Every so often you’re left feeling alone and wondering if you’ve ever had real friends. You start to wonder if anyone would stand by your side in times of need and provide you with (at the very least) comfort in times of crisis.
Yet, with first world problems being as they are, it is that much harder to suss out the real friends from the fake friends, or rather, ‘fair-weathered’ friends.
Here are some guidelines that may perhaps guide you to the right flock, or the right flock to you.
#1: Activity vs Person
There are people that meet you because they genuinely enjoy you – doesn’t matter what the activity is, they’ll make time for you.
There are also people who enjoy certain activities and will use you as a means to engage in those activities – like a friend who would only meet you for a particular activity, anything else would be a no-no.
Suffice it to say, go with the people that love you for you, not the activity options you bring with you – that should be a bonus, but not the primary driving force behind others’ motivation to spend time with you.
You can do anything, or nothing at all, with people that are there for you without any complaints about being bored or purposelessness.
#2: Investment of time
Life in the society of today with it’s ever accelerating pace makes finding time to do the things you like, and meet the people you want to meet a little more challenging.
The upside is that this is, in itself, a ‘natural’ filter that removes the hi-bye ‘friends’ from your life beyond social media.
There will be people who don’t even bother, and there will be people that bother, but never follow through. Do away with those that never bother. A little discretion is needed when trying to decide if these people are really that busy, or they simply find inserting you into their moderately busy schedule a real hassle. More often than not, these people often have free time every now and then that they’d use to do things, or meet other people, so really, you decide.
In short, the ones worth keeping will always find time with you to be worth having.
#3: Sharing is caring
While it’s always best to go dutch when you dine together as a group, a real friend does not mind the occasional dollar or two spent in your favor, for a drink, perhaps.
When dining in groups, especially at fancy places where the bill often goes up to what most people consider hefty, it is not uncommon for one person to decide to use a credit/debit card to settle the bill before collecting cash from everyone individually.
There will be (believe me) people who subtract a little here and there (taxes and service charges, usually) and end up paying a lot lesser than they really ought to pay. Of course, this person could be you, and because there are always two sides to a coin, it pays to know what kind of company you’re keeping. This happens even in smaller groups, so be aware. It’s really not about the money, it’s about basic (really basic) integrity.
Let it slide once, because you’re nice. Let it slide twice, because you’re nice, but three times and it’s time to draw the line. It’s just rude and blatant exploitation and you definitely don’t need any of that.
#4: Disunited goals
Adding on from #1, the reality of people is that not everyone meets you for the same purpose, or the proposed purpose prior to the actual meeting up.
There will be people with underlying motives and intentions.
For example, some come to boast and flaunt, (fiercely) pulling you in into their make-believe fantasy world (delusions of grandeur). Love me, hate me, just look at me. These people feign interest (or generate the bare minimum) in the proposed activity so that they are able to perform their little ‘show-and-tell’ in a group setting.
It is relatively easy to identify these people. Engage in the activity as planned and have as much fun as you can. Let their remarks and comments slide, giving only minimal responses, enough to not come across as rude, but not enough to reinforce or encourage continuation.
They’ll get bored and eventually sink into their own internal world once they feel they’ve lost control over the external.
Some people have mental lists of who is more important or significant to them. That’s fine, well, unless you’ve made plans with these people only to find out at the last minute that they ‘suddenly’ have something on. Once, twice and three times or more, you start to figure that you were the backup plan all along.
They’ve got ‘better’ people to meet, ‘better’ things to do than to spend time wasting away with you.
It’s always ‘sorry, I’m busy’ with you but ‘I’ll be right there’ with someone else. People like that, you definitely don’t need ’em.
At the end of the day, to have good friends, be one. The people who have a desire to stay in your life will make an effort to do so, less the ulterior motives. Every now and then, people disappoint. It is inevitable.
Take a break and stop putting yourself out there for people who only meet you when they need something from you, or you for something.
Take a break from being there for people who are never there for you, or only there when it’s ‘convenient’.
Take a break from meeting people who meet you only to talk about and exalt themselves.
Take a break from people who are always too ‘busy’ for you, but free for everyone else.
Take a break from everyone.