How To Tell A Fake Friend From A Genuine Friend

Only let the best into your inner circle.

Jim Rohn famously said that you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with.

And it’s true. Our environment and the people we surround ourselves with have an immense impact on our health and wellbeing. Over the past several years I have become extremely picky when it comes to friendships — I want to be surrounded and shaped by people who enrich my life and inspire me. Who wouldn’t?

Unfortunately, phoney personalities can get the best of us, so here are a few tips that I’ve learnt over the years for spotting fake friends.

Do They Gossip Way Too Much?

Do you know someone who always seems to be talking about others? Are they complaining or gossiping about their other “friends” in your company? If so, there is a decent chance that they are not being genuine. If they are so comfortable bashing their supposed friends in front of you, what is stopping them from bitching about you in front of others?

In saying this: a healthy bit of tea every now and then never hurt anyone. You’ll know in your gut when fun gossiping turns toxic.

Are They Inconsistent?

Do you notice a difference in how they speak to you when you are together in the company of others? Fake friends will be tirelessly inconsistent in their treatment of you. The way they treat you will depend solely on whether or not they require something from you, and whether or not you have the ability to boost their own ego. They can go from belittling of you in front of others, to using you as a support system to make them feel high and mighty.

Are They Manipulative?

Fake friends will attempt to manipulate you into feeling as though you are in debt to them, for no logical reason. You may catch yourself bending over backwards to ensure they approve of whatever you are doing. They will also blame all hiccups in your friendship on you, and you may begin absentmindedly criticising yourself for constantly screwing up the friendship. Beware of guilt tripping — fake friends use it as their weapon.

How Do They Make You Feel?

Consider the atmosphere when you’re in their presence. Do you feel pressure to impress them? Do you find yourself second-guessing everything you say, worrying that you might have said the wrong thing? If your answer is yes, you might actually have an ambivalent friend. Ambivalent friends can be more damaging to your wellbeing than toxic friends, as worrying where you stand with someone is really quite draining. Be wary of these “friends” that make you feel insecure.

How Often Do They Get In Touch?

Consider the last few times someone has been in contact with you. Has it been out of genuine interest for you and your wellbeing, or are they only talking about themselves? Or perhaps the friendship is always at a stand still until you send them the odd message?

Now, truth be told, friendships and relationships aren’t always going to be 50-50. Sometimes one of you will need more support than the other, and therefore — if your relationship is really strong — one will be more than happy to temporarily put in more effort while the other is down. That being said, you need to look out for whether they are only messaging you for their own personal gain. That is, do they tend to be only boasting about their own achievements? Fake friends will only contact you when it benefits them, or when they’re feeling like an ego boost.

It doesn’t matter how long you have known someone, or whether they’re related to you, if they don’t uplift you, they’re not worthy of your time. Your energy is precious; surround yourself with people who are loyal, honest and trustworthy.

(Lead image: Mean Girls/Paramount)