fair-weather friend

fair-weather friend

Meaning | Synonyms

  • used to refer a friend who is not reliable in difficult times
  • someone who is a friend only when things are going right and leaves you when you face a trouble
  • someone who abandons you at the time of utmost difficulty
  • one who does not stand by you at your tough times is your fair-weather friend

This idiom can also have an extended meaning, referring to a friend who seems enthusiastic about being friends with you, but soon grows distracted by another person or interest.

Example Sentences

  1. Simran is looking for a loyal friend, not a fair-weather friend.
  2. I really had thought that she would help me with my problem, but she is a fair-weather friend.
  3. Richard always had to deal with all of his situations by himself as all his friends are fair-weather friends.
  4. One day I will show that I am not mere a fair-weather friend of her.
  5. A fair-weather friend cannot be helpful in an emergency.
  6. I was hit by an accident and was hoping my friend Jenny to help me, but she is really just a fair-weather friend.
  7. “I thought he was a great friend but he’s really just a fair-weather friend. He didn’t even call or visit when I was in the hospital.”


This idiom is used since at least the mid-1800s but probably originated later. Though its origin is not available, it can be understood through a story. Fair-weather refers to mild weather, so the idiom refers to a friend who can be relied upon when the weather is good but abandons you when the weather turns stormy.

There is a related famous sailing saying, the fair-weather sailor. A real sailor sails all the time and can handle things even in stormy seas. A fair-weather sailor is a recreational sailor who only sails during calm weather, and cannot be relied upon when the weather turns. Such sailors would blame the weather if they had an accident, when in fact; it was their own poor skill. Similarly, a fair-weather friend might blame circumstances, even when the real cause is their own inattention to the problem.


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