By: Simone N
What does it mean to have a true friend? How can I distinguish between a true friend and a fake one? When is it time to let go of a friendship?
We all have friends, right?
Whatever your answer is, before you are too quick to answer, I want you to ask yourself :”Do I have true friends?”
Well, first all, a true friend is hard to define. We derive our ideas of what one may look/behave like from t.v.(movies, reality shows, sitcoms), magazines, books, other peoples ideas/opinions/experiences (what we were told),within schools, other facilities. Even our cultural ideals, and practices, tell us what a friend should be. Defining and recognizing a true friend takes time, observation and experiences. Sometimes it requires to completely clean the slate an re-define for our self what it is, but in the meantime I can give you some guidelines.
What does it mean to have a true friend? (in my opinion):
- Is a confidant(e). (You knew that was coming). A confidant is a trusted friend. Someone we can trust completely. We can share your secrets– and not in fear that it will be repeated elsewhere.
- Someone to whom we feel comfortable,safe with. This is the person that we can completely share ourselves with; vulnerabilities, weaknesses, dreams, we feeling understood, loved and respected. We don’t censor ourselves, we can be raw and real. There is no intimidation, of fear around this person; there a complete feeling of safety (like a baby at his/her mother’s bosom).
- Tells you the truth. They aren’t “yes men”. When there is something that needs to addressed or corrected, they will tell us. If someone loves us enough to tell us what you need to hear(whether or not it hurts our feelings), for our own good, they may have a true friend. Mind you, it’s not done in malice, or to tear down.
- Someone who wants/wishes the best for you. They are willing to do what they can for us, to see us succeed, blossom, find happiness, and so forth.They do this because they actually love us. They are our number #1 fan, our cheerleader.
- Loves you unconditionally. Throughout every stage of life. condition, circumstance, the love remains the same. No matter what, they are still kind, respectful, encouraging, and appreciative of us.
- They are just into you. I don’t mean or obsession, or other areas of life become neglected. There is a special connection, where your soul is the central focus; not your stuff, image, status, or anything else. Your well-being, and happiness is of great importance. It is a heart-to-heart connection, that is the foundation.
How do I distinguish between true and fake friends?How do I recognize the jealous/haters, users/manipulators in my life?
First all, a true friend is into you. Anything else is self serving. Sometimes it is not so easy to spot, as many things can fly under radar, if we are not paying attention.What is most important, is to watch and observe, what they do, listen to their words. There are times when people come out of the blue to warn you of this person. In fact, if many people are saying the same thing them, take heed. Pay attention. So many people cannot be wrong.
Jealous/envious/haters friends can come up in many different ways, sometimes it can be covert, or overt behaviors. Whichever it is, it can be hard to accept, especially if we love or care for this person. Jealous/envious individuals are upset and discontented with themselves, because they see what we have , are or possess, think it is better, and want it for themselves. They are deeply insecure. They are the ones who do not want to see you succeed, achieve, accomplish; somehow it “takes away” from them, and they will make it known. Envious friends, particularly, will actively put you at a disadvantage(sabotage); stealing, deceiving, slander, whatever to hurt, attack, destroy you to “ease” their own insecurity. The funny thing is, although they resent or hate you for what you naturally are, or possess, or accomplish, there is a part of them that if fascinated by , admires us, which is why they befriend us.
I listed a few behaviors that may indicate you are dealing with a jealous/ envious person:
- They put/tear you down. They make rude and snide comments, / half-baked compliments, harshly criticize, judge, constantly pointing out weaknesses. They say what they “think is wrong”.
- Don’t rejoice in achievements/accomplishments/successes.It can be done in a myriad of ways; they may downplay(deny), ignore, make comments to doubt self, or giving an attitude.
- Most supportive when at the lowest point. They become most available and supportive and when we are down, depressed, experienced some disappointment. It makes them feel good when we are down (the insecurity again).
- Hostile, aggressive, angry for no reason. when they are with you you, they seem…well, miserable. We feel as if they have a problem with us. They do, and want us to know that.
Hopefully you don’t see these qualities in your friends. If you do, quick! Run!
Users/manipulators, do what their name entails. These people see us as a means to an end, for their own agenda, to their own advantage. However they can create a circumstance, situation, to work it (and you), to get what they want, is the essence of their work.
Here are few ways you ways in way we can identify a user/manipulators:
- They tell you what you want to hear.They may give us compliments, flatteries, are extra nice and friendly; but it only to get into your good graces, to have you thinking they are your friend. They may overly identify( you like this movie? So do I!… blah , blah) Only then it is just to get what they want.
- Use your vulnerabilities/weaknesses/desires for their own agenda; they play games, to get what they want. May manipulate your emotions; through their words to illicit a certain response, the one they want. Also they can threaten to do, or take away something, in order to keep you in “check”.Especially if it is something they are doing or have given you, that you need. It’s apart of the game.
- They put up a fight, attack, or leave , when it’s not their way. Perhaps you set a boundary, or said “no”. They pop their wig, put up a fight(become disrespectful, verbally/emotionally/ physically abusive), walk away without explanation, disappear out of your life. It may be all three in that order. Anyone who doesn’t respect your decisions, honor your word, throws a temper tantrum every time they don’t get their way, doesn’t love you, and has an agenda for themselves.
When is it time to release a relationship?
- When it feels off; something doesn’t feel right. Your instincts may be telling you that you need to get out, or move away from this person.Even if you cannot pinpoint it, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- You are consistently unhappy, frustrated, drained with this person (or they can be too). This is not to say there are not times when we feel this way, but if it is 75% (and over) the time you are in this state, there’s a problem.
- It is, or becomes physically, verbally, emotionally, abusive. Maybe there is an over-stepping of boundaries or space, no mutual respect/honor, physical altercations, emotional abuse (name-calling, tear down, using vulnerabilities).
- It is or becomes one-sided. You are doing all the giving, and they are doing all the taking( You must be a chronic giver to know this; takers have no problem with this and are very comfortable). As a result, you become drained, depleted, and jaded. Usually this happens in a co-dependent relationship (chronic giver/taker) , or a manipulative/user in the relationship.
- Negatively affect/ influence your life. Your not your best when are them. You notice that you are picking up their bad habits/pattern, disposition on life, and it is making you miserable. You are not your best self anymore, you feel like you are losing who you are. Their toxicity has leaked into all aspects of your life. Perhaps having a jealous hater in your midst who is sabotaging your life with slander, criticisms, deceit, and justifying it, is enough to let them go.
Yes, it does suck to admit to yourself that someone isn’t what you thought they were. We must realize at times like these, that it is better to release those who are not an uplifting, positive, empowering influence in our lives, because there is always better out there for you. In the long run, you are better off, when you know that what you hang around, you become. It is especially important to have the right friends in your life when you are on a journey of self healing and love; having the right positive reinforcements/influences to help foster it. It’s not worth it to hold on to ideals/images/expectations, conveniences, regardless if you or others benefit . It truly isn’t worth it.
Check out the next topic: Developing Self-Awareness: