How To Distinguish A True Friend From A False One

That friendship is a precious thing is a truism no one disputes.  The ancient Stoics went so far as to value it more highly than love between man and woman.  We cannot be sure they were wrong.  Yet the question of how to distinguish a true friend from a parasite or a flatterer is one worthy of serious reflection.  Our relationships with our peers are vital to our well-being and survival; and time spent with false friends is time never to be recovered.  Let us examine this question, and see what features of the false friend can be identified.

The most dangerous type of false friend is the flatterer.  He insinuates himself into our good graces by adroitly playing on our vanity and character flaws.  Excessive praise casts doubt even on the sincerest friendship, and slowly corrupts the bonds of rectitude between men.  Flattery conceals itself in true friendship, and is not easily identified, being closely intertwined with emotion, feeling, and our course of dealings.  Since friendship is commonly the result of similar tastes between men, the parasitic false friend uses these common interests to gain a toehold into the doorway of our emotions, and there embeds himself.  Just as a tick lodges itself in the ears of animals, so the parasitic friend also seeks out the ears of his patron, and uses his voice to gain entry into our sympathies.  These are the primary traits of the parasitic friend:


Lack of a fixed character

The parasitic false friend has no fixed character of his own, and will adjust his opinions and positions with regard towards his environment.  Like the organ-grinder monkeys of old, he will hop and gyrate to the tune of his patron, with a smile pasted on his face for our amusement.  He shapes his own life on the lives of those he wishes to seduce.  His method is to evaluate carefully the disposition and interests of his target, and then to build common ground with showy displays of sympathy to those interests.

Inability to speak the truth on relatively simple matters

The habits of dishonesty and mendacity, once acquired, are not easy for the parasite to shed.  Such habits become permanent.  They implant themselves in the consciousness of the flatterer.  For this reason, you will find him denying the reality of even relatively unimportant things.  He is an expert in using qualifiers, hedges, and slithery language in such a way that it is difficult to pin him down on topics of importance.

Seeking out men of influence and position

No flatterer or parasite even sought to impress a lowly or impoverished man.  Rather, he seeks to ingratiate himself with someone whose coattails he can ride.  Surveying history, we note how frequently men of power and influence have been corrupted by parasites and flatterers once they reach the heights of power.  Why is this?  Even men of sound judgment feel the isolations and pressures of responsibility, and long for an emotional release.  The parasitic courtier, advisor, or sycophant provides this emotional release, at least in the short term.  But the consequence is the degraded judgment and ailing faculties of the patron.  Little by little, the patron becomes more isolated, more divorced from reality, and ultimately ruined.  Examples from history could fill volumes.

Constant displays of subservience to his target

With true friends, there is little or no jealousy or rivalry.  So a true friend will feel content, or apathetic, if his friend is more successful than he in some area.  But the parasitic flatterer is ever mindful of his desire to be a minion to his target.  He will make displays of his inferiority and subservience:  his desire is always to remain “below” his target in ability or achievement.  He wants not honest equality, but pandering subservience.

Desire to please above all else

A true friend will not hesitate to speak the truth, even though it may be unwelcome; but the parasite will place primary importance on the maintenance of good feeling.  For this reason, he is very dangerous.  The parasite’s only goal is to echo the feelings and sentiments of his patron.  Diseases of the body are often easily identified by their physical manifestations.  But experience shows that afflictions of the soul are due to our vices, which are often hidden.  The parasite feeds our vices and our delusions, thereby contributing to the spreading corruption of virtue within us.

His appearance in times of need

The false friend is especially attractive to us in times of hardship.  We are at that point vulnerable, having been weakened in our resistance by the cruelties of fortune; and the flatterer has an instinctive sense of timing in this regard.  While a true friend will not desert us in times of need, the parasitic false friend will hover about us, expressing his sympathies and seeking access to our hearts, but will never offer meaningful assistance.

His varying behavior with you and with others

Having no strong character himself, the parasite’s behavior will vary greatly depending on whom he is talking to.  He may praise you in private, and yet around others will offer subtle words of criticism to undermine your purposes.  Filled with envy of others, he is unable to restrain his jealousies, and will swing from mood to mood depending on the whim of the moment.  A true friend will never criticize or undermine you in the presence of others, as he knows that this would put both of you in a bad light.


His desire to inflame the worst instincts of his patron

The parasitic friend secretly despises his patron, despite his excessive flattery, and will cater to the worst vices of his target.  A true friend will try to prevent harm from coming to his friend, and will do nothing to encourage his baser instincts.  But the false friend, being full of malignity and insolence, takes secret pleasure in seeing his patron dragged through the mud of vice.

These, then, are the hallmarks of the parasitic false friend.  I have used the pronoun “he” in reference to such a person, but could just as easily have substituted “she.”  Both genders are equally capable of such behavior; and the danger may even be twofold when sexual intimacy is present in the equation.  Lady MacBeths exist in real life, if only we know where to look.

Our best defense against the false friend is knowledge of ourselves.  When we know ourselves, and do not allow our heads to become too puffed up with flattery, we will not allow the parasite entry into the corridors of our emotional sympathies.  But how difficult to know oneself!  We will spend our lives trying to know ourselves.  As Seneca says (Epistulae XLI),

In every good man a god dwells; but what type of god, we know not.

Another defense against the false friend is a thorough knowledge of men and their motivations.  This, unfortunately, can only come from long experience.

But enough of these matters.  We will say one more word regarding the qualities of true friends.   A true friend will avoid the extremes:  he will rarely use false flattery to manipulate his friend, and at the same time, he will be careful not to speak in a way that is too brutally honest.  Sledgehammers make bad counselors.  Constructive criticism should be delivered with delicacy, just as a bit of seasoning will enhance a dish, but not ruin it.  Too harsh of a delivery of criticism will sew a lasting resentment into a friend’s heart.  A man can forgive anything except an excess of honesty.

Read More:  It’s Impossible For Women And Men To Be Friends

61 thoughts on “How To Distinguish A True Friend From A False One”

  1. Great post. This post can easily be applied into how to distinguish a false girlfriend from a true one, or how to distinguish a predatory girlfriend from a real one. A lot of these qualities are in predatory females.Since falsehood is essentially deception, women are masters at it.

  2. Excellent post, Quintus. Everyone should read and then re-read the last paragraph.
    I will add two thoughts that life has taught me about friendship:
    1. Never get in business with a friend. The qualities you admire in a friend do not necessarily translate to the qualities you need in a business partner. Additionally, money tends to pervert friendship; and
    2. The woman in your friend’s life can destroy even the best male friendship if she is determined to do so. Consequently, give her a wide berth.

    1. The best way to avoid the second eventuality that you mentioned is never to befriend a man who’s dominated or submits to women. Or a man who believes that women are necessary to ‘complete’ his manhood.
      These men can easily be identified by their pussy pedestalizing, romance chasing and female chasing behavior. They live for sex and female company, and to get that they would sacrifice their integrity for it. NAWALT is essentially one of their beliefs. And these men will white knight even for whores and sluts. These men are essentially women in men’s bodies, with no sense of justice or mind. If you see a man with such traits, and still befriend him, then you’re asking for trouble. And you can’t blame him if he backstabs you later, because he’d only be the tool in the hands of his women. The only way to control him would be either to cuckold him by fucking his women (to make them like you), or by being ‘polite’ to his women.

      1. I used to have a friend like this. Always put a hoe before the homies even it when he knew it would cost you.

        1. Let me guess. The kind of guy that disappears from your life for two years and then calls you the day after his girlfriend (or wife) of two years leaves him and says, “Dude, where are we partying this weekend?”

        2. I’ve written off a couple childhood friends who decided getting into a relationship meant no more hanging with fellas. Not even one day out of sixth months, let alone a year.
          It was a tough pill to swallow at first. I had some really good times with these guys growing up and they abandoned the friendship like it never existed.
          It’s all about the female imperative.

  3. Men who perform well in public acts (music, writing books, etc.) are especially prone to drawing such friends. Nothing breeds jealousy in weak people like the public success of a rival.

  4. Men should keep their emotions and secrets close, even with people they think they know. Don’t consider someone a true friend unless you’ve been with them through a series of high stakes situations. Men show thier true colors when the pressure is on.

    1. “Men show thier true colors when the pressure is on.”
      Indeed. The only guy I consider trustworthy is someone I’ve known for years. We know each other’s family and me and him even got into a couple of fistfights…. laughing about it afterwards. That’s how you know you have a friend.

  5. Always remember that “friends” can make the worst enemies, too. What’s worse, you supply them the rope to for them to hang you with by giving them information about yourself, usually in confidence.
    I’ve learned the hard way to trust nobody that I work with. I work in a profession that is in the Top 10 for having the most psychopaths (literally.) They employ many of the tactics you’ve stated in this article to gain your confidence, and then promptly use whatever information you’ve given them against you like a sword.
    I also notice the more feminized our culture and our men become, the more “men” are behaving like catty, duplicitous, and manipulative women.
    I recently had a run-in with one of the false friends you describe in this article. Always have your guard up, especially when someone appears to have just a little too much interest in you.
    I’d also recommend that red pill men read the 48 Laws of Power, if nothing else to learn how you are being manipulated by people so you can defend yourself against the onslaught that comes from the special kind of hell that is the modern office.

    1. It’s Law No.2 in the 48 laws of power: “Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies.” Robert Greene says that very well. In addition to that book, another must read for every red piller is How I found freedom in an unfree world by Harry Browne. It teaches how to be free of attachment, even to your friends. The attachment what we have for our friends is often well ignored, but often ends up being an emotional trap which leads to manipulation.

        1. Law… Geez that’s just as bad as politicians. I have to say corrupt lawyers, judges, cops are much worse than criminals since they end to be smarter and are doing things they should be fighting against

        2. “I have to say corrupt lawyers, judges, cops are much worse than criminals since they end to be smarter and are doing things they should be fighting against.”
          You couldn’t have said it any better, and I agree with you 110%.

        3. Yes I think lawyers were #1 in the frequency of psychopathy and psychopaths…

    2. “I also notice the more feminized our culture and our men become, the
      more “men” are behaving like catty, duplicitous, and manipulative women.
      Don’t expect all men to have honor. Some are just as spineless as
      That’s why effeminacy is stigmatized. For it promotes in men dishonor and cowardliness and weakness. Not the sort of qualities that would suffice in position when you must depend on your fellow men to cover your back.

      1. I’ve noticed this as well. These guys can’t speak frankly about anything or give non-answers for even the most trivial things. I’m thinking to myself, why is it so hard to get a yes or no answer? Then it hit me, they’re acting just like women. If they don’t want to do something, they’d rather not say it aloud, they simply won’t do it.
        Asking what kind of food you’d prefer, you give them an answer then they suggest something else. Just. Like. Fucking. Women.

    3. “I told the fatwad a lot of things about me that aren’t true, so that I may a) Know if this person told anyone else and b) Make them look like a fool if they did tell.”
      Have it happened so far?

  6. I had a teacher in high school who told us, upon graduating, the following:
    “You will only ever have a handful of friends in your lifetime. You will have a great deal of people whose names you know, many friendly acquaintances, and several casual friends. However, your true friends are the ones who will take a bullet for you, and for whom you would do the same. If one of my friends – one of my true friends – called me up in the middle of the night, needing $1,000, I’d write him a check and not ask for it back, because I know that he would do the same for me. Make sure that your friends are ones like that- and when you find a true one, stay true to them and keep your relationship strong. At the end of the day, you will be very glad that you did.”

  7. Aristotle’s Rhetoric, if I remember correctly, provides a decent primer on the motivations of men.
    The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes contain even better analyses and advice.

  8. This kind of behaviour is regarded as a virtue nowadays, specially in the workplace.
    Honesty and straightforwardness, as well as truly caring for people is many times seen as vices or handicaps at the least.

    1. Quite so, even honesty delivered with diplomacy will get you canned or on the short list to being canned if it goes against the opinions of the feminine oligarchy in your company.

    2. “When you want to fool the world, tell the truth”
      ~ Otto Von Bismark

    1. I understand your use of DTA; however, it is very difficult to go through this life without having at least one truly trustworthy friend.

  9. Love the article Quintus, it rings very true. I’ve found the exception with your last point is when a friend is too deep in it, brutal honesty can be the only thing that wakes them up.

  10. ROK: Who are your true friends and who are ticks? hmm.
    Looks like my IP was banned this weekend by some hurt ROK admins, out of their league. As a top commenter, with consistant top rankings, makes you wonder if these dudes are true alphas, or just want to sell books by posing with cigars. To the real men readers, bye bye. To the admins, grow a pair.

    1. I get banned weekly and get called a troll, a russian buttfucker … etc.
      Pay no attention. Not all men are made equal.

    2. If some tards flag you hard enough, you get shut down automatically until a human being can intervene.
      If the admins keep re-instating you, it’s no big deal.

    3. Not sure about them, but the PUA movement as a whole largely is about selling books and expensive training camps. Also: a lot of those guys are frauds. Mehow got caught with paid models, and if you look closely you can see that the models are uncomfortable being near him. Another started “teaching” after one lay.
      That’s why you don’t go to mainstream PUA sites. They’re not “game experts” who want you to improve. They’re very sleazy(albeit very skilled) internet marketers.

  11. Hahaha. This reminds me of my days in Washington. Though, do be careful not to become cynical during the screening process. I’ve seen a lot of people become your “friend” for networking only, and when times get tough, they’re nowhere to be found.

  12. “Love all people attached to you, do not give preference to those who flatter you most, and hold in high esteem those who for a good cause venture to displease you.
    They are your real friends.” – Louis XIV

  13. Excellent article Quintus. The flattering and ingratiatory “friend” are to be avoided and expunged.

  14. Good post.
    Another indicator of a true friend:
    When you call up someone and say “I have a dead body in the trunk of my car, and I need your help getting rid of it”
    And he says “I’ll get my shovel, let’s go ”
    And other response not along these lines makes him just an acquaintance

  15. Friends and women don’t mix. When and if you break up, count any of the mutual friends you had together as non-friends. Just write them off completely. Its rare where this wont be the case, and you will make an actual friend from your relationship. The same is true for her family. Most definitely they will abandon any relationship you had together if you break up/divorce. All of these holidays and good times really don’t mean anything, other than for the purpose of supporting your relationship. Have this frame of mind going in to save yourself a lot of distress in the future over losing these folks.

  16. I always appreciate reading your articules, multiple points concisely written that say not just what is truth, but y it is so. You have my thanks.

  17. I have noticed many times this type of parasitic men will often be the funny guys who get along with everyone, the clown of the group. When a man is able to get along with any person there is a serious problem with them. This people shift their personalities depending to who they are talking. This a warning the person has no personality of its own. They also love to be perceived as victims of something. They are great to be around, they make you feel good, they seem like your best friend, you won’t even believe what they do at your back if someone told you because they seem like such cool guys. They are difficult to spot, but once you realize about their true nature it will be easy to notice this kind of people.

    1. Co-sign, this perfectly describes one of my “so-called” friends who ditched me and his old friends to start leeching off these new people he met recently…

  18. “Surveying history, we note how frequently men of power and influence
    have been corrupted by parasites and flatterers once they reach the
    heights of power. Why is this? Even men of sound judgment feel the
    isolations and pressures of responsibility, and long for an emotional
    release. The parasitic courtier, advisor, or sycophant provides this
    emotional release, at least in the short term. But the consequence is
    the degraded judgment and ailing faculties of the patron. Little by
    little, the patron becomes more isolated, more divorced from reality,
    and ultimately ruined. Examples from history could fill volumes.”
    Quintus would you mind expanding on this point in another article? And tips on how to avoid it?

  19. The difference between friends and enemies is enemies can’t stab you in the back.

  20. Many such men aren’t even consciously trying to undermine you, but their lives are such a vacuum that they glom onto yours to fill the void in theirs.

  21. “The ancient Stoics went so far as to value it more highly than love between man and woman.”
    Well, as they should. Should be more of such consideration on this website.

  22. A man can forgive anything except an excess of honesty.
    ^ seriously don’t buy this at all.

  23. “A man can forgive anything except an excess of honesty.” What? Such solemnity, such nonsense.

  24. Another tell – the fake friend desires to frequently “test” you to see if you would be a True Friend or not. Lolz.

  25. I think many here have had experiences with other men like this. I spent time in state pens, and 97% or more of all inmates display these characteristics. They want you to give them info, then next thing you know it’s all over the prison yard. Difference being, that if they are able to get certain vital info, and possibly put their own sinister twist on it, you could end up dead. It is their favorite pastime. Since their level of misery is unfathomable, especially with lifers, they really like to kill or see other men killed. I was the target of jealousy, throughout my years there, because I was considered a wealthy inmate. I had T.V.’s, music devices, C.D.’s, canteen/commissary, quarterly packages, marijuana, tobacco, and other things. There were also a few female C/O’s I had gained the favor of, and they were helpful in some times of need. It was apparent to the other inmates and staff that something was going on between me and officer Munoz. I had my own level of “prison power” and she was infatuated with men of respect. Sometimes they choose a job there, because they like “bad-boys.” I had to walk around knowing I had a big red target on my back, due to so many so-called “men” being super jelly. They’re dead inside, but everyday they die a little more. Their only hope is to drag you to hell with them. I had powerful enemies, from large gangs, that were really just high-powered cowards. These are the types you’ll see on MSNBC’s Lock-Up, telling the camera how tough it is on inside and how they’re survivors of extreme hardships. But their methods of survival are described in this article, which means 97% of all “tough” inmates are actually very “ladylike” regardless of their gang affiliations, tattoos, shaved heads, and accompanying mean-mugs. The term “player-haters” comes to mind. A desperate dog is a dangerous dog, but their aim is to hide their desperation/misery, in attempts to get you to trust them. I was anti-social, and a lone-wolf, and therefore knew who was close to me. That being my shadow, and nothing more.

  26. this is an interesting reflection of personality traits but I believe most people move in and out of these traits. No one is simply a parasite. thats impossible and no one is perfect. I think humans are fallible, they have egos and make wrong choices but I think most people if they didnt really like you they wouldnt be around you.

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