I feel sorry for fake people.
While their lies, acting, and overall lack of substance might seem to be malicious or mean, they’re usually acting this way because they don’t have a lot of self-respect.
They generally also have very weak self-concepts – basically, they don’t know who they truly are and aren’t all that motivated to find out.
The funny thing is that they think the rest of us are fooled.
Well – NEWS FLASH! – we’re not.
It’s pretty easy to spot a fake person because they’re generally very transparent, and the things they say have about as much depth as a wading pool.
Looking to weed the fakers out of your life?
Here are ten things fake people do that give them away instantly to help you in your search.
1) They only pretend to listen.
This has got to be the favorite word of all the fake people out there.
Why? Because they’re almost always terrible listeners. They’re so wrapped up in their image and strategizing that they don’t have a lot of attention left to pay to anyone else.
So when you’re talking to them, they’re usually only half there.
While an active listener is going to show you they’re listening by making comments, nodding, and asking relevant questions at the appropriate times, a fake person can’t fake this feedback well enough.
You can always catch them out when you ask for their thoughts, and they can’t give you a reasonable answer.
They just weren’t listening.
They were probably playing on their phone or thinking about something else and only pretending to pay attention to what you were saying.
2) They always let you give your opinion first.
Hey, that’s nice, isn’t it?
I mean, normally, people are clambering over each other to say what they think.
What a breath of fresh air, you might think, to have someone wait for you to say what you think first!
But you’d better be careful because, for fake people, there’s an ulterior motive here.
Why do they let you express yourself first?
So they can agree, of course!
It’s such a simple strategy, but it tends to work because we all really like being asked and given opportunities to express our opinions. That’s how they get you.
Fake people are going to keep their real opinions really close to their chests and, instead, just go along with whatever someone else says.
That makes them seem agreeable and helps them fit in with the group, even if they have totally different thoughts on things.
3) They’re two-or-more-faced.
Something that fake people do that gives them away right away is to talk out of both sides of their mouths.
No, I’m not talking about ventriloquism here!
I mean that they’ll say one thing to one person, then turn around and say something totally different to someone else.
I had a coworker once who was totally fake, and everyone knew it.
I could ask her what she thought about a new procedure at work, for example, and if it seemed like I thought it was a good idea, she’d tell me she did, too.
Later, I’d talk to a coworker and find out she’d said the totally opposite thing. After a while, it became a game, and we’d often compare notes about all the different and conflicting opinions and positions this multi-faced coworker always had.
She simply had no substance and would say whatever seemed to be the right thing at the time to let her fit in with whoever she was talking to.
4) They’re there one day, gone the next.
Fake people make fickle friends.
That’s more than alliteration – it’s the truth!
Real friends will stand by you through thick and thin, and it’s the thin that’s important.
You don’t expect a friend to suddenly abandon you as soon as you’re struggling or if you’re not popular at the moment.
But a fake person will high-tail it right out of there.
They have no qualms about ditching you if you no longer serve their needs. They make “friends” to advance themselves and improve their social standing.
As soon as that standing seems to change, they’ll disappear and leave you holding the bag.
But don’t worry – you’re way better off without fake friends in your life, anyway!
5) They never really apologize.
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“Mistakes were made.”
I’m sure these pseudo-apologies sound familiar, probably from the political news.
But who’s more fake than politicians these days?
It should be no surprise that fake people use double-speak and offer fake apologies but never actually admit fault.
They use couched language to distance themselves from any responsibility and accountability. They think that we can’t tell, or we’re dumb enough to think they actually mean they’re sorry.
Apologizing means you accept that you accept that you did something wrong, and that can make you look bad.
Fake people are not about looking bad, ever, so don’t expect to hear anything from them except fake apologies.
6) They suck up.
It’s lovely to receive a compliment, especially on days when you’re not feeling too confident, isn’t it?
Fake people know the full power of flattery and use it as a tool to get what they want, which is usually into people’s good graces.
Of course, they don’t just go around complimenting anyone on any old thing. Oh no, their flattery is strategic and pointed.
It’s directed only toward people who they think will help them advance – economically, socially, or however.
So they’ll suck up to their boss or their boss’s boss. They’ll lick the boots of people who are popular in groups but ignore people who seem to have minor roles.
7) They don’t make themselves vulnerable.
For a real, intimate connection with someone else, you have to let the other person in.
You have to let them see a part of you that you might keep out of reach for most other people.
By being vulnerable like this, you invite the other person to understand you more deeply and share experiences together.
Fake people, as you’d expect, don’t ever truly open up. They don’t turn over and show you their bellies but instead keep things covered and hidden at all times.
Why do they behave this way?
For the most part, it’s because they’re afraid of intimacy. They’re worried that if they show who they truly are, they’ll be judged just like they judge other people all the time.
8) They’re focused on how they look.
Taking pride in your appearance is totally normal, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I mean that fake people are totally consumed by how they will be perceived in different situations – how their actions and behavior will look to other people.
The problem is that this is a totally superficial way to think about themselves.
Rather than focusing on how their actions represent the kind of person they are, they only care about perception.
So when a fake person does anything, good or bad, they automatically go into image management mode. They might post on social media to make themselves look extra good or try to cover up something they’ve done to avoid looking bad.
Classic fake behavior!
9) They’re manipulative.
Fake people manipulate more than just how they’re seen on social media, however.
They’re often master manipulators of both information and people or at least they think they are.
They love to imagine that the image they present is completely under their control and no one can see through it.
They’ll happily cover up information, show or tell only one side of a story, or try to play other people against each other.
But all of these actions are designed to do one thing – make themselves look good.
They run into problems, though, when they try to present narratives or versions of the truth to people who know better. Then, they get trapped in their own manipulations.
10) They play the victim.
Do you know someone who is always the one who’s hurt or aggrieved in every situation?
Fake people love to play the victim, especially in cases where they’re anything but.
I had an ex who was a master at flipping the script. No matter what happened, she always came out as the victim in need of support and sympathy.
But when I learned just how much of a gossip and social problem-starter she was, it made a lot of sense.
She was proactively covering up her mean behavior and getting my support behind her to help her look like the victim.
Well, it didn’t last long!
These ten things fake people do that give them away instantly are usually very transparent and easy to pick up on.
But every once in a while, we fall for their traps.
Armed with this knowledge of all their sneaky fake techniques, I hope you won’t be fooled by any fake people in your life ever again!