You can’t choose your family, but you could sure as hell choose your friends. Good friends are there for you when the world seems hostile. They understand what you’re going through and will always be there for you – and soon, you don’t feel like you’re in this alone. You have company, you have a little more strength; you have a friend.
A select few of these choice friends go on to become your BFF’s – and then, you’ve got a life subscription for all things love, loyalty, security, empathy, compassion, fun, crazy… you name it!
However, there are some in that bunch wearing an invisible mask of deceit, disgust, and disloyalty – full of spite, and malignant desire. These are the “fake friends”, and it’s important to be aware of how to spot them.
For the sake of your better life, get rid of them – and if you can’t, avoid them at all costs. You’ll save yourself from all the hurt and harm by watching out for these 11 signs of fake friends.
1. They’re always badmouthing everyone around you.
The first sign of a fake friend is badmouthing. They’ll pass judgments from their high horses all the time. They might criticize you and everyone around you, just to present themselves in a better light.
They’re trying to convince you that they are “good”, by making everybody else bad. Soon, they’ll have you convinced – and you’ll be under their miserable spell for good. Here’s how to steer clear of them:
- Start with counting (literally) how many people they badmouth in a day. If it’s about 1 or 2, that’s normal – however, if you feel or hear them criticizing everyone around “you,” that should be your first warning bell.
- To give them the benefit of the doubt, listen to them for another day or two.
- Don’t give your two cents when they’re criticizing people. These will add fuel to the flame. Just to listen to them.
- If by day 3 they’re still badmouthing everyone around you without any help from you, GET AWAY and STAY AWAY.
- NO, you don’t need to explain yourself.
2. They make excessive excuses and Explanations
The main reason you shouldn’t give your “two cents” in the point above, is that they’re so full of excuses and explanations. They can twist your words and serve them right back to you in the most appetizing platter that you can’t resist, and they’ll always find excuses for why they can’t do something.
For instance, you ask them for a favor, let’s say something as simple as, “Hey, can you help me with my essay?”
Their response will be long-winded excuses – almost as long as an essay – about how it’s the pandemic, they’re demotivated, they don’t have any energy left after signing the latest petition on some activist website… and more excuses.
Spot these excuses and label them “Fake Friend” without any excuse or explanation of your own.
3. They go out of their way not to help you.
Riding on the point above, your fake friend will indeed hesitate when it comes to helping you. They would rather not help at all, and would in fact go out of their way to make sure you don’t seek help from others.
Let’s play the scenario out for you to easily spot these fake friends. You and the fake friend are invited to a small gathering at a friend’s place. You ask them to help you buy a dress off Amazon because your card is not working, but you’ll pay them cash.
Two days before the event, guess what? Their card isn’t working, either, just when it’s a little too late to ask other people.
To make matters worse, a day before the event, you see an Amazon box at their doorstep – and at your friend’s place, she’s wearing a dress quite similar to the one you wanted to order in the first place.
This is a sign that should be easy to spot. These friends have no business being in your life. Cut them out completely.
4. “Mi casa es tu casa” is their motto… for your home only.
See whether they make themselves completely at home at your house. They keep quoting “mi casa es tu casa” and it looks and feels like they own the place.
You’ll find them helping themselves to your kitchen – juicing, cooking, and eating away to their heart’s content. In your room, they go through your wardrobes and drawers just like you do.
You may find yourself thinking that it’s wonderful to have your friend feel so comfortable in your house. But is it? Here’s where the problem comes in:
What happens when you go over to their place? How comfortable can you be? Do they make you feel at home at their “casa”?
When you open their wardrobe, did they tell you not to do so without asking for permission first? What about the kitchen experience? If “mi casa es tu casa” applies only in your house and not theirs, that’s one more sign for you to spot a toxic friend – and you know what to do.
5. They’re awesome in private, but awful in public.
When it’s just the two of you, they seem like the perfect friend. They compliment you, applaud you for adopting your cat from the shelter, commend you for committing to healthy eating, show support and solidarity.
You feel good, because they acknowledge every effort you’re making in life and they show you support when you’re together. But what happens when you’re in the presence of another or in a group?
When they talk about your adopted cat with Tommy and Harriet, does she suddenly think it’s ugly and undernourished? Is your choice of healthy eating making you look fat when the trainer is around at the gym?
You’ve got it, you’ve spotted a toxic friend. They are nice when it’s just the two of you and show their true colors in the crowd: they always have to be better than you. Why surround yourself with such a person?
6. Their problems with others become your own.
Like all fake things, these fake friends have the most genuine façade. They’ll confide in you, tell you their innermost secrets, and become super vulnerable. They’ll tell you what hurts them and who hurts them.
Soon, you’ll be seething with anger at Tom, their “problem of the day”. They’ve instigated that protective soul you have, and like Captain America, you raise your shield against all harm that may come their way.
Here’s the problem: Soon, protecting them isn’t enough for the fake friend. They make you take action. They coax and cajole you into bullying Tom. Fast forward a few months, you realize you don’t even know him – and there you are, destroying his reputation.
So, when they start telling you about their next problem, who you do NOT know at all, and make you do things against this unknown individual – know that you’ve spotted another fake friend who is trying to get you to do their dirty work.
7. They Always Know Better
We all have opinions, and some people might be very highly opinionated. Even then, facts are still facts. If you spot some of your friends questioning facts and countering them with their high and mighty opinions, that’s a surefire sign of a toxic friend.
These friends always have to be right – even when it goes against clear facts. They know everything, and will bulldoze you until you relent.
8. They’re always on a mission to put you down.
If you put together all the points above, you’ll soon see a pattern of their real goal: to put you down, and make you feel as low as possible.
If your “friend” always finds fault in everything you do and always finds something to criticize you about, they’re your fake friends. This easily measurable, because you can actually count how many times they’ve put you down this morning. Even twice is too many.
9. They might beg, borrow, and steal.
When Boyd was between jobs, Kelly helped out. She let him crash at her place, and she lent him some money, too. It just goes with the territory when you’re helping friends. So, when did Kelly figure out Boyd was a toxic, fake friend?
Forget about the fact that Boyd was ungrateful. Some of Kelly’s jewelry and gadgets ended up on Craigslist without her knowledge. Not only did Boyd beg and borrow – but he stole some of her stuff too.
If that’s a sign you choose not to see, you might just deserve that toxic friend. Thankfully, all Kelly lost was the fake friend and some money he owed her, which she considered payment for a good lesson well learned.
10. You have a lot to offer them, and it shows.
- You have a family car for them to hitch a free ride.
- You have a spacious room for them to come and hang out, anytime.
- You have a part-time job, so you can afford to indulge once in a while
- You have the coolest BFF’s – they’re the really popular kids, and the real deal.
When a friend is too friendly with you, it’s good to take note of what you’ve got to offer to see if there are a few things that these toxic people can gain from you. Then, think about whether or not they’d still be friends with you if you had nothing to offer. Maybe pretend you no longer have that free ride for them and see if they stick around.
Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, you’ll probably see them scurrying out of your life at the slightest hint of “no gain.”
11. Your dog can’t stand them.
When your “friend” comes to your place and your otherwise docile retriever transforms into a beast, it’s not you; it’s your friend. Yes, your pets are better at sniffing out the toxicity in your friends.
If you don’t trust your instinct, trust theirs. You can blindly trust your four-legged friend any day even if you’ve failed to see any/all of the signs above.
The Bottom Line
Toxic friends will test you and push you to a dangerously delusional level where you’ll start doubting every being of yourself and every other person around you, if you let them.
These fake friends will take over your life like the termites that leave a tree looking whole on the outside but absolutely hollow on the inside.
Don’t let their toxicity ruin you. Learn How to Successfully Spot and Deal with Fake Friends, and avoid them the way you would any life-threatening diseases – because otherwise, they’ll destroy your life.