Here’s how to spot fake friends and deal with spurious friendships


On the surface, you’re best buddies. But deep inside, you know that it’s turning downward. You no longer feel comfortable sharing your success, failure, and future plan with your so-called friend.

You don’t know exactly what happened and why you have been behaving this way. You cannot explain, but you have a hunch that the friend isn’t a friend anymore. You think like that you’re just carrying the friendship and continuing the obligatory relationship.

That’s okay; you’re in a fake friendship. The person has appeared as a fake friend, and you’re ambivalent about ending this obligatory friendship or keeping it going. I’ve got you covered. I’ll be revealing researched-back 5 tips on how to deal with fake friends in this article. Let’s set the stage first.

10 signs of a fake friend

Over time, your intuitions have come to the conclusion that the friend is faking up — pretended happiness, concocted compliments, and behind-the-scenes jealousy. But you still want reasoning to justify your instincts. Watch out for these red flags when determining that the friend is faking:

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1. You feel down and out in their presence

You might feel used, undermined, and judged when they’re around you. Nothing is categorically said; it’s just your inner feeling drawn from their behavior, disapproving looks, and negating gestures. Your energy crashes, and hollowness takes you over when they’re with you.

2. Over smartness

When you say something or share your opinion, they always deny your point of view and mock you for your stance. You feel that whatever you say is incorrect, and you’re not worthy of having a conversation in their presence. This is particularly to consider when you’re hanging out in the group.

3. Crossing red lines

Their jokes are hurting your self-respect. They tank your confidence by ridiculing you in the group or in-person conversations. You suck at something and feel awkward when being hit on that aspect, and they make fun of your vulnerability. You think: Was it supposed to be funny?

When this happens too often, it’s a sign that you’re with an unreal friend, and it’s the time to deal with such fake friends to reclaim your pride.

4. Downplay your successes

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Fake friends will not join in when it comes to your wins, accomplishments, and successes. They even attach little importance to your achievements by saying, “you’ve done nothing that someone didn’t do it before.” Or “get over from it. It’s no big deal.”

5. Nothing is common anymore

Your careers and goals differ, and most critically, the fundamentals of life and relationship have changed. You give more importance to relationships over monetary objectives, and a friend puts money over the relationship. This situation could be wise versa, but the crucial thing is that the fundamentals of life have collided. When this happens, expectations from one another converse, and emotional distance is created. If you feel this way, it’s a sign that it’s a fake friendship, and you’re putting the burden of old friendship on your shoulders. It’s the moment to deal with fake friendship and act appropriately.

6. Backstabbing

If multiple and trusted sources confirm that the friend is backbiting, spreading rumors and lies about you, or you feel like you have been sold down the river by your friend, it’s an alarm for you. You must have to deal with such a fake friend who does trash-talking about you.

7. Useless comparisons

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Whether it’s about skills or materials such as a car, cellphone, or anything else, they always try to one-up you in the conversation. Regardless of whether it’s group setting or one-on-one discussion, they always compare themselves with you and unceasingly claim one spot ahead of you.

8. No returns

It’s just giving in the relationship. When you need their help, they come up with excuses and walk away without offering assistance. When you call them or ask for a favor, they give you some song and dance about how busy they are. Fake friends will never be around when you need them most. It’s because you don’t have enough importance in their lives.

On the flip side, they only reach out to you if they’re in need of something like a job reference. What’s more? When they need to borrow money or possessions or just want to expand their network by adding your friends to their group, they get in touch with you. Apart from it, they vanish and don’t contact.  

9. Losing race

They constantly make you feel that you’re behind others. For instance, they might say, “you need to find a job because everyone – even stupid ones – has it.” Or “I don’t know why you’re earning so less when we all are making way more than you.”

The purpose is pretty clear. They want to tell you that you’re behind and not doing well in life. Consequently, you feel like crap. They hit your sore points, and you need to deal with such fake friends as soon as possible.

10. Staircase

It’s an extreme form of fake friendship. The person has become your friend to reach a certain level by using your influence, resources, or even you. You become a staircase for them. They don’t miss any occasion buttering and flattering you, and as soon as they get what they intended, they slowly reduce their association and affiliation with you. They start ignoring and rebuffing you. It’s a bit more than fake friendship, and you must let go of this heartache friendship. 

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5 tips on how to deal with fake friends

So you’ve picked up real friends and aside fake ones. Now the hardest part is how to deal with pseudo friends. Here are a few questions that come to your mind…

  • What to say when we meet?
  • How to behave?
  • Should we end it here? If so, how?
  • Should we try to restore the old bond?
  • Or can fake friendship convert into real friendship? If so, how? 

I’ve extensively discussed all possibilities and outlined different ways to deal with fake friends. Let’s get down to them.

1. Sit and talk

If you can’t let it go and don’t want to end the friendship, the best possible way is to meet in person and recall some of the glorious memories that you made together. After that, come to the point and set your expectations in clear words.

It looks awkward to tell a friend that you want friendship with conditions. No… It’s not like that. You’re asking to restore the old bond and setting up expectations overtly. For example, you can mention:

“I don’t feel good when you joke about my XYZ thing. Can you stop doing that? Because it doesn’t make me happy.”

Or “I’ve heard that you mentioned something about me somewhere; people present there misunderstood you. Is XYZ thing you said there about me?

Well, I believe we shouldn’t speak about one another in our absence to avoid bad blood. What do you think?”

See, it’s not hard at all. You can talk and clear all matters in friendship. So be clear about what’s wrong in the relationship, pick the right words, define boundaries, talk about the future, and understand the position of both sides. That’s all. At the end of this reconciliation talk, you’re continuing as a friend, and you both will sense the refreshing vibes.

2. Break up talks

One of the matters that surprises me is no breakup talks in the friendship. To end a friendship, the stakeholders fight, show cold shoulder, and gradually or abruptly stop talking without discussing the real matter. That’s how we end friendships. And that’s not on.

Hold the reconciliation talks, and if it doesn’t work, politely express that you believe that it’s okay if you both end up here.

“I think our relationship has filled with hidden resentments, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and disappointments. It’s better if we can part our ways for a while. It’s good for both of us, and for our emotional health, too. I hope this is okay with you. Right?”

Again, as you see, it’s not difficult. You can do it. This way, you’ll get over from anxiety caused by fake friends and surround yourself with more meaningful and real relationships. That’s how to deal with fake friends and get on in your life.

3. Take some time off

Taking a break is essential to bring back warmness and sweetness in a sour relationship. Specifically, if you have a difficult conversation, exchange unpleasant comments, or involve in an undesirable argument. Simply communicate that you’ll not be available during the next couple of months or so.


Taking a break while dealing with fake friends will give both of you a fresh perspective. You both will calm down, reassess the situation, and miss one another. As they say… “time heals all wounds.” After a break, it’ll be a new start, and the importance of each one will be enhanced. There’ll be more mutual respect and courtesy.

4. Slow poison

For me, it’s not a nice way. However, it’s one of the options that you can use depending on your situation. It means you reduce your warmness and response in the friendship.

You stop texting or delay your responses. For example, you respond to WhatsApp messages after a couple of days. In addition, you don’t pick up the phone until it’s the third or fourth time. You limit your responses to yes or no. this behavior sends your message that you’re not serious anymore or have little importance for the other person. Consequently, they’ll understand the bottom line. That’s one of the ways to deal with fake friends. This way, you give a slow poison to fake friendship.

This way to end a friendship is quite useful if you think that ending abruptly will create drama. Or the other person will not agree to end it by having a breakup talk. It’s also recommended if you are not comfortable opening up your disappointment. It also allows you to avoid any confrontation. Since it’s less direct, it’s one of the ways that cause minimum pain, as you’re slowly moving away and giving slow poison to the relationship.

To apply this method, you only use text messages for communication, do no calls and no social media engagements, respond with shorter messages, give excuses, avoid getting together, and show no excitement. 

5. Use your body language and facial expressions

Don’t complain. Just give them the freedom to continue what they’re doing to you. However, use your body language and facial expressions to show your disliking. For instance, when they make fun of you, don’t laugh or smile. When they contradict you during the conversation, show your antagonistic expressions. When they pass unlikable comments about you, just get up and move away for a few minutes. These signals can be interpreted quite easily, and they’ll be careful next time.

This method is useful and can deliver results if the other person is intelligent enough to decode these clues. The intensity of expressions should be enough so that they notice a considerable change in your body language when they do something that’s not okay with you. Be very wise here. You’re speaking through your body and face, so if you’re good at this, only then you’ll be able to deal with fake friends this way. 

Closing remarks

Having true friends is a real blessing. We get true happiness when we’re surrounded by real friends. We also stay healthy psychologically and emotionally.

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Michigan State University conducted a survey of nearly 280,000 people. Participants were of all ages and from almost 100 countries. There was a direct correlation between participants’ family/friend relationships and their overall health and happiness. Surprisingly, participants who had genuine friends were healthier and happier than those who had good relationships only with their family members. Undoubtedly, family members should be on top of our priority list. That being said, for healthy, happy, and peaceful life, you must have true and sincere friends. They’re extremely important.

Fake friends will have an adverse effect on life. Another study conducted by the same university concludes that when friends offered support, people were happier… but when friends were draining and stressful, people reported more chronic illness.

This is a red flag that you should deal with fake friends to end the relationship or turn it into a meaningful friendship. For this, I’ve shared 5 tips on how to deal with fake friends. You should also refer to the signs of fake friends so that you can absolutely be sure how exactly you’ll like to proceed. The world is full of genuine people. Find a few ones and enjoy true friendships. You’ll cherish every little moment! 

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