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Is there a word for a person who acts a certain way to become friends with others of a higher or more important social status? Someone who will act falsely to impress others for their own gain (i.e to then show off about it to "lesser" people, in a "look who i'm friends with" style)?

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    Perhaps Social climber. Welcome, and please take the tour. Single word requests require an example sentence with a fill-in-the-blank format. Please edit your question, or it will probably get closed shortly. – Phil Sweet Aug 2 '16 at 3:30
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SycophantM-W

noun a person who praises powerful people in order to get their approval; a servile self-seeking flatterer
"when her career was riding high, the self-deluded actress often mistook sycophants for true friends"

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    Hi Seymore, welcome to English Language & Usage. You're halfway to a good answer! This site is a bit different from other Q&A sites: brief suggestions are discouraged, in favour of a detailed answer explaining why it is correct - preferably by quoting a reference and/or linking to a source (eg a dictionary definition). For help writing a good answer, see How to Answer. For more information about how EL&U works, please take the Tour. You can add more detail to your answer by clicking on the edit link. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Aug 2 '16 at 3:41
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    I have added a dictionary definition. Hope that helps. :) – NVZ Aug 2 '16 at 4:31
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Snob \Snob\, n. [Icel. sn[=a]pr a dolt, impostor, charlatan. Cf. {Snub}.]
1. A vulgar person who affects to be better, richer, or more fashionable, than he really is; a vulgar upstart; one who apes his superiors. --Thackeray.
[1913 Webster]

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You could use Pretentious to describe such a person.

having or showing the unpleasant quality of people who want to be regarded as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are

Used in a sentence:

John used to be an alright person, but ever since he started hanging around with Roger he's started acting quite pretentious.

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