5 Types of Fake People – Which One Are You?

Am I a liar and a hypocrite for being positive here? A person recently left a comment saying this about my staying positive with my tribe: “…by definition, this makes you (not to be mean, but clear) a liar and a hypocrite.”

5 Types of Fake People
Often the only way to rewire your brain is to be a fake. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

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Ouch. So what did I do in response? Well…we will get to that later. But initially I questioned my own logic. Was I wrong for staying positive? Was I being a liar and a hypocrite?


I wrote in that post how my natural inclination is towards the negative. This surprises a lot of people who know me fairly well, but not intimately, as I wrote:

That shocks a lot of people not named my wife, my mom, my best friend, my mentor, or anyone who has never worked for me. Most people see me as a generally positive and upbeat person. But the reality is that, most of the time there is a war raging inside of me. One voice screams at me reminding of everything going wrong in my life and the world. The positive voice whispers softly. I tend to hear the louder voice too easily.

So why do I remain positive when I write? Why am I a fake?

Because I am stereotyping myself. I quoted from an essay by S. Alexander Haslam, Jessica Salvatore, Thomas Kessler and Stephen D. Reicher entitled How stereotyping yourself contributes to your success (or failure)You can download the entire essay for free here.

…stereotypes can promote failure but that they can also lift a person’s or group’s performance and be tools that promote social progress…In short, who we think we are determines both how we perform and what we are able to become.

In short, I am rewiring myself and others around me.

The comment calling me a liar and hypocrite went on to say:

…when people aren’t being real and true, eventually others tend to notice, and you lose authenticity. Why would I trust an always-up person? We know that they are hiding things, not being honest, not trustworthy. Maybe putting on a mask helps short term, but at too great a cost to authenticity and personal integrity.

Finally, think of all the lost opportunities. When you are real, you can honestly connect with people … and that happens in the negatives. People know then that you understand them, and them you. Trust develops in this process, a trust that being fake with a mask cannot gain.

I fully agree, but to a limit.

I wrote back:

I get what you are saying. Authenticity (buzz word alert) is missing in today’s world, but it’s not about being a liar. It’s about being a better version of myself.

Sure, I could get on here and rant and whine about my crappy commute this morning, but what good does that do? Does that make me better? Or you?

I think of it this way…let’s say Joe is fat. Obese even. 6 feet tall and 400 lbs.

Should he act obese or act thin? Should he talk obesity or talk thinness? Should he do what obese people do or what thin people do?

Is he being fake or just a better version of himself? The version that lives longer and happier, not the one that dies at 43 depressed and failing to have accomplished his dreams.

A mask? No. A better version of me? Absolutely.

Sometimes, you truly have to fake it. You have to fake your thinking. That is the only way to rewire your brain.

Psychologists use this technique all the time to help people overcome childhood traumas such as verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Are they denying reality? No. Are they reaffirming, declaring, and acting out their self-worth even when they don’t feel it inside? You bet.

It’s not a magic cure. It takes time. But it does work.

There are five types of fake people. And there is nothing wrong with being fake in some areas of your life out of necessity. Which one of these best describes you?


5 types of fake people


1. The Overcomer

This is someone, such as I mentioned above, who is faking their way to overcoming something. I am not a psychologist, nor do I claim to be, but I’ve been through enough counseling to know this is commonly encouraged.

Removing the label of “worthless childhood rape victim” takes time. But over time, the Overcomer can project self-worth from the outside in. It might seem fake, but it works.

This is a positive form of faking.

2. The Better Version of Me

This is what I used when I was learning to not suck as a leader.

I smiled when I didn’t feel like smiling, because…well, I rarely smiled. And smiling made me a better leader. Not to mention it made me feel better.

I didn’t mask anything. I just didn’t display a scowl for all the world to see. I hid my annoyance at interruptions and treated people like they should be treated. And slowly, it became more of my default.

I am still working on this today…nearly eight years after I started. Just ask my wife.

This is a positive form of faking.

3. The Protector

Some faking is a survival mechanism.

There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it’s often a sign of inner turmoil and broken relationships, even abuse.

The wife who fakes a good home life when her husband is beating her is a negative form of this type of faking. What she really needs is empathy and help, not people jealous at how perfect her life is.

The parents who fake their way through a job loss to not overly stress their young kids is understandable. I honestly don’t know if I can label it positive or negative.

This is an ambiguous one, but generally done with positive intent due to negative, and often serious, reasons.

4. Afraid of Who I Really Am

Similar to the Protector, but usually for more selfish reasons.

This is the type of lying and hiding that the comment was referring to. This is the mask-wearer.

The type of person who would never admit that I’ve been arrested or that I sucked as a leader. This is the type of person who pretends his life is perfect.

This type of faking is always negative and always has consequences.

5. The Peacekeeper

The Peacekeeper sometimes fakes it to keep the peace. When two business partners are arguing over something petty, the Peacekeeper will often help find a middle ground even though he feels one partner is right. That is faking it.

The Peacekeeper compliments the chef, even if the chicken is dry and the rice is crunchy.

This is a positive form of faking.

I appreciated the comment that was left. It was left anonymously, but I reached out to him and thanked him. It turns out his name is Carl and he replied back:

Well, it is hard to write posts that challenge an idea without sounding like an angry jerk … part of the limitations inherent in written communications.   I am glad it was taken well!  Have a blessed day.

Thanks, Carl, for making me think. And for inspiring this post.

Question: Which type of faker best describes you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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