Fair Weather Friend

The idiom "fair weather friend" refers to a person who is friendly when it is easy or convenient, but who cannot be relied upon during difficult times.

Fair Weather Friend: Meaning and Definitions

  • A “fair weather friend” refers to a person who is only a friend when circumstances are pleasant or profitable, but abandons others during difficult times.
  • It often suggests someone who is unreliable, inconsistent, and has a self-serving nature.
  • A fair weather friendship implies that the friendship cannot be relied upon in times of difficulty.
  • It might also depict a person who only offers friendship when it is convenient or beneficial to them.
  • Furthermore, it may convey the idea of superficial or conditional friendship.

Fair Weather Friend Synonyms

  1. Summer friend
  2. Sunshine soldier
  3. Sunshine patriot

Example Sentences

  • She proved to be a fair weather friend when she stopped calling me after I lost my job.
  • It’s better to have a few true friends than many fair weather friends.
  • He felt disappointed when he discovered that his college buddies were just fair weather friends.
  • During tough times, you find out who your real friends are and who are the fair weather friends.
  • She was known for being a fair weather friend, always around during the good times but nowhere to be found in times of trouble.

The Origins and Etymology of Fair Weather Friend

The phrase “fair weather friend” has been used since the late 16th century to refer to someone who is friendly only when it is easy or convenient to do so.

The term “fair weather” is an old nautical term which refers to good weather, with the implication being that a fair weather friend is only around during good times.

You can read more about it on Wiktionary.

“Fair Weather Friend” in Literature

In literature, the term “fair weather friend” is often used to characterize unreliable or fickle characters.

One example can be found in Charles Dickens’ novel ‘The Pickwick Papers’, where he writes:

“He has been a sort of friend of mine, once or twice… One of those fair-weather friends who always abound when a man is rich, and never when he is poor.”

douglas heingartner editor saywhatyo!
Douglas Heingartner

Douglas Heingartner, the editor of SayWhatYo!, is a journalist based in Amsterdam. He has written about science, technology, and more for publications including The New York Times, The Economist, Wired, the BBC, The Washington Post, New Scientist, The Associated Press, IEEE Spectrum, Quartz, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Frieze, and others. His Google Scholar profile is here, his LinkedIn profile is here, and his Muck Rack profile is here.