15 Ways To Spot A Two-Faced Person (And How To Deal With Them)

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One of the most disappointing things you can experience is the realization that your best friend or closest confidante doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

Finding out that people around you are two-faced can be utterly devastating. You might have heard the term before, but it is time we asked ourselves what it really means to be two-faced and understand how to deal with two-faced people.

What does it mean to be two-faced?

What does "two-faced" mean? The term refers to a person who lacks honesty or sincerity and will lie, cheat, or steal for their own personal gain.

Being two-faced differs from being fake because while "fake" people will pretend to be something they are not in order to gain favor or acceptance, it is usually because they secretly admire you and want you to feel the same about them.

Two-faced people, on the other hand, have an underlying disdain for you that can be caused by jealousy, resentment, or vindictiveness.

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This might beg the question: Why are people two-faced? Well, there are a number of reasons a person can turn out this way.

A lack of self-esteem is one of the main reasons people turn out to be two-faced. They don’t want people to see their insecurities and failures, so they deflect negativity onto others as a distraction.

Two-faced people also have an extreme need for acceptance. As the saying goes, they love to shorten someone else’s straw so theirs looks longer. This means that by diminishing the character of another person, they can appear to be somehow better or more attractive.

Past trauma is another prerequisite for people becoming two-faced. They may have had negative or traumatic social experiences before. This can include bullying, rejection, or exclusion.

It is not uncommon for people who have had their trust violated by people they cared about to turn around and inflict the same pain on others. They believe that if they can take it, you can, too.

It is important to realize that most two-faced people are not cold-blooded, evil sociopaths ready to kill for what they want. They are the epitome of “hurt people hurt people.”

15 Signs of a Two-Faced Personality

You don’t have to wait until a two-faced person has done irreparable damage in your life to recognize and remove them. There are warning signs that can give you a heads up that the relationship is not genuine.

1. They are always smiling and 'happy' to see you.

Two-faced people are experts at wearing false faces. They pretend to be excited to see you, but their joy is performative. Real relationships are a balance between happiness and reality.

2. They make it all about themselves.

People who are two-faced love to talk about themselves. They have no concern or regard for what you have going on. Your role is simply to be a spectator and their one-person show.

3. Their body language never matches their words.

It is easy to spot a person who is not being authentic with you. They might glare at you from time-to-time or refuse to make eye contact. It is important to not just hear them, but see how they move.

4. They need to be the center of attention.

Two-faced people need to be validated at all times. They accomplish this by sucking up all the air in the room. They seek out compliments and positive feedback as confirmation that they are ultra-important.

5. They are passive-aggressive.

You can never truly know how a two-faced person feels. They will cover their disdain for you with neutral words that give you no insight into the hatred bubbling beneath the surface.

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6. They are terrible listeners.

When you tell a two-faced friend your deepest, darkest thoughts, your words will go in one ear and out the other. When they do listen, they only want to dismiss you or invalidate your feelings.

7. They live for bad news about other people.

Hearing about the misfortune of another person can brighten a two-faced person’s day. They might pretend to empathize, but in the back of their minds they are celebrating your calamity.

8. They love to brag about themselves.

If modesty and humility are your jam, you certainly will not find it in your two-faced friends. Anything they do or give is shouted from the rafters. The two-faced are the poster children of clout-chasing.

9. They have an active imagination.

Two-faced folks have no problem with lying. Talking to them is like a game of telephone on steroids. The story needs but one stop before it is completely morphed into something else guaranteed to show you in the worst light.

10. They hate to see you win.

If you are looking to your pals to celebrate your successes, count the two-faced one out. They are your biggest secret competitor and see your wins as a loss for them. They do, however, find ways for your victories to benefit them.

11. They tell you other people’s secrets.

If they did it to them, they will do it to you. Two-faced people will tell you the darkest secrets of their other so-called friends. It is safe to assume that any personal business you share with them will also become public fodder.

12. They associate with people you don’t like.

If your friend seeks out people who clearly do not like you to build relationships with you, it is blatantly obvious that they are two-faced. They are no doubt discussing you with these people in private, and they are not singing your praises.

13. They become friends with your exes.

The jealousy within two-faced people causes them to constantly compete with you. You might be through with an ex, but they have no qualms about going after your leftovers to knock you down a notch.

14. They lack accountability.

Two-faced people will never admit that they are wrong. They will make excuses for bad behavior and blame others for their actions. To admit wrongdoing would be admirable — and that, they are not.

15. They sabotage your other relationships.

When you are friends with a person who is two-faced, expect them to do their best to put drama and negative energy between you and other people. They hate the way others love you and have a burning desire to see you alone.

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How to Deal with Two-Faced People

You might be wondering how to expose a two-faced person, but those efforts are futile. The best thing to do when encountering them is to take steps to protect yourself.

1. Know who you’re dealing with.

If you are related to a two-faced person, keep that awareness top of mind. Treat them as you would any other stranger who hasn’t yet proven themselves worthy of your trust and friendship.

2. Keep your personal business to yourself.

Don’t tell a two-faced person anything you would like to keep under wraps. If you do, you may as well ride through the streets with a bullhorn spilling all the torrid details of your life to anyone who will listen.

3. Don’t share your goals and wishes.

Two-faced folks will snatch or sabotage your ideas in the blink of an eye. If they choose not to steal them, they will mock and degrade them behind your back. Play your cards close to the chest.

4. Stay out of the gutter.

It is easy to get sucked into giving back what you get from these people. Don’t do that to yourself. Take the high road and keep your values and principles about you.

5. Speak your mind.

If you know someone is not being genuine with you, it is important that you let them know. The intent is not to attack or get angry. Simply tell them what you have observed and move on.

6. Get everyone in the same room.

People who are two-faced use triangulation as a method of dividing others or sowing dissension. Don’t fall into their trap. Whenever possible, get all parties in the room and get to the bottom of things.

7. Remove them from your life.

Let’s face it: without professional mental health, most people who are two-faced won’t change. Your best bet is to move forward with your life without them.

Protect your peace by removing anyone or anything that doesn’t serve you from your orbit. It can be painful at first, but in the end, you will be glad you did.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle, entertainment and news, and self-focused content, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.