Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you have any “fair-weather” friends?

Have you heard this term in English and wondered what it meant?

You might be able to sense that this is not a positive term or person to have in your life.

We’re going to look at what it means to be a fair-weather friend to expand your English vocabulary, how you can recognize them, and what you should do to handle them.

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Understanding This Term

So what does it mean to say that someone is fair-weather to you?

This is a really important word because it gives us good perspective and it also forces us to check ourselves in this regard.

To be fair-weather means that you are only committed during good times.

It’s an adjective to say that somebody is only committed and dependable during the good times.

When things are easy, then the fair-weather friend is on board and attentive.

When things get more challenging, then that fair-weather friend may be nowhere to be found.

You don’t want to have a lot of fair-weather friends because you can’t count on them.

You also want to be sure that you are not acting like a fair-weather friend, particularly when your friends need you the most.

How Does This Friend Act?

So what exactly are the characteristics of a fair-weather friend?

Some may be quite obvious to you, while others may be a bit of a surprise.

You might have somebody in your life that you recognize as a fair-weather friend.

There may be others that you don’t see for this until a situation presents itself, and you see that you can’t count on them.

A fair-weather friend has a few different categorizations that they typically fit into.

  • A fair-weather friend is somebody that is not really that close to you. They are only there for you when it is easy or beneficial to them. They are not somebody that you can count on in tough times.
  • They are friends with you only on their terms. They will never be friends on your terms because they want it their way. This is also because they are not going to be there for you in the long term. You might even say “I would call Brian, but he only picks up when he needs something from me. He’s a fair-weather friend.”
  • If you need something, you would not want to depend on this person. They will likely disappoint you and never be there to help you when you need them. They are usually very selfish and don’t come through when you need somebody.
  • There is also something called a fair-weather fan. This refers to somebody who only likes a sports team or an artist or a performer of some type when they are doing well. You might hear somebody say “What’s going on with the Knicks? I don’t know–I’m a fair weather fan honestly.”

The reality is that a fair-weather fan or friend is not a positive thing.

Handling This Trait In Your Friendships

There are obviously multiple ways to talk about something being fair weathered.

We want to focus on this in terms of friendship or people that are close to you though.

This is one rather important aspect of how you can be fair weathered, and it’s an important thing to understand and be able to talk about.

So what should you do if you have a fair-weather friend?

How can you handle this type of friend?

  • You have to know what to expect from them. You might be okay with this type of friend in certain situations. You just have to have realistic expectations that they may be fun, but they are never going to be dependable.
  • If you realize that they are a fair-weather friend and you don’t want that, then you may want to reconsider the friendship. You don’t ever want to rely upon them. You have to see them for what they are, and if they are going to cause you hurt and upset, then you may want to get away from this friendship.
  • Think about if you should confront them. If you think that any good or positive change can come from it, then it may be worth addressing it with them. If however you can see that they are just a fair-weather friend by nature, then confronting them isn’t going to do any good or change anything at all.
  • Think about this in your own life. Are you a fair-weather friend? Are you the type of person that people feel that they can’t trust or rely upon? If that’s the case then you may want to do some reflection upon this and make some changes if possible. Nobody ever really feels good about a fair-weather friend, and you want to remember that in your own behavior and life.

These are the things to keep in mind so that you know how to handle a fair-weather friend if they appear in your life.

Other Words To Use

There are other words that can help you to describe your friends or the people closest to you in your life.

Some words can be really positive, but then at the opposite end you have some really negative words.

We all likely fit into each of these categorizations sometimes, and so it can be helpful if you have the right words to use in conversation.

These words are very useful for describing a person that you know or a friend.

  • Loyal or Disloyal: If somebody is loyal then it means that they are always there by your side. If they are disloyal you can’t count on them to stick with you. They may repeat things that you don’t want repeated or betray your trust in general. A loyal friend is the type that is always there for you and there with you.
  • Dependable or Undependable: If you are dependable then people know that you are there for them when it really matters. If you are undependable then it’s as if you disappear when things get tough or challenging. To be a dependable friend means that you are the type of person that others can turn to in their greatest time of need.
  • Can/Can’t Count On Someone: We all need people that we can count on when we have difficulties in our life. If you are somebody that can’t be counted on, then you abandon others in their time of need. You want to be the type of person that others can count on when they need a friend.
  • Reliable or Unreliable: If you are reliable you are there to help, whether it’s for the bigger or the smaller things in life. If you are unreliable then people come to know that they can’t rely upon you for anything. A reliable friend helps you see things through and helps you in any way possible.

These words can be very helpful in describing those that you are friends with.

Sometimes we’re a more positive type of friend, but we all have our negative moments too.


It’s never a good feeling if you have fair-weather friends, unless you are the type of person who wants them.

Every friend can have a different place in your life, and that’s normal.

It’s important to have some friends that you know you can count on.

Reflect on your own behavior as a friend and how you are with those closest to you.

We can all have our moments of being a fair weathered friend, but it’s not what you want to be all the time.

Reflect on the type of friend you are, learn from it, and then try to find friends that you know are there for the long term.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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