How to Deal with Fake Friends

They smile, they tell you they're your friend, but when you turn your back, they're not. Fake friends can range from someone who merely gossips about your more intimate information when you are not around to someone who undermines you in some aspect of your life. Career, relationships and other friendships are three of the main things that fake friends can sabotage for you if you're unaware. Here are some signs that you may have a fake friend in your midst, and here are some things you can do about it:

They Complain about Everyone
One way to spot a fake friend is by their choice of conversation topic. If you have a friend who is constantly putting everyone around them down, this is a likely candidate. It's easy to feel like an important friend and confidante to someone who is putting everyone around them down. However, it's also likely they're saying things about you when you turn away, too. The more intimate the details that they share about others, the less likely your secrets are safe with them. Be warned.

They Justify Others' Bad Behavior
Another sign of a fake friend is someone who justifies the bad behavior of others when it comes to someone else deserving it. If they help hatch scheming revenge scenarios and help others to justify nasty actions, it's likely they have some fake friend in them. Don't make them mad. Revenge won't be kind.

They are Fake to Others
The biggest sign of a fake friend is the way that someone treats others when their backs are turned. From cruel mocking to petty theft to sabotage, these people have no boundaries when it comes to the way they will treat someone when they think they're not looking. And they likely get a rise out of it. The reason why may be different depending on the other person, but the most dangerous fake friends are the ones who are destroying others out of sheer boredom.

What to Do
Once fake friends are identified, the next step is to try and distance yourself from them. If you don't want to become a target, the best way to back away is slowly and with a smile. Find other, more trustworthy friends and spend more time with them. Keep your secrets quiet, and don't divulge information to this person, other than something you'd be comfortable sharing with a room of strangers. Don't follow his or her lead when it comes to mocking or complaining about others. Find places to go where this person doesn't spend time, so you don't have to worry about them on your free time. Keep your personal integrity high, don't start a war. Simply move on, and let them move on, too.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Deal with Fake Friends," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 25, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-deal-with-fake-friends/ (accessed August 15, 2019).
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