10 signs you have a fair-weather friend in your life, according to psychology

Isabella Chase by Isabella Chase | May 20, 2024, 7:51 pm

Have you ever had a friend who is only around during the good times, and disappears at the first sign of trouble?

That’s someone we call a fair-weather friend.

They’re always up for a party, but they’re never around when you need a shoulder to cry on.

Having a fair-weather friend can be draining and damaging to your mental health.

Let’s dive into the psychology behind these friendships and learn to spot the telltale signs.

1) They’re only around during the good times

Fair-weather friends are often the life of the party.

They’re there for the fun, the laughs, and the great moments. They’re always ready to join a road trip or a night out.

But when things get tough, they’re nowhere to be found.

They dodge your calls when you’re going through a breakup. They’re suddenly too busy to meet when you’re dealing with a personal crisis.

Why do they do this?

Fair-weather friends often lack deep empathy and genuine concern for others.

They see friendships as more transactional – they’re there for the good times, but not for the emotional heavy lifting.

My advice: Pay attention to how your friend behaves in times of crisis.

A true friend will stick around even when things aren’t so rosy. If your friend only shows up when everything is going well, they might just be a fair-weather friend.

2) They don’t reciprocate

With fair-weather friends, you find yourself always being the one who initiates plans or reaches out to catch up.

And when you do spend time together, the conversation tends to revolve around them and their interests. You listen to their stories, support their endeavors, but they rarely return the favor.

This often happens with fair-weather friends, because one person (you) invests more emotionally in the relationship than the other (them).

True friendships are balanced. Both of you should be equally interested in each other’s lives and well-being.

3) They’re not interested in your growth

A meaningful friendship isn’t just sharing laughs and good times; it’s also growth and development.

A true friend will encourage you to become the best version of yourself and will be genuinely happy for your accomplishments.

However, a fair-weather friend might seem indifferent or even jealous of your success.

They may downplay your achievements or avoid conversations about your progress entirely.

A true friend wants to see you grow and succeed. They celebrate your victories and help you learn from your defeats.

4) They’re overly agreeable

It might seem like a positive trait at first—a friend who always agrees with you, never argues, and always seems to be on your side.

But this can actually be a sign of a fair-weather friend.

Why?

Because true friends aren’t afraid of honest, respectful disagreement.

They’re not afraid to challenge you, to voice their own opinions, and to engage in healthy debates.

A friend who always agrees with you, no matter what, could be avoiding potential conflict or trying to maintain an easy, carefree dynamic.

This lack of depth and avoidance of genuine communication can indicate a superficial relationship.

5) They gossip about others

We all know that gossiping isn’t a noble trait, but we often overlook it when it comes from a friend.

However, a friend who constantly talks about others behind their backs may not be as trustworthy as you think.

If they’re quick to spill secrets or share negative stories about others, there’s a chance they might do the same about you when you’re not around.

This is especially concerning if they’re sharing details that were told to them in confidence.

Being honest with yourself about this behavior can be tough, but it’s crucial. If your friend gossips excessively, it might be a sign of their lack of respect for boundaries and trust.

6) They’re not there for emotional support

Life can be tough, and we all go through challenging times.

During these moments, it’s often our friends who provide the emotional support we need.

But a fair-weather friend might shy away from providing this support. They might change the subject when you’re trying to talk about something serious, or they might make light of your problems.

This doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person.

Emotional support can be difficult to provide, especially for those who aren’t used to expressing emotions themselves.

It’s okay to expect emotional support from your friends. It’s okay to want someone who will listen when you need to talk, and who will offer words of comfort when you’re feeling down.

7) They cancel plans last minute

We’ve all had those days when we’re all set for a hangout, dinner, or a movie night, and then we get that dreaded text:

“Sorry, I can’t make it today.”

Now, everyone has to cancel plans now and then due to unforeseen circumstances.

But if this becomes a recurring pattern with your friend, it might be a sign that they’re not as committed to the friendship as you are.

Fair-weather friends often prioritize their own convenience and can leave you feeling disappointed. If you can relate to constantly rescheduling or waiting for them to show up, it’s time to question the reliability of your friend.

Everyone deserves friends who respect their time and commitments.

8) They’re fair-weather… literally

Your friend is always down for a sunny-day picnic, a warm beach outing, or a clear-sky concert.

But the moment the weather turns a bit gloomy, they’re suddenly full of excuses and can’t step out.

Of course, not everyone loves a rainy day. But if your friend’s willingness to hang out seems directly proportional to the weather forecast, you might just be dealing with a literal fair-weather friend!

9) They take more than they give

A friendship should always be a two-way street. It’s about give and take; about sharing, and caring.

With a fair-weather friend, you might find yourself constantly giving, while they’re always on the receiving end.

Maybe you’re always the one offering rides, paying for meals, or lending them things. Or perhaps you’re always there for them emotionally, but they’re not when you need a listening ear.

While friendship isn’t about keeping score, there should be an overall balance. If you find that the scales are always tipped in their favor, they might not be a true friend.

You deserve a friendship that’s balanced and reciprocal. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and express your needs. A true friend will understand and respect that.

10) Your gut tells you they’re not a true friend

After all these signs, the most important thing to remember is this: trust your gut.

You know your friendships better than anyone else. If something feels off or you find yourself constantly questioning the authenticity of a friend, there might be a reason.

Your intuition can often spot a fair-weather friend even before you notice these signs.

Listen to it.

It’s okay to reassess and even let go of friendships that aren’t serving you well.

Remember, you deserve friends who appreciate you for who you are, stand by you during tough times, and celebrate with you in good times.

Trust your gut, and never settle for less.

Final thoughts

Identifying a fair-weather friend in your life can be a bitter pill to swallow. The realization that someone you’ve invested time and emotions in may not be there for you when you need them most can be tough.

In any relationship, it’s important to nurture a balance of give and take. If you find that the balance is significantly skewed, it’s time to reassess.

You can’t force someone to change their nature or become more invested in a friendship. A fair-weather friend can’t give you the emotional depth and support they might not possess.

So, what’s the best course of action?

It can be as simple as having an open conversation about how you feel. If things don’t improve or if the friendship continues to drain you, it might be time to consider distancing yourself.

It’s okay to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

Everyone deserves friendships that offer support, joy, and understanding in equal measures.