Just because you know a lot of people, that doesn’t mean they’re your friends. When we get older there’s a part of us that wants to believe we’ve left the school yard social dynamics and high school drama behind us. Why? Because we’re supposed to be “grown-ups” now, and as such we don’t indulge in this Mean Girls mindset anymore. Right?
But the reality is, not everyone around us operates this way. And yes… it is quite disappointing when you realize that despite reaching a time in our lives when we should all be grown up enough to tell the people around us the truth about how we feel, sometimes we are forced to read between the lines when it comes to their interactions with us.
When we’ve known people for a while we may be inclined to automatically assign them the title of “friend,” and we sometimes make the incorrect conjecture that they mean well. It’s important to remember that real friendship is earned, and is based on the principle of genuine care and consideration for another person. No strings attached. If you are the only one contributing to your so-called “friendship” then it isn’t really a friendship at all.
Why is the distinction between friend and pseudo-friend so important to make? Why does it matter?
In the world we live in time is extraordinarily valuable. We often find ourselves rushing from point A to point B, trying to cram everything we need to do in the minutes of spare time we have, and make sacrifices to make everything work, which means that we have to prioritize the important things in our lives. What this means is that we don’t have the luxury of spending time with people who don’t genuinely value us because we could be spending those precious moments investing our time in more meaningful areas of our lives.
So, how do you know if your “friend” isn’t really a friend at all?
They contact you only when they want or need something
If you find that the only time your “friend” is calling you is when they’ve had a rough day, got into it with their significant other, or want to just gripe about something, that should raise a red flag. If you spend an entire conversation only talking about them, and they don’t even ask how your day was or how you’re doing it might be a good idea to reevaluate that friendship.
They talk negatively about everyone around them
Pay particular attention to people who have a tendency to speak negatively about everyone else around them. Because chances are if they don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, what are the chances that they’re saying nice things about you when you’re not around?
They share your secrets with other people without your permission
One of the most important qualities in a friend is trust. If your “friend” is causally sharing things you told them in confidence, or spreading your business with everyone who enjoys good gossip you should probably consider scratching that person off your friend list.
They throw you under the bus to make themselves look good
Real friends stand up for each other, and do the right thing when nobody is watching. If your so-called friend is willing to trample over you to get ahead, then they’re not your friend at all.
They don’t ever seem to be happy for you
Real friends are happy for you when you achieve great things. If someone is trying to undermine your achievements, and are behaving in a jealous manner, that speaks volumes about their character. And you have to ask yourself, do you want to be surrounded by people like that?
They hang good deeds over your head and expect adequate compensation
Remember that one time I helped you plan your niece’s birthday party? Well, now I need you to plan my entire wedding that’s three months from now for free… so chop chop! When people take advantage of your good nature, or use their relationship with you as leverage to get things they want… run, because that continuous treadmill of wants and desires will never stop. It will feel like you’re indebted to them forever.
So what does a real friend look like?
They tell you the truth even when it hurts
Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, especially if it hurts our feelings. Our real friends will tell us the truth without being mean. They don’t attack our character or try to poke holes in our self-esteem, they present a problem and help us find a solution.
Real friends love you for who you are
Nobody is perfect, and our true friends understand this. They know we are all capable of making mistakes. Real friends will love us despite our imperfections, and through the process of being friends with us, help us to become better people.
They’re present during the tough times
True friendships are revealed when we go through the most difficult times in our lives. Real friends will be there for us no matter what and don’t expect some type of compensation because they were there for us when we needed them. They’re there because they want to be, not because they have to be.
*Originally published on the Inpathy Bulletin