As a wise man once said, “Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend”, we have to be very selective and careful when it comes to selecting the people we want to be in the constant company of and share our feelings. If we aren’t vigilant and act in a care-free manner, you will realize you are surrounded by two-faced, fake friends who won’t spare a moment to throw you under the bus. Therefore, I have made an amateur’s guide on how to identify who is your real friend and who is the person you should avoid.
1. You Only Hear From Them When They Need or Want Something
If you’re casually sitting at your couch, enjoying a nice episode of your favorite season or playing Ultimate Team on Fifa and suddenly get a Whatsapp text by someone,
“Oh, hey! How are you doing? Are you free? I wanted a small favor from you if you don’t mind…….”
You might be tempted to ignore the message, even reply with a rude response but you don’t, right? You might not have heard from this person for quite a while, and suddenly they remember you out of the blue?
Turns out they needed to get an entry inside LUMS for an event or even a concert and only needed you to act as the facilitator, arranging their entry, etc. Or maybe they were stuck with an assignment and needed your help to ace it without putting in the extra effort.
If you, out of your self-established criterion of helping everyone, do come to their aid, you’re labeled as the helper, the fixer, the one they can depend on. At that moment they would show their extreme gratitude and make you feel on top of the world with cheesy comments of how you’re their hero. Maybe if you are lucky enough, may even be treated with Chicken and Chips or a Red Velvet Cake from Jamin Java but they’ll ghost out of your life afterward and only remember you once they need your services again.
2. They Pull You Down
Have you ever faced the most insulting comments and mocks thrown at you disguised as “we were just joking?” The subtle digs in the guise of playful teasing, banter are just some of the ways fake friends may employ to make you feel worse about yourself as their self-esteem increases in their own eyes.
You can also comment on their insecurities and problems by cleverly disguising them as jokes but your brought-up and upbringing from parents remind you that you are better than that.
Despite my best efforts to understand this behavior, the conclusion I have drawn is that it a way to make yourself seem relevant and important at times. Their behavior is a result of the pain they may have endured, maybe insecurities related to particular things and people, and the more you react to their jibes, the more empowered they feel they are over you and continue with their below-the-belt acts.
Imagine yourself attempting a quiz and your fake friend had his quiz taken before you. Before you enter the exam hall, your fake friend comes up to you and says, “Goodluck for the quiz bro. Itna asaan tha kay koi jahil Bhi Kar lay. Tum Bhi shayad Kar hi-lo gay phir to”. While they may claim they came with good intentions and wished you luck, the fact remains that they compared you to an illiterate, sowing the seeds of self-doubt as you begin wondering if you are what they think, despite being a fairly intelligent student.
Or, when introduced to your new friend, the fake friend might sow seeds of insecurity, saying that the friend is unfortunate to be stuck in your company, instilling the idea that the former needs to leave your company for his own sake. They do all this just to boost their petit ego.
3. You Are Their Emotional Punching Bag
Do you know a person who only tells you about all the awful crap going on in their life?
I will admit that at times you are forced to listen to them, with a general sense of pity, and invest your time and energy to help them get their act together with a glimmer of hope that maybe your actions can help save someone from destruction.
However, the bitter truth is that they generally do exactly opposite of what you had suggested, repeating their awful decisions, crippling themselves to even a more extent without even picking themselves up from their mistakes. Eventually, after a while when they realize they are in an even deeper hole than before, you are to be blamed for everything despite them ignoring all of your advice and opinions. Al of their frustration and negativity is poured onto you and you’re forced to heal someone who self-destructed due to their own poor choices but didn’t accept responsibility for their actions. Whether it’s relationship advice or career choices, you are blamed for everything. You are forced to do their emotional labor and will hear about how much better they feel after talking to you.
In Urdu, we term this as “Dosray kay kandhay say bandookh chalana”
4. They Go Haywire If You Confront Them For Hurtful Behavior
Let me say it clearly
REAL FRIENDS APOLOGIZE FOR THEIR MISTAKES
Whether you may try to forget that episode or even bury the hatchet, they will be aware of their mistakes and how their actions took a toll on you and may have the decency to confront you and be sorry over their mistakes. As everyone knows when someone gets hurt by their actions and only the golden heart of a friend dares to come forward and accept their shortcomings and try to make amends.
If you tell a fake friend the same thing, they’ll likely get defensive, lose their sh*t at you, start fabricating lies to make you feel that you’re the one who’s in the wrong, and then stop talking to you for a while. The best excuse is to bring up the past and remind the other one who accused you of being barbarous and remind how they helped you when you were in trouble.
Helping someone doesn’t mean you own the person and have the right to say whatever you will. He didn’t beg you to help and promised slavery in return right?
Eventually, they will stop talking to you temporarily or maybe indefinitely.
See, the thing is, when someone truly cares about you, they’ll do their best to ensure your relationship is symbiotic.
If they care more about themselves, their wants, and their needs, then they stop seeing you as a person who deserves to be respected and cared for: you exist solely for their benefit, and at their convenience.
Calling them out on their bullsh*t shatters that illusion, and they’ll rage about it.
5. They Disappear When You Need Them
Do you remember the quote, “A friend in need is a friend indeed”?
You may be willing to even run across a continent for your friend but when it’s your turn, seeking help, you will be amazed that from your vast social circle, you will only have maybe half a dozen of such people who would be there for you.
Real friends don’t leave their mates when they need help, right?
You need to ponder that if whenever you need someone by your side and your friend make phony excuses ranging from their busy schedules to intentionally ignoring your attempts to contact them, it’s time to reconsider their commitment and if they’re only with you for personal benefits?
This is also a trait common to narcissists, so be careful: if one decides that you’re their favorite person, you may be in for a whole world of ugly.
They’ll be difficult to get rid of, as they’ll guilt trip you and make you feel like the worst person on the planet for not pandering to them when they’re being all fragile and pathetic.
Again there’s some grey area that needs to be assessed on personal experiences and judgments.
6. You Feel Like You Have To Walk On Eggshells With Them
Just recently I had the privilege of a friend losing his cr@p at the lamest excuse, ghosting me after a fairly unnecessary fight. It all started when I suggested he change the caption for the picture he contributed for our page, with only good intentions of having him gather more likes. However, six hours later, he unfollowed the page, cut off all communication with me after a brutal rant.
Fake friends expect you to be an ever-supportive, nodding, a smiling creature who agrees with everything they say and don’t shy away from pulling the trigger and start a huge fight if you have an opinion or idea that differs from theirs.
The meek truth is that people who support everything you say, even appreciating your stupid actions by providing an even worse justification aren’t your true friends. Friends expect a sense of honesty, where you are free to criticize one another.
Real friends can have opposing views, and there should be mutual respect opinions.
As Shahpar once claimed, “We present our opinions as if they are facts”.
Well, don’t Google Shahpar Khan as he’s my friend, not a philosopher.
7. They May Fish For Information
Some people befriend solely to serve the needs of another friend
It’s ridiculous and juvenile, but it’s quite astonishing how many so-called adults actually can’t seem to behave with integrity and maturity.
A new person may enter your life and is immediately really chatty and eager to get to know you.
In no time flat, they might start asking personal questions about some other people in your circle, and if you do a bit of digging, you’ll find that you have an acquaintance in common — usually someone you’ve had a falling out with.
Have you broken up with someone recently? This new “friend” might be spying on you for them to see what you’re up to so they can report back.
Or perhaps a coworker who dislikes you is trying to dig up dirt on you to get you fired.
You might laugh at these scenarios, but you’d be surprised at how often they occur, even though they’re utterly ridiculous.
A fake friend won’t stick their neck out and back you up if there is an argument between you and another person. They won’t stand up for you and vouch for your character because that would mean they risk being disliked by those you are in disagreement with. Instead, they will look on silently, letting you fight alone.
As much as they may gain something from having you in their life, it’s not enough for them to take action on your behalf. They would rather lose you than take your side.
8. They don’t know the REAL YOU
They may be aware of your basic information ranging from name, birthday, favorite color, address but that’s not enough to know you.
They don’t know what really you ‘YOU’. You are more than irrelevant facts about your life. You have traits that make you unique and different from others. Therefore, since they aren’t aware of your real self, they won’t ask the questions your genuine friends ask.
Real friends decipher your moods by things as small as your texting personality but fake friends can’t even differentiate if you’re screaming on their face to leave you alone as they aren’t in the right mood.
In truth, they don’t care about connecting with you on a meaningful level because they don’t see or value you as an important part of their life.
And that’s mainly because…
9. They Mostly Talk About Themselves
Try having a 4-hour long conversation and you’ll be surprised that during that duration, you only heard them talk about themselves. They are self-absorbed conversational narcissists who spend the majority of their time discussing their lives and, as we mentioned above, their problems.
Even before they start talking, you will be sure they will narrate an incident where they met someone famous or went to a super expensive place for an adventure. Fun-fact you know the whole story as it may be the 6th time they are repeating the whole scenario but you’re bound to listen to their crap.
But they don’t often ask how you are doing or what’s going on in your life. And if they do, it’s only toward the end of your time together when they have exhausted every topic that involves them or maybe to keep the chat going on.
And even then, when they have run out of things to say about themselves…
10. They Spread Rumor And Gossip
This one is my favorite!
Try leaking a piece of information that may be a secret and you’ll be proud to realize that it is public property.
The joy and thrill associated with spreading fake gossip is their favorite act. The fun part is that most of the gossip is false but the level of confidence, details, and exaggeration they showcase while narrating stories makes you feel maybe they were eye-witnesses when the event took place.
Blimey! The best part about us “Desi” people is that in our opinion, the person who comes first with the gossip is telling the truth and the defendant is bound to be lying. We will be there to scrub salt onto their wounds but when they offer to present their side of the story, we ignore their pleas by claiming “Choro purani baat hay”.
At times, you act as the person they tell you their gossips. You pretend to be interested, but you barely know half the people they are talking about. They don’t care, though, as long as they can keep hearing the sound of their voice. You should have the courage to tell them on their face that you don’t care and I believe that these ‘gossip sessions’ are worse than many other issues as we destroy people and their reputation based on our personal bias and preferences. Even slut-shaming has its root in gossip.
And their fakery as a friend kicks in when they talk about you to other people. They may take one of the few things they have learned from you during your conversations and use it as a social currency to win the attention and favor of others.
Your secrets are public knowledge when you entrust them with it!
11. Your success invites envy and hatred
You might be happy with your life, relationship, and progress but trust me they are waiting for an opportunity to turn everything on its head. This is somewhat related to the 2nd Point as your success and achievements are considered as a reflection on their failures.
Real friends never get jealous of your success and progress whereas jealousy overcomes the personality of fake friends who reap for a chance to change it.
In some extreme cases, they may even unfriend you for your success over the pettiest excuse, and it is in reality too painful for them to admit you are better than them.
Therefore, on your next accomplishment, keep an eye for those who silently drift away rather than genuinely express happiness and puzzles would start adding up.
But should things ever go wrong for you…
12. They Will Judge Your Mistakes, Failures, And Poor Judgments Harshly
While they may pretend to be your biggest supporter and show their pleasant side at all instances in front of you, behind your back, they will prove to be your biggest critics, even siding with your enemies at times to let you down.
You may be living in the fantasy that they are alongside you, acting as constant support, but in reality, they are quick to judge you and exaggerate events to make you feel even worse. While they claim it’s for our good and refuses to listen to your side of the story, they only do such acts as they cherish the opportunity to feel superior to you.
They rarely ever console you or lend an ear for you to talk about your problems. They are quick to offer solutions to everything, though, because they know best after all.
If they do offer a solution, do not accept it blindly as it has many complications. Most solutions revolve around you admitting to things you may never have done and kill your self-esteem. Moreover, they savor the chance of being the one who dragged you out of a mess and would remember it for a while, pretending you’re indebted by them.
13. They don’t let you forget your mistakes
Let’s admit one universal truth. None of us are perfect and we do mess up on various occasions. There are times when we are well aware that we are at fault and some of us even apologize over our unacceptable behavior.
If you do something to one of your so-called friends, they will remember that incident until you end up in the grave. They may claim that you have been forgiven but their constant reminder and subtle jibes related to particular incidents ensure you frequently go on your guilt trips.
Moreover, their double standards are fairly prominent. Imagine you have to meet them at a particular time, and you end up getting late, they will start fuming and remind you how rude it is. If they do the same, they will casually ignore your protest and expect you to be fine with it.
You can get new friends, new life but when you meet them, they will consider it their noble duty to recall instances with their favorite phrase, “Remember when you…?” This may seem irrelevant but in reality, it is meant to remind you that you’re a bad person and you shouldn’t forget that or maybe that you owe them a lot for that particular incident.