Signs of a fake friend

Amany Abdel-Moneim , Tuesday 29 Aug 2023

A fake friend may share your confidences with others, talk badly about you behind your back, or even spread rumours about you

fake friend
fake friend


Friendships can be an enriching part of our lives. Genuine friends can be a valuable source of emotional and practical support. They can provide a source of comfort and joy, and support us when we need them.

Yet, not all relationships are this healthy and mutually beneficial. Unfortunately, many of us have had the unpleasant experience of dealing with fake friends. 

Fake friends are those who pretend to care about you but don’t actually have your best interests at heart. They can leave you feeling emotionally exhausted due to their inability to be genuine, keep your interests in mind, or respect you. This is contrary to a healthy friendship, where there is a sense of mutual positivity and reciprocated admiration. 

The signs of a fake friendship may not look the same in every situation. However, when you examine them closely, you’ll notice similar relationship patterns, qualities, and characteristics. 

These are some signs of a fake friend.



A fake friend tends to be around when he needs something, but not when you need something. He may disappear or make excuses during your time of need.



Your relationship with a fake friend may feel one-sided. For example, your conversations might revolve only around him and his life and opinions. He may not show much interest in what’s going on with you.



He may be unreliable and rarely keep his promises to you. You may find it difficult to count on him for anything. For instance, he may make plans with you and stand you up. Or, he may promise to help you with something and flake out at the last minute, leaving you stranded.



The person may not be loyal to you. He may share your confidences with others, talk badly about you behind your back, or even spread rumours about you.



He may dismiss, belittle, ridicule, or humiliate you in front of other people.


Hurtful behaviour: 

He may negate you by saying or doing things that hurt you, but claim he was trying to help you. 



He may feel threatened by your successes and accomplishments. Instead of celebrating your achievements, he may try to downplay them or compete with you.


Conditional friendship: 

His friendship is often contingent on what he can gain from you, whether it’s social status, material possessions, monetary gain, or other types of benefits. Once he achieves his goal, his interest diminishes.



He might use guilt, manipulation, or emotional blackmail to get what he wants from you.


Ignored boundaries: 

He may consistently overstep or disregard your boundaries, whether it’s your personal space, privacy, or emotional limits. 



Sometimes, self-obsessed and attention-seeking behaviours can be indicative of an underlying narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Friendships with a narcissist can feel superficial, as your friend may act moodily, hold grudges, be hypersensitive to criticism, or crave constant attention.


Energy drainer:

Fake friends are like energy vampires. Their consistently negative attitudes, need for attention, and judgemental behaviours can leave you feeling both mentally and emotionally drained.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 31 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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