We’ve all had to put on a mask to get through an interaction or situation with pleasantries, pretending to like something that we otherwise don’t.
It can be as innocent as pretending to like your boss’s spouse so as to maintain a pleasant and positive work dynamic, or pretending to care more about the weather than you actually do when chatting with the stranger in line beside you at the bank.
These pretends can be classified as “being fake” but we are all guilty of them.
The difference between being fake to your boss to maintain a positive work environment and being a “fake” person is that this isn’t the way you approach your relationships normally.
When it is someone you may never meet again and just want to be civil and respectful to in the moment, there is nothing wrong with that.
These are one-off situations that rarely occur, and typically only with people you are unfamiliar with for the sake of civility.
When it comes to close friends and family, you take the mask off and are genuine with what you say and your actions.
A fake person approaches every relationship with a mask and every interaction is tainted by some level of insincerity.
Fake people struggle to be genuine—even with friends and family who they are close to.
People act fake for various reasons, including something as innocent as insecurity or as malicious as manipulation.
However, when someone close to you is fake and every interaction with them is lacking sincerity, it can slowly become toxic and turn to manipulation.
Fake people don’t just lack sincerity and tell you that they like that sweater (when really it’s a horrible color and you should never wear it and a true friend would help you burn it in the backyard,) they also lack sincerity with their words and actions toward you and the relationship you have, wasting the time and energy you put in to maintaining that relationship.
Here are 5 red flags to watch out for to identify if there are any fake people in your life.
There are some people in our lives who like the spotlight and tend to be a little self-absorbed, but even with these character traits a genuine person can set aside their spotlight and help you through a rough time.
A fake person won’t.
They will make everything about them, and it’s because they don’t care about your problems enough to try and help.
They don’t make an effort.
Sometimes it is hard to make schedules come together or life gets busy and you have to cancel, but a genuine person will communicate these struggles and work with you to make something come together.
A fake person will make open-ended offers but never follow through.
Like, “Let’s do coffee sometime,” but by “sometime” they actually mean “never.”
They won’t reach out to make it happen, and if you try to actually plan something they will give more generalities as to when may or may not be a good time.
“I’ve got a lot of work stuff this week, I’ll let you know when I’m free,” or “weekends are good, I’ll check my schedule and get back to you” – but they never do.
They have no interest in helping out.
No one actually wants to help their friend move from a third floor walk-up, but genuine people will (even if they complain the entire time.)
A fake person will ignore you altogether.
Whether you had a bad day and need to vent to someone, or you need a spotter while you hang some drapes—a fake person will never be there.
They will come up with plenty of excuses or not reply at all.
They are only interested in the good times and when you get those concert tickets you bet their reception will suddenly be better and their schedule suddenly cleared.
That’s all they are looking for and aren’t interested in the other, harder aspects of a deeper relationship.
They are people-pleasers.
There are plenty of genuine people who like to make everyone happy, but not at the risk of their morals or genuine opinions.
A fake person will thank you for the gift, tell you they love it, and return it the next day.
They will tell you they agree with you completely on a topic, then turn around and tell the opposing side the same thing.
They will feign interest in something you are passionate about, but they aren’t actually listening and don’t care to learn.
A fake person has no interest in expressing themselves or connecting with you, so they pretend they like all the same things you do just to keep it amicable.
They don’t own up.
It can be difficult to take responsibility for our actions—especially, when the results are less than stellar.
A genuine person will acknowledge when they have make a mistake or a bad choice and own up.
They then, typically, go about trying to find a way to make things right again.
A fake person, on the other hand, won’t own up to their actions.
They won’t take responsibility for what they have done, they will make excuses or deny it altogether.
When someone doesn’t take responsibility for their actions and the choices they made that may have hurt someone or complicated a situation, then they can’t work on making things right or improving them.
That responsibility then falls on someone else’s shoulders.
Everyone is a little bit fake from time to time,
but it is best to be cautious of someone who chooses to live their life that way.
It is nearly impossible to have a genuine relationship, friendship, or closeness with a fake person. It’s best you know what to look out for, and decide how close you want to allow that person to you.