How to Tell If Someone Is Fake: Signs of a Phony Person

Updated on June 4, 2018
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

People don't always broadcast their true intentions, so any of us can be fooled by a phony person wanting to get closer to us. Protect yourself from phony people by learning the 12 signs that you're dealing with someone who is fake.
People don't always broadcast their true intentions, so any of us can be fooled by a phony person wanting to get closer to us. Protect yourself from phony people by learning the 12 signs that you're dealing with someone who is fake. | Source

Friend or Phony?

I once did a small favor for a friend of a friend. It was trivial to me but apparently it meant a huge deal to her. The next thing I knew, I had a new best buddy. (Later, I learned that she had dropped her previous best friend for me.)

Although she had never talked to me before, suddenly she was calling me several times a day to gossip and complain about being wronged by various others, sometimes years prior. She never shared much background information about herself other than how knowledgeable, connected, and heroic she was.

Although there was little emotional depth to her, we bonded over a shared hobby and complementary expertise. Then, when nearly two years into the relationship I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, my fake friend disappeared, dropping me for a replacement BFF.

Don't Be Duped

It's not always easy to tell why a potential business contact, dating partner, or friend is seeking you out. Their reasons for wanting to associate with you may be genuine or could be motivated by a selfish agenda. They could want information, access, or resources you have.

Unfortunately, people don't necessarily broadcast their true intentions, so any of us can be fooled by a phony person wanting to get closer to us. (Look at how easily Donald Trump Jr. was duped.) Protect yourself from phony people by learning the 12 signs that you're dealing with someone who is fake.

"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are." - C.G. Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are." - C.G. Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst | Source

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Signs You're Dealing with a Phony

We are all self-interested to some degree, but a person who is authentic is the same on the outside as they are on the inside. They don't express attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts that aren't truly their own just to make themselves appear more similar to someone they want to impress. Learn are 12 signs that you're dealing with a phony below.

Reader Poll

Has a phony person ever sought you out as their friend, business contact, or dating partner?

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Sign 1: They Come on Strong

Whereas relationships typically evolve at a natural pace, this phony person develops an interest in you out of nowhere. They initiate contact with you and then are eager to follow up. They seem to know more about you than vice versa. They point out amazing parallels in your lives. Coincidence? Nah. There's a point to their making a connection with you. You're just too flattered and overcome right now to know what it is yet.

Sign 2: They Are Intense People Pleasers

You'll notice that your fake new buddy is a people pleaser, offering over-the-top compliments to ingratiate themselves to you. They ask you lots of questions but generate few definitive answers of their own. That's because they are reluctant to state a decisive point of view, especially one that might conflict with yours.

Phony people endeavor to be all things to all people, and they are overeager to make others like them. They want to know what you think first, and then they agree with your perspective. However, when a person is afraid to commit to a belief system, that's simply disingenuine—fake. People shouldn't trust those who waffle on their core values. You may not have noticed it, however, because they manipulated you into doing a lot of the initial talking. (People love to talk about themselves—including you!) Stop and ask more questions.

Sign 3: They Are Big Braggarts and Enjoy Drama

Now that your fake new buddy has gained your confidence, they feel entitled to brag about themselves. They grab the spotlight in conversation and are eager to impress you. Because they're insecure, they'll boast, show off, and drop names. They'll tell you directly what talents they are especially good at and will convey their strengths through stories. Watch for them to play the role of hero.

As time goes on, pay attention to whether your fake buddy is too wrapped up in their own narrative that they don't have enough concern for yours. For example:

  • Are they genuinely happy when you succeed?
  • Do they show jealousy over your success?
  • Do they betray confidences?
  • Do they have your back?

We are all self-interested to some degree, but a person who is authentic is the same on the outside as they are on the inside.  How authentic are you?
We are all self-interested to some degree, but a person who is authentic is the same on the outside as they are on the inside. How authentic are you? | Source

Sign 4: They Spread Gossip

It's not enough for your fake friend to build themselves up. They have to engage in character assassination when their targets aren't available to defend themselves. They point out others' personal flaws, spread gossip that may or may not be true, and add to interpersonal drama by keeping negative information and complaints actively churning.

Phony people may share stories in which they star as the victim and "an evil other" commonly stars as the villain. Remember though that if someone will gossip with you, they'll gossip about you. It's possible that one day you may be that "evil other" in their retold rumor.

Sign 5: They Exaggerate and Lie

You hear the same stories from your fake friend repeatedly, although they don't realize how often they repeat themselves. Eventually, you start to notice the inconsistencies and even flat-out lies as they recount slightly different versions of the same self-promoting stories. If you then start to verify their stories or information behind the dropped names, you'll likely find that substantial self-puffery is involved.

Sign 6: They Are Poor Listeners

Whereas authentic people ask a question because they want to know the answer, the phony person cannot be bothered to listen to the response. Asking is merely enough. They may give inappropriate reactions because they aren't paying attention or move onto another question or conversation topic. They often don't seem to be able to recall what you've said. Sorry, but they're just not that interested.

Is your fake friend really listening to you?  Do they respond appropriately?  Do they look bored or lost in thought?  Can they recall what you said?
Is your fake friend really listening to you? Do they respond appropriately? Do they look bored or lost in thought? Can they recall what you said? | Source

Sign 7: They Request Frequent Favors

Having found a willing comrade, the fake friend requests a small favor from you for information, access, or resources. The favor may even seem unusual given the length of your relationship. Then they follow it up with a series of other small requests that eventually escalate in significance until you're their go-to source. They're finally getting what they originally wanted.

Sign 8: It's All for Their Convenience

Do you understand yet that the world revolves around your phony friend? When and where to meet, how you'll be spending your time—it's whatever is convenient for them. They make commitments and offer assistance but often don't follow through unless there's some advantage to be had.

Sign 9: They Disappear When Needed

When you find yourself in a real bind—for example, you're moving across town, your husband leaves you, you break your leg, or need someone to petsit—that's when your fake friend becomes very scarce. They're suddenly crazy busy, disappearing when needed most.

When you find yourself in a real bind, that's when your fake friend pulls a disappearing act.
When you find yourself in a real bind, that's when your fake friend pulls a disappearing act. | Source

Sign 10: They're Emotionally Distant

To keep themselves from being emotionally vulnerable, the fake friend avoids sharing revealing personal details about themselves, particularly their own feelings. They may claim to never get mad, but seriously—no one is happy all of the time. If you look closely, you can tell that your phony pal tends to sport a fake smile rather than a genuine one. (Genuine smiles reach the crinkles of the eyes.)

Sign 11: Their Body Language Speaks Volumes

A phony person may verbalize, "How fascinating!" as you describe your rock collection, but it's their feet that will give them away. During conversation, the direction one's feet are facing more than anything else reveals their true feelings of where they want to be. If their body is angled so that their feet are pointing towards an exit, for example, then that's the direction they want to be headed in rather than engaging in the conversation with you. Most phonies don't think to fake this part of their behavior.

Sign 12: They'll Leave You When There's a Better Deal

Phonies are USERS by definition. They want to be in the social orbit of those who can offer them information, access, or resources. As long as you can do that, you'll be an attractive target for them. When there's a better deal to be had, you'll be dumped like yesterday's garbage because you're no longer useful. It's nothing personal, although it certainly feels that way.

You can't always avoid phony people, but you can learn the signs, thereby making yourself less prone to exploitation.
You can't always avoid phony people, but you can learn the signs, thereby making yourself less prone to exploitation. | Source

Summary of the Dirty Dozen: 12 Signs You're Dealing with a Phony

As long as some people have what others want, there will be individuals who are willing to try to manipulate others by being inauthentic. Being fake or phony means that a person expresses attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts that aren't truly their own just to make themselves seem similar to the target they're trying to influence.

The best we can hope for is to be able to detect signs among potential business associates, dating partners, or friends that we're dealing with a phony person. By knowing these signs, we can be alert to potential exploitation, set healthy and appropriate boundaries, and adjust our expectations for the relationship.

In summary, here are the 12 signs that you're dealing with a phony:

  1. They Come on Strong
  2. They Are Intense People Pleasers
  3. They Are Big Braggarts and Enjoy Drama
  4. They Spread Gossip
  5. They Exaggerate and Lie
  6. They Are Poor Listeners
  7. They Request Frequent Favors
  8. It's All for Their Convenience
  9. They Disappear When Needed
  10. They're Emotionally Distant
  11. Their Body Language Speaks Volumes
  12. They'll Leave You When There's a Better Deal

Questions & Answers

  • How do you deal with a person who fake smiles to your face but talks about you behind your back?

    What's worked for me is direct confrontation. For example, "Steve, I understand that you've been saying that I (fill in rumor here). What problem do you have with me?" Depending on how well the conversation goes, they either apologize or I tell them to stop it/we're not cool anymore as long as they're doing that.

  • When people behave in a fake manner, how can you avoid their fakeness?

    Several ways to keep from becoming sucked into the drama of fake people include the following tips:

    1) Don’t encourage their bragging because they love attention. Change the subject as soon as possible. Instead, barely acknowledge it.

    2) Don’t confide in them or depend on them because you'll be disappointed.

    3) Try to reduce your contact with them as much as possible.

    4) Call their lies and distrustful behaviors out for what they are. Be plain and nonemotional and tell other people who might also be duped, so their charade is more difficult to pull off. There's also power in numbers.

© 2018 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      Jake - That's an awesome take-down of fakers. Keep it real! Have a terrific week. Hope you are well.

    • Paul Garand profile image

      Jake Clawson 

      2 months ago from Kazakhstan

      Fake people also tend to follow trends and regurgitate whatever is praised at that time but I guess this is a combo of 2, 12 and 4. This sequentially, makes them look better than the people they are with.

      Fake people are also walking pity parades with narcissist self-glorifying floats.

      E.g. "I am so broken, tortured and alone but look at me all smiles with an entire horde trying to please me."

      As usual, a good article, ma'am. Well done.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      I have been silent we have no contact I only talked to him a few weeks ago to get on good terms with him but not since then he still looks at me with sad eyes I look at him like I wonder what's wrong with him in return even though a small part of me misses him I don't miss who he is now there's a sadness about this situation because he used to be so sweet it hurts to know he's not the same guy anymore ever since he started dating his girlfriend

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Lauren - Consistent silence on your part will help him get the message.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      Now the question is how do I get Dominic to accept the friendship is in fact over since he doesn't seem to completely understand that I rejected him platonically he keeps looking at me in a sad way like his heart is longing for the friendship we had the exact way it was before I ended the friendship but I know I can't go back it wasn't that great he's just not the guy I knew and that's what bothers me so much he can't seem to give up on the friendship

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      Yes I'm probably going to go to therapy because just an update he's been talking to my one friend trying to get her to get me to be his friend again he even went so far as to listen in on my one phone conversation he knew why the conversation was about I'm guessing his ears were burning and he knew I was telling her about the situation he might have even tried to get me to go in his vehicle somewhere with him

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Lauren - That may be a good move if it's bothered you this much. Best wishes.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      Yes I do I talk to my boyfriend about this because he understands what's up I'm just giving you a good idea as to who this guy is he really wasn't there for me when I had anxiety which is why now I'm going to find a doctor to talk to about that but I'm on good terms with Dominic but he's not really on my good side because I know too much about what he's about and I'm not about that kind of thing let's just say he wasn't a good friend I'm seriously considering even going to therapy because of him

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Paula - Some people carry very heavy emotional baggage that we are completely unaware on, and when they enter our lives (or we enter theirs) they end up trying to make us do their heavy lifting for them. I decided long ago the kind of crap I'd put up with and what I wouldn't and I no longer feel guilty about it either. Seems like you're in that space too. I think the perspective most often comes with age and experience.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Lauren - To help process your feelings of betrayal, anger, sadness, disappointment, and/or grief, you may want to talk to someone in your life who understands and cares about you and can listen without judgment. Or, some people find it cathartic to write a letter to the person outlining your emotions and never actually send it since you've already decided to nix him from your life. Hope that helps.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Flourish....This is one heck of a wealth of information, I believe everyone needs to read! You do such an excellent job with your talents. (LOL...that's a sincere compliment...I don't want anything from you!..:)

      The 12 tips are so spot-on, I could put a name & a face of people I've known, to all of them. Alas, we live and we learn. Repeatedly!

      I have a really specific & personal view of "Friends/friendships," which i adopted many years ago through the results & lessons of real life experiences. I believe what most of us really have is a huge assortment of acquaintances/associates, gathered via work, school, organizations, neighborhoods, etc. From this group, we've collected, it's pretty easy to know which of these hold the honor of being a "friend." For instance, longevity is a definite key. My circle of really special (close) friends have been in my life for YEARS...some since childhood. We've been through so much together and weathered storms while being supportive. Genuine concern and fondness cannot be "faked." Then there's also that one really unique person we hit it off with & form an immediate bond within a short period of time. It's an intuitive thing we know better than to doubt.

      The particular woman you referenced in your article, screams of every single point of the 12 listed. No one could miss these flaws and her game is soon discovered. I had to laugh at her habit of "replacing" a used buddy for a new one! Did she think there's some strange law about being allowed to have only ONE friend at a time?? Can we say, "Cuckoo?" LOL................Well, getting back to your article, I think it has the potential to shake & wake some women who have suspected they're being used! Peace, Paula

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      You seem really nice it helps to talk about all this since there are a lot of hurt feelings and I still feel a lot of resentment towards him because he wasn't being a good friend to me just being around him right now makes me feel lots of anxiety and mixed emotions because I do miss who he was he changed a lot at first I thought maybe it has to do with growing up but then I realized he has no balance he no longer values his friends anymore it's sad because he did used to be so sweet

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Lauren - You're welcome.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      3 months ago

      Thank you once again for writing this article it really saved me from myself and from taking him back as a friend again of course he wasn't always fake for a while he was very sweet then he got into a serious relationship and I started seeing him less and less that's when I knew I had to draw the line somewhere and unfortunately I had to end the friendship maybe for a few years maybe forever the awkward part of it is he's my neighbor

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Lauren - There's no need to settle for a fake friend. All the best, FlourishAnyway

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      4 months ago

      Thank you for posting this article it helped me to figure out that he was a fake friend oh and not to mention the friendship was very one sided I had to put in all the effort

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Lauren- Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you find a more lasting and genuine friendship with others.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      4 months ago

      I know what it's like to have a fake friend I had one a few weeks ago but I cut the ties I ended the friendship with him two weeks ago he wasn't there when I had bad anxiety or Pneumonia not in person he wasn't there when I missed him or felt like he didn't care at all finally I had enough and ended the friendship I tried to end the friendship a month ago but didn't because I didn't want to hurt him but unfortunately I had to put myself first

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 months ago from sunny Florida

      You too. Hope you are holding up well in this heat....I have to get out at six in the morning to walk since it is soooo hot and humid right now. Phew.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Patricia - Thank you for stopping by and for your kind wishes. Have a wonderful week.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 months ago from sunny Florida

      O how sad they really are. I have had a few of these cross my path. It is often difficult to cut them out of our lives. The characteristics you listed are spot on. Once again Angels are headed your way ps

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Laura - Yep, all the world's a stage to them. Be the audience and walk out politely at intermission time. Thanks for your comment!

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 

      5 months ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      You definitely hit the nail on the head. I think, too, when you see how they are with others, it's easier to see the act they are putting on than when they are doing it with you. You try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but some people just want to put on a show.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Finn - Body language gives so much away!

    • wpcooper profile image

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      5 months ago from Los Angeles

      I never thought about the foot placement. That is a good sign though of their psychology. I will start to pay attention to people more.

      Interesting list.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Margie - You're a lucky lady to have dodged them like that!

    • profile image

      Margie Lynn 

      5 months ago

      I have met a few of these Dirty Dozen, thankfully they were never my friends! Loved the article, so informing for what to watch out for! Thanks FlourishAnyway

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Audrey - Thanks for the encouragement and for describing your own personal experience. I think we've all dealt with our share of fakers. Unfortunately, some people seem to really attract them and don't have the personal awareness about them that you do. Have a genuinely happy weekend!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Flourish

      Thanks for this valuable hub! Yep! I've met a few artificial people in my life. I usually get this odd feeling right in the pit of my stomach when I spot a phony. But every now and then, one slips by and I promise myself not to get so invested in people.

      Hope you'll consider writing more articles like this. Great stuff!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Readmikenow - They tend to pop their heads up from time to time. Hopefully, it'll be a long time before you see him again! Thanks for sharing your story. It affirms that other people aren't alone in their dealings with fakey people.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 

      6 months ago

      This is a very good article. I had someone I went to high school with find me through the internet. You are right on all counts. He came on so strong for no reason. Everything you listed happened. I needed a small favor from him and you would have thought I asked him to donate a kidney. I told him it wasn't a big deal and was sorry I asked him, a simple "I can't help you" would have been enough. That was two years ago and haven't heard from him since.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Chris - I'm sorry to hear about your having been burned. I hope you continue to try again. There are some really good people out there. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 

      6 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I've found it very hard to trust people as I've been burned several times over the years, and many exhibited most of your points listed. I'm sorry you've had a bad experience too though I guess everyone has dealt with this in one way or another.

      Excellent article, each sign is poignantly examined and I agree with all of them.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Poppy - Thanks for your kind comment. I wish I could say I did take them but claiming credit for someone else's work would be fake of me, so I wouldn't do that. Have an authentically fabulous weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Jo - Sure, I agree that nobody's perfect although I think it's the pattern over time and how people make you feel that really should make one you think about whether they're worthy of your moments. Thanks for reading and for weighing in!

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      6 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I don't think I've ever had a fake friend, or if I did, I never noticed. As always, your article is in-depth and informative. I love the pictures of the Barbie dolls! Did you take them yourself?

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      6 months ago from Tennessee

      Interesting article, Flourish. I know I have friends who have some of these characteristics, but then I may have some also. Maintaining friendships involves forgiving from time to time, but then there is also a time to just break ties. Knowing when and how to do this is hard.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Shauna - Thanks for your comment. Body language is fascinating. It's a whole new layer of communication.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 months ago from Central Florida

      Flourish, I used to work with a woman that has all twelve characteristics. The kicker is, she was my supervisor! She's one of the most insecure people I've ever met. So glad I'm no longer in her breathing space!

      I found the body language section of this article particularly interesting. I'd love to see you expound on that. I'll bet you'd come up with a fascinating article on the various types of body language and what they mean. I hope you consider it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Nell - We can't help you we're related to!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 months ago from England

      Yep and yep! lol! One of these is pretty much my brother to be honest! which I hate of course as I would like him to be nice. Interesting stuff!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Shyron - Thank you for your visit and kind comment. There are definitely certain people in my life who epitomize fakery as well. Wishing you well in protecting yourself from the fakers.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Annie - I wonder if you might need to move to a new place, one that is safer.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      6 months ago from Texas

      I thought of several plastic people as I read your article and I find it scary and makes me wonder if I attract plastic people.

      Great article, I think I will think about this article every time I meet some who reminds me of it.

      Blessings my dear friend

    • Annie Wright profile image

      Anna Haun 

      6 months ago from USA

      Thank you. I only have 20% hearing. You are right but people take advantage because I try and see the good in people. I saw where you said a so-called friend turned their back because you had MS but why if they was a true friend? To me would be all the more reason to stay close because you needed me to be there to help you thur it. My friend is sick I would never be away from them, I would stand beside them no matter what. You know I will always help a friend no matter what because if a friend is sick then I need to be there to support my friend. All I ever wanted was a real friend but all I got was Sweetness. You know Friday night they tried to kick my door in and they are back tonight trying but guess what Sweetness will not allow it. I lost everything because of an home invasion, nothing left to take, so they need to stop of course they will, Sweetness won't have it, she is now trained. Better go my dog Sweetness just beat someone up, no clue but the person ran off. My dog was stopped because they ran to the stairs and door closed. Now I have to pay for a door.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Annie - What you describe is so sad. You seem to have a good heart, and I wish people could see that and not try to take advantage of it. Too often, people with disabilities find themselves without much of a social network. I think disabilities may remind others that they, too, could be vulnerable to accidents, life-altering diseases, or debilitating disorders at any moment, and that can be frightening. Keep trying. I find that volunteer opportunities are a great way to meet kind people.

    • Annie Wright profile image

      Anna Haun 

      6 months ago from USA

      My best friend is my hearing dog who never speaks bad of others and is always there when I need her the most. I've learnt that people will let you down or lie about you and yes use you also. If Sweetness doesn't like someone there is a reason why so I trust her in judging a person character, I've learned that. Flourish Anyway, I'm sorry to hear of your illness, my prayers are with you. My great uncle also had MS. What I don't understand is why when a person becomes ill there friends turn their back on them. I took 7 years of Duane beating me then left but when he became sick with pancreas cancer I went back to take of him till the day he passed. I believe a true friend stands by a friend no matter what. You know since I moved 40 miles away I actually have no friends other than Sweetness. So far all I've met is users/liars who claim they want to be your friend but it only a lie. I would give anything to have a real human friend to talk to share things with but all I have is Sweetness. Annie

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Clive -Glad to know you can sniff 'em out. Thanks for commenting.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      6 months ago from Jamaica

      Fantasic Hub. I have seen many plastic people in my life. But I sniff em out with my ...That fool is fake nose.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Tamara - Thanks for reading. Have a genuinely fabulous week.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Dora - With your kind heart you probably turned them away in the best way you knew how and prayed for them. (Sometimes that's all the favor that can be done for them.)

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Leland - The Barbies aren't mine but rather stock photos. They look as plastic as some of the people I've met behave. I learned about body language starting in college when I did undergraduate research in clinical psych in facial expressivity. Although I eventually became an I/O psychologist I've always kept up my interest and reading in the area.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Heidi - Oh, the velcro people with all their needs, using people up! I see the "let's go for coffee" as a possible trap if it's coming from someone I don't genuinely like. (Plus, I dislike coffee.) I bet you can dodge that bullet with the best of them. Have a great week -- and that's no rainbows and ponies wish.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      Yancosky 

      6 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      Excellent article, and I also like how you have it all summarized at the end! Thank you for this post.

      Tamara

    • Leland Johnson profile image

      Leland Johnson 

      6 months ago from Midland MI

      Flourish- what a clever way to write about a somewhat touchy topic. Are the barbies all yours? I have to admit, my boys have GI joes and I get a little jealous sometimes (my toy of choice when I was that age). This article reminded me of a book I read a while back about body language. It was called "how to read people like a book" and it affirms what you state here. Another great job as usual.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you. Quite revealing and helpful. Recently, I wondered if I had a user for a friend. The person had disappeared for a few years and then resurfaced with a beautiful apology; then, immediately asked a favor. We never know! We just have to focus on being genuine.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      6 months ago from Chicago Area

      Yep to all 12! Sometimes you run into them in networking.

      I would say in addition to frequent favors, the favors are usually big, too. I've been stunned at some of the things that have been asked of me, usually under the guise of "let's go for coffee." Ugh!

      Love the Barbie pics. Hope your week is filled with genuine friends and fun!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Natalie - Many thanks for your kind and insightful comments. So much is about impression management these days!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      6 months ago from Chicago, IL

      It seems with all the social media today that so many people feel that creating a fake persona to manage image is the way to go and is justified since "everyone does it". What happened to just being real? When this becomes the mindset we are in trouble. Great article.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Larry - And when you have a relative who is fake, wow is it hard.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Anna - That's so sad. People like this tend to spin through "friends" (or victims). I'm sorry you were one of them.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      6 months ago from Oklahoma

      I can't stand folks that do nothing but posture and don't have an ounce of sincerity in them.

    • Annie Wright profile image

      Anna Haun 

      6 months ago from USA

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      I haven't had internet service for awhile since moving here other than through a cell phone but finally got real internet service today. Just read your article and it was great. Wished I had read it sooner, could have saved me a lot of heartache, learned a lot from your article, even took notes. When I first moved here this neighbor lady pretended to be a friend but all along she was going behind my back telling lies to get me kicked out of my apartment some friend. She always claimed this person said that complaint or that person, it was never her but you know what after she moved out the complaints suddenly stopped. She was no friend at all just a fake person who enjoyed causing other people pain/trouble. Thank you for the wonderful article, I've learned a lot and remember this article because I'm printing it out and framing it where everyone who enters my apartment will know I will be able to tell the difference if they are a real friend or not. Annie

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Peggy - It's important to pay attention to who does most of the talking in conversations. That'll telegraph future moves, especially when things get rought for you. Thanks for commenting! Have a great week!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Doris - I agree with you regarding state government. Small potatoes politics. I worked there for about two years and didn't enjoy it one bit. Met a few good people but also some incredible backstabbers. The tobacco company as phenomenal, especially in comparison. There were some wonderful people there.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      6 months ago from Beautiful South

      Very interesting article. Well done. I think we've all had friends like this at one time or another. Surprisingly, I found people to be more themselves when I worked in broadcasting. If they liked you they were your friend, but if they didn't like you for some reason, they let you know it. You knew whom to avoid and whom to allow into your circle. The worst phonies I ever met were in the 30 years I worked in state government, but I guess that's politics for you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This is an interesting list of things to pay attention to when meeting new people. Sorry that your "fake" friend moved on when you were diagnosed with MS. The #6...being a good listener...rings true. Fake people are much more interested in hearing themselves talk then wanting to listen and have a genuine conversation. I have known several people like that.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Linda - Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm glad you don't have any friends like this in your life right now. Neither do I, thankfully.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting article. The photos that you've chosen fit the theme perfectly. I'm glad that I have don't have any fake friends at the moment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      kallini2010 - You truly are an empathic soul, and although I don't know what your condition is, if it allows you the time, focus, and energy to write, you should put some of that sensitivity and complexity into creative writing. You express yourself with a kind of poetry, and it may be a boon for both yourself and the reader. I'm sorry you don't have friends. Many people do not.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Peg - It makes you feel angry and foolish, but better to figure it out sooner than later! Most bystanders, unfortunately, knew it all along.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Yves - I'm sorry that happened to you. I totally agree with you about the workplace. I've found that these phony people have a defender in management, probably because they have followed the old kiss up, kick down paradigm. And because we typically select people (to hire, promote) who are like ourselves, that says a lot about their defenders. I hope you're in a happier place in your life now.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Mary - Eventually you can either smoke them out or they reveal themselves. Good for you that you have longstanding friendships.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Bill - Great name for 'em. Sounds like you met one or two in your day.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Frank - Yes, it was a lonely time but hey, I flourished anyway. You know. Thanks for reading.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Liz - As people become more mobile, frequently change jobs, and move to larger urban areas where no one really knows anyone, it' unfortunately becoming more of a thing. Loose social connections based on what someone can do for you. As long as both parties are aware, who is to judge? That's not always the case. I'm glad you have true friends.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh, yes, you have this down, Flourish. I recognize the signs of several people I believe fit this description. It's a shame when you find out their true intentions.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 

      6 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello Flourish:

      I'm sorry to hear that even you had a less than genuine friend. We all (I assume) had our fair share. I learned a few things to remember. First of all - everyone has an agenda. A less than genuine friend has an agenda, but we have our agendas too. I try to figure out my own (of course, I remember about it when "my feet" start facing south). Usually, it is just loneliness when "anyone will do".

      Gossip is not evil by itself (we cannot discuss anyone to their face, can we? and truth goes only so far), but what is truly important is how to gossip. When it become so blatantly malicious, I remember - "I'm next". That's easier to remember - if the way a person talks about others makes me cringe - then I'm really behind the schedule in disengaging. (Better late than never).

      I think little details are really telling signs. If anyone gives me an ultimatum - I go with what the ultimatum was supposed to prevent me from doing. Ultimatums (by definition) are the end.

      My own strategy (in theory) is to take relationships slowly, give myself time to think. Although, at my age and condition and knowledge - I try keeping my distance from everyone. Is that my price to pay?

      And the worst of it all - I cannot stand liars. But what can I do if everyone in my family lies? My parents brought me up on the principle "honesty is above all, lying is dishonour" and yet when I grew up all that honest, I realized that my parents are incurable liars to begin with. They never stopped (of course, there are reasons, but nonetheless). Even my son whom I try to teach not to lie... it must be genetic.

      There is the light at the end of this long tirade (you know, I don't write short ones! LOL) How I make peace with all - compassion. Compassion for the fake, compassion for the honest, compassion for liars, compassion for myself. I know that just as angry people cannot be happy, fake people are not either. In my opinion, they pay the higher price. And as long as I can opt out the fake relationship I will.

      With my condition, guess how many friends I have?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh my. I never thought of phony friendships at my age now as I pratically stick to my close friends with whom I have had long relationships. When I was yoounger, there were many seeking me out to gain favours and I never got close to them. Even then, as you've said, you can be part of that circle because of jobs or other involvement but their true colours come out eventually.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yep, that pretty much sums up the fake people I know. I call them plastic, fantastic fakers. :)

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      6 months ago

      This hub is quite useful. I never thought to look at the feet. The thing that bothers me the most is when someone keeps asking for favors they can easily do themselves. I've had this happen in the workplace once. Things ended badly for me after the other woman lied about me, even though I had concrete proof regarding her character. (She actually put awful things in writing). So I guess I was dealing with a fake person who knew how to get away with it.

      Funny thing is, I can deal with men in dating pretty easily, but bad women in the workplace is a whole different ball game, at least in my experience.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 months ago from Shelton

      wow this was intense to say the least.. it's sad when she heard about your condition and she dropped you when you could have used someone just to be there.. The list rings true...

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting take on human nature. I count myself as incredibly fortunate in having a great group of friends. True friends are the ones who are there for you when the going gets tough.

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