Smash Negativity Team

How to Spot a Phony Person: Spotting Fakes in the Wild

fake people

Ah, the elusive phony—a being that exists in all aspects of society yet often blends in with the authentic population. We have all come across them—those people who just seem a bit off.

They are the ones who excessively praise and show fake enthusiasm. Their stories do not quite add up. They are the phonies and imposters of society. While some are simply insecure and trying too hard, others are self-centered manipulators who only care about themselves.

Being able to recognize the truly phony individuals can help you avoid many problems and heartbreaks. However, do not worry, my friends! This article will provide you with the necessary tools to spot these funny fakes. Get ready to go on a phony safari.

How to Spot a Phony Person

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1. They Lay It On Too Thick

One of the biggest red flags of a phony person is excessive flattery and charm right out of the gate. They start off with over-the-top compliments, feigned interest in your life, and over-the-top admiration. Real, genuine people tend to start things off a bit more chill and low-key. A fake person, however, wants to impress you quickly in order to gain your trust. They go overboard, trying to make you like them.

2. Their Stories Don’t Add Up

It is important to be attentive when someone shares their stories or discusses their life and achievements. People who exaggerate or lie often struggle to keep their details consistent. Each time they retell the same story, there are slight variations in their accounts.

The accuracy of the facts becomes blurred or doesn’t add up. They may make claims that, when you look into them more, don’t quite check out. Phonies puff up their stories to make themselves look better.

3. Superficiality and Name-Dropping

A phony person is often very superficial and materialistic. They constantly mention brands, wealth, status symbols, famous names, and other alleged achievements. Everything is about keeping up appearances.

They aim to give the impression that they are part of exclusive and influential social circles. And they frequently drop names as if that’s supposed to impress you. A grounded, true-to-self person doesn’t need to prop themselves up in this way.

4. The Blame Game

If something goes wrong, a phony person is always pointing the finger at someone else. They rarely take true accountability because they are obsessed with protecting their image. They tend to deflect blame for everything.

There’s always an excuse or someone else at fault for their mistakes. Their huge egos simply won’t allow them to admit when they’ve messed up.

5. It’s All About Them

At the core, phony people are selfish and self-absorbed. Their top priority is themselves – their needs, their desires, and their self-image. Your issues, your problems, and your life simply don’t matter all that much to them.

They only pretend to care in order to get what they want from you. A genuine person shows real empathy and concern for others. The phony one makes you feel like a supporting character in the story of their life.

6. Constantly Seeking Attention and Approval

Another big giveaway is the phony person’s insatiable need to be noticed, praised, and admired. It’s like they are starving for the approval, adoration, and envy of others. They seek attention, fish for compliments and do things that are look-at-me self-aggrandizing.

Instead of being confident in themselves, they rely on external validation to boost their self-esteem. In contrast, a genuine person does not exhibit such neediness and is secure within themselves.

7. Dramatic Highs and Lows

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the phony person experiences significant emotional fluctuations, particularly when things don’t go their way. One minute, they are your biggest fan, showering you with positivity. The next they’ve flipped into a cold rage simply because you didn’t fawn over them enough or questioned something they said. It’s a roller coaster of extreme highs and lows as they manipulatively use their emotions as tools to keep you hooked.

8. Social Media Obsession

In today’s world, social media is a huge tool for keeping up the phony facade. The fake person is obsessed with their online persona—constantly posting, creating ideal images and status updates, and essentially living for show.

They thrive on likes, shares, and comments as modern-day proof of their importance. But they aren’t being authentic – their social media is just a tightly curated, filtered highlight reel of what they want you to see.

9. They Have No Solid Moral Core

At the end of the day, it’s hard to get a bead on what a phony person really believes in or stands for. They seem to shift their views based on what gives them social currency or makes them look good in the moment.

They lack solid moral standards, values, or beliefs aside from prioritizing their own interests. It’s hard to trust or respect someone who shapes their principles like a slice of clay based on what’s convenient.

10. The Me-Monster Safari

Tracking phonies? Just listen to the endless looped soundtrack of “Me, me, me, me, ME!” a key sign is an excessive level of self-centeredness and controlling conversations. The common trait among phonies is their endless desire to be praised, feared, or envied.

In stark contrast, an authentic person balances their presence by having an other-focus too.They strike a healthy balance between discussing their own experiences and showing genuine interest in others. Phonies disrupt this balance by constantly seeking attention and only focusing on themselves with self-centered energy.

11. The Two-Faced Trail Guide

Phonies often unwittingly signal their true selves through how differently they treat those they deem influential versus those they perceive as inconsequential. Their behavior at these two crossroads diverges into completely contradictory routes.

For those they identify as potential mutual benefactors, phonies crank up the fake niceties, boot lickingly deferential treatment, and suckup suckery to stratospheric levels. But cross paths with someone lower on their totem pole of prioritized narcissistic supply, and you’ll witness their callous dark transformation into a oozing-with-contempt Shart Gargler.

12. Conversation Hijackers

Phonies frequently hijack conversations to turn the focus on themselves. When you start sharing a story or idea, they will immediately interrupt and redirect the conversation to talk about their own experiences and viewpoints. The focus always has to be on them. They aren’t really listening; they are just waiting to take control again.

13. Division Tactics

Phony individuals may attempt to create conflict among others in order to maintain control and boost their ego. They’ll gossip, say undermining things about people behind their backs, and attempt to drive wedges. Their self-esteem comes from being at the center and having people vying for their approval.

14. Copycat Syndrome

Keep an eye out for signs that someone is copying your interests, style, mannerisms, or personality too closely. While it may initially seem flattering, it can become suspicious when it transforms into phony territory. People who are secure in themselves are usually self-assured. Mimicking someone else is essentially pretending to be someone you’re not.

15. Grandiose Fantasizing

Phonies enjoy showing off and often talk about their future plans for big events, career accomplishments, and buying expensive things. However, they rarely follow through with their extravagant ideas and their actions do not match their words.

In contrast, real people are focused on taking decisive steps towards their goals rather than simply talking about unrealistic possibilities.

16. Magical Product Peddlers

Always be cautious of individuals who are constantly attempting to persuade you into purchasing the latest groundbreaking product, business venture, or money-making system. They often chase bright, shiny objects and get seduced by get-rich-quick schemes they can essentially recruit others into as well.

17. Parasitic Networking

Phonies prioritize their own interests, leading to a parasitic and unbalanced networking approach. They only keep connections that benefit them personally. Once you no longer fulfill their needs or agenda, they vanish. On the other hand, genuine individuals value giving and forming relationships that are mutually beneficial.

18. Passive-Aggressive Tendencies

When someone frequently makes indirect or disrespectful remarks, appears upset, stops talking to you, or uses sarcastic insults, it is a phony’s way of manipulating others through passive-aggressiveness when things do not go their way. This behavior is done in a secretive and harmful manner.

19. Humble Bragging

Phonies like to boast, but they typically do so in a subtle way known as humblebragging. This term refers to pretending to be self-deprecating while actually seeking praise and highlighting an achievement or quality. For instance, saying “I might be rambling, but I just returned from speaking at a TEDx event” or “I look like a mess today because I stayed out late celebrating my promotion.”

20. Delusions of Grandeur

Many phonies have a mindset characterized by believing excessively in their own abilities, significance, and chances of achieving tremendous success or fame despite the actual probabilities. Their sense of self-importance is unrealistically inflated.


Identifying phonies in life involves recognizing genuine individuals who stand firm in their values and are secure in themselves. Phonies create facades to impress and conceal insecurities, while genuine individuals build others through vulnerability and giving without expectation. The truth reveals itself over time, so nurture genuine connections and avoid investing in phonies, as life is too short for anything fake.

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