Do you ever feel like some of your friendships are one-sided or fake? So figuring out how to get over fake friends is crucial for your emotional well-being and allows you to make room for more genuine, supportive relationships in your life. 

It’s a common experience that many go through, but it can still feel isolating and hurtful. Fake friends can leave you feeling drained, used, and unappreciated.

Identifying fake friends can be difficult, especially if they’re an old friend that you’ve known for a long time. They may seem friendly and supportive, but they only reach out to you when they need something. They may gossip about you behind your back, or make you feel guilty for not doing what they want.

It’s important to recognize this kind of behaviour and take steps to protect yourself from it. 

Warning signs of a fake friend

Having fake friends can be a painful experience. They might pretend to be your friend, but their true intentions are to use you, manipulate you, or bring you down. 

It’s not always easy to spot fake friends because they can be good at pretending to care. But recognising their true nature is the first step to protecting your emotional wellbeing.

Here are some common signs and behaviours that might indicate someone is not a real friend.

Red flags and warning signs

Fake friends often display certain unhealthy behaviors that should raise red flags.

For example, they might only contact you when they need something, but disappear when you need their help.

They might gossip about you behind your back or spread rumours to damage your reputation.

They might also be jealous of your success and try to undermine your achievements.

Inconsistent Behaviour

Have you ever noticed that some friends are there for you only when it’s convenient for them?

Fake people often display inconsistent behaviour.

One minute they’re all over your social media, commenting and liking everything you post, and the next minute they disappear without a trace.

This kind of unreliable behaviour is a major red flag.

True friends are consistent and reliable, showing up when you need them, not just when they feel like it.

Lack of support

Another way to recognise a fake friend is by looking at how they act during bad times.

True friends offer a shoulder to cry on and help you through your struggles.

Fake friends? Not so much.

They often vanish when things get difficult, and fail to provide the emotional support you need.

So pay attention to who sticks around when life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.


Fake friends often make everything about themselves.

Conversations with them can feel one-sided. Where they talk endlessly about their own problems and achievements but show little interest in yours.

They seem to think the world revolves around them and rarely offer genuine interest or empathy towards your life.

This self-centred behaviour is a telltale sign that your friend might not be as authentic as you thought.

Gossip and betrayal

One of the most hurtful traits of fake friends is their tendency to gossip and betray your trust.

Have you ever shared something personal with a friend, only to hear about it from someone else later?

That’s a major breach of trust.

Fake friends often engage in gossip behind your back and might even betray your secrets for their own gain, revealing their true colors.

Real friends respect your privacy and keep your confidence.

The psychology of fake friendships

Fake friendships can be a result of various psychological factors.

For example, some people might be afraid of being alone, so they keep false friends around to avoid feeling lonely.

Others might be seeking validation or approval from others, so they try to befriend people who they think can boost their status.

It’s important to be aware of these underlying motivations and not fall into the trap of fake friendships.

The emotional impact of fake friendships

Fake friendships can have a significant impact on your emotional health.

It can lead to feelings of betrayal, low self-esteem, and negative energy. 

Effects on mental health

Fake friendships can cause a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When you invest time and energy to create a healthy relationship, only to find out that it is not genuine, it can be a traumatic experience.

It can leave you feeling hurt, confused, and questioning your judgment.

Coping with betrayal

Betrayal is a common theme in fake friendships.

It can take many forms, including lying, gossiping, and fair-weather friends that use you for personal gain.

Coping with betrayal can be challenging, but it is essential to move on from these negative relationships.

One way to cope is to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself time to grieve the loss of the friendship.

It is also important to focus on self-care and surround yourself with positive people who support you.

Toxicity and self-esteem

Toxic friendships can have a significant impact on your self-esteem.

When you are constantly exposed to negative energy and criticism, it can be challenging to maintain a positive self-image.

It is essential to recognize when a friendship is toxic and take steps to remove yourself from the situation.

Surround yourself with genuine people who uplift and support you, and focus on building your self-esteem.

In summary, fake friendships can have a significant impact on your emotional health. 

Feeling drained

Interacting with fake friends can be incredibly exhausting.

These relationships often demand more from you than they give back, leading to a sense of your emotional needs not being met.

  • They are emotional vampires. Fake friends can suck the joy and energy out of you, much like emotional vampires. Instead of feeling uplifted after spending time with them, you might feel worn out and unappreciated.
  • You need to put in an increased effort. You constantly have to put more effort into maintaining the relationship, leaving you feeling like you’re walking on eggshells.

Increased anxiety and stress

Dealing with fake friends can significantly increase your levels of anxiety and stress.

You might find yourself constantly worried about their actions and your position in the friendship.

  • Constant Doubt: Fake friends make you question your value and worth. This constant self-doubt can lead to heightened anxiety, as you never know where you stand with these individuals.
  • Trust Issues: Having a friend who betrays your trust can make it hard to trust others. This can cause long-term stress and affect your ability to form important relationships in the future.
  • Emotional Rollercoaster: The inconsistency and unpredictability of fake friends create an emotional rollercoaster that’s hard to navigate, adding more stress to your life.

Understanding the emotional impact of fake friends is the first step to prioritising your mental health. These toxic relationships can drain your energy and elevate stress levels, making it essential to surround yourself with supportive and genuine friends.

Building genuine connections

If you’ve been hurt by fake friends in the past, it’s important to focus on building genuine connections with people who truly care about you. 

Qualities of true friendship

A good friend is someone who you can trust and rely on.

They listen to you, support you, and are there for you through thick and thin.

A best friend is someone who knows you better than anyone else and accepts you for who you are.

Real friendships are built on mutual trust, respect, honesty, and loyalty.

Nurturing healthy relationships

To build genuine friendships, it’s important to nurture healthy relationships.

This means being a good listener, showing empathy, and being there for your friends when they need you.

It also means being honest and open with your friends, even when it’s difficult.

One way to nurture healthy relationships is to spend quality time with your friends.

Whether it’s going out for coffee, taking a walk, or watching a movie, spending time together can help strengthen your bond and build trust.

The role of mutual interests

Common interests can be a great way to build genuine friendships.

When you share a passion or hobby with someone, it can create a strong connection and give you something to bond over.

Whether it’s sports, music, or art, finding common ground can help you build a legitimate and healthy friendship.

It’s also important to remember that genuine friendships don’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to build a strong connection with someone.

But with patience, honesty, and a willingness to be vulnerable, you can build lasting and meaningful relationships that will enrich your life for years to come.

Letting go and moving forward

Dealing with a fake friendship can be challenging, but taking the right steps can help you move on and find healthier, more authentic connections.

Acknowledge the problem

The starting point in moving on from a fake friend is recognising and accepting that the friendship is unhealthy.

This might be the hardest part because it requires you to confront the reality of the situation.

Begin by being honest with yourself. Take a close look at how your friend makes you feel. Do you feel unsupported, anxious, or drained? Recognising the signs of a toxic friendship can help you understand what you’re dealing with.

Then, accept It’s okay to let go. It’s essential to accept that not all friendships are meant to last. Holding on to a toxic relationship can do more harm than good in the long run. 

Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries protects your well-being and helps you maintain your emotional health.

Define your limits by thinking about what behaviours you will and won’t tolerate. Boundaries help you maintain a sense of control and self-respect. 

Communicate Your Boundaries and make sure your friend knows your boundaries. This can be as simple as declining invitations or stating your needs clearly. 

Communicate your feelings

Having a constructive conversation about your concerns and feelings is crucial.

It can be uncomfortable, but it’s an important step in moving forward.

Start by preparing what you want to say. Think about how to express your feelings calmly and clearly. You might say something like, “I feel hurt when you don’t support me during tough times.”

It may be hard, but do your best to stay calm and be respectful. 

Even if your friend reacts poorly, stay calm and respectful.

This shows you’re serious about your feelings and are seeking resolution. 

Gradually distance yourself

If being direct isn’t your style, gradually distancing yourself from the fake friend might be the best approach.

This can minimize drama and make the transition smoother.

Start by limiting the time you spend with them. Gradually reduce communication to avoid sudden changes that might draw attention.

Focus your attention on your other friendships and spend more time with friends who support and uplift you.

Engaging in new social activities can also help you meet like-minded individuals.

When your fake friend invites you out, politely decline. You can say things like, “I have other plans,” or “I need some time for myself.” 

Acceptance and closure

It can be difficult to accept the friendships end, especially if you have invested a lot of time and effort into the friendship.

However, it’s important to remember that holding onto a toxic friendship will only cause more pain and heartache in the long run.

To find closure, you may want to have a conversation with your fake friend to express your feelings and clear the air.

Alternatively, you may find it helpful to write a letter to your friend (even if you don’t send it) to get your thoughts and emotions out.

Finding new friends

Once you’ve let go of your fake friend, it’s time to start looking for new, authentic friendships.

This can be daunting, but there are many ways to meet new people.

Joining a club or group that interests you is a great way to meet like-minded individuals. You could also try volunteering or attending social events in your community.

But remember, making new friends takes time and effort.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your new best friend right away. Keep putting yourself out there and eventually, you will find people who appreciate and value you for who you are.

Personal growth after loss

Losing a friend, even a fake one, can be a painful experience.

However, it can also be a great opportunity for personal growth.

Take some time to reflect on the friendship and what you’ve learned from it. Use this experience to become a better person and friend.

Focus on your own life and goals, and don’t let the loss of a friendship hold you back.

Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or travel to a new place.

Use this time to invest in yourself and become the best version of yourself.

Remember, getting over fake friends is a process. It won’t happen overnight, but with time, acceptance, and a positive attitude, you can move on and find genuine, fulfilling friendships.

Maintaining emotional well-being

Moving on from fake friends isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for your mental and emotional well-being. 

Setting boundaries

To maintain emotional well-being, it is essential to set boundaries with any friends.

You need to establish what is acceptable and what is not.

If your fake friends are crossing the line, it is essential to communicate your boundaries assertively.

Let them know what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not.

By doing so, you will be able to protect yourself from emotional harm.

Seeking support systems

It is crucial to have a support system that can help you through the process of getting over fake friends.

Your family members or a close friend can be your emotional support.

They can offer you a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and help you gain perspective.

You can also seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor if you need it.

The importance of self-care

Self-care is crucial for maintaining emotional well-being.

Take time to do things that make you happy and relaxed.

Engage in activities that promote self-love and self-acceptance. 

By taking care of yourself, you will be better equipped to deal with the emotional fallout of losing fake friends.

Leaving fake friends behind

Recognising and moving on from fake friends is essential for your emotional and mental health.

By spotting the signs, such as inconsistent behaviour, lack of support, self-centredness, and betrayal, you can start to protect yourself.

Addressing the emotional toll these relationships take on you is a must. Feeling drained, anxious, and stressed are obvious signs of a fake friend.

Taking steps to distance yourself, setting boundaries, and communicating your feelings can help you transition away from these toxic friendships.It’s about making room for genuine connections that uplift and support you.

Remember, prioritising your own well-being isn’t selfish—it’s necessary. Seek out real friends who value and respect you, and watch your life become richer and more fulfilling.

At the end of the day, you deserve to be surrounded by people who wholeheartedly care about you and have your best interests at heart.


* indicates required