Fake friends? How to unmask the fake and find the true

Discover the critical traits of fake friends and learn how to handle these relationships with five effective strategies

 Lashon hara: Gossip (photo credit: Ben White/Unsplash)
Lashon hara: Gossip
(photo credit: Ben White/Unsplash)

Losing a friend can feel like losing a piece of your soul, especially when it's someone you've known since childhood or your youth. 

Friendship is a vital source of happiness and well-being, but unfortunately, some individuals pretend to be true friends when they are anything but. So, how can you spot a "fake friend"?

Identifying a fake friend goes beyond surface-level pretense. These individuals have little concern for your well-being and are unlikely to prioritize your best interests. They may exhibit dishonesty, opportunist tendencies, or aim to benefit from your friendship.

One key indicator of a fake friend is their lack of genuine interest in your life, feelings, and fears. Instead, they focus primarily on themselves, displaying a "me, myself, and I" attitude. Moreover, these pseudo-friends only offer support when it serves their interests and often bring negativity, drama, or criticism into your life.

Dishonesty is another red flag. Fake friends may betray your trust by sharing your secrets with others, gossiping about you, or engaging in backstabbing behavior.

Reciprocity is fundamental to true friendships, where both parties give and take. However, fake friends overlook this balance and only take it without providing anything in return.

To effectively deal with fake friends, consider the following strategies:

  1. Evaluate the Relationship: Assess the impact of their behavior on your well-being and determine whether the friendship is worth maintaining.
  2. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from the adverse effects of their presence.  Communication: Engage in an open and honest conversation with your fake friend about your concerns and emotions.
  3. Prioritize Genuine Friendships: Surround yourself with those who genuinely care for your well-being, and invest your time and energy in nurturing these meaningful connections.
  4. Create Distance Gradually: Minimize the impact of fake friends by gradually distancing yourself from them. Remember, you deserve authentic and trustworthy friendships.

Distinguishing between real and fake people can be challenging, as they often exhibit similar traits. However, there are key differences that can help you identify genuine individuals. Sherry Heard, a writer for the American website "Loring Mind," highlighted the following distinguishing factors:

  1.  Respect: Fake people disregard boundaries, whereas genuine individuals respect and prioritize others' comfort.
  2. Honesty: Fake people are prone to lying and distorting the truth, while real individuals prioritize honesty, even if it means facing uncomfortable truths.
  3. Humility: Fake people constantly boast about their achievements, while genuine individuals exhibit humility and seek forgiveness if they unintentionally brag.
  4. Emotional Authenticity: Fake people manipulate emotions to their advantage, lacking genuine empathy and sincerity. However, real individuals embrace their feelings, openly expressing joy, sorrow, and love, and are unafraid to show compassion.

Recognizing these traits allows you to develop a keen instinct for differentiating between real and fake people.Remember, genuine friends support, uplift, and prioritize your well-being. Cut ties with fake friends and invest in relationships with genuine connection and care.