How to Deal with Fake Professional Friends

As the Drake song says, “I got fake people showing fake love to me straight up to my face”. I’m sure all of us can relate to what Drake is saying on a personal level, but what about when it comes to our careers? A fake friend can easily be cut off in our personal lives, but a toxic professional relationship could be very detrimental to our careers.

I had a specific instance in which a connection of mine was also a connection of a competitor of mine. When it came to choosing between us both, I got the short end of the stick. It was then that I knew that some of my connections were lurkers, or to put it plainly… fake friends. If you’re like I was, you’re constantly focused on working toward your goals and enjoying your journey that you don’t take the time to size up those around you. After that burn, I decided I would never let another fake friend swindle their way into my inner circle, and following these tips below will save you the drama of dealing with a fake connection.

  1. Move in silence. We’ve all heard this before. Keep your details to yourself. Everyone doesn’t need to know your plans, what you’re doing, and when you’re doing it. Conduct yourself in a way that leaves others guessing. Others won’t have the opportunity to sabotage your work if they aren’t aware of it.
  2. Pay attention to their body language. A major red flag for me was continuous questioning. If it seems like they’re interviewing you to write your biography, they aren’t being a genuine friend. They’re being nosy.
  3. Soar with the eagles. Fake professional friends tend to be those who aren’t as successful as you are. They are typically insecure and just looking for a way to feel better about themselves by undermining you. Make professional friendships with people who are like-minded and moving in the right direction just like you!
  4. Help others later. Referring back to the previous tip, you might feel that it is okay to have a professional friendship with someone who isn’t as successful as you. I say no. While you’re trying to help them up, they’ll only bring you down. There is a difference in being a friend and being a mentor.

A lot of industries are just havens for “dog-eat-dog” environments. The best thing you can do is keep your eye on the prize, work hard, make real friends, and avoid the fake ones. Your peace of mind and career will thank you for it.

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