Real vs Fake Friends | How to Differentiate a Genuine Friendship From an Unhealthy One

Differentiating a real and fake friendship comes down to how you can perceive the friends you have in your life. Many of us don’t want to think that our friends are using us or being disingenuous, but it does happen and ways of recognizing it comes down to if there is dependency, excuses being made, or if one feels taken for granted. It’s not always easy admitting that someone you thought was close is like this, but you must always do what is healthy for you.

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    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about real versus fake friends. How to tell the difference between a genuine friendship, and one that may not necessarily be healthy and perhaps destructive and even fake. Many of us have a desire to connect with others, and finding those with similar interests makes us feel a sense of oneness, in that we have someone who just gets us, even sometimes without any spoken words. However, the truth is, while many friendships can be intense, long-lasting, and even extremely helpful for personal growth, others can be destructive and can cause more harm than good. The first thing to note, however, is that not all friendships last. Real friends can turn into fake friends. Or even, a friendship can simply fade away. What was good one day, can be gone the next. So, certainly realize this before considering your friendships since we are all human beings with flaws. We all make mistakes that can cost us a friendship. And, while forgiveness can only go so far, not everyone will heal from saying, “I’m sorry,” or showing compassion after perhaps many destructive years of a friendship, or one wrong deceitful decision. But in the end, it comes down to the fact that we all have different views on friendships, different ways of making friends, in addition to our personality being unique. So, while we can connect with others, they are simply here to help us better find ourselves and be the best version of ourselves. And this is where I would like to begin.

    An unhealthy friendship can consists of obsession and/or dependency. You may depend on someone, or they may depend on you, for happiness, money, support, whatever else. The problem with this has to do with the fact that one is relying on another to bring something they do not have into their life. But, what happens if that goes away? Since one is dependent on happiness for example, when that connection fades, or you or your friend are unable to fulfill the other’s needs, what happens is perhaps anger, rage, sadness, depression, and a chaotic relationship. Whereas a healthy relationship, and one that is genuine, consists of independence. One is happy with or without their friend. Now, that’s not to say that a friend cannot make one happy when they are together. But, what I am referring to is that one feels lost, alone, and like they cannot make it by themselves. That’s dependency. A friendship is here to teach you how to be independent, so you can make it on your own. For example, if you are anxious about leaving the house, and your friend helps you get out of the house and makes you feel comfortable, they are here to help you realize that you can do this on your own. If you depend on them so you are not anxious when you leave the house, what happens when they are not there? Often it’ll be that you are even more anxious and scared. This type of friendship is not so much a fake one, but rather an unhealthy one. However, moving into a fake relationship comes into play now.

    How about a friendship that consists of using one another? This is a clear indication of a fake friend since your friend goes to you only when you need something. In other words, they neglect you until they need something from you, which then you are their go-to person. Perhaps you try and talk with them and they don’t reply until they need something from you. Or perhaps your friend is using you for money. They go to you when they need money, but are not there for you when you need them. They depend on you for money, and you better give it to them or else. All this could be because they don’t really care about you or the friendship, and you are being too nice to them and letting them take advantage of you. Because you consider them a friend, you don’t want to lose them, so you do whatever it takes to keep them happy and in your life, even if that means sacrificing your own time and happiness. These people are not genuine friends for the simple fact that they do not care about you, but what you are giving them. They are using you to better themselves. A friendship cannot be one-sided, it must be mutual.

    Next, what about a friend that makes excuses and doesn’t make the time for you? This too is a fake friend because they prioritize themselves, their activities, and other friends more than they make time for you. So much time goes by and there is always an excuse from them why they let you down. Perhaps you are stranded at work with a broken down car, and so you reach out to a friend that lives close by to help you out. No response from them, or perhaps they say that they are busy and cannot help you. Perhaps days go by and then they finally respond, or not at all. They don’t show any compassion during those moments that you need them. Again, the main thing to look at is the excuse. There are reasonable excuses and excuses that essentially mean that they don’t want to do it. They may say one thing, but look at what their actions say. If you are gullible and fall for their lies every time and they cannot put themselves out for you for anything, then they are more than likely not a good friend. A genuine friend, however, will make the time for their friends and put themselves out to do things for them. In other words, they may not necessarily want to do something or be happy about it, but will help you out regardless, often with a smile on their face. Perhaps you need a babysitter and your friend cancelled a date to watch your kid so you could go out. Your friend cancelled something they wanted to do so they could help you out. That’s a good friend. If you do the same, then you too are a good friend. In order to maintain this friendship, you would not abuse the relationship or become a neglectful friend. If you did, it could go something like this. Perhaps you have your friend babysit each weekend without a break, and you even lie about what you are doing and are actually going out and having fun. Perhaps you say you will be home at 8:00pm, but don’t arrive home until 10:00pm. In other words, you are taking advantage of your friend. What if your friend says they cannot watch your kid? Perhaps then you get mad at them. You’ve already abused the trust you two had and need some serious communication to repair it.

    With that being said, if you do recognize these signs, some of the best things are to understand it better and why your friend may be treating you like this. It can be difficult realizing and even admitting to yourself that someone close to you is behaving in this fashion. However, you must always do what is best for you. Instead of being too nice to the point that it makes you victim to your friend’s neglect, in that you do not want to lose your friend or believe they are doing such a thing, approach them with how you are feeling. Have confidence in yourself and stand up to anything your friend may be doing to you because you can either work it out with them by talking it through. If they will not communicate, then you certainly deserve better. No one deserves to be used and left feeling like they aren’t welcome. You deserve what is best for you, and you deserve the best people you can have in your life. So, it may be time to stand up to those that have been using you that you may have considered friends and then say goodbye to them and instead make meaningful connections that can help you even more.

    As a bit of personal experience, I had such a difficult time making friends past the age of 13 or 14. This was because of a lot of personal problems that began to set in, including self-hate. This continued to the point of just in the middle of 2015. In 2014 to early 2015, I was able to make many more friends. However, I noticed it was not genuine in the sense that I relied on them to bring happiness into my life. Without them, I felt like I was in a panic and like they hated me. If there was no reply from them after a bit of time, I got extremely worried and doubted the friendship, thinking that they hated me. While this was not true, it made the relationship unhealthy since I wasn’t being independent, but instead relied on them. The friends I had at the time were amazing though. They taught me so much and helped me in so many ways. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. And, I thank them for showing me acceptance and kindness during those rough times. They were genuine in that regard, but not in that I feared them abandoning me and leaving. I could not be open with them about how they were making me feel since, again, I feared that they would leave me. That was an underlying fear I had until the middle of 2015.

    During the middle of 2015 came the time that all communication stopped between all three people I considered friends. I thought some conspiracy was going on against me since it all stopped at the same time. Instead of constantly worrying about if they were going to get back to me, feeling so anxious and stressed out, I made the initiative to break off communication. I said goodbye to them and turned a different way. This way being independence so I could be happy by myself and not rely on those other people to fulfill that happiness for me. I needed to find my own happiness, and that’s what I found after I stepped up and made the initiative to say goodbye to the people I cared about most at the time. It was only when I could do it that made those abandonment issues dissolve since I realized that they were not abandoning me, but rather I was abandoning them. I was leaving the friendship behind to do what was best for me, which was find my own happiness. My own happiness being away from them.

    From that moment forward, I was able to identify my real friends. People that I have no fear of abandonment from. If they leave me, then the relationship was meant to end and I’ll get over the sadness it brought. However, during that whole time, I was blinded by the three people that I did call friends since I thought they brought me happiness, when in fact it was me trying to please them to keep them in my life. I needed to make a desperate attempt to keep them due to fears of them betraying and abandoning me. However, with the friends I have now, this feeling is non-existent. There is no fear of them leaving, and if they do then so be it. No more frantic attempts to keep them in my life. And certainly no more abandonment issues. A friendship now will enhance the happiness within me, but it will not make it if it wasn’t there to begin with. And for that, it was me being happy with myself.

    What I consider a friend is someone who is here for me when I need them and I am there for them when they need me. We mutually use one another in a positive way to become happier with ourselves. If they ignore me, despite my repeated attempts at reaching out to them, then they are not a genuine friend to me. Neither are those that would use me and expect me to do things for them, but are not there when I need them to do something for me. Even people who would say, “I’m not going to leave you and would never do anything to hurt you.” Well, I’ve seen first hand that every single person who has said this to me have all been people who have ultimately stopped talking with me without any indication as to why. They clearly state that just stopping talking is immature, and that they would rather discuss any problems directly with me. Their words said that, but their actions told a different story. I realized that they were only telling me what I wanted to hear, but not actually giving me how they truly felt. And, not actually demonstrating their words.

    A genuine friend to me is someone who makes the time for their friends, despite a hectic schedule. I know I certainly would make the time to reply to my friends, or at the very least tell them that I haven’t been able to make the time for them. That is not only what a good friend does, it’s what a responsible, mature person does. So, I’m done with those that are irresponsible and immature. That’s not the type of friendship I want in my life. I deserve honesty, respect, and attention from my friends, and I give the same to those I consider friends. Those are the people that are here for me, and I am here for them. No fears, no lack of communication, and certainly no lies or deceit. That’s what I consider a genuine friendship, and what I’ve managed to form after I stood up to those that I thought were friends that I felt those negative feelings towards.

    So in conclusion, differentiating a real and fake friendship comes down to how you can perceive the friends you have in your life. Many of us don’t want to think that our friends are using us or being disingenuous, but it does happen and ways of recognizing it comes down to if there is dependency, excuses being made, or if one feels taken for granted. It’s not always easy admitting that someone you thought was close is like this, but you must always do what is healthy for you. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    For such a long time I had a hard time making friends due to intense fears of abandonment from them. But when I did start to make friends, that fear remained. It was only until the middle of 2015 that I left behind that fear. Since then, I’ve come to realize who my true friends are, and they were not who I initially thought they were. Or rather, that I don’t fear abandonment from them. It was amazing to see my growth from trusting only a select few that I feared abandonment from, to trusting more people that I have no fear of abandonment from.