We’ve all heard of the age-old saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” But in the real world, things can sometimes be a bit more complicated.
We all need friends. They make our lives better, bring joy, share our sorrow, support us, and are there when we need them.
But, just like in a garden where along with beautiful flowers, weeds also grow, not all friends are what they seem.
This article is all about those ‘weeds’ in the garden of our lives – the so-called friends who seem real on the surface, but are not.
These are the friends who show up when the sun is shining, but are nowhere to be found when the storm hits.
They are the friends who love to take but are stingy when it comes to giving. They vanish when you truly need them.
We’re going to talk about the signs of fake friends. I’m not talking about people who sometimes make mistakes, because let’s face it, no one’s perfect.
Rather, this article is about those who show a pattern of selfishness and insensitivity. Those who don’t truly value your friendship.
1. They’re Never Around In Tough Times
Oh, boy. Have you ever been in a situation where the world seemed to be falling apart and you reached out to a friend, only to be met with radio silence or vague replies?
Well, you’ve got a classic sign of a fake friend right there.
Genuine friends stick around, not just for the good times, but through the tough times too.
You might be thinking about that time when your “friend” was not there for you when you lost your job or went through a difficult breakup. It stings, right?
We are social creatures who seek support and connection, especially when we are in pain.
But alas, this “friend” of yours didn’t respond to your cries for help or seemed too occupied to lend an ear.
Yes, everyone has their own lives, their own battles to fight, but true friends make time.
They ensure that they’re there for you, no matter how difficult their own circumstances might be.
In contrast, fake friends would make excuses, make you feel like a burden, or simply vanish when you need them the most.
[Related: How to See Through Fake People]
2. You Often Feel Used
Another red flag that’s hard to ignore is the feeling of being used. It’s a nasty feeling, isn’t it?
You feel like you’re just a tool for them to achieve their goals or fulfill their needs, and they disappear once they’re done.
Picture this scenario: your friend only calls you when they need help moving, or they need a ride, or they need your advice about their problems.
But beyond that, they don’t really show any interest in your life or wellbeing. You’re their go-to problem solver, but are you their friend?
In true friendships, the give and take is balanced. Friends help each other out of love and respect, not because they’re expecting something in return.
They genuinely care about your wellbeing and want to contribute to your happiness.
But when you’re dealing with a fake friend, it’s a different story. They take more than they give, making you feel like you’re being used.
If you’re in a friendship like this, it may be time to rethink such friendships because you deserve better.
3. They Never Celebrate Your Victories
So, you’ve achieved something that you’re really proud of. Maybe you’ve got a promotion, or you’ve finally mastered that yoga pose you’ve been practicing for months.
You’re on top of the world, and you can’t wait to share the news with your friend. But instead of sharing your joy, they downplay your achievement or even completely ignore it.
That’s a bummer, right? You were expecting confetti, balloons, and lots of hugs and cheers, but all you got was a cold, indifferent response.
Friends are supposed to lift each other up, celebrate each other’s victories, and be each other’s cheerleaders.
But here’s the thing with fake friends – they only seem interested in you when you’re down.
Your victories make them uncomfortable or even envious. Instead of celebrating with you, they’d rather belittle your achievements or ignore them altogether.
Hate to break it to you, but if you notice this pattern, reconsider your friendship with this person. You deserve to be surrounded by people who cheer you on, celebrate your wins, and make you feel special.
4. Gossip Is Their Second Language
Oh, the drama! Gossip, backbiting, and spreading rumors – if these elements are a big part of your friendship, you’re dealing with a fake friend.
It’s all fun and games until you realize you’re probably the subject of their gossip when you’re not around.
Think about it. They always seem to have the latest scoop on everyone else, and they can’t wait to spill the beans to you.
It’s a never-ending cycle of gossip that leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
Genuine friends value trust and respect above all else. They don’t spread rumors or share secrets. Instead, they build each other up and create a safe space for honesty and openness.
However, a fake friend thrives on gossip and drama. And if they’re talking about others behind their backs, chances are they’re doing the same with you.
Don’t let this toxic behavior slide. You’re worth more than that.
5. They’re Not Happy For You, They’re Jealous Of You
You’ve probably felt it. The cold, distant behavior when you share good news. The passive-aggressive comments masked as jokes.
The sly digs at your achievements. It’s an unpleasant feeling, to say the least.
True friends feel joy in each other’s happiness. They’re proud of each other’s accomplishments and cheer each other on. Jealousy has no place in a genuine friendship.
But if your “friend” is showing signs of jealousy instead of being happy for you, they’re not your friend. Don’t let their negativity drain you.
Jealousy can ruin friendships. And it’s a glaring sign of a fake friend.
[Also read: 5 Major Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Friends]
6. They Disappear When They Find New Friends
Remember that time when your friend got a new group of friends, and suddenly you started hearing from them less and less?
One minute you’re best buddies, and the next, you’re like strangers. Ouch.
Genuine friendships are not threatened by new relationships. Real friends maintain their old friendships while making new ones.
They understand the value of their old bonds and don’t abandon them at the drop of a hat.
But a fake friend will leave you hanging the moment they find a new “cool” group they can benefit from. You’re not the flavor of the month anymore, so you’re left behind. And that’s not a good feeling.
7. They Criticize You More Than They Support You
Every relationship needs constructive criticism from time to time. It helps us grow and learn.
But there’s a thin line between constructive criticism and constant, unwarranted criticism. And a fake friend will cross that line, again and again.
Does your friend always point out your flaws? Do they make you feel small or insignificant? Do they belittle your dreams and ambitions?
If yes, they’re not being a friend to you.
Real friends support each other. They offer constructive criticism, but they also provide a safety net of love and support. They boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself.
On the other hand, a fake friend will constantly criticize you, making you feel bad about yourself. That’s not friendship, that’s a toxic relationship.
How to Deal With Fake Friends
Dealing with fake friends can be quite a challenge. The first step is to identify them.
Signs could include always being absent in your time of need, using you for their personal gain, being overly critical, and showing jealousy towards your successes.
Once you’ve identified these signs, it’s time to confront the issue. You don’t have to be confrontational or aggressive, but simply honest and direct.
Explain how their actions have been affecting you and your friendship.
Now, they might react positively and try to change their behavior, or they could get defensive and deny everything.
If it’s the latter, it’s probably a clear sign that this person doesn’t value your feelings or the friendship enough to make changes. It might be time to distance yourself from this person.
It’s not easy, but it’s essential for your emotional wellbeing. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who genuinely care about you.
Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s better to have a few real friends than a crowd of fake ones.
What Attracts Fake Friends?
There are several reasons why you might attract fake friends. Sometimes, it could be because you’re always there to help them out, making you an easy target for users.
You may be generous and always willing to help, which is a great quality. But some people might take advantage of that and use you for their personal gain.
Another reason could be your social status or the resources you have. Fake friends are often attracted to what you can offer them, such as popularity, money, or connections.
They don’t value you as a person but rather what you can do for them.
Sometimes, your lack of boundaries can also attract fake friends. If you don’t establish boundaries, people might take advantage of your kindness and generosity.
Learn to set limits and ensure that your relationships are mutually beneficial and respectful.
[Read: 6 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship You Shouldn’t Ignore]
How Do You Know If Your Friend is Using You?
Recognizing that a friend is using you can be challenging and painful. But there are signs you can look out for.
If your friend only calls you when they need something and doesn’t show interest in your life otherwise, that’s a major red flag. They see you as a means to an end rather than a friend.
Another sign is feeling drained after spending time with them. If your friend constantly demands your time, energy, and resources without giving anything in return, you might feel exhausted after interacting with them.
This emotional drain is a clear indication that the friendship is one-sided.
Furthermore, if they’re never there when you need them, it’s a glaring sign that they’re using you. A genuine friend would make an effort to support you in your time of need.
But if they’re always absent during your difficult times and only surface when they need something, it’s time to reconsider the friendship.