17 Weird Things People Do When They’re Pretending To Be Someone They’re Not

17 Weird Things People Do When They’re Pretending To Be Someone They’re Not Shutterstock

We’ve all met people who seem a bit… strange.

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Sometimes, that’s because they’re trying too hard to be someone they’re not. Here are some weird behaviors that might give away a faker. Everyone has moments of insecurity, but it’s the consistent pattern that’s telling.

1. They have a suspiciously perfect social media presence.

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Their Instagram looks like a magazine spread, and their Facebook is all humblebrags. Real life isn’t filtered and curated, The Guardian points out. If someone’s online presence seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to whether their posts align with what you know about their real life. Excessive posting or constant image touch-ups can be red flags.

2. They name-drop excessively.

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Every story involves a celebrity encounter or a connection to someone important. It’s like they’re playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with their whole life. Genuine people don’t need to constantly remind everyone of who they know. Notice if they can provide details about these encounters or if the stories change over time.

3. They have an ever-changing accent.

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One minute they sound local, the next they’ve got a hint of British or a Southern drawl. While accents can naturally shift a bit in different contexts, dramatic changes are suspicious. This could be a sign of someone trying to fit in or seem more worldly than they are. Listen for consistency in their speech patterns across different situations.

4. They’re overly agreeable.

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No matter what opinion you express, they’re right there nodding along. People with genuine personalities have their own thoughts and aren’t afraid to disagree respectfully. Watch for whether they ever express contrary opinions or if they seem to be scanning the room to see how they should react.

5. They have encyclopedic knowledge of random topics.

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They seem to know everything about everything, but their knowledge is suspiciously shallow. When pressed for details, they often change the subject. This can be a sign of someone who’s done a lot of surface-level research to appear knowledgeable. Try asking follow-up questions to see if their expertise holds up.

6. Their stories don’t add up.

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Details about their past or experiences change depending on who they’re talking to. Keeping track of lies is hard, and inconsistencies often slip through. Pay attention to whether their background story remains consistent or if it seems to shift to impress different people.

7. They’re always one-upping everyone.

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No matter what experience you share, they’ve done something bigger, better, or more extreme. This constant need to top other people’s stories often comes from insecurity. Notice if they can ever simply listen and appreciate other people’s experiences without trying to outdo them.

8. They have a rotating set of hobbies.

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One week they’re really into rock climbing, the next it’s gourmet cooking. While exploring interests is normal, constantly jumping from passion to passion without depth can be a sign of someone trying on different personalities. Watch for whether they stick with any interests long enough to develop real skills.

9. They use big words incorrectly.

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Their vocabulary seems impressive at first, but listen closely, and you’ll hear words used in the wrong context. This often comes from trying to sound more educated or sophisticated than they are. Pay attention to whether they can explain the meaning of the words they use or if they become defensive when asked for clarification.

10. They’re overly defensive about their background.

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Simple questions about their past are met with elaborate explanations or defensiveness. People comfortable with who they are don’t feel the need to justify every aspect of their background. Notice if they seem to have rehearsed answers about their past, or if they deflect personal questions by changing the subject.

11. Their body language doesn’t match their words.

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They say they’re confident, but their posture is closed off. Or they claim to be relaxed while fidgeting constantly. As Verywell Mind explains, our bodies often betray our true feelings. Watch for mismatches between what they’re saying and how they’re carrying themselves.

12. They mirror people excessively.

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Some mirroring is natural in conversation, but they take it to an extreme, copying gestures, phrases, and even opinions. This can be a sign of someone trying too hard to fit in or build rapport. Observe whether they maintain any consistent behaviors of their own, or if they seem to become a chameleon in different social groups.

13. They have an answer for everything.

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No matter the question, they never admit to not knowing something. Instead, they’ll bluff their way through or change the subject. Genuine people are comfortable acknowledging gaps in their knowledge. Pay attention to whether they can ever say “I don’t know” or if they always try to have the final word.

14. Their emotional reactions seem rehearsed.

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Their laughter sounds forced, or their expressions of sympathy feel scripted. Authentic emotions have a natural flow. If someone’s reactions consistently seem off, they might be trying to present a persona rather than their true self. Notice if their emotional responses seem appropriate to the situation, or if they appear to be checking for other people’s reactions before displaying their own.

15. They’re constantly checking their appearance.

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A quick mirror check is normal, but they seem obsessed with how they look at all times. This can indicate someone more concerned with maintaining an image than being present in the moment. Watch for whether they can engage in activities without constantly adjusting their appearance, or if they seem overly concerned with how they’re being perceived.

16. They have wildly different personalities in different social circles.

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While we all adjust our behavior somewhat in different contexts, their personality seems to completely change depending on who they’re with. This chameleon-like behavior often stems from a lack of solid personal identity. Observe how they act in various social settings to see if there’s any consistency in their core personality.

17. They’re overly interested in material status symbols.

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Every conversation somehow circles back to their expensive car, designer clothes, or other high-status possessions. People secure in themselves don’t need to constantly remind people of their wealth or status. Notice if they can engage in conversations that don’t involve bragging, or if they seem to place excessive importance on outward signs of success.

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.