9 Undeniable Signs You Have A Superficial Friendship That Won't Last

Beware of friendships that are only surface-level.

friends hugging smiling Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

In 2006, Facebook went live to college students and the word "friend" changed forever. No longer did "friend" mean only your nearest and dearest, your BFFs and your girl posse. Suddenly, friends were "people you may know."

But we sometimes mistake those shallow friends for actual, help-you-move-the-bodies friends. That's a recipe for serious heartbreak and major drama.

It can be hard to take stock of those friendships. Obviously, or nobody would mistake a shallow friend for a real one. But there are some good ways to tell that you have a superficial friendship.


Here are 9 glaring signs you have a superficial friendship that won't last.

1. They don't know your family makeup.

A superficial friend might know some sketchy details, but they probably can't say if you're estranged from your younger sister, or if your older brother died in infancy. They likely can't name your siblings or any other small details about how you grew up.



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Not only can a real friend tell you how many brothers and sisters you have, but they know where you stand in the birth order. They also know your siblings' names and important biographical details: this one's a cop; that one bashed you with a shovel once; the other is an architect in Chicago.

You can't expect emotional support from someone who doesn't know your basic familial facts. That just means they are a fake, superficial friend.

2. They've never met your mom.

A shallow friend doesn't even know your mom's name, let alone your relationship with her. You could have spawned whole from the ocean for all the information they know about her.

If they've been invited to an event where she'd be — a birthday party, a graduation, a wedding — they've left at the last minute (or bailed with no explanation).


If the chance has arisen, accounting for death and geography, a real friend has seen the woman who bore you. They met Mom at dinner. They saw Mom at your house. They were there with Mom when you moved into your new apartment.

Your mom also knows your friend's name, because they were introduced, or at least because you mention them in conversation.

3. They ignore your texts.

This is a pretty basic sign of a superficial friend, but it bears mentioning. A shallow friend sees the message and answers in their own sweet time, if at all. They keep you dangling, waiting for a response. That means it's a one-sided friendship, and that's not a real friendship.

A real friend, on the other hand, returns your message as soon as possible. Even if they aren't the best texter, they make sure you know that they saw your message and get back to you when they can.


signs you have a superficial friendshipPhoto: Liza Summer / Pexels

4. They develop pressing plans on moving day.

Superficial friends pretend they didn't get the message about your moving date. They plead imaginary obligations or claim they're sick. You'll know the last two aren't true because you'll see pictures of them out and about at the same time you were sweating over boxes.

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When you need helping hands to move the huge amount of stuff you've gathered, your real friends are there. They help maneuver the couch through the doorway and don't complain when someone drops a chair on their foot. That's real love.

5. They don't really know you, and you don't really know them.

You have no idea what music your superficial friends like, or even if you can name a genre, you can't list artists. But they don't know about your musical tastes, either.

All your pop peccadillos are a mystery to superficial friends, except maybe water-cooler conversation about the latest true crime doc. They don't care enough to find out, or you don't care enough to share.

Your real friends know you were obsessed with that one indie band in high school. They know you hate Bruce Springsteen and secretly miss "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."


6. They don't know your dating history.

Superficial friends have no idea who you dated before you married your husband, or began dating your long-term partner. They don't know about your college days, and have no idea one of your exes left you.

Your love life just isn't on their radar, so much so that they may not recall the name of your current significant other!

Real friends, on the other hand, can remember who you dated, pinpoint who broke up with whom, and name the reason why. That doesn't mean they were there for the relationship, but it means you all have shared enough that they know anyway.

signs you have a superficial friendshipPhoto: Anna Tarazevich / Pexels


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7. They don't support you.

Superficial friends are people you don't call when life gives you lemons. When they hear that your cat went to the rainbow bridge, they don't comfort you — they say, "Who?" Their comfort, if you ask for it, amounts to, "That sucks," followed by, "This one time I..."

Real friends know you have the flu and bring you chicken soup. When you're freaking over what dress to wear to a wedding, they sit patiently on your bed while you tear through your closet. When your boyfriend breaks up with you, your cat dies, or your boss decides to downsize, your real friends have a tissue ready.

8. They never ask about you.

Fake friends turn your stories back to them. They monopolize the conversation. It's all about them, and you better get with that or get out. It makes you feel unheard and alone when any conversation comes up that involves your personal life, because you're always ignored.


A genuine friendship involves a 50/50 ratio of conversation topics. You get half, and so do they. Real friends ask about you. They want to know how you're doing and what you're up to, and they don't force the topic back to themselves.

9. They're extremely selfish.

They don't focus on your feelings, help you when you need it, or know about the real you. Don't share your secrets with them, because you don't know if they're talking about you. You can't trust them either, unsure if they'll betray you by revealing a secret.



You only need a few real friends in this world. Make sure you know who they are. Because if your friend does any of the things above, they are a superficial friend, not a true one.


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Elizabeth Broadbent is a writer, journalist, and speculative fiction author. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Babble, The Washington Post, Insider, CafeMom, Romper, and Ravishly, among many others, where she writes about parenting, mental health, and lifestyle topics.