“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn
Friends bring color to our lives. They are there to share our experiences, revel in our successes, laugh at our embarrassments and wallow with us in the gloomy days. They become a part of your extended family, this group of people that you call your own and everyone deserves to have a handful of individuals in their life who are committed to their well-being and happiness. It can be difficult, however, to know who to surround yourself with and who actually has your best interests in mind.
There exists a certain social pressure and status stress around friendships. There’s an obsession with quantity over quality as if the number of friends someone has directly correlates to their value. Especially with social media, the more people you are seen with or post with, the ‘cooler’ you seem. But what are those friendships if their purpose is to promote status? Relationship therapist, Miriam Kirmayer, explains that by moving away from the superficial we will feel more seen and heard in a way that cultivates richer connections. The question then becomes, how do you distinguish between a fake friend and a real friend?
- A fake friend would rather hang out with someone or a group of people that they see as ‘cooler’ or of higher status than you. This friend is someone who makes you feel like their second choice because they are so caught up in an image. Your time is special and precious and should be given to the people who recognize that.
- A fake friend will spend all the time you are together talking about themselves. This person does not ask questions about your life or want to know how you are doing/ feeling. A friendship should be reciprocal, the same amount of energy should be focused on each person.
- A fake friend will flake on plans and always make excuses for why they can’t do something for you. You deserve friends who will move mountains for you without question.
- A fake friend will only reach out when they need something from you. They will only make an effort when it is convenient for them. A real friend will always make an effort.
- A fake friend will act differently around other people by putting you down in public to make a certain impression on others. They care more about how others are seeing them than your feelings and will be judgmental of you. You deserve someone who always has your best interest in mind.
Once it is established that someone is a fake friend it is important to cut ties with that person. Associate professor of psychology and human development at California State University, Kelly Campbell, says that toxic friendships will only hurt your sense of self and self-esteem. Campbell’s advice on how to create distance with a fake friend actually starts with yourself. She explains that if you work on your confidence and achieving personal goals you will be able to cut ties with toxic people because the way they treat you does not line up with how you now value yourself. If you treat yourself well you will know the standard of how others should treat you. Focus on self-care, build your self-esteem and soon you will find yourself not needing those fake friends in your life. You are worth being valued.
Disclaimer: This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.