Having fake friends is worse than having no friends at all. But how do you determine if they’re fake friends or not? This September is Friendship Month, a perfect opportunity to look into what it means to be a friend.
It might sound obvious, but it’s really not. Fake friends can show up in anybody’s life, and you don’t even realize they’re there until you’re way too far into it. Then suddenly you’re in deep, and that relationship is toxic.
Getting out of a toxic friendship is harder and more damaging than figuring out if your friends are fake in the first place. So, let’s dive deeper into the idea of fake friends and see how to spot one.
How to Spot a Fake Friend
If you’re worried that your relationships are taking a toll on your health, then it’s time to be proactive and figure out if they’re worth your time and effort.
It’s not only a good idea to weed out the bad eggs, but science has also found that negative and competitive social interactions are bad for your health and can raise your blood pressure and heart rate. Use the following tips to help you weigh your friendships.
1. Trust Your Instincts
If you think something might be off with a friendship or dread hanging out, there’s something fishy going on. Maybe it’s you or them, but this relationship doesn’t make you feel good, so it is probably one to let go of.
2. You Feel Defensive or Argumentative
Have you ever had someone in your life that contradicted everything you say, even if you agree with them? Or do you know someone who makes you feel defensive and on guard all the time, as if you have to walk on eggshells?
Real friendships are based on mutual trust and respect. You may not agree on everything, but you can talk about issues without these reactions.
3. Do You Hold Back?
Now you certainly don’t need to go spilling tea everywhere, but do you find yourself keeping things secret from certain people? That’s a big sign that you feel you can’t trust them, and that’s not a good sign for the friendship. A good friendship is built on a foundation of trust.
4. Do They Talk About Other People?
If your friend is speaking badly about other people, you need to consider what they’re saying about you behind your back.
Obviously, everybody needs to vent about their family, their spouses, and coworkers once in a while. But if you have a friend that’s constantly gossiping or insulting other people, then this is the way they approach relationships. They build themselves up by tearing others down.
It can feel like a bonding experience at first, but after time, it’s just taxing to rip on others all the time, and it’s not a nice or genuine way to live. You’re better than that, and you certainly don’t need friends who find fault in everyone.
5. They’re Manipulative
They might be manipulating you, or you might see them manipulating others. In fact, they might be so good at it that you don’t realize it’s happening.
Watch out for people who seem to always get their way or are in charge of the situation. Don’t mistake a go-getter for a manipulator. Learn the differences, and analyze your friends’ behaviors.
6. You Feel Fake
If you feel like you have to be a different person around someone, then there’s a chance you’re not feeling accepted. This is a tricky situation because it’s actually you who is behaving in a fake way, but their attitude toward you is what makes you feel like this.
Either way, this is not a healthy friendship, and it’s time to put some distance between you and this person.
7. They Lie
You’re lucky if you don’t know someone who lies regularly, and apparently for no reason. Unfortunately, most people know someone like that. We often give them a pass and write it off as part of their nature, but that’s not good for us.
There are many different reasons for lying, and even if you can’t see what the reason is, the person lying knows it. The problem is, even if you understand why they’re lying, it’s still not acceptable behavior.
Lies can snowball and become huge problems. For your sake and your sanity, it’s best to avoid people who constantly lie.
If you have a friend who lives their life in the midst of the craziest drama, then they’re probably not very genuine. Likewise, if your friend lives to talk about the drama of other people’s lives, they’re a friend you can do without. Toxic people thrive on drama.
Don’t just assume drama is negative. People that live life by being very grandiose and extravagant are also drawn to drama, just a different kind. This is sometimes harder to spot, and it’s hard to give up because this type of drama can be very fun and even addicting.
9. Are They a Copycat?
A version of a famous quote by Oscar Wilde goes something like this, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
If you think about it, it’s pretty valid. If you like the way someone dresses, you may try to dress like them. That makes sense, and it’s actually a compliment. But if you have a friend who is always copying you, it doesn’t feel like a compliment. It feels aggressive and makes you unhappy. That’s because people who do that are usually just trying to be liked, and they’re not giving you their genuine selves.
Waking Up To Wellness
While you don’t want to bring fake friends into your inner circle, it doesn’t mean that you need to count them out entirely. Everyone has layers of friendships, and keeping those friends on one of the periphery layers isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as staying friendly isn’t taxing on you.
The key is to see your friendships for what they are and focus your attention on the good ones. Look for people that you enjoy spending time with and who make you feel good.
Who are the people you turn to in a crisis, and who do you step up and support when they’re having problems? These are the people who are your true friends. That sort of friendship is not only priceless but nurturing, and it can help you live a longer and healthier life.