Friend or competitor?

This letter writer is feeling annoyed and suspects that her friend is in competition with her. 

That sounds about right, says our elder. Here’s how to spot a fake friend.


Dear EWC

Hello dear elder, I’m a little annoyed by my friend and I’m feeling conflicted about it. I got a new job and shared it with her. I mentioned I was going on a work trip to NY and she shared how she had refused to go on a trip to NY as well. I asked why and she said how she didn’t see the point and really was adamant about it when her boss asked her. I like going on trips so I was happy to go on mine. We work for different companies. She shared her trip would have been at about the same time mine is, but we weren’t sure about the dates. I said I’ll double check the dates and get back to her. Before I knew it she got approval for her trip to go and I shared that our dates wouldn’t line up. I’m annoyed because I think she had no intention of going until I mentioned I was going. I’m not sure if she’s going because she wants to or she’s going just because she is competing with me. The reason I think this is that sometimes I get that feeling of judgment from her. I got an office with my new job and it’s a decent size. She referred to it as “a little office”. Am I being petty for feeling this way? How do I know when a friend is truly happy for me or competing with me? 


Scriber replies

I read your letter about what happened between you and this other person. Yes, I think your “friend” is probably jealous of you and/or is in competition with you based on what you shared in your letter. No, I don’t think you’re being petty. Of course, I don’t know her personally, so I’m only going by what you shared. However, I created this list about identifying fake friends (FF) to determine if our friends are really our friends. You notice that I use the word “our” because, like you, I sometimes need to assess whether some of my friends are really my friends. If the person is fake, then he/she really isn’t your friend, in my opinion. I’ve had lots of experience and exposure to fake friends over the years, so I think I can offer you some clues on how to spot them. Maybe you can refer to this list the next time you have a similar experience with someone else.

A FF often engages in a transactional relationship with you. What I mean by this is that this person basically only interacts with you for the sole purpose of gaining something from you, like money, a specific material item or certain information. They aren’t interested in how you’re doing or how you’re feeling. They are only interested in getting something from you. So, think of a FF as a user, if you want to give this kind of person another label. They rarely or never reciprocate. There’s very little give and take in the relationship. Instead, it’s mostly one-sided with you being the one who is mostly getting the short end of the stick. 

A FF is often a pretender, an actor or actress. They often know how to turn on the charm with a smile and display other manipulative mannerisms in order to get what they want. They often put on a show in public, or private, in order to steer things their way so that they can somehow benefit. You might be fooled in the beginning, when you first meet them, but if you observe them closely, you’ll see a pattern in how they relate to other people (and to you). Relationships with these kinds of people are usually very superficial. 

A FF is often a gossiper and a backstabber. If you meet someone and he/he is always talking about someone else, it is highly likely that they will be talking about you too. So, you can’t trust them with secrets and you can’t confide in them about anything important because they’ll go tell someone else all about it. 

A FF often lies a lot. Consequently, they lose their credibility and you can no longer trust much of anything they say. 

A FF usually isn’t there for you when you really need them. You can’t depend on them to help you if you’re sick or if you really need their help with something else. Obviously, someone can’t always be there for you every single time you need help, but a FF is someone who is rarely or never there for you. It’s a consistent pattern of not being there for you that becomes overly obvious over time.  

A FF is usually someone who doesn’t offer you encouragement or provide compliments or recognition when you accomplish something noteworthy. It could be related to jealousy, but they rarely, if ever, say or do anything to make you feel good about yourself. They may ignore or forget things like your birthday or other events that you consider important. You get a strong sense that they don’t wish you well. This sounds like what happened to you recently. 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. You simply don’t feel good after interacting with this kind of person, kind of like how you feel right now. You often get a sense that something isn’t quite right and that you’re being short-changed in the relationship. As you continue to develop your radar skills, you’ll learn to assess people and hopefully you will be able to avoid toxic relationships that will only end up draining you.

If you can, just try to be aware of how fake friends act, so that you won’t be caught off guard the next time you come into contact with one. Be smart. 

I hope my advice helped you in this situation. Good luck. Feel free to contact us any time you’d like more advice. 


Article #: 498965
Category: Friendship

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