Last Updated March 3, 2019
In this digital age, technology has made it easier for us to be and stay connected to your social circle, even when you don’t get to see them in person that often. We are heavily influenced by the people around us, even when we are unaware of it – that’s a fact that has been documented in a book. In this article, we have listed 12 types of fake people to be wary of.
If you want to change your life, a good start is to audit your social circle and ideally only surround yourself with people whose values and goals in life align with yours. The first type of toxic people that you need to identify is the fakers or the phoneys – the most insufferable of all. They come in many different forms and their motivations vary.
We have listed these types of fake people that you should cut out from your life immediately. And if that is not possible in your current circumstance, don’t worry, we’ve also covered the strategy you can easily employ to deal with them.
12 types of fake people to look out for and how to deal with them.
1. The sycophants: The ones who think only people with power are worth respecting
They are very selective when it comes to respecting others. They try to get close to the ‘big fish’ to pave their way to success and dismiss those they deem unimportant. They will agree with everything and say the right things just to stay on the good side of people with power.
One way to deal with them is to call them out during the act itself, which is probably on everybody else’s mind. If the situation occurs in an office meeting, and the person is agreeing with the boss’s idea that you know will not work, voice out your concern, and ask the person to elaborate on how he plans to make the idea work, which he probably can’t.
The key is to keep your words and tone tactful.
2. The braggers: The ones who brag to feel important
They will boast about things that may not necessarily be true and tend to exaggerate a lot. They will go to great lengths to impress others so they can feel good about themselves. They especially like to show off materialistic things.
Before we get to the ways to manage the braggers, it’s best we first look inward and ask ourselves this – what is the real reason for our discomfort? Are we just being envious of the person?
If it is clear that the braggers are making everyone else uncomfortable as well, try to find a few of their redeeming qualities and genuinely praise them. It’s clear to everyone, except the braggers, that they are trying to overcompensate for their lack of self-esteem.
By making them believe that they do possess qualities that deserve respect, they are less likely to resort to bragging in order to feel good about themselves next time. If it doesn’t work, try to casually slip in the conversation that while you feel happy for the good fortune of others, you are not the type of person that is easily impressed by that.
Hopefully, the bragger will get the memo.
3. The people-pleasers: The ones who would do anything to get people to like them
They go out of their way to please others just to be liked. They need a sense of acceptance, even if it means they have to pretend to flatter or agree with someone.
Most of the times, they do not do it out of malice, rather it stems from an extreme need or anxiety to get on everyone’s good sides. However, it can be rather off-putting to hear the people-pleaser rave on and on about something or someone that doesn’t reflect their actual opinion.
In this case, help them out. Invite them to be open about their feelings with you. Tell them you appreciate honesty over glazed-over half-truths, and that being served with anything less than that equals to being disrespected.
4. The attention-seekers: The ones who constantly seek attention
They are usually loud because they are desperate for attention. They try to make everything about them and want to be included in every conversation. They always want to be noticed and think the world revolves around them.
The attention-seeker may be the easiest type of fake people to deal with! By giving them the exact opposite of what they are craving for, which is attention, they will run out of steam sooner or later and will move on to the next targets.
5. The shape-shifters: The ones who create new personalities to feel accepted
They want to be accepted by society because they are insecure and lack self-esteem. They try to be a totally different person just to fit in. They can be sweet one minute and loud the next. They can pretend to be interested in something they’re not just to be liked.
This behavior is typical in people with low self-esteem and mirroring of others is just their (lame) attempt of trying to fit in and be accepted. If this particular behavior makes its appearance only when the shape-shifter is around certain individual – those that he tries to impress – pull him aside and let him be aware of the situation.
Encourage him to be authentic and tell him that others can usually see right through the facade.
6. The Little Miss Sunshines: The ones who try too hard to convince people that they’re happy
They tend to portray the illusion that they’re living the perfect life. They make it seem as if they’re always happy even when they have trouble at home. They would rather keep things hidden in the closet than let others know about the ugly truth that lies beneath.
This is evident in their perfectly curated Instagram feed that is filled with travel adventures, heartfelt tributes to their loving partner and pictures tagged with #blessed.
Okay, we get it – you’re extremely happy. But research has shown that genuinely happy people are busy enjoying their life that they don’t need to convince others (and themselves) of their happiness via the number of likes they receive on their social media posts.
More often than not, they are just masking the struggles that they are going through. With this understanding, what you can do is wish the person well and scroll or walk away. If you feel like that is not much of a solution, perhaps the problem lies deeper and a self-reflection is due.
7. The fantasists: The ones who share interesting stories that are not 100% true
They will make something sound a hundred times better than it actually is. They use social media as a tool to show off their perfect travel experiences and hide any mishaps that they may have encountered during the trip.
When they come back, get ready for tales of adventures that sound like they are lifted right of the pages of fiction novels – which they probably are.
While you may not want to sound confrontational by calling them on their fibs, it may be the only way to call attention to their annoying behavior. Just remember to keep a level head and merely point out the facts or discrepancies that they may have forgotten.
Be prepared to have the fantasist pulls on a defensive mode but it’ll serve as a reminder the next time he feels like embellishing his stories for you.
8. The gossipmongers: The ones who thrive on gossips
They are often two-faced. They can be nice to you today and then gossip about you the next day. They just love to gossip because it makes them feel important. They crave for attention and they think having juicy gossips to tell would make them interesting to others.
The reason you should be very wary of people who love to gossip is you can be sure that once you leave the room, you will have the target behind your back.
The first thing you can do is to not partake in the gossiping itself. What draws people in is the strong energy, albeit a negative one, surrounding a juicy gossip. Attempt to diffuse the negative energy by injecting a few positive comments about the person they are discussing.
If that doesn’t work, tell them point-blank that it is inappropriate to discuss the person in such a manner, before excuse yourself. You may risk being left out after this, but who needs gossip-mongers in their lives anyway.
9. The disparagers: The ones who bring people down
They will try to find faults in the happiness of others to make themselves feel better. They will point out something negative even when there is none. Some would do anything to make other people look bad just so they can look good.
The disparagers thrive on a willing set of audience, so don’t be one. If he is genuinely facing a crisis with the person and is looking for advice, acknowledge their frustration and suggest that he takes up the matter directly with the person involved.
Then, to avoid any awkwardness, change the course of the conversation to a more positive topic.
10. The grouches: The ones who complain about everything
You can count on the grouch to sap off your energy like a vampire. Just the sight of them walking towards you with a frown, or their name appearing on your phone screen, is enough to make you feel emotionally drained.
They have keen eyes for details; and that’s not a bad thing if they can also see the good as well as the bad in any given situation.
First of all, make them feel heard. Tell them you would feel the same way if you were in the same situation – this will pave their willingness to partake the next step with you, which is to invite them to consider things from another point of view.
Sometimes, all it takes is offering them a different perspective, that their clouded brain is not able to see on its own.
11. The know-it-alls: The ones who claim to be an expert in everything but never follow anything through
They seem to know everything, except for admitting this: “I don’t know.” They believe they are the go-to person for everything. But the most infuriating characteristic of theirs has got to be their unwillingness to even consider other people’s opinions and ideas, which makes it a real problem if they happen to be your co-workers.
In a battle, there can be two possible, favorable outcomes; either you’re able to prove you’re right or you win the overall battle. Sometimes, if your job and reputation are not at stake, you may be doing yourself a big favor by thanking the know-it-all for their input and calmly walking away.
The know-it-all may think they are in the right, but it is you who wins the battle – for saving yourself from having to go through the seemingly endless and pointless debate with them.
12. The backstabbers: The ones who are friendly to your face but turn on you to get ahead
They may a bit tricky to profile at first as they will only reveal themselves after the knives are already stuck in your back. They suffer from strings of chronic insecurities though that is not enough to justify the way they throw others under the bus in order to get ahead.
If you realize that you have been a victim of the backstabbers, it is important for you to take time to compose yourself. Do not react when your wounds are fresh and your anger is still all-consuming.
And then comes the damage control – if the situation puts your reputation or other important relationship on the line, you need to take care of that first. Own up to your own mistakes, which may include oversharing confidential and tongue-in-cheek information with each other, that has since been used against you.
And finally, cut them out of your life immediately. They do not deserve any explanation from you and you do not deserve to keep someone who will drag you down in your life.