At its core, a fake person is someone who isn’t true to themselves or others. They might put on a mask, pretending to be someone they’re not.
This can be for a variety of reasons: to be liked, to gain benefits, or to hide their true intentions.
While it’s common for people to sometimes wear a metaphorical “mask” in new or uncomfortable situations, a fake person consistently acts in a way that doesn’t reflect their true feelings or beliefs. And this is precisely why they’re dangerous.
Imagine if someone pretends to be your friend but talks behind your back, or if they act friendly but compete with you secretly, it can lead to stress and tension.
If you’re oblivious to the signs of a fake person, then you’re at risk of being a victim of their manipulative game. Better to learn the signs than experience the confusion and emotional turmoil they carry with them.
1. They’re Always Agreeable
You know that colleague who seems to agree with everyone about everything? Sure, it’s great to be cooperative at work, but there’s a difference between being collaborative and being a ‘yes-person’.
Genuine people have opinions. While they might not always voice disagreements loudly, they will express their views when required.
On the other hand, a person who consistently agrees could be trying to curry favor or avoid conflict.
Genuine disagreements and debates can lead to the best solutions in a workplace. But someone always in agreement? That can stunt creativity and progress.
Another aspect to consider is trustworthiness. How can you rely on someone’s word if their opinion shifts with the wind?
Standing ground and having an opinion demonstrates integrity. In contrast, always agreeing might show they’re playing some other angle.
This doesn’t mean that every agreeable person is fake. But a constant pattern of agreement, without any personal input, might be a sign to watch out for.
[Related: How to See Through Fake People]
2. Their Stories Often Change
Think about that coworker who always has a new story, and somehow, the details seem to shift each time they tell it.
One day, they mention they’ve been in the industry for five years, and a month later, they casually drop they’ve only been around for three. Inconsistent stories can be a major red flag.
Consistency is key, especially in a professional setting. People who frequently change their stories might be trying to mold their narrative to suit different audiences or situations.
While we all misremember things from time to time, consistent discrepancies can hint at a deeper issue.
Trust is built over time and through reliability. In a work environment, you want to know that what someone tells you is accurate. But if their stories keep changing? That trust can erode quickly.
3. They Rarely Share Personal Setbacks
We all have ups and downs, right? But there’s that one person at work who seems to only have ‘ups’.
Every project they touch turns to gold, and they’ve apparently never faced a challenge they couldn’t conquer with ease. Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it might be.
Sharing setbacks and failures is a sign of vulnerability and authenticity. It shows that a person is human, learns from their mistakes, and grows.
If someone only ever shares their successes and brushes off any hint of struggle, they might not be showing their genuine self.
While we all want to present our best side, especially in a professional environment, only showing success can be a bit suspicious. Genuine people acknowledge their flaws, discuss their failures, and often share what they’ve learned from challenging experiences.
4. They Gossip A Lot
The office grapevine. It seems like every workplace has one. But there’s a difference between catching up on news and actively engaging in gossip.
The colleague who always seems to have the latest scoop, especially if it’s negative or invasive? That could be a sign.
Gossiping might seem harmless initially. But over time, it can be destructive. It creates an environment of distrust and can be a sign that someone is trying to deflect attention from their actions or put others down to elevate themselves.
Genuine people often steer clear of gossip. They prefer to engage in constructive conversations and build connections based on trust.
If a colleague frequently indulges in sharing the latest rumors, they might not have the best intentions at heart.
While we all get pulled into office chatter occasionally, it’s advisable to differentiate between casual conversation and malicious gossip.
5. They Overshare Too Quickly
So, there’s this coworker who, within a week of knowing you, tells you their entire life story, personal struggles, and innermost secrets.
While it’s great to connect on a personal level, immediate and intense oversharing can be a tactic to gain trust or sympathy rapidly.
Building trust and genuine connections takes time. Sharing personal stories should happen organically as relationships deepen.
Someone who throws all their cards on the table right away might be trying to fast-track intimacy or divert attention from other areas.
Another angle to consider is boundaries. Workplaces have implicit boundaries, and while they vary from place to place, immediate oversharing can be a sign of poor personal boundaries.
Healthy professional relationships recognize and respect these limits.
Also consider the motive. Why is this person sharing so much so soon? Sometimes, it’s just a personality trait. Other times, it can be an intentional strategy, and being aware helps navigate these interactions better.
[Related: 8 Concrete Signs Of a Fake Person]
6. They Rarely Admit Fault
There’s the “never my fault” colleague. They missed a deadline, but it was because another department didn’t deliver. Their report had errors, but the software was glitchy.
A common trait among inauthentic people is an inability or unwillingness to accept responsibility.
Taking responsibility isn’t just about owning up to mistakes; it’s about showing character. Authentic people understand that errors are human. They accept them, learn, and move forward.
Someone constantly deflecting blame might be trying to protect their image at all costs.
It’s also about reliability. If someone never admits fault, how can they be trusted to handle critical tasks? There’s always a risk they’ll shift blame instead of tackling the issue head-on.
7. They’re Excessively Charming
We all know that one person. The one who has a compliment for everyone, a smile that never fades, and a charisma that can light up the room.
While being charming isn’t inherently bad, an over-the-top charm can sometimes mask deeper motives.
Excessive charm can be a tool to manipulate or win people over. The goal might be to gain favors, avoid scrutiny, or simply maintain a certain image in the workplace.
Another thing to watch out for is inconsistency. Maybe they’re the life of the party during team meetings, but aloof or dismissive in smaller groups.
Such behavior shifts can indicate that their charm might be more of a strategy than sincerity.
[Interesting: 7 Sure Signs Of Fake Friends]
8. They Avoid Eye Contact
Ever talked to someone who seems to be looking everywhere but your eyes? Continuous avoidance of eye contact might suggest discomfort, lack of confidence, or sometimes, deceit.
In some cultures, direct eye contact can be seen as aggressive or disrespectful. However, in many professional settings, eye contact signifies engagement, attentiveness, and sincerity.
Consistently avoiding someone’s gaze, especially during critical conversations, can indicate that they’re not being entirely transparent. Maybe they’re hiding something, or perhaps they’re not genuinely engaged in the conversation.
But as with all these points, balance is key. It’s about observing patterns, not one-off instances. Everyone has off days or moments of distraction. However, if someone continually avoids eye contact, especially in important situations, it’s worth noting.
9. They Often Drop Names
“Hey, did I mention I had lunch with the CEO last week? Oh, and the regional manager is a personal friend.” Sound familiar? Name-dropping can be a subtle (or not-so-subtle) way for someone to assert their importance or connections within the company.
Mentioning interactions with influential people occasionally is normal, especially if it’s relevant to the conversation.
However, someone constantly highlighting their connections might be trying to project a certain image or establish dominance in a discussion.
In professional settings, networking is vital. But authentic relationships and genuine interactions trump mere name-dropping any day. It’s about substance, not just surface.
Engaging in conversations that constantly circle back to who someone knows can get tedious. More importantly, it can make you question the sincerity of their interactions and whether they value genuine relationships or just the perceived status they bring.
10. They Overpromise and Underdeliver
Promising the moon and stars sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? That is until you realize you’re just getting a handful of glitter. Some individuals have a tendency to make grand promises, only to fall short consistently.
Making commitments and sticking to them is a cornerstone of professional integrity. People who frequently overcommit might be trying to win favor or impress, but failing to follow through can erode trust over time.
In the work world, reliability is golden. Being able to count on someone’s word is invaluable. So while grand promises might sound impressive at first, it’s the follow-through that truly counts.
The workplace becomes a second home for many of us. We spend a lot of time with our colleagues, and having honest and genuine relationships makes that time more pleasant and productive.
Recognizing signs of fake people helps you understand who to trust at your workplace and more importantly, who to avoid if necessary.
Remember, every workplace will have a mix of personalities, and it’s up to us to navigate them in a way that brings out the best in ourselves and others.
[Read: 7 Signs of a Toxic Person]
How do you deal with fake people at work?
One approach to dealing with a fake person especially at the workplace is to maintain professionalism, regardless of personal feelings. Focus on the work at hand and keep interactions short and sweet.
Another tactic is to talk with the person . If you feel comfortable, have a chat with the person about any issues you’ve observed. They might be unaware of their behavior and your feedback could be beneficial.
What are the signs of a genuine person?
A genuine person is like a breath of fresh air in a busy world. They’re usually consistent in their actions and words, meaning they don’t say one thing and do another.
Plus, they listen intently when you talk, truly valuing your words and perspective. They aren’t out to impress others constantly and are comfortable being themselves, which makes them easy to be around.
Why do some people act fake?
People act fake for different reasons. Some might wear a mask because they’re trying to fit in, especially if they feel out of place. Others might be dealing with personal insecurities, and acting in a certain way helps them feel more confident.
Sometimes, it’s a defense mechanism, a way to protect themselves from getting hurt in a competitive environment. Understanding the reasons can help in navigating relationships with such people.
- All photos from freepik.com