True friendships are hard to find, but they’re even harder when you can’t tell whether or not someone is being genuine. Since backstabbers talk kindly to your face but badly when you’re not around, it can be hard to spot one, even if they’re right in front of you. However, if you know a backstabber, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize some (or all) of these signs.
Method 1 of 12: They talk badly about other people.
Your conversations are probably full of gossip and drama. When someone only has negative things to say about other people, chances are, they’re talking badly about you, too. If you and this person don’t have anything else to talk about, there’s a good chance they’re not a true friend.
- You might sit back and realize that you two actually don’t have anything in common besides your love of gossip.
Method 2 of 12: They give you backhanded compliments.
Whenever they say something “nice,” you feel bad about yourself. A backstabber will always try to stay in your good graces, but they won’t actually say anything genuinely nice to you. It might sound like a good thing, but it’s actually made to embarrass you. For instance, you might hear something like:
- “You’re so brave to wear that dress out!”
- “I didn’t expect you to get that promotion. Congratulations!”
- “You clean up so well.”
Method 3 of 12: They flirt with your significant other.
Backstabbers do this to make you jealous. Even if your partner doesn’t respond or actively shuts them down, they won’t stop. If you call them out on it, they might claim it was a joke or that you’re just too sensitive.
- This unwanted flirting can really make your partner feel uncomfortable, too. Be sure to check in with them to make sure they’re all right.
Method 4 of 12: They’re jealous of your other friends.
A backstabber might act offended if you hang out without them. They might accuse you of liking other people more or hating them as a person. Even though that’s not true, you might find yourself hanging out with your other friends less just to avoid making a backstabber mad.
- If you invite them along to a group hang, they’ll probably decline. That’s because they don’t want to share you with anyone else, even if it means they’ll have fun, too.
Method 5 of 12: They exaggerate your mistakes.
If you do anything wrong, they make it sound terrible. They might go around to all your friends or coworkers and talk about how much you messed up. Even if it wasn’t terrible, they make it seem like the end of the world.
- For instance, maybe you forgot a deadline at work. Even if you fixed it quickly and already talked to the boss about it, a backstabber will spread rumors to your coworkers that you’re probably going to get fired.
Method 6 of 12: They sabotage your work.
They might keep you up late the night before a big presentation. If they know you have a test coming up, they might insist on hanging out so you can’t study. Backstabbers don’t want to see you succeed, so they’ll do anything in their power to hold you back.
- These things are usually subtle, and you might not even notice that it’s happening right away.
- For instance, they might intentionally leave you out of a study group so you do badly on the final exam.
- Or, they might “forget” to send you the data you need to complete a presentation at work.
Method 7 of 12: They make plans without you.
A backstabber might purposely exclude you from plans. If you confront them about it, they might say that they just forgot or that you’re always invited to come along. However, they were trying to make you feel bad by hanging out with mutual friends when you aren’t around.
- They might also try to plan events when they know you can’t make it, like when you’re out of town.
Method 8 of 12: You feel embarrassed or insulted around them.
You might feel like you’re on edge about what they’re going to say. If you feel like you can’t relax around this person because you’re worried they might make fun of you, that’s a red flag. Nice people want to uplift you and make you feel good, while backstabbers just want to tear you down.
- Sometimes friends goof around and tease each other, which is fine. However, a backstabber usually takes it too far by making their insults personal or intentionally making you look bad in front of other people.
Method 9 of 12: You feel like you’re competing with them.
A backstabber might try to one-up you in every conversation. If you say that you’re feeling sad because of a bad grade, they might say that they’re feeling sad because their mom is sick (which is way worse). You can never have a normal conversation with them about your problems, because they always say “me too.”
- This goes for good things as well. For instance, you might tell a friend that you talked to your crush today, and they’ll tell you that they’re going on a date with their crush tomorrow.
- You’ll probably feel like you can never win, which is the goal of a backstabber.
Method 10 of 12: They’re never happy for you.
Backstabbers probably get angry when you’re doing well. If you share good news with them, like a promotion at work or a good grade, they won’t look happy. In fact, they might even get upset with you and ask you why you’re bragging, even when you’re not.
- Good friends will always be happy when you’re doing well, even if they’re not. You should be able to share your accomplishments without someone getting angry at you.
Method 11 of 12: They only think about themselves.
They put their needs above everyone else’s. They might only hit you up when they need something, and they probably won’t feel bad about that. If you feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting, you might be getting stabbed in the back.
- This person would also probably get mad at you if you called them up and asked them for a favor.
Method 12 of 12: They always paint themselves as the victim.
Whenever they tell you a story, they’re in the right. You might hear about how their friends, family members, coworkers, or classmates did them wrong today and why it’s hard to be them. You’ll never hear them admit to their mistakes, because they don’t think they’re ever wrong.
- If you ever ask them to apologize to you for something, they probably won’t do it.