12 classic signs of a fake person, according to psychology

There are many reasons why some people are fake. From insecurity and social pressure to desire for approval and low self-esteem, the reasons for it are complex and multifaceted.

But more often than not, you can recognize a faker by the way they behave. Psychologically, there are many things at play here. 

So, let’s dive in and reveal the classic signs of a fake person, according to psychology.

1) They crave the spotlight and will do anything to stay in it

Most fake people crave constant validation and spotlight, always finding ways to be the center of attention, even if it means exaggerating or fabricating stories.

Psychologically, attention-seeking behavior often stems from deep-seated insecurities or unmet emotional needs

This simply reflects their craving for external validation as they seek affirmation and recognition to bolster their self-worth.

When you think about it, this explains much of the behavior that many celebrities display, right? Some of them will do anything to stay in the spotlight and stay relevant. 

So, next time when you scratch your head about why Elon Musk said something outrageous, think of this article. 

2) They have shallow values

Picture someone whose priorities revolve around material possessions, status, or appearances, lacking depth or substance in their character and relationships.

Having shallow values like these means they prioritize superficial qualities such as wealth, status, or appearance over deeper ones like integrity or empathy. 

Psychologically, they reflect societal pressures or a lack of introspection, leading them to prioritize external validation and materialism over meaningful relationships and personal growth.

3) They’re always buttering people up, but it feels insincere

These people are also always showering compliments on others, but it feels like they’re reading from a script instead of genuinely appreciating people for who they are.

Psychologically, constant flattery can be a manipulative tactic known as “ingratiation,” where people use praise to gain favor or influence over others. 

It’s a way to create a positive image without genuinely investing in relationships.

4) Their actions and words don’t align consistently

Let’s now imagine a friend who says one thing but does another. It’s something that’s not far-fetched, right?

I mean, I had friends like that. But how does it make you feel when they do that?

You’re probably confused and even angry about where they really stand on issues or how they truly feel about you.

Now, imagine someone doing that all the time. They’re flip-flopping their way through life, telling everyone what they want to hear, yet often doing the complete opposite.

This inconsistent behavior can also stem from underlying insecurity or a lack of authenticity. 

Psychologically, it often reflects internal conflicts or a desire to please everyone, resulting in not being able to express themselves genuinely.

5) They agree with everyone, even if it contradicts what they said before

I already hinted at this, but let’s now picture someone who nods along to everything you say, even if, just minutes ago, they had a completely different opinion.

This automatically makes you wonder if they’re being genuine at all, right?

Psychologically, being overly agreeable can be a sign of conformity or a fear of conflict. It reflects a lack of assertiveness and individuality, as they prioritize harmony over expressing their true thoughts and feelings.

6) They’re charming, often to manipulate situations or people

Some people simply exude charm. They make you feel great as they swoon you. But then, on the other side, think of someone who’s excessively charming, but it feels like they’re turning it on like a light switch, especially when they want something from you.

These people are obviously fake and are manipulating you to get something, perhaps a favor or some money. 

Again, it’s not even hard to imagine this person as they seem to be all around us. But why?

Again, excessive charm often masks deeper insecurities but also a need for validation. 

Psychologically, these people strive to control how others perceive them, often at the expense of authenticity.

And that’s also why fake people mostly have acquaintances instead of real friends. 

7) They have many acquaintances but few close, meaningful relationships

Classic signs of a fake friend 12 classic signs of a fake person, according to psychology

Fake people mostly have a wide circle of friends, but you notice they rarely spend quality time with anyone or have deep, meaningful connections.

Psychologically, maintaining superficial friendships often comes from a fear of vulnerability or intimacy. 

It’s a great way for them to maintain a social network without investing deeply in meaningful relationships, protecting themselves from emotional risk.

And, perhaps more importantly, people around them quickly realize what they’re really like and don’t want to spend more time with them than they have to. 

But then there’s also the following, which makes them stand out among other people. 

8) They seem indifferent to others’ feelings or struggles

I don’t think I have any friends who are indifferent to other people’s struggles. That’s why I can only imagine sharing my struggles with someone, only to be met with indifference or a lack of understanding.

A lack of empathy often reveals emotional detachment or narcissistic tendencies. 

Psychologically, it reflects an inability or reluctance to understand and connect with others’ emotions, which, as we saw above, results in shallow relationships and interactions.

9) They tend to use people to get what they want without regard for them

And because fake people mostly don’t have empathy for others, they use people to get what they want without any regard for them.

They chew others up and spit them out like nobody’s business. 

This is, of course, pure manipulation as they exploit others for personal gain without a lack of empathy or moral boundaries. 

Psychologically, this can originate from a need for control or power dynamics within relationships, often driven by underlying insecurities.

And that seems to be the word of the day here – insecurity. It’s certainly not the only reason for this fake and awful behavior, but it’s clearly a driving force behind being fake.

10) They love dishing dirt on others

Gossiping is an excellent way for people to boost their own self-esteem by putting others down

There probably isn’t a corner on this Earth where people don’t talk about others behind their backs.

Each and every workplace I’ve ever worked at has folks gossiping about others. It doesn’t matter that it’s often very wrong and even harmful. It’s just a favorite pastime for so many people, right?

Psychologically, it arises from feelings of inadequacy or a desire to elevate one’s social status at the expense of others.

But if you really think about a person who’s always whispering about others behind their backs, it makes you question whether you can trust them with your own secrets.

I know I wouldn’t. 

11) They often portray themselves as victims to gain sympathy or avoid responsibility

Fake people just love playing the victim all the time. You don’t have to look further than that orange man who, despite being a former president and supposedly a billionaire, is portraying himself as the biggest victim ever. 

And guess what? It works. People gobble it down like crazy. 

One of the worst things to me about this world and society is that fake people like that get all the spoils:

They get the money and the social status and never face any consequences for their despicable behavior. 

So, playing the victim is an excellent manipulative tactic to evade responsibility and garner sympathy from others. 

Psychologically, it can stem from a victim mentality characterized by a sense of powerlessness or a desire to avoid accountability for one’s actions. Or, you know, as a way to manipulate the masses. 

12) They boast excessively about their achievements, possessions, or connections

Fake people simply can’t stop talking about their achievements, possessions, or connections, making every conversation feel like a competition to one-up others.

I could mention the former president for this, too, because he’s always boasting to the point that it’s too cringe to watch. 

But the truth is that fake people come from all walks of life – left, right, and center. 

Psychologically, constant bragging again comes from underlying insecurity or a need for validation. 

It’s a way for people to find external affirmation and bolster their self-esteem by highlighting their achievements and successes to others.

Final thoughts

It’s relatively normal to come across people who are fake and aren’t always genuine. They act a certain way to fit in, seek attention, or avoid conflict. 

Sure, it’s all part of our human nature, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating when you’re around them.

But, even because everyone has their own reasons for being fake, understanding where they’re coming from can help you empathize with them, even if their behavior rubs you the wrong way.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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