Real Friends Vs. Fake Friends: 21 Things To Watch Out For

With our foolproof, expert tips, you can spot a fake friend from a few long miles away.

Reviewed by Joseph Moore, Certified Relationship And Life Coach Joseph Moore Joseph MooreCertified Relationship And Life Coach
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years

Real friends vs. fake friends – sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Good companions are hard to come by. Someone may appear to be a friend but is a fraud. But, how can you determine the difference between the two? It is not that complicated. All you have to do is see how they act. A person’s true intentions will gradually emerge. The sooner you identify a fake friend, the less heartbreak you will experience. Once you have figured it out, you will be able to cut this “buddy” out of your life entirely.

Are you concerned about a person’s genuine intentions toward you? Don’t worry. We will help you figure out the difference between fake friends and real friends. Keep reading.

Real Friends Vs. Fake Friends

1. Real Friends Find Time, Fake Friends Provide Excuses

Real friends find time and fake friends provide excuse
Image: Shutterstock

This doesn’t mean that they have to talk or hang out with you every single time you want to. It simply means that during moments it matters the most, real friends will do everything they can to make time for you or create opportunities just to spend quality time with you. On the other hand, fake friends will be ready with a long list of excuses to dodge any hardship or bad times you may be facing and will only resurface when things get steady again.

2. You Feel It In Your Gut

Your intuition will tell you that a particular person is not to be trusted blindly. If you have a weird feeling when you are talking to a person claiming to be your “best” friend, there is a good reason your guard is up. Don’t dare ignore it, because it will be right 99% of the time. If you have a feeling someone is not genuine, there is a high chance your instincts may be right.

3. Real Friends Will Support Your Ideas; Fake Friends Will Mock Them

Sometimes, we have unconventional ideas that may get us into trouble or help us discover ourselves – and most often, it takes one real friend to help you sort things out. They will not only help you get to know yourself better but also bring out the best in you – the parts you may not have known existed – whereas fake friends won’t even care to take the challenge. They will immediately dismiss your idea as crazy and not “worth the effort.”

4. Fake Friends Will Treat You Differently Around Different People

They may be super sweet to you when you are alone together, but the moment someone else joins in, they will act completely different. That is a major red flag. Fake friends will only be nice to you when they need something.

5. Real Friends Will Accept Your Faults; Fake Friends Will Leave Because Of Them

People are not perfect – but our imperfections are what make us unique. Real friends acknowledge that fact, and they effortlessly accept you for who you are. You may disagree on things, but they are there for you, no matter what. On the other hand, fake friends won’t be patient enough to deal with your faults and will try to leave as soon as they find themselves in unfavorable situations.

6. Fake Friends Will Talk Trash Behind Your Back

Fake friends will talk trash behind your back
Image: Shutterstock

Okay, a lot of people may tend to do this. If we are angry at our friend, we may badmouth them to another friend. That’s understandable. But if a “friend” is talking trash about you with the intention of spreading rumors or trying to change people’s perception about you, buddy, that’s not your friend. If you care about a person, you will never try to hurt their reputation.

7. Real Friends Will Accept You As You Are; Fake Friends Will Want You To Be Like Them

Real friends won’t ask you to ditch your wardrobe or change your hairdo just because they consider it unfashionable. Real friends will instead help you be your best self and appreciate your choices. On the other hand, fake friends will make sure you always fit into their definition of stylish and trendy, or within their idea of the perfect member of their social group, or they bid you farewell.

8. Fake Friends Will Be Intensely Jealous Of Your Accomplishments

Fake friend feeling jealous instead of sharing in the success and joy
Image: IStock

Unless it benefits them, of course. But if you get a new job with more pay than them, they are going to be snarky about it. Sure, they will celebrate with you, only if you are paying. However, they are not really happy with your accomplishments. If you are struggling to figure out the difference between true friends and fake friends, remember that a true friend will be genuinely happy to see you succeed and flourish at all times.

9. Real Friends Will Believe In You; Fake Friends Will Think You Are Too Ambitious

Remember that time you applied for that dream job? Who were the ones who were encouraging you to aim higher? And who were the ones who stated that it was impossible, that you were wasting your time and were only going to disappoint yourself when you fail? There, you have your answer! Real friends always believe in you and help you believe in yourself. Fake friends, on the other hand, will give you every reason to doubt yourself.

10. Real Friends Will Keep Your Secrets

If you tell your friend a secret, the point is that they don’t share it with other people behind your back. A fake friend will use that secret for gain. Remember, betrayal of your secrets is a sign of a fake friend. A real friend would respect that you shared something so personal with them and keep their mouth shut.

StyleCraze Quick Poll

What qualities do you value the most in a real friend?

11. Real Friends Will Be There During Bad Times; Fake Friends Will Wait For The Good Times To Come

Real friends will be there during bad times and fake friends will wait for good times to come
Image: Shutterstock

There are so-called “friends” who would ditch you in a heartbeat for months during the most challenging times in your life. When all of the issues are finally over, they would reappear magically and try to be back in your life – just like that! But here’s the thing – If they can’t be there for you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best.

12. Fake Friends Will Only Contact You When They Need You

Contacting someone just to check on them and calling someone when you need something from them are two different things. Fake friends may be super social with you on Instagram or Facebook, but only be physically present when they need something from you.

13. Real Friends Will Face Life With You; Fake Friends Will Make You Feel Lonely

Real friends are there for you, no matter how much life sucks. Fake friends, not so much.

14. Real Friends Forgive And Apologize; Fake Friends Forget And Ignore

It is not unusual for friends to disagree or even fight over something. However, the friendship is bogus if a single argument can break your relationship or affect it. Real friends always find a way to fix things, and not through shortcuts. It is important to apologize if you made mistakes, and of course, to truly forgive and let go. Everyone makes mistakes. Maybe you have made a big one, but real friends will forgive you and move on. They don’t want to torture you by using your faults against you. They will accept your apology and will continue to be by your side.

15. Fake Friends Can’t Take A “No”

Okay, who really likes being told ‘no’? But that’s not the point at all. A fake friend will make sure they stop hanging out with you if you do not give them what they want from you. A real friend will not like to hear ‘no’ either, but they won’t sacrifice your friendship over it and continue to hang out with you.

16. Real Friends Make You Feel Good From Within; Fake Friendship Feels Burdensome

Real friendship does not require tremendous effort just to last. It can make it through the test of time easily. In fact, when you are with true friends, you will feel light. Making the friendship work will be as easy as breathing. Whereas, fake friendship will feel heavy on your soul and, at some point, extremely toxic. Even being around such friends can drain your energy, not just physically but also emotionally.

Sandy, a blogger, discusses his experience with fake friends in college. In a couple of months, he realized that his friends did not care about him and how it was a difficult yet valuable teaching moment for him. “They didn’t want a friend with his own personality and opinions; they wanted a people pleaser and a yes-man. Lucky for them, I checked both those boxes. They didn’t care if I was going through some stuff in my personal life or if I needed help in a subject, they just cared if I could boost their egos or not. If I could outdo myself at embarrassing myself just to entertain them or not (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
A fake friend may emotionally dump on you constantly and peer pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with. When you notice these signs, you need to set boundaries right away.

17. Real Friends Take Out Time For You

Real Friends Take Out Time For You
Image: Shutterstock

You may have 3,254 friends on Facebook, but how many can you actually call when you want to hang out or grab a coffee? Maybe a couple of them. Real friends make sure to take time out for each other. Yup, we have super busy lives, but you can always make time for the things that truly matter to you.

18. Real Friends Adore Your Imperfections; Fake Friends Judge Them

How many times has your friend told you that there is something seriously wrong with you? That you need to “change” so that people like you? Real friends would never do that!

StyleCraze Quick Poll

What is a sure-fire red flag that indicates someone might be a fake friend?

19. Real Friends Will Respect Your Opinion; Fake Friends Will Detest You For Them

He or she may not agree, but they will respect it anyway. All of us have our personal opinions, whether they are political or religious. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t be friends with someone who may think differently than you. If anything, it will add more excitement to your friendship. A real friend will respect your opinion even if they disagree.

20. Fake Friends Don’t Care About What You Have To Say

They don’t respect your opinion. If they are always hanging out with you but don’t listen to what you have to say, it is perhaps because they don’t value you enough as a person. We all have one of those friends who can never seem to listen. They either are talking about themselves, zoning out, or glued to their phones.

21. Real Friends Open Up To You; Fake Friends Do Not

One critical trait that fake friends have is that they keep secrets about their life from you but want you to tell them everything about yours. It is normal for a fake friend to know everything about you, your plans, and life goals, but you would hardly know anything about them.

They keep everything about themselves secret even when they claim to be your friend. They could apply for college without telling you but they want to know every step you take.

While you may be able to recognize your fake friends with the help of the pointers above, knowing how to successfully deal with them is also important. Scroll down to know all about it.

How To Deal With Fake Friends

A fake friend annoying her friend
Image: Shutterstock
  • Observe and pay attention to behavioral inconsistencies and untrustworthy actions of your fake friends.
  • Set clear boundaries, reassess your relationship with them, and know when to walk away.
  • Address your concerns openly with them and have honest communication about any odd behavior.
  • Have selective trust and be discerning in sharing personal information.
  • Prioritize yourself by distancing from toxic relationships, and focus on personal growth and genuine connections.

Infographic: 7 Key Differences Between Real Friends And Fake Friends

Friendships are an essential part of our lives. Genuine relationships with people we can trust, who show us loyalty and support, are invaluable. However, the world is mixed with real friends and fake friends in any environment—family, school, college, office, and beyond. We need to be careful to differentiate between them. The article provides many points regarding the same. Check out the infographic below to know the key 7 green and red flags that are easy to differentiate between real and fake friends in your life.

7 key differences between real friends and fake friends (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

protip_icon Quick Tip
In such situations, you can have an open and honest conversation to understand their thoughts and let them know your feelings. If you feel they do not respect you or the friendship, it’s better to say goodbye.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” — you can refer to this mantra if you ever feel confused about your so-called friend’s true colors. A real friend always stands by you through thick and thin, while a fake friend will only stay by your side until they have a vested interest. They lack authenticity, honesty, and sincerity and they will only bring negativity into your life. Furthermore, true friends will always support and encourage your growth, while phony friends will mock you and talk behind your back. Finally, you should listen to your intuition when you feel a person is being fake to you. So, surround yourself with people who accept your flaws and strengths alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you avoid fake friends?

Set your limits and avoid sharing secrets with them. Limit the duration of interaction and try to avoid them in most situations.

Why can’t I make real friends?

Anxiety is a major problem many people experience in making real friends. Hence, try methods to reduce anxiety and accept the situations that come along with friendship.

Do social circles play a role in differentiating between real and fake friends?

Yes, social circles also play a major role in differentiating between real and fake friends. Real friends are part of your inner circle and you trust them with your deepest secrets. Fake friends, on the other hand, are acquaintances. They may be friendly and pleasant to be around, but they are not part of your close-knit group of confidants.

Can a fake friend turn into a real friend?

Yes, over a period of time, the shared experiences of two people can make them realize the importance and worth of each other. It can strengthen the bonds of a fake friendship and turn a fake friend into your best mate, even though the odds of that happening are very low.

Is it good to avoid fake friends?

You meet all kinds of people in life but avoiding fake friends is akin to dodging a bullet. They never feel happy about your accomplishments and drain your energy whenever you are around. You are always confused and insecure in such a friendship. So, it is best to cut all ties with them to protect your emotional well-being.

How can I avoid making fake friends in the future?

Distance yourself from such friends. Avoid sharing secrets too early in a friendship. Keep the topics of your conversations neutral. Do not indulge in gossip with them. Do not feel obligated to share anything with anyone if you do not feel safe and appreciated.

Is it better to have a few real friends or many fake friends?

Even a single real friend who understands and values you is worth more than fifty fake friends. Real friends help you grow while fake friends pull you down. Do not measure your friendships in terms of quantity but quality.

How can I strengthen my relationships with my real friends?

Real friends need nothing more than your quality time, affection, and respect. Be honest with each other. Sharing your troubles and happiness unreservedly with each other will increase your mutual trust and make the friendship grow. You can go to movies, make memories at a club or an amusement park, or simply invite them over for a sleepover.

Key Takeaways

  • There is no universal criterion for distinguishing between good and bad friends, but fake friends have specific qualities based on self-centeredness and selfishness.
  • Their only goal is to gain something from the individual or the relationship.
  • Real friendship does not necessitate a lot of effort to last. It can readily withstand the test of time.
  • On the other hand, fake friendship will weigh heavily on your soul and, at some point, become exceedingly toxic.
  • These friends will abandon you in a heartbeat for months throughout your most difficult circumstances. They don’t deserve you at your best if they can’t be there for you at your worst.

In this eye-opening video, learn the telltale signs of a true friend versus a fake one. Uncover the secrets to identifying genuine connections and building a supportive circle.

Personal Experience: Source

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Joseph Moore

Joseph MooreCertified Relationship And Life Coach

Joseph Moore is an ace relationship coach and public speaker who started coaching in 2015. Although Joseph is a trained electrical engineer from the University of Chester, he found passion in helping people get it right with their love life
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