with them)

Are you tired of dealing with fake people?

I know I am. They only care about superficial attention and I never get to know them for who they are.

So in this article, I’m going to go over 21 ways to spot a fake person so you can avoid them in your daily life. I’ll also talk about how to deal with them (if you can’t avoid them!).

1. Fake people only respect those who have power and wealth.

Fake people are only interested in spending time with people who could benefit them in some way.

Therefore, when it comes to evaluating a person’s characteristics, a fake person will tend to look at how powerful or rich they are. They won’t care if they’re kind or genuine.

2. Fake people will manipulate others to get what they want

A fake person will manipulate whoever is in their path to get what they want. Dishonest methods of persuasion aren’t beyond them.

This is why fake people are masters at fake smiling, giving fake compliments, and acting like your friend when they’re really not.

A fake person is all about themselves. They’ll disregard someone else’s well-being if it means they can benefit in some way. This is not entirely different from a narcissist.

3. Fake people love superficial attention

A fake person thrives on Facebook likes and Instagram follows. They’ll do anything for attention.

The world revolves around them so getting any kind of attention (even if it’s superficial) boosts a fake person’s ego.

And if they can’t achieve popularity, they won’t hesitate to go against moral principles to find it.

4. Fake people always try to talk themselves up

A surefire way to spot a fake person is if they’re constantly boasting and talking about their achievements.

No matter what conversation they’re involved in, they’ll somehow find a way to turn into a conversation about themselves and all the good things they’ve done.

As we mentioned above, the world revolves around a fake person (according to them) so talking about their achievements is a way to boost their ego.

They might even lie about their achievements and make them seem better than they really are.

5. Fake people love to gossip

Gossiping is a great way to develop rapport with others while also putting your competitors down.

This is why a fake person has no issues saying whatever they want about others as it puts them down and lifts them up.

A fake person doesn’t stick to strong moral principles, so as long as the gossip isn’t about them, they’re happy to participate in it.

6. Fake people struggle to keep their promises

It doesn’t matter to a fake person whether they stick to their word or not. A fake person lacks integrity and they’ll fail to act if that action doesn’t benefit them in some way.

They tend to not harbor any deep emotions for others (they only have superficial feelings for others) so they won’t care if they let someone else down.

7. A fake person won’t hesitate to make others feel bad if it means they’ll look better

A fake person only cares about themselves. They don’t care about others.

If there is an opportunity to put someone else down to make them look better, a fake person won’t hesitate in the slightest.

This is why they gossip behind people’s backs and even in the conversation will downplay other people’s achievements.

Even if it goes against reality, they’ll say anything if it means it gets them ahead.

8. Fake people will only be nice if they need something

This is when dealing with a fake person can be tricky. They’ll smile beautifully, use fake compliments and treat you like a queen/king if it leads to them getting something.

Fake people tend to be very nice to powerful and rich people because they know that it could benefit them in the future.

9. Fake people tend to be arrogant

A fake person believes they are superior to others. This is why they find it so easy to manipulate people to get what they want.

And because they’re so focused on themselves, they inflate their ego and believe that they’re more important than other people around them.

This inflated ego and arrogant attitude is actually used to hide insecurities. This is very common with narcissists.

10. Fake people don’t own up to their mistakes

A big part of being an authentic and genuine person is taking ownership of actions.

If they make a mistake, they’ll own up to it and do what they can to rectify it.

On the other hand, fake people will point the blame at other people or external circumstances to protect their ego.

11. Fake people love being the center of attention

Fake people thrive off superficial attention. They want to make sure everyone around them sees how great they are.

Fake people tend to be the peacock of the group, strutting around and talking themselves up.

They hate it when someone takes the limelight from them. They form such a high image of themselves that after a while they even start to believe it.

12. Fake people are very judgmental of others

Fake people judge others down. This is because putting others down makes them feel better about themselves.

Remember, they’re all about their ego, so they’ll do whatever they can to protect it.

They are always trying to one-up people around them to win the validation of others.

They don’t care about anything but making themselves appear more important. This is why their energy is almost exclusively focused on building themselves up and tearing others down.

13. Fake people struggle to express their true feelings

Because fake people don’t know how to be their true selves, they don’t go deep into their true feelings and they don’t know how to express their real emotions.

This means that fake people are really running away from who they are.

After all, deeper emotions don’t serve them. They’d prefer to focus on superficial desires such as gains in material and social status.

14. They only get to know people on a superficial level

They know basic information about their friends. Their name, where they live, what sort of food they like, but that’s far as it goes.

Fake people don’t care for what makes a person tick. They know just enough about a person so they can call them when they need something from them.

Fake people never initiate deep conversations about life and beyond.

15. They mostly talk about themselves

They hardly pay attention in a conversation if the conversation isn’t about them.

Fake people are completely self-absorbed. They’re conversational narcissists who always find a way to bring the conversation back to them.

They won’t ask you how you are doing unless they know it will somehow lead back to them speaking about themselves.

16. They put down others’ successes or happiness

Fake people are never happy to hear about other people’s accomplishments. After all, it doesn’t involve them and it doesn’t benefit them when someone else does well.

Some fake people will even ditch their friends if they are becoming successful because it makes them look bad.

17. Fake people make plans they don’t keep

They don’t respect other people’s time, so even if they make plans, they won’t show up because at the time it doesn’t benefit them to show up.

Keeping their word isn’t important to them. Fake people are very fickle and don’t have strong moral values at all.

18. Fake people don’t listen to what you have to say

They’ll pretend to listen. They’ll nod and say yep but in reality, they’re not paying attention at all.

This is because fake people don’t respect other people’s opinions or comments.

After all, they think they’re superior, so what could they possibly learn from someone else?

Anyone that shows these signs will be tough to deal with. They can be emotionally draining and they won’t be there for you when you’re in need of help.

19. Fake people change their tune constantly

One minute they’re the nicest person in the world, the next minute they’re angry and talking about you behind their back.

You know their feelings are superficial when they can change so quickly.

You don’t really know what they think because they don’t know themselves.

They’ll simply behave in a way that has the greatest chance of benefiting themselves.

20. Fake people only pay attention to those in positions of power

Fake people only care about gaining power and status. They’ll listen to someone in a position of power because they see them as someone that can help them get to the top.

They’re comfortable with using others to get what they want. And if you’re not in a position of power, then they can’t see a reason to treat you kindly.

21. Fake people never initiate a date or hang out

They won’t initiate any type of social interaction unless it is with someone from who they can get something.

Building a genuine connection does nothing for a fake person. A catch-up is just a waste of time for a fake person.

Now if there is someone you know that is fake, you’re probably wondering how you can deal with them.

That is what we will cover in the below section.

How to deal with fake people: 10 important tips

People who are fake don’t show who they really are. They will front up with a different personality depending on what will benefit them the most.

If that means taking advantage of you, then they won’t hesitate to do that.

It can be really hard to be around someone who is playing a part in trying to be something they are not.

So how can you deal with someone who is fake?

Here’s how you can handle fake people in your life so that you can move on to bigger and better things.

1. Distance is key.

The best way to deal with fake people is to just keep them out of your life.

People who are fake don’t have anything genuine to offer you.

If someone is trying to be something that they aren’t or presenting a façade of who they think you want them to be, then all that person is going to do is lower your self-esteem or make you feel like you need to change in order to have worth.

So not only will this fake person make you doubt yourself, but over time, their behavior will start rubbing off on your personality.

So if you have the option to not spend time with them, take that option. It will benefit your well-being to avoid spending time with a fake person.

2. If you can’t keep a fake person out of your life, limit your engagement with them

Sometimes you can’t avoid someone.

So if you have to interact with them, then keep your interactions as short and simple as possible.

Don’t get involved in a conversation; don’t engage in an argument.

Using your emotional energy on a fake person is a waste of time. You won’t change their mind and you’ll never know what they’re up to behind your back.

Simply let them know that you are not interested in what they have to say and that you have better things to do with your time than be around someone who is fake.

3. Don’t let their annoying fake behavior get to you

It’s important to keep your cool around fake people, even if they’re annoying.

If they need to talk to you about how another person said something in a way that is different from how they said it, then just let them know that you can’t really be bothered speaking with them.

You don’t have to agree with everything they say, and you certainly shouldn’t take whatever they are saying to heart.

Know yourself and don’t let them get to you. Expending emotional energy on fake people isn’t worth it.

Their words should be like the water of a duck’s back.

So if they’re saying something that you can’t believe, or you don’t think is true at all and you don’t want to be around them for that reason, then just let them know and walk away.

If you don’t want to be rude or start a confrontation, then give them short answers and try to engage with them in the shortest time possible.

4. Don’t take their actions personally

You need to be cool and detached around people who are fake.

Now I know, I know. This can be easier said than done.

Sometimes they will walk all over you or treat you like you don’t exist.

But the bottom line is this:

The best way to deal with people who are fake is not to take what they do personally or assume that what they are doing has anything to do with you.

How can you learn to not take things personally?

Realize that their behavior is more about them, and has nothing to do with you.

If you know that some of the things they say are a lie or that their behavior is off, then don’t keep trying to figure it out.

You can’t take fake people at face value; you can never guess what someone else is going to do or say.

So if you know they’re fake, why would you let anything they say get to you?

5. Don’t always believe what fake people say

Fake people tend to lie and tell stories that don’t really add up.

For example, they might say things like “I got five new clients today!” But when asked for details, such as names and numbers, they can’t actually remember.

So take what they say with a grain of salt. Don’t believe everything they tell you, especially if it sounds like something that a pre-schooler would say.

If you’re a naive person, you need to learn to take a step back and analyze what someone is saying objectively.

5. Don’t give your power away to a fake person

Fake people can be really good actors, but when you give them too much power over you, they will take advantage of your vulnerability.

They will make you feel like their prey. The more they win and the more authority that they have over you, the worse it is going to be for you in the long run.

So it’s imperative that know yourself and what you offer. Don’t think that because you’re nice or vulnerable that you’re a pushover and don’t have your own power.

You do, and you need to make sure that you know how to use it.

If you want to know yourself better, one little trick I use is journaling. Write about your life and what your strengths are.

Writing has a way of structuring the thoughts in your head.

Once you’ve spent 30 minutes writing about your life, where you’re at, and what you want to achieve in the future, you’ll have a better idea of who you are and what you offer.

Once you have confidence in yourself, you won’t let other people take advantage of you.

6. Don’t be afraid of them

Just because someone is fake or playing a part doesn’t mean that you need to fear them.

Fake people tend to be fearful of others with real talent, so their fear will ensure that they keep themselves in check.

The best way to deal with fake people is not to be afraid of them.

A fake person can be intimidating because they lack integrity and will do anything, even if it’s wrong, to benefit themselves.

But you don’t need to fear a fake person. When you project fear, they will sense it and take advantage of you. They will hit you with their energy and have a field day with the power that they feel they have over you.

So if someone is fake to you, don’t be afraid or intimidated.

Just try to smile at them and tell them that you’re not interested in whatever they’re saying.

If you stay true to yourself, then that’s really all that matters.

7. Don’t be alone with them

If you find yourself alone with a fake person, then you need to control the situation and the conversation.

For example, if they start flirting, then make it clear that you are not interested in whatever it is they have to offer.

You don’t need to be overtly rude. Just make sure you’re polite while standing firm on what your boundaries are. Fake people will try to tease you into a conversation that’s not really about you.

They will try to make you feel weak so that they can take advantage of you.

So make sure that when the time comes, you can say “No” and get out of there as quickly as possible. There’s nothing worse than being alone with a fake person who wants to get something out of you.

It should be fairly easy to make sure you never spend one-on-one time with them.

We tend to have control over who we go to a coffee shop with, and if you’re always in a group when you’re with a fake person, it should be easier to deal with them.

8. You are not to blame for people who are fake

It’s important to know that you are not at blame if you find yourself being manipulated or taken advantage of by a fake person.

Fake people don’t have integrity, so don’t make it your problem if you find yourself being treated poorly by them.

If someone is faking something, then they are probably also faking who they are and what they offer in other areas of their life.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t take anything personally from someone who doesn’t have integrity themselves.

9. Don’t be worried if they react negatively to you telling the truth

Fake people tend to be out of touch with reality, so they can often get upset by the truth being put out there.

But you need to stand firm when a fake person is trying to manipulate you. Know your boundaries.

Stick to what you know are the facts. Don’t let a fake person bend the truth. If they are upset by what you say, that’s good. It means that the fake person is embarrassed.

They won’t be happy that you are sticking to what you know is real.

10. Don’t feel guilty about cutting them out of your life completely

Even though it may seem like a good idea to try and mend a relationship with the fake person, it’s a lot better to cut ties completely than try and try again and keep getting hurt in the process.

If you are someone who likes to keep a good relationship with people, then try not to get too attached to fake people.

You’ll end up getting hurt and feel guilty about it, but if you don’t like a person, then why stay in that relationship? Why feed that person’s emotional hunger? Don’t allow yourself to be abused.

They will always use the “I’m sorry/I love you/I’m vulnerable” lines which are essentially smoke screens for their true intentions.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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