Fake people: 16 things they do and how to deal with them

It’s not hard to tell when someone is being fake but sometimes keep friendships going with them.

But what are the consequences of having a friend who goes about life insincerely?

For starters, when someone isn’t being themselves, you can never fully trust them.

That means you can’t trust them with your information or problems, and you probably can’t share your good news or deepest secret with them either.

Someone who is constantly pretending to care and never actually does can make you feel worthless and frustrated.

So if you suspect that someone in your life is quite the fake, think about moving on.

Here are 16 signs that someone is actually quite fake and what you can do about it. Let’s jump right in.

1) Fake people make plans they don’t keep

Fake people will make promises they can’t keep and break plans easily.

Have you ever run into a friend you haven’t seen for a while and they instantly want to make plans to meet up for coffee?

They seem so excited to see you and talk about all the great things they are doing, but then… they never call. No text. No coffee.

They never follow through with their word.

This is a real problem: fake people make commitments they never intend to keep. It’s a real testament to the type of person you are dealing with here. They are all talk and no action.

2) Fake people are only around when it’s convenient for them.

You might go weeks or months from hearing from someone, and then you do. But only because they want or need something from you.

A fake person will happily go into silent mode and be eternally busy until they need you for something.

They might call and ask you for a favor, or they will text you to join them for lunch, but you need to drive because their car is in the shop, or pay because their wallet is at home.

Perhaps they invite you to dinner because another friend bailed and they already had reservations.

A fake person has no hesitation to use you for company or help.

See how that kind of pattern develops? It can feel very one-sided and become more obvious the more you look out for it.

3) Fake people disappear when you need them most

Disappearing acts are common among fake people.

They hang around when they get what they need from you, but the minute you need something from them, they bail.

They can’t even fathom missing out on their lives to help another person in need. If you ask them for help or a favor in return, they happily decline. Actually fake people can come off as quite selfish.

If you have fake people in your life who wear you down like this, it’s essential to learn how to stand up for yourself.

Because you do have a choice to break free from fake people.

4) Fake people don’t listen when you talk

Another clear sign of a fake friend is to look out if they will happily take over and dominate your conversations. Fake friends will easily talk for an hour about their latest issues and problems but have no time to listen when you try to relate.

Oh sure, they pretend to listen but they are on their phones, updating statuses, or talking to someone else while they are sitting right in front of you.

They don’t actually listen or seem to care when they are around you.

They’ll space out or make some off-the-cuff comment that tells you they aren’t really listening.

This can feel belittling and exhausting. Take note of how you feel after interacting with someone.

Do you feel uplifted or depleted?

If you feel drained, it can be a sign that this person is actually a fake friend and only concerned with themselves.

5) Fake people pretend not to be upset about things

Anyone who says they never get mad or angry at anything or anyone is full of it. Of course, everyone gets mad at something.

But when fake people are deep undercover in their personas they’ve worked so hard to craft, it’s all part of the plan to make people think they are something they are not.

They will try to seem cool and untouched by others around them. But when they are alone or look within they feel quite differently inside.

Come on now, everyone gets mad at something! When someone seems too composed it can be a sign that they are not honestly expressing themselves around you.

6) Fake people are never around or available

A fake friend will easily make themselves into a ghost. You might call and call and they never return your calls. You show up at their place, but they are too busy to give you any time. You might run into them on the street, but they are late for a meeting or errand.

A fake friend can’t come to your party because of work, a meeting, or a project.

There’s always some reason or another about why this person doesn’t want to hang out with you, but constantly tells you they can’t wait to see you again.

What’s up with that? It’s called being fake.

They don’t have the courage to tell you they don’t want to be friends. Take the hint and move on.

7) Fake people talk about you behind your back

A fake friend might listen to personal details you share, and easily share them with others.

It stings when you find out that someone has been talking about you behind your back, especially when it’s someone you thought was your friend, and they slander your behaviors and actions.

Of course, we can never really know anyone: only what they allow us to see. But we hope that most people are genuine in their portrayal of themselves and their friendships.

Sometimes, though, we are wrong. That person can just be a cold fake.

8) Fake people are extreme – hot and cold without warning

A fake friend will change dramatically. One moment they are nice and sweet with you, and then bitter or aloof on another day.

This is a real sign that someone is fake because it takes a lot of time and energy to keep up a fake persona. They aren’t consistent.

This usually starts to crack after a while and simple conversations or events can set someone off that shows their true colors.

9) Fake people never initiate a conversation, coffee date, or hang out

A fake friend rarely reaches out. They don’t call you and invite you anywhere. They rarely text or call to see how you are.

They are always hanging out with other people, and they often neglect to engage you in the friendship. They love to be asked out, but mostly so they can reject your offer. They pretend to care but do very little to interact with you.

If you pull back, you notice they put no effort into your relationship.

By all accounts, that’s not a friendship, so take stock and move on.

10) Fake people pretend to try to please everyone

YouTube video

Fake people are in a constant state of trying to make other people like them. They juggle so many balls that they can’t possibly keep them all up in the air.

They will try to say yes to everyone because they can’t stand rejection or the idea that they might not actually be able to do everything they say they can.

Instead, they promise things, say yes, and then many people are left out in the cold when the fake person doesn’t deliver.

Keep an eye out for these kinds of people and start the process of replacing them with people you can trust and can get to know for real.

11) Fake people only pay attention to those in positions of power

If someone is fake, they are likely looking for an easy answer or the easiest route to the top of a power structure.

You’ll often see people in your work setting who prove to be fake because they only care about things when the boss comes around.

They are the quintessential brown-nosers and once you are on to these people, it’s not hard to confirm your suspicions.

The problem with fake people is they don’t respect you. They are using people as a means to their goals.

12) Fake people work overtime to build or find relationships

When someone is being genuine, it’s easy to become friends with them, and it’s even easier to find yourself attracted to them.

This is because, as you might come to find out, most people are not really showing you their true selves, so when you do find someone who is being real, you’ll find it incredibly enticing.

So watch for people who have to work really hard to connect with other people.

Fake people have a really hard time making friends and more importantly, keeping them. It usually doesn’t take long for people to find out that they are not who they said they were.

13) Fake people seek attention to validate themselves

If you encounter someone who is constantly seeking other people’s attention or approval, it is usually because they need confirmation that the person they are acting like is liked by others.

Genuine people show up and show you who they are, but fake people need you to buy into the story they are telling and if you aren’t paying attention to them, it tells them you aren’t buying their act and it turns everything upside down in their world.

This also brings to light an important question.

Why are you engaging with fake people? Is there something that you want from them? Are you seeking approval from and validation from someone else to make yourself feel better?

One clear way out of this is to get to know yourself better and tune into your true sense of purpose in life. The stronger your sense of self is, the fewer people are able to make you bend over backward for them.

Building up a strong sense of who you are immediately building your confidence sends fakes on their way.

14) Fake people distract from their fakeness with gossip

A sure sign that someone is being fake is if they spend most of their time talking about other people, and we’re not talking about good conversation.

We’re talking about gossip, the most destructive kind of conversation there is.

If you find yourself face to face with good old-fashioned gossip at the office, over coffee, or on the street, there’s a good chance they are trying to distract you with someone else’s nonsense so you don’t see theirs.

It’s just a reminder to be careful with your words and how easily you open up to people around you. Some may use any information you share to bring you down instead of supporting you as a friend would.

15) Fake people like to show off in front of other people

Whether they know the group of people or not, someone who is trying hard to be anyone but who they really are is going to show off so that people believe the act they are putting on for everyone.

It’s troublesome and frankly, kind of awkward when you realize someone is showing off so that people don’t get to know the real them.

It’s hard to imagine someone would want you to believe untrue things about them, but lots of people do it. Fake people always want to appear more confident, powerful, and capable than anyone else around them.

16) Fake people say bad things about other people

Similar to gossip, saying bad things about other people is a great way to distract from their own negative lives and make you think that they have their acts together.

They will go out of their way to put others down or make them appear malicious.

It’s a game of cat and mouse in the truest sense: they spit out some bullshit about someone and you chase after that information trying to validate it instead of trying to validate their story.

Try to take notice of how people talk about others around you. Is it with love or with jealousy, envy, and contempt? This can be a clear sign if you are speaking with a fake.

How to deal with fake people: 7 no-nonsense tips

We’ve all met people we can tell are faking it, whether at work or at home.

Do you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you meet someone and it feels like there is something off about them?

If you get that feeling, you are probably right.

People who are fake are putting on a show for a number of reasons. It can be really hard to be around someone who is playing a part of trying to be something they are not.

So how can you deal with someone who is fake?

Here’s how you can handle fake people in your life so that you can move on to bigger and better things.

1) Distance is key

The best way to deal with fake people is to just keep them out of your life, to begin with.

If you get a bad vibe from someone, don’t stick around to see if you are right about them. Our intuition has a good way of letting us know when something is wrong.

We don’t always know why, but it’s important to trust our instincts. If a fake person has made their way into your life and you are feeling stuck with them, be sure to keep your distance from them.

This may be difficult if the person is a close co-worker, but do your best to stay non-attached in what they are doing and don’t pay attention to them when they are looking for the spotlight.

2) Limit your engagement

If you can’t keep them out of your life, don’t ask questions and don’t engage. Let them have the floor and don’t give them the attention they want while they have it.

This is really a case of choice. If you ignore them long enough and they don’t get what they want, they will go away.

It might be awkward, but it is necessary sometimes to cut people out of your life completely. It’s what’s best for you and your sanity. Fake people are toxic and dangerous.

3) Remember, it’s not about you

The way fake people act has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Remember, they are trying to prove something to themselves and others, but when they don’t get validation from other people, they are more likely to walk away.

Don’t engage in any interactions if you can avoid it and keep reminding yourself that they aren’t lying to you, they are lying to themselves.

And while it might be frustrating to deal with this kind of person, remember that they are the ones who are really suffering.

4) Keep it above board

Whatever you do, don’t stoop to their level. Don’t lower yourself to participate in whatever it is that they are doing.

It’s hard enough sorting your own stuff out and you don’t need to take on a project of trying to wrangle those cats into the pen.

If the fake person is talking about people or trying to change perceptions, just ignore it.

You don’t have to engage them to make them feel good about themselves. In fact, that just makes it worse. Validation means they can continue to act that way.

5) Point it out

When all else fails, you can point out the fact that you think the person is fake and you don’t appreciate the misrepresentation they are making about themselves.

You can explain the kind of position their behavior puts you in and that you aren’t going to tolerate it anymore. They will most certainly try to turn the mirror on you so be ready for some backlash.

Just like narcissistic people, you can’t fix chronic liars, which is what fake people are: liars.

6) Dig deeper

If this person is close to you and you feel like you might be able to get through to them, ask some light and topical questions about why they act the way they do and offer to help them work through some of the things they bring up.

If they don’t offer anything, don’t probe.

If you’ve made a concerted effort to help them recognize their behavior and they aren’t acknowledging it or making an effort to change, you’ll be better off moving on.

7) Ask for advice

If someone is close to you and an important part of your life, you may want to seek some professional help for dealing with your thoughts and feelings related to this person’s behavior.

Despite their best efforts, fake people can’t make you feel anything. They can’t make you adopt a thought or feel a feeling. Only you can do that.

So if you find yourself feeling frustrated with a fake person, remember that those are your thoughts about that person and not the other way around. You need to be responsible for how you react just as much as they need to be responsible for how they act.

Trust your gut and forget the fake

There are lots of ways to tell if someone is being fake, not the least of which is if you get that feeling in your stomach that something’s just not right.

If you get a yucky feeling in your belly about someone, it’s highly unlikely that you are wrong.

Trust your gut when you meet people and if you find that someone is talking about everything except themselves, there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t want you to know anything about them.

It’s a charade and it takes a lot of work to keep it going.

Watch for the distractions and avoidances in your conversations and you’ll be able to tell for sure whether someone is fake or not.

As you navigate who is truly receptive and open to a genuine relationship with you, you can learn to put more of your energy and affection into building these relationships up.

Meanwhile, stay true to yourself and get to know and value the wonderful person that you are. Learn to trust your gut and cultivate the confidence to forget the fake.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.