I’m sure we’ve all wondered at one time or another if the friends we have are really our “true friends”. We’ve all had a fight with a friend that’s made us say “she wasn’t my true friend anyway”. What exactly does this mean? Does it mean you’ve felt it all along and now your friend’s actions have given you confirmation? We’ve also heard the term frenemy. A frenemy is someone who claims to be your friend but deep down inside doesn’t want you to prosper in any area of your life. Sounds crazy right? You’d think to yourself why wouldn’t two friends want the best for each other if they are so called true friends? Is it to keep tabs on the person? Is it to constantly be able to upstage the person? Is it for some sort of personal gain? Or is it based on the saying keep your friends close but your enemies closer? There can be many different types of friendships that have you wondering if someone is your true friend or just a frenemy. You have your ride or die friendships where you know these friends always have your back no matter what. You have your friends at work or church, who are good friends but you may not confide in them about everything. Then you have friends who you like to hang and party with because they are connected to a specific crowd that you like to be around. Since friendships can come in so many facets it’s easy for the real meaning of a true friend to become a grey area. Even when the area isn’t grey you still have friends that are always around each other but seem to really not like one another. It’s a very strange phenomenon. A perfect example of this is my cousin and her so called best friend. They’ve been friends since elementary school but their relationship is one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen. They always seem to be down each other’s throat and their always in some sort of competition. I feel they genuinely care for one another but it seems as if they go out of their way to prove that the other is prettier, smarter or just all around “better”. Whenever I’m around them there is always a competition in their conversations, a competition in dressing and especially a competition with men. They sometime even go out of their way to put the others flaws and shortcomings on display. Not to mention the constant talking behind each other’s back. Even through all this they still claim to be the best of friends. Watching their relationship makes it’s clear that they both are dealing with jealousy, envy and insecurity issues. Why is this? Can’t two women be great friends without feeling threatened or intimidated by the other? Sure there will always be someone smarter, prettier or with more money but that’s where confidence comes in. When a woman is sure of whom she is in her own rite competition no longer matters. A woman who is truly secure in herself says “there’s no competition”, I am great and so are you! I truly feel that women need to recognize this and be comfortable and happy with themselves. There’s no need to allow jealousy to create tension in your friendships. Disloyalty, Jealousy, envy and insecurities are the main things that destroy friendships. I can understand it may be hard sometimes to be happy for a friend when a person isn’t completely satisfied with their own life. This is where faith and hope has to come in. Know that things are always changing in life. Nothing ever stays the same. And even if it may be your friend’s time of elation where everything happens to be going so perfectly for her, know that your time will arrive as well. Being genuinely happy for someone replenishes the soul. It helps you to become a better person. In my book “The Mean Girls Handbook of Etiquette” my co author and I have a chapter called “Haters” where we discuss jealousy and friendships. This works two ways. Not only should you be happy for your friends when things may not be so great for you but terrific for them, it is also important to practice humility if you’re the one in the more positive situation. Be considerate of your friend if you see she may be having a hard time in life. I’m not saying you should feel bad if things are going great in your life but it’s important to empathize. If you just received a huge job promotion and your best friend is depressed about getting laid off, it’s important to share your news in a gentle humble way. Not in a braggadocios manner. We should always use wisdom with things like this. This is the true art of being a good friend. True friends think about each other’s feelings. Real friends are not out to hurt you or make you purposely jealous. In my book I also discuss the importance of empathy when one friend has found true love but the other hasn’t.
I quote “Empathy is like putting yourself in another’s shoes. It means trying to understand what it means to feel how that person feels. When you are empathizing with someone you think about things that will make them feel bad before you say or do something” Being a good friend is about constantly being thoughtful. We should always be conscious of the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you”
Now, how many of us can say we’re hands down a “true friend”? When I say a true friend, I’m saying someone who is loyal. Someone you can completely trust with your deepest darkest secrets. Someone who wants to help you get ahead if they have the tools to do so. Someone who isn’t waiting for you to mess up so that they’ll feel better about their own life. Someone who isn’t talking badly about you behind your back or wishing your life wasn’t as perfect as it is. Someone who genuinely is happy for you and cares for you. When you think about it that way it can sound pretty hard being a “true friend”. This is something we women should all strive to be.
We have to remember that our best girlfriends are sometimes all we really have. Who’s the first person we call when things get crazy in our lives? Our friends! When our boss or husband is acting up, every girl needs that friend to talk to. I think we can all stand to be better friends. If someone is really your friend, treat them accordingly. There should be no in between. If you really don’t like someone that you constantly choose to be around, don’t be around them! We as women have to do better in this arena. Let’s try building our sisters and friends up. Encouraging each other. Being there for one another. Helping each other. Let’s all work on being the type of friend we’d want someone to be to us. There’s nothing like a “true friend”. True friends can make the joys of life that much greater.