10 ways to spot a fake friend before they let you down

Navigating friendships can be tricky. There are times when someone might seem like a true friend, but they’re hiding their real intentions.

Spotting a fake friend before they disappoint you is an essential skill. It can save you a lot of heartache and preserve your trust for those who truly deserve it.

Knowing the tell-tale signs of a fake friend can help you steer clear of them. I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to identify these pretenders before they let you down.

So, if you’re ready to weed out the fakes and keep your circle genuine, then keep reading. Trust me, this is the kind of knowledge that can make life a whole lot easier.

1) They’re always taking, never giving

Friendships are about give and take. But with fake friends, it’s usually more about the take.

You’ll notice that they’re always ready to accept your help or take advantage of your generosity, but when you need a favor or support, they’re nowhere to be found.

This is a clear sign of a one-sided friendship. It’s as if they’re only hanging around you for their benefit and not because they genuinely value your company.

Keep an eye out for this type of behavior. A true friend doesn’t keep score, but there should be some balance in how much you both give to the relationship. If it feels like you’re constantly giving and they’re only taking, then it’s time to question whether this is a real friendship or not.

2) They’re nowhere to be found in tough times

Life is a rollercoaster, and we all have our ups and downs. But a true friend is someone who sticks with you through thick and thin.

I recall a time in my life when I was going through a rough patch. I lost my job, and it hit me pretty hard. I was anxious, worried about my future, and needed someone to lean on.

I reached out to a friend – let’s call her Lisa – who I thought was close to me. We had shared countless laughs and good times. But when I needed her the most, Lisa was suddenly too busy.

Her sudden unavailability during my time of need made me realize that our friendship wasn’t as solid as I thought. It was a wake-up call.

A real friend is someone who’s there for you in your darkest hours, not just when times are good. If they disappear when things get tough, that might be a sign they’re not as genuine as you thought.

3) They’re quick to share your secrets

Trust is the bedrock of any solid friendship. You confide in your friends because you trust them to keep your secrets safe.

However, a fake friend might not treat your private information with the respect it deserves. Instead, they might use it as gossip fodder, spreading it around without a second thought for your feelings or privacy.

Gossip can strengthen social bonds by enhancing cooperation and promoting shared norms. But when it’s at the expense of someone’s trust, it can be really damaging.

If you find out that a friend has been sharing your secrets, it might be time to reconsider whether they’re a friend at all.

After all, a true friend understands the value of trust and would never jeopardize it for the sake of a juicy piece of gossip.

4) They’re often too good to be true

Have you ever met someone who seemed perfect right off the bat?

They instantly liked everything you liked, agreed with every opinion you had, and were always available.

It’s almost as if they were too good to be true.

Well, they probably were.

Genuine friendships take time to build, and real friends are not afraid to disagree with you or have their own lives.

When you notice someone mirroring you too closely, it might be a sign that they’re not revealing their authentic selves. Be cautious, because this might just be the first red flag of a fake friend.

5) They never celebrate your successes

A true friend is someone who rejoices in your achievements and celebrates your successes with you.

If you’ve just landed a big promotion at work, aced an exam, or achieved a personal goal, your friends should be the first to congratulate you and share in your joy.

Conversely, it’s not surprising that a fake friend might react differently. They could downplay your success or even completely ignore it. Worse yet, they might try to make it about them, shifting the focus away from your achievement.

This lack of enthusiasm for your victories is a clear sign of a fake friend. Because a real friend would be genuinely happy for you and would want to celebrate these moments with you.

6) They’re full of empty promises

We all know that actions speak louder than words. A fake friend is often all talk and no action. They might make grand promises, assuring you they’ll be there when you need them or that they’ll do something important for you.

However, when the time comes to deliver, they’re often full of excuses or they simply disappear. This inconsistency between their words and actions can be really disappointing and hurtful.

If you notice a pattern of unfulfilled promises, it’s a clear sign that you’re dealing with a fake friend. Genuine friends understand the importance of keeping their word and they’ll do their best to come through for you when it counts.

7) They don’t make time for you

Time is one of the most precious gifts we can give to anyone. It’s a clear indication of where our priorities lie. A real friend will always find time for you, no matter how busy they are.

But a fake friend? Making time for you often feels like an afterthought to them. They might constantly cancel plans or be unavailable when you want to meet up.

Are you always the one initiating contact? Do they only hang out when it’s convenient for them? These could be signs of a one-sided friendship.

Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not worth their time. You deserve better.

8) They’re consistently negative

We all have our off days where we might feel a little down or negative. But with fake friends, it often feels like they’re stuck in a perpetual state of negativity.

I once had a friend who would always find something to complain about. Even on the happiest occasions, she could find a way to bring the mood down. At first, I tried to be understanding and supportive, thinking she was just going through a tough time. But as months turned into years, I realized this was just her default state.

This constant negativity can be incredibly draining. It can also lead to a toxic friendship where you’re constantly being pulled down instead of lifted up.

Remember, a true friend should bring joy and positivity into your life, not just constant negativity.

9) They talk about you behind your back

There’s nothing quite as hurtful as finding out a friend has been talking about you behind your back. It’s a betrayal that cuts deep, especially when it’s someone you trusted.

A fake friend might spread rumors or share unkind words about you when you’re not around. It’s not just disrespectful; it’s a clear sign that they don’t value your friendship as much as they should.

True friends will defend your reputation when you’re not there, not damage it. So if you catch wind of a friend talking about you behind your back, it might be time to confront them or reconsider the friendship.

10) They make you feel bad about yourself

At the end of the day, a true friend is someone who makes you feel good about yourself. They lift you up, encourage you, and help you see the best in yourself.

A fake friend, on the other hand, might constantly put you down or make you feel like you’re not good enough. They might make fun of your dreams, belittle your achievements, or even make you doubt your self-worth.

You have all the right to be happy and successful. Don’t let anyone dim your shine. You deserve friends who celebrate you, not ones who tear you down.

Final thoughts: The essence of true friendship

When it comes to friendships, quality always trumps quantity. Having a handful of genuine friends who stand by you through thick and thin is far more valuable than having a large number of fake ones.

Friendship, like any relationship, should be built on mutual respect, trust, and care. It’s not just about having fun together; it’s about being there for each other in times of need.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” This beautifully encapsulates the essence of true friendship.

If you find yourself dealing with a fake friend, it’s important to remember that you deserve better. You deserve friends who value you, respect you, and genuinely care for you.

So, as you navigate the complex world of friendships, keep these signs in mind. They just might save you from a lot of heartache and disappointment. And remember, never settle for less than what you deserve in friendship. After all, true friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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