An important lesson for parents and children about “fake friends”
Is your friend actually a frenemy in disguise? Find out how you can spot a fake friend.
Do you remember your secondary school days and the amount of drama you went through enough to rival the twisted plot of a TV soap show?
You think that upon entering adulthood, everyone is more mature by now and you would be able to form sincere friendships.
But one day you discover that your supposed friend has been talking about you behind your back, which makes you wonder if they were ever truly a friend in the first place.
All parents want to protect their children from getting hurt, but it is inevitable that they will come across a few insincere friends who will intentionally hurt their feelings and betray their trust.
To avoid any unecessary drama, it is an important lesson for parents and children to know how to sniff out a “frenemy” and figure out your real friends from the fake ones.
Know thy frenemy
So how exactly can you tell if there is a snake amongst your social circle? These are the red flags to watch out for:
Picking on your flaws
Nobody’s perfect, yet this fake friend seems to focus on your weaknesses and flaws instead of lifting you up or appreciating the good qualities that you have.
They may also poke fun at you supposedly as a joke, but as the saying goes, “There is a grain of truth in every joke”, and that, “A joke is truth wrapped in a smile”.
Not keeping it real
If you sense an air of pretentiousness around a certain friend who always feels the need to show off their material possessions or their children’s accomplishments, then it’s time to reevaluate your friendship.
You should be able to just be yourself in front of your friends and not try to impress or compete with one another.
If they are constantly trying to rub it in your face that they have the latest designer diaper bag, top-of-the-line baby stroller, and branded baby clothes, it only shows how shallow they are – and not to mention arrogant!
Never there for you
Fair-weather friends only appear when they need your help or when it is convenient for them.
Although such friends might be present for the big events in your life (such as your wedding, baby shower, kid’s birthday party, etc), a true friend will actually be there for your normal life too.
Although this doesn’t apply to friends who live overseas, the ones who live just an mrt ride away don’t have an excuse for not being there for you when you needed them the most.
Bearing a grudge
You might have unintentionally done something to offend your friend, but instead forgiving you, they seem to be condemning you for your mistakes – forgetting that they are far from perfect themselves.
A good friend would have the maturity to talk to you about what’s bugging them and try to resolve the problem, rather than posting cryptic passive-aggressive status updates on social media and stewing in their own negativity.
Dr. Les Parrot, author of High Maintenance Relationships, says that, “People who backstab tend to be insecure”. He also describes a backstabber as vindictive, revengeful, deceitful, conniving, resentful, and angry.
If your friend acts concerned about your problems and is nice to your face, but then you catch wind that they have been gossiping about you behind your back, you may want to remove such a toxic person from your life.
Not celebrating your success
To know if your friend truly cares about you, observe their reaction when you achieve an accomplishment or succeed in something.
A genuine friend would be happy for you and share in your joy, whereas a fake friend would be envious and may even withdraw from you out of sheer jealousy
Keep reading to find out more about fake friends.
My fake friend
Fake friends come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – they pretend to care about you yet secretly revel when they see you fall and most of them are very competitive due to their own insecurities.
I once had a friend who, at the time, I thought was a good one, and we would spend a lot of time together. But through the years, I started to notice her true colours slowly starting to show.
She would copy certain things that I did and try to pass off my ideas as her own; She was nice to my face but I found out that she had been gossiping and speaking ill of me behind my back; She would get offended at every little thing that was said and take it as a personal attack; She constantly posted passive-aggressive status updates and memes on her social media page instead of discussing things in person like a mature adult; She passed judgement about my parenting technique yet she struggles to handle and control her own children; She did not celebrate my achievements and even appeared to be quite smug if I was struggling with something.
I realise now that there were a few warning signs showing from the very beginning that she was a frenemy, but I chose to ignore it and hoped that our friendship would last. However her insecurity and jealousy got the best of her and I eventually decided that we should part ways.
Cherish true friendships
My daughter turns four next year and she already has a handful of friends who we meet up with for regular playdates, but I’m anticipating the day she’ll come home to me in tears, telling me about her friend who wasn’t very nice to her.
I cannot prevent fake friends from ever entering her life, but I can be there to guide her to stay away from such people from then on, and how to cherish true friendship when she eventually finds it.
When you become a parent, you just have less time and interest to get caught up in petty squabbles or attention-seeking people who will only bring you down.
Why bother about fake friends when you can focus on the real ones who truly care about you?
Remember, life’s too short for fake friends.