Who is a fake friend? A fake friend is someone who is in a non-reciprocal relationship with you for the purpose of their own benefit and stays on so long as the relationship is one-sided and mostly benefits him or her. Fake friends can also influence you to become someone you are not, making you fake your authenticity in order to be “qualified” as their friend.
An old maxim summed up the essence of friendship in five words – “no man is an island”. People need people as even the most recluse, no matter how dense his or her solitary life is, is not self-sufficient. There is no doubt that friendship is an important part of humanity, but as much as it is vital to have friends, one should not be ignorant of the fact that just like most things, there are fake friends. Fake friends have been likened to shadows, in the sense that you will see them around when you are at the brightest moments of your life but nowhere to be found when things get dark.
Literally, it is only useful to keep friends with benefits: those that can impact your life in meaningful ways, push you to become a better version of yourself, encourage, and help you through difficult times. Having good friends around you can be hugely rewarding in the same measure that keeping fake friends can be devastating. In all, everyone deserves good friends and nobody would want to keep a bad one. People only have fake friends because it is quite difficult identifying a bad buddy, or they are scared of being alone if they stop rolling with their frenemies.
Who You Should Regard As A Fake Friend?
Even though it can be hard to identify a fake friend among your friends, most of the people with fake friends are aware that those particular people do not want the best for them but are choosing to ignore it. For whatever reason, if you are convinced that someone does not have your best interest at heart, then it is silly to keep regarding such a person as a friend. The following are ways to identify a fake friend.
When the Relationship Is Subject to One or More Requirements Being Met
When you notice that your friendship with someone is based on certain requirements and conditions like not being friends with certain kind of people, not supporting a particular group, wearing some kind of clothes, or being a vegan, then the friendship is conditional and the person is not a real friend. In all, if the person wants you to like the things they like, hate the things they hate, or avoids you for being yourself, he or she is a fake friend.
When He or She Stops Being Cool With You After You Disagree With Him or Her
A good friend would tell you your opinion is shitty, would not have a problem with you doing the same when you think so, and definitely would not stop talking with you because you expressed a point of view that contradicts something they believe dearly. If a friend wants you to always agree with them, and stops being cool with you because you refused to accept what they believe, the person is not a good friend.
If the Person Always Has Something to Gain From You
Friendship is about helping, supporting, and being with each other through good and bad times. However, if you notice that someone is only around you because they want something, congratulations, you have a fake friend.
A good friend would be there not because they want you to escort them somewhere, are bored and lonely, needs money or free stuff. If you cannot think of anytime your friend is around you and does not want anything, then you deserve a better friend.
When the Person Has Not Done Anything to Support Your Aspirations
The essence of friendship is to have people who will stand by you, directly or indirectly, and push you towards attaining the things you hope to accomplish. Someone who has not helped or encouraged your endeavors in any way is not a good friend. You should not need a soothsayer to tell you that a friend is fake if they look down on what you do.
How to Identify Fake Friends Pretending to Be Real Friends
Someone who really wants to get rid of fake friends would find the foregoing useful in no small manner. Nonetheless, fake friends who are manipulative can seem to be good pals as they will act as though they support your goals when they do not really care, fake to like you for who you are, pretend that they are okay with you disagreeing with them, and scrupulously camouflage being with you so that you cannot uncover that they are only hanging around you to satisfy their needs. Thankfully, there are ways you can identify fake friends feigning to be real, below are some of the most effective.
1. They Seem to Be a Stranger to You When they are Around Other People
This is a dead giveaway. If a friend you regard as a good and close companion always seems to be someone you do not know around other people, you have to seriously consider the fact that they are fake. Acting differently around other people means your friend is either faking who they are to you or who they are to the other people. Whichever way, you have something to worry about.
2. If they Speak Poorly of Other Friends they Have
When you cannot tell if someone is a real friend to you, you can look at how he or she treats other people they call friends. So, if a friend talks to you about his or her friend in ways that are not friendly, then it is likely that they are doing the same to you.
3. You Do Not Get to See Much of them Every Time they Meet New People
Any real friend would not abandon you when they meet people who they presume are interesting to be with. If you notice that your friend disregards you whenever he or she meets new people, then you have to consider that they do not really enjoy being with you but do so because there are no alternatives. You cannot count such a person as a good friend.
How to Deal With Fake Friends and Get Rid of them
No one needs to be told that keeping a fake friend could cause depression, low-self esteem, and affect one’s mental health negatively. In fact, it has been claimed that bad friendships expose one to life-threatening diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Given that, it is important for one to get rid of fake friends. If anything, it would create space for people who are good for you to become part of your life and make a meaningful impact.
To get rid of those fake friends, you can confront them and tell them how you feel about the relationship without mincing words, but, do not be disrespectful or insulting about it. Alternatively, you can start avoiding them and refuse to grant them things they ask of you.
How Not to Attract Fake Friends Into Your Life
You have fake friends because you attracted them into your life or you allowed them to stay when they came around. If you must stop attracting bad buddies, you must have a golden rule – no friend is worth keeping if they don’t inspire or encourage you.
While it can be hard to find a genuine friend, a simple set of principles can keep the bad ones away, all you need to do is abide by the following guidelines and do not lower the standard for whatever reasons.
Don’t Stop Being True to Yourself
If you pretend to be who you are not, you are only setting yourself up to attract people who may not be genuinely attracted to you. So, the first thing you should work on to stop attracting fake pals is hiding your real personality.
When you take on another personality, you are being fake and would end up drawing people who like the person you are acting to be. You must know that the friends who are good for you are those that don’t have a problem with who you are. You can only lure such people into your life by being true to yourself. In all, do not pretend to like what you do not like when you meet people.
Have a Set of Values and Stand By them at All Times
This will help you know the kind of people you like being with, the qualities you do not like in people you regard as friends, and what you expect from a friend. Make a list of the things you cannot tolerate and do not compromise when you find that a potential friend falls short of your set values.
Having a set of values, standards, and principles is like building a wall that the wrong kind of friends cannot scale through to become part of your life. While It will help you identify the sheep and the wolves, you have to take it a step further and ensure you do not allow any wolf among the sheep: do not accept any behavior from any person who goes against your values, no matter how appealing the person seems to be. This way, you will only get to roll with people who share the same values as you.
You Must Not Always Be Nice and Kind
It is a very good thing to be nice and kind. But when you have established a set of values and made it know to people around you that there are boundaries, you don’t have to be friendly to anyone who would not respect your values, or feel bad about cutting them off from your life.
Also, you would never get to know who is indeed your friend if you are always nice and kind to everyone. If you have been nice to friends who treated you badly, then you probably had been too nice and said yes to their demands almost always. Here is a little experiment to carry out: say no to your friends and disagree with their opinions. Any of them who begins to disregard you because of this is not worth being your friend.
More so, if you learn how to say no to things you are not comfortable doing or assistance you can’t provide, you naturally keep fake friends away from you.
Do Not Stop Improving On Who You Are
You should not stop working on becoming a better version of yourself if you want to keep fake friends away. Developing yourself intellectually, psychologically, and otherwise would largely attract people who are inspired by the kind of person you are. This does not mean you cannot entice people who would come around you solely for their own benefit.
But then, the fact that you are constantly improving on who you are will make it easy for you to see through these people and as well equip you with the will to not tolerate them. When you concentrate on your personal growth, you will not regard friendship as a means of gaining things from people, but as an avenue to make a positive contribution to people’s life. As such, you will pull people with similar mindset into your life.
Be a Good Friend
You know what has been said about birds of a feather, they flock together. So, if you are a good friend, it becomes easier for you to make good friends and keep fake ones away. Being a good friend does not end at being good to someone you regard as a friend or always helping them out. It also means standing your ground, saying no when you have to, pointing out their mistakes, and not hesitating to criticize them, albeit lovingly. You can only be this kind of friend when you are true to yourself and not eager to please people.
A Quick Summary of What You Should Do to Avoid Fake Friends
- Always be true to yourself and do not pretend.
- Have a set of values and always stand by them.
- Do not be too nice and kind.
- Keep working on being a better version of yourself.
- Know what it means to be a good friend and be a good friend.