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

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.

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, after nearly two years into the relationship I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and my fake friend disappeared, dropping me for a replacement BFF.

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. Protect yourself from phony people by learning the 12 signs that you're dealing with someone who is fake.

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.

12 Signs 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
"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

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

Let the lovebombing begin! 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?

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?

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 you need someone to pet sit—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.

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.

Unfortunately, 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.

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.

Reader Poll

Questions & Answers

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

Answer: 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.

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

Answer: 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.

Question: What are ways to expose fake people who people always like?

Answer: There will always be fake people who desperately crave attention. Unfortunately, they sometimes behave in underhanded and unloyal ways in order to acquire the ego stroking they require.

When you make such people the passionate topic of your conversation by debating their merits and pointing out their weak points to others who are fans of theirs -- people to whom they have ingratiated themselves -- then you fight an uphill battle. Don't do this. Refuse to enter the fray.

Minimize contact with the fake person as much as possible, choosing apathy over frequency, familiarity, and intensity. When you must criticize, then just call them out by describing their behavior and not ruminating on it. Ultimately, it's not up to you to change people's minds. You just do you. If the fake person hoodwinks others, then so be it. You have enough on your plate to worry about.

Question: My friend acts nice when it’s just us. However, when she is among her other friends and I try to see if she is okay, she gets frustrated with me and behaves disrespectfully. I really hate that but don’t want to ruin the freaking friendship. What do I do to make my friend stop being rude to me in front of her other friends?

Answer: While we all behave somewhat differently when we are with different people, disrespect is unacceptable, particularly between friends. Don’t let this go without talking to her and trying to reach an understanding. You also mention that she’s frustrated with you. (I'm sure it's mutual at this point.) There may be something you’re doing that is irritating her. It’s best if you know what this is so that you might adjust your behavior accordingly.

Following are my recommendations for addressing this problem with her. Find a time when it’s just you and your friend and you can discuss the issue uninterrupted. Tell her what she means to you as a friend and that you hope she values your relationship as you do. Say that because the relationship is important to you, there is something that has been bothering you that you’d like to talk about. Do this in person for best results rather than via text, phone call, or a less personal method.

Next, describe the problem situation without casting blame. Keep your description and comments non-emotional, (i.e., to observable behavior you’ve noticed.) Encourage your friend to explain her frustration towards you and why she has resorted to tactics involving disrespect.

Question: Why do people act fake?

Answer: Fake people don't believe in themselves enough to behave in a genuine and authentic manner, expressing their own values, opinions, and perspectives. They fear rejection, judgment, and negative opinion. (They don't understand that no matter what, not everyone's gonna like you!)

Because they have such a hollow opinion of themselves and don't feel confident enough to share who they really are, they seek the safety of pandering to other people (i.e., bootlicking more powerful people, being two-faced). They try to build themselves up and get as much as they can because secretly they fear they don't deserve the attention or to have good things come their way.

Question: How can you tell if your friend is secretly spreading rumors?

Answer: Here are a couple of ideas for getting to the bottom of this dilemma:

1) When you hear a rumor you think your friend was involved in, ask the person who told them that gossip. Then try to trace it back to the source by asking each successive person who they heard the information from. You have to act quickly and decisively so that people don't have a chance to align cover stories.

2) Take a step back from your so-called friend. There are obvious trust issues between you. Reduce your availability, giving your friend a slow fade. If and when you do spend time together, do not discuss anything they can gossip about, including gossiping about other people. Do the rumors about you stop? Of course, if your friend is not the guilty party, then you have unnecessarily damaged your friendship.

3) Feed a small but juicy tidbit of information to one person only, the friend you believe is the one spreading rumors about you, and emphasize it's important to keep this secret. Make sure the make-believe information is not potentially damaging to anyone else, if it does get out. Then wait to see if you hear it back through the grapevine. Although it's a surefire method, I tend to disfavor this because then you become phony. However, this is up to you.

4) Confront your friend face-to-face, being sure you have waited for a time when the two of you are relaxed and have time to talk. Carefully watch their nonverbal reactions as well as their tone of voice and verbal cues. Be matter-of-fact by saying you have heard rumors about yourself that are hurtful. Ask whether they have any idea who might be behind the rumors. Let them respond, then ask why you have a sneaking suspicion that they are involved? Use the power of uncomfortable silence and let your friend rush to fill in the void. Be ready to also factually list your reasons for suspecting your friend. Know what you want in this relationship so you can issue an ultimatum, break off the friendship, work on re-establishing trust after they apologize, etc.

Yes, friends DO spread rumors about one another, even best friends. People aren't perfect, and they do betray one another or accidentally let information slip. Use the strategy or combination of strategies that are appropriate for you and your friendship.

Question: My friends keep leaving me out. What can I do to get them to include me again?

Answer: There's probably a ring leader motivating this campaign to ouster you from the friend group. Talk with him or her and say as nonconfrontationally as possible that you've noticed the group has started to exclude you from activities. Talk about how being excluded makes you feel (sad, left out, etc.) and how you feel about your friends (you miss them, etc.). Ask why they're excluding you and try to get the conversation going. The goal of this conversation should be to come up with behaviors between you that need changing. If this doesn't work, try to talk to another friend in the group and have the same conversation. If they still exclude you, at least you tried to resolve the problem.

Question: My best friend is always gossiping about me regarding personal stuff I do. I confronted her about it and she said she only gossips to people that I’m friends with. Is gossiping a sign of a fake friend?

Answer: She isn't showing genuine concern for your privacy. Friends shouldn't spread gossip around on each other, regardless of who it's to. Those mutual friends are probably further spreading rumors she told them about you.

Make sure you tell her that her behavior hurts you, violates your trust, and you do not want her to share your business gossiping with other friends, no matter what the intent. It's not respectful of your feelings or your privacy. If she's short on things to talk about with other people, she needs to try to be a more interesting conversationalist without resorting to gossip and selling out her best friend.

Do you spread rumors about her? If not, make that point. Also, be careful what sensitive information you share with her from now on. Then, if she repeats the gossiping after you've told her not to do it, then you have a decision on your hands: put up with her gossip or break off the friendship.

Best friends do not behave like this, and if they slip up and tell a secret they apologize.

Question: How do you get a fake person to stop talking to you?

Answer: Show very little interest in them by providing minimal eye contact, offering "closed" body language like crossed arms, making little conversation and only speaking when spoken to, avoiding sitting next to them, trying to sit elsewhere, texting or doing other things while they talk, and yawning. Don't answer their texts and try to show interest in other people instead of when they are around. It's better to give them a "slow fade" version of it.

Question: I have been friends with this girl for 10 weeks. One day she suddenly texted me that she doesn’t want to be friends anymore because her family says I am a backstabber. It didn’t make sense at all. I always spoke positively about her and felt betrayed about letting her become a part of my life. Was she a fake friend?

Answer: Your friend apparently trusts the information that her family provided more than she trusts her own instincts or her own judgment of other people. Maybe she has a history of bad decisions or there is a history of distrust within her family. Alternatively, maybe she wasn't being honest about something. I suspect there's a lot more to this friend than you know and the reason she gave may not be entirely true. That's just a hunch, so take it for what it is.

Question: Rather than responding to a statement I make, my partner repeats what I said. For example, I say “I love you,” and my partner responds by repeating it as a question, “you love me?” Is this a sign of him just being phony or is it a sign he doesn’t care?

Answer: Once or twice in a cute, playful way is one thing. However, if a person does this regarding your feelings and thoughts on a regular basis, you need to call a relationship time out and have a serious conversation. Ask why he does this and whether he does this with everyone. Tell him how it makes you feel, and ask him to stop the immature behavior immediately. I suspect that he doesn't do this regarding every opinion or statement you make but tends to do it regarding emotional content. I'd bet he feels uncomfortable expressing feelings or else he just doesn't feel that way about you. Get to the bottom of this, even if it hurts. Even if your discussion leads to a breakup that's better than existing with a shallow emotional connection which is what you have now.

Question: I have this friend, and she is super fake. I want to hang out with others, but she won’t let me. She’ll only let me stick with her. How can I tell her to let me mix around with others?

Answer: I'm concerned about your words, "She won't let me." That's not accurate. You won't allow yourself.

You've handed your personal decision making over to this girl you don't seem to have a lot of fondness for. Take your power back and stop confusing what is difficult or personally awkward (telling her you want to be around other people) with what you are forbidden to do. Yes, there will be consequences, like she will get upset, but you can handle that, right?

Tell her, "Sally, I've arranged to sit with my other friends at lunch today. You can join in if you'd like, but I'm just giving you a heads-up." Do not negotiate, allow her to threaten or intimidate you, or get upset if she gives you the silent treatment trying to change your mind. There's a reason she doesn't mix well with the others, and I suspect it may be her poor social skills. Is it possible they are on to her? You don't need to explain to her why you want to be with a variety of others. You're young. It's just fun to mix things up and be around different people.

Don't let your peers call your shots. Broaden your social horizons beyond this so-called friend but leave open the possibility that she might just grow as well.

© 2018 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 27, 2019:

Unmesh - Thank you for commenting. Have a great week.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 27, 2019:

Useful article. Thanks for posting.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 06, 2019:

Saori - Thank you for sharing the account of your friend with hidden agendas. She was probably trying to find out information from you for someone else who liked the guy. To hold animosity towards you for two years while feigning friendship shows how mean-spirited and shallow she is. At least you know about the backbiting. Now you can look for genuine friends.

Saori on May 06, 2019:

I experienced this in 10th grade. One girl was particularly known to be an all around person. She was very friendly and got along with almost everyone. One day, she suddenly went up to me and acted FC (feeling close as we call it) I thought at that second that it was odd and put my guard up but nevertheless believed that it was just part of who she was. Then as we got closer to the restroom where I was headed she bombarded me with very invasive questions about my love progress with this guy. I got pretty impatient and my bladder was about to burst. So out of irritation and anger I replied that I couldn't care less if they fucked out in the halls. She was really surprised to hear such lines from a quiet unbothered looking person and went back to the room with me in complete silence. 2 years on and I saw a conversation of her and another classmate of mine back biting me on twitter. They sounded pretty bubbly about how good it must be to slap me on the face as I was the only one with a different pose in the pic of that post. I felt terrible. But it gave me a very important info and wisdom about these types of people.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 08, 2019:

Liz - Sorry to hear that!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 08, 2019:

Several of these describe my step-daughter!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 15, 2018:

Lauren - If you're concerned about stalking behavior, contact your local police asap.

Lauren on December 14, 2018:

Okay more odd behavior has been coming from Dominic he showed up at the gym I go to two different times wit a girl I've never seen before he still gives me strange looks but now he's getting a little out of hand he drove really close to me try to talk to me when I was running also I forgot to tell you this his girlfriend was driving around the neighborhood she circled it twice he's just acting crazy almost stalker like I don't know what to do the reason I'm telling you is because I feel like we have kind of a friendship

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2018:

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

Jake Clawson from Kazakhstan on September 22, 2018:

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.

Lauren on September 07, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on September 07, 2018:

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

Lauren on September 06, 2018:

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

Lauren on August 15, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 15, 2018:

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

Lauren on August 15, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 15, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 15, 2018:

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.

Suzie from Carson City on August 15, 2018:

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

Lauren on August 15, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 15, 2018:

Lauren - You're welcome.

Lauren on August 14, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 14, 2018:

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

Lauren on August 14, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on August 14, 2018:

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

Lauren on August 13, 2018:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 27, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on July 26, 2018:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 24, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 26, 2018:

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

Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on June 25, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 20, 2018:

Finn - Body language gives so much away!

Fin from Barstow on June 19, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 19, 2018:

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

Margie Lynn on June 19, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 16, 2018:

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!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on June 15, 2018:


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 (author) from USA on June 12, 2018:

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 on June 12, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 12, 2018:

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.

Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on June 11, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 09, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 09, 2018:

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!

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 09, 2018:

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 from Tennessee on June 09, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 08, 2018:

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

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 07, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 06, 2018:

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

Nell Rose from England on June 06, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 06, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 06, 2018:

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

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 05, 2018:

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

Anna Haun from USA on June 05, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 05, 2018:

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.

Anna Haun from USA on June 05, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 05, 2018:

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

Clive Williams from Jamaica on June 05, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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.

Tamara Yancosky from Uninhabited Regions on June 04, 2018:

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


Leland Johnson from Midland MI on June 04, 2018:

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.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 04, 2018:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:

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 from Oklahoma on June 04, 2018:

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

Anna Haun from USA on June 04, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 03, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 03, 2018:

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.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 03, 2018:

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 Woods from Houston, Texas on June 03, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 03, 2018:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 02, 2018:

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.

agusfanani from Indonesia on June 02, 2018:

Yes I think I have experience making friend with such a phony person and this guy tends to make use of people including me. Once he's got all the advantages of the relationship, in my case it was a business relationship, he didn't show nice and warm friendship anymore and no longer contacted me .

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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 (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2018:

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.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 02, 2018:

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 from Toronto, Canada on June 02, 2018:

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?

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 02, 2018:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 02, 2018:

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

Yves on June 02, 2018:

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 from Shelton on June 02, 2018:

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...

Liz Westwood from UK on June 02, 2018:

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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