Hello, my pretties,
I so often write about love in this column: finding love, keeping love, dismissing love. However, I never write about love (or lack of love) that exists between friends. I’ve been concentrating on romantic relationships so much that I’ve completely forgotten to tackle an important relationship that touches all of our lives at one time or another: friendship. Friendship is a tricky beast, to say the least, and at times it can be the most painful type of relationship that we have in life.
As a spirited and nerdy girl, I was always struggling with the world of friendship. I never understood the rules, I didn’t know who was in charge and I always found myself on the losing end of “fitting in” or “being cool.” When I was in the 5th grade my Mother took me to the mall and bought me the coolest pair of flare (bellbottom) jeans that I had ever laid eyes on. They were the darkest denim, had a silver-threaded pattern on the back pockets, and would soon become scarred with bright white salt stains – just like every other pair of giant flare jeans from 1996. I got to school in my beautiful jeans and, to my dismay, found that the coolest (meanest) girl in school (Sarah W.) had also purchased the exact same pair. Oh no. Sarah W. decided to cut me out of our friend group for about two weeks. Two weeks of drifting between being completely ignored or completely tortured by an intimidating gang of 10-year-old girls, to then be “forgiven” for purchasing the jeans and made to promise that I would never wear them again. This set a pretty sad precedent in my life (who am I kidding? This totally messed with my head and probably traumatized me for life.) Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like much has changed. Sometimes, the people you think are your friends won’t always be happy for you when you’re on top of the world and they won’t always support you when you’ve fallen down.
Too often do I encounter or hear about toxic friendships. I frequently ask myself and others: if you wouldn’t put up with that type of treatment or behaviour from virtually anyone else then why would you put up with it from your so-called friends? Friendships can be a lot like romantic relationships: we can fall out of friendship, they can become habitual or secure but no longer beneficial, and sometimes they can have a negative impact on our lives that we don’t even notice until we’ve somehow escaped. So, to help you notice, let’s jump to the list.
Lily Hush’s Three Signs That Your Friend Is A Fake:
1) They can’t be happy for you. Fake friends don’t want your star to ever shine brighter than their own so they manipulate you into feeling bad about your accomplishments and/or hesitant to share any good news. I once waited three months to tell a “friend” that I had fallen in love, my only reason was that I was genuinely happy and I knew she would find some way to make me feel guilty about that.
2) They are ridiculously competitive with you. You know the type: they put you down in front of others, are always taking the wind out of your sails, and they feel the need to one-up you at every turn. They can’t be your equal – they have to be better. Classic Sarah W. behaviour.
3) They cause unnecessary drama in your life. They seem to spew negative energy everywhere. Everything is the end of the world, hanging out with them is trying, and things seem to go awry when you’re with them. These are the types of “friends” who always seem to get you into trouble, your partner and your Mom probably don’t like them and, given the opportunity, they’d probably sell you out for a concert ticket or a free case of beer.
If these qualities sound familiar then you may have some fake friends in your life and you may want to seriously ask yourself why you surround yourself with these types of people. Sometimes the so-called friends we choose are a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves and what kind of treatment we think we deserve from others. Shortly after the denim disaster of ‘96, I told Sarah W. where to go and I wore what I wanted. I may not have been the coolest kid in grade five and I certainly didn’t have all the fake friends she did, but I did have the most beautiful flare jeans that you ever saw and some integrity to boot.
As per usual, whether you’re single, taken or it’s complicated: I’m rooting for you.
Until next time,