Families play a key role in the lives of many people. So, do friends. In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal Personal Relationships showed that when it comes to older adults’ happiness and health, friendship may be more important than relationships with family members. But to be healthy and happy, you need to be surrounded by genuine friends and not the ones who pretend to care for you. You might not know it, but there are signs to spot fake friends.
Fake friends are those who just pretend to be your friends. But in reality, they don’t genuinely care about your well-being or have your best interests at heart. They may be insincere, opportunistic or only interested in what they can gain from the relationship, says Gurugram-based clinical psychologist Aishwarya Raj.
Ways to identify fake friends
You might see good in everyone, but there are also ways to know if your friends are fake. Here are some signs of fake friends:
1. Lack of genuine interest
Fake friends show little interest in your life, feelings or concerns. They often only talk about themselves. So, for them it’s only about “me, myself and I”.
2. Inconsistent communication
Fake friends only approach you when they want something from you. And when you need support, they won’t take calls or reply to messages.
3. Conditional support
Fake friends are supportive only when it benefits them, but are absent during your challenges, says the expert.
4. Negative energy
Fake friends may bring negativity, drama or criticism into your life instead of positive vibes.
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5. Jealousy or competition
They might be envious or jealous of your achievements and try to compete with you rather than being happy and celebrating your success.
6. Betrayal of trust
Fake friends may share your secrets with others even though you tell them not to. They may talk behind your back or break your trust.
7. Lack of effort
They avoid putting effort into maintaining the friendship, cancel plans frequently or prioritise other people over you, Raj tells Health Shots.
Fake friends are selfish and tend to focus on their own needs. They rarely consider your needs or think about what you want.
9. Energy drain
Spending time with them often leaves you feeling drained, rather than uplifted.
10. No reciprocity
Real friendships involve give and take, but fake friends only believe in taking without giving anything back.
Tips to deal with fake friends
Once you spot fake friends, you should know what to do about the friendship. Here are some tips:
1. Evaluate the relationship
Reflect on the impact of their behaviour on your well-being and whether the friendship is worth continuing, suggests Raj.
2. Set boundaries
Set boundaries so that you can protect yourself from their negative influences and demands.
If you feel comfortable, have an honest conversation with them about your concerns and feelings.
4. Prioritise real friendships
You friends circle can’t be full of fake people. So, focus on nurturing relationships with those who genuinely care about you.
5. Gradual distance
Slowly distance yourself from fake friends to minimise their impact on your life. Remember you need real and genuine friends.
As you cut them off gradually, lean on your true friends, family or a therapist for guidance and emotional support. You should also prioritise your own well-being by doing everything that bring you joy and fulfillment. Most importantly, use the experience to develop better judgment in choosing friends and recognising genuine connections.