How to Know if Your Friend Is Really a Friend
If you're unsure whether your friend is really a true friend or not, it generally means things have happened to cause you some doubt. The fact that you cannot be certain means that the friendship is under question and your gut feelings need to be addressed before you can continue to trust this friendship is worth the effort. So, is this friend true to you or not?
Does Your Friend Want to Be With You?
Spend time with your friend.Spending time together is a normal and expected part of friendship. Begin here as it is the best clue as to whether or not your friend is willing to make an effort in the friendship. Here are things to consider about how your friend reacts to you wanting to spend time together:
- If your friend makes the time, that's a good sign. Friends make time for each other and don't act squeamish or as if they'd rather be somewhere else. Sometimes your friend may be genuinely busy and that's fine, just as long as your friend makes time to be together, when it's appropriate, such as during breaks or lunch, perhaps on a weekend, during vacation time, etc.
- If your friend doesn't want to make the time or comes up with a lot of excuses every time you try, then you have a warning sign that he or she is not keen to be around you much. If you have arranged going somewhere together and your friend keeps pulling out on such arrangements, that's a telling sign too. Realize that nobody is "always busy" -- that is just an excuse showing they don't wish to prioritize you.
- If your friend ditches you almost all the time, and it doesn't seem like a joke, that means he/she isn't really a good friend.
See what happens if you try to hang around a friend who is giving you signals of not wanting to be near you.Tag along with them. This may seem hard but you can say, "Hey, how are things going today?" And walk with your friend. Notice his or her reaction and comfort levels. If she or he is your friend, they'll be thrilled to have you around. If she or he is not, your friend may grunt, fail to talk to you, shrug a lot and try to walk faster to get away from you.
Invite your friend to a party or special occasion at your place.Invite your friend over and see whether or not he or she accepts the invitation. If your friend does come, is she or he being friendly with you or is she or he ignoring you and just stuffing down the cake and soda and grabbing the goodie bag while leaving early? Since you are the host or the main center of attention when it's at your place, a good friend should be spending time talking to you and being friendly. A bad friend will use the occasion to get what he or she wants out of it, then hightail it out of there with nary a goodbye.
How Supportive is Your Friend?
Remember that friendship is not about the people who are true to your face.It's about the people who are true behind your back. This section features some "tests" that you can make use of to observe and note how your friend behaves when you're not there to defend yourself. These tests are all optional, and you can try one, two or all of them, or just skip this section -- do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Ultimately, your feelings will matter most, so if needed, just jump to Part 3.
Observe how your friend is when he or she doesn't notice you're about.This provides you with the opportunity to find out what type of people your friend hangs out with or if they say anything bad about you or one of your closer friends. Be around where they hang out and just be quietly in the background, saying nothing and not drawing attention to yourself, keeping a nice distance away. Don't give away any clues you're watching them, and if they're not being such a great friend, they probably won't even notice you. They might say uncomplimentary things about you, or about someone else who is really close to you.
- Listen for verbal clues, and watch for physical and emotional clues as well.
Consider how your friend handles your confidences.A good and trustworthy friend won't gossip about you and won't spread rumors or, even worse, lies. Does your friend keep all of your confidences? Do you ever hear of anything you only told this friend being spoken of by someone else you didn't tell?
- Test your friend. Tell him or her a fake secret you have, and see if your friend makes rumors about the matter or not. Make sure that your fake secret is scandalous enough but does not involve anyone but you.
Set up the trolling test.This is entirely optional and if it feels icky, weird or undesirable, just skip it. If you think it might help and you have someone willing to help out, it can be one more thing to add to the mix for your decision-making. So, the test is: Have a classmate or coworker talk about you in an unflattering way to your friend, and have the classmate or coworker record or tell you whatever he or she said. If your classmate or coworker can't record the response, be the one to observe your friend while the unflattering scene unfolds. If your friend defends you, that's a great sign of loyalty but if he or she agrees and starts dissing you back, then you know this person isn't being a true friend.
How Does Your Friend Treat You?
Be wary of a friend who forces you to do things their way or when they want.If they want you to fall in line regardless of how you feel or what you'd prefer to do, then it means they don't care about you, and only want you as a henchman/henchwoman. This is a case of being used, not liked, and it is a classic sign of a controlling personality. That kind of person is near impossible to be good friends with, because you never know when they like you for what you can do for them or like you for you.
Think about how you feel when you talk around this person.Can you be yourself or do you feel as if you have to "be a certain way" or be really careful about what you say? A true friend is someone you can be yourself around and who won't judge you for the funny quirks, the odd blurts and the weird ways you perceive the world. A true friend will accept you as the package you are and won't expect you to walk on eggshells or censor the way you talk. When you don't have to be careful about what you say, that's when you're around the right person.
- A friend is someone who gives you the liberty to be yourself. Anything less is not true friendship.
Pull away from your friend temporarily.Does your friend wonder why you are doing this and ask after you? Or, does this friend seem relieved that you're not around? This can be an extremely telling factor when trying to determine how much this person cares about you, for only a person who hears your silence and sees your absence truly cares for you.
Reaching Your Decision
Weigh up what you have learned by assessing your friendship using the above suggestions.Does your friend seem true or false to you? Do you feel comfortable and happy around this person or do you feel awkward, controlled and/or unhappy around him or her? Does your friend inspire and motivate you or send shivers of angst and worry down your spine? Do you have evidence that this person supports you or badmouths you? Remind yourself that no friend is better than a bad friend, and that you will find a new friend if this one proves to be false. Also, sometimes your friendship circle as a whole may decrease in size but will increase in value, so let that be your guide.
- When making your decision, keep in mind that the fact you have had to question this friend's loyalty is a red flag. Generally, the only people you owe loyalty to are those who don't cause you to question theirs.
QuestionI have a friend who I have helped through some really tough times, but every time I need someone to be there for me, she's not. Also, if she doesn't get her way she won't talk to me for ages. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answerif she doesn't stand by you in hard times, she is not a good friend. You should make new friends. You can either tell this "friend" that it isn't working out and you don't want to be friends anymore, or just start avoiding her until she gets the message.Thanks!
QuestionI have a friend that says that people in class dislike me because of my character. How can I make them like me back so they can stop bullshiting me behind my back?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFind out exactly what it is about your character that people dislike. While it's never a good idea to try to change yourself solely to please other people, a mature person is willing to hear criticism and learn and grow from it. Perhaps you make fun of others or are rude? If so, work on changing those behaviors.Thanks!
QuestionI had a fight with my friends recently. I apologized to them, but they did not accept the apology at first. Now they're telling me I'm a true friend. Should I trust them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe it just took them a little while to get over their hurt feelings. Sometimes this happens. If you think they're sincere, that they really forgive you and want to be friends again, you should accept that, believe them, and stay friends.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if whenever my friend is angry, she only directs her anger at me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry talking to her about this. It's possible she doesn't even know she's doing it. Just say something like, "I feel like when you get mad, you take it out on me, even when I haven't done anything wrong. It hurts my feelings." If she is dismissive of your feelings or unwilling to change, she's not a good friend and you should distance yourself from her.Thanks!
QuestionWhen I cry, my friend pats me on the shoulder, tells me to man up, and goes away. Is this a real friend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA friend is someone who helps you through tough times and helps you grow. This person may be a friend, but perhaps not a good or close friend.Thanks!
QuestionI'm autistic, and people find it hard to be my friend or think I'm weird. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI understand. Making friends is really hard. Do you know any other autistic peers? You could try asking someone if you could hang out with them for a bit. Try complimenting people. Also, you can try making a list of everyone you might want to be friends with and asking them to hang out one by one. Ask people questions about their life. If there's a group of friends you'd like to join, try asking them, "So how did you all meet?"Thanks!
QuestionSo my best friend and I got into a fight, and now she doesn't want to be friends anymore. She is spreading rumors about me all over school. Was she ever my real friend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt doesn't necessarily mean she was never your friend, it just means she is angry and acting very immaturely. Don't let the rumors get to you, because that's what she wants. If you do want to try to repair this friendship, I would apologize for your part in the argument, but tell her you'd like an apology as well.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I test a friend who claims to love me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA good way is to stop texting, calling or emailing them for a while. If they start to call you, text or email asking if you are okay, then you know that they are true.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if someone is telling my secrets?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBe straightforward, respectful, and assertive, and tell them to stop spreading your secrets. You may feel like sharing that you feel hurt and disrespected, and that this is making you reevaluate your friendship in order to make your point more forcefully and to let them know that their actions have had consequences.Thanks!
QuestionI have a guy friend (I'm a girl). When we text, he barely writes anything. Does he hate me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHe just may not be a texting person. Try a phone call or Skype.Thanks!
- If your friend finds out you've been plotting, they might accuse you of being untrustworthy and say that they "always liked you until now". If you don't trust them, then don't be friends with them.
- If you think your friend is lying, always get proof of what he/she said or has done, so that you can confront them with the evidence.
- If you feel like your friend wasn't really there during your hard times, then chances are they aren't a true friend.
- A true friend is someone who appreciates you as a person even when your not around, so if your friend is the type to talk behind your back or other people's backs, this person is probably not a true friend.
- If you ask other friends to talk to that friend, they might out you for snooping.
- Reading your friend's diary is risky. People work out who they are and what they think in a diary and often this changes from day to day, mood to mood, and isn't necessarily a true reflection of their general, overall feelings toward another person. It is complicated and really, it isn't a good thing for you to do or to decide a relationship's status on.
Video: How to Tell if a Friend Really Isn't a Friend
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