Mental Health

Talking Point: Friendship Red-flags and How to Spot a Fake Friend

I’m incredibly lucky to have a handful of friends I consider family. We share each other’s heartache and joy, and those feelings are genuine. We laugh together, we cry together and we share everything in-between. But despite having a selection of friends I couldn’t bear to live without, I’ve also had a handful of fake friends – and they are the worst. We’ve all had one, and they’re so easy to spot. But, on the off-chance you’ve got a fake friend of your own and you’re yet to discover it, here are three red flags to look out for, and three dignified ways to cope through a friendship breakup.

They’re Jealous of Your Success

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But not in a flattering way. You finally secure that incredible promotion at work and you can’t wait to share the good news with your pals – but that one friend leaves your message on read. Or worse, she/he will congratulate you before going on to explain how she/he’s been made SEO of the company they work for, been given a snazzy company car, and won the fucking lottery. This person LOVES to be centre of attention but never lets you have your moment – and you deserve to sparkle. She/he’s the same friend who always wants to talk about her/himself when you catch up over coffee, but when the conversation turns towards your life she/he makes excuses to leave. This is one of the most obvious red flags in a toxic friendship – and one of the biggest signs you need to break it off.

They Make You Feel Like Shit

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You never feel better for hanging around with her/him. In fact, you feel worse. This friend physically and emotionally drains you – it’s all about them and you never feel like your feelings or problems matter. When you eventually confide in them about something, you’re instantly paranoid and worry they’ll gossip behind your back. A real friend would never betray your trust and deep down, you know it. If you even need to question whether your friend will keep your secret, then that person is not your friend. The truth hurts, but it’s better to find out now than to have your own business fed back to you later down the line. There’s nothing worse, especially when the truth has been so bent out of shape along the grapevine you barely realise the gossip is about you. And I guarantee that a ‘friend’ who shares your secrets also puts you down the moment your back is turned. This friend is likely to be the ‘bad influence’ and may even encourage you to make bad decisions, ultimately making themselves look better and feel better about themselves. She/he’s also the type of friend who’d happily let you go home with a fuckboy on a night out and completely ignore you the next day. Much like fuckboys who ghost you after an amazing date are not worthy of a second chance, friends who ignore you are not friends, please get rid and move on.

They’re All About The Good Times

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Whether their social calendar has dried up and you’re throwing a party or they need a lift – they’ll be all over you. But as soon as they’ve used you up, they’ll spit you right back out again. They only ever seem to want you when it benefits them, but as soon as you need a favour in return they’re full of ridiculous excuses. Friendship is a two way street, respect is a mutual concept and unless the friendship benefits you as much as it benefits them, you’re being walked all over. Please recognise this and drop-kick that toxic friendship out of your life.

Finally made the decision to phase out that frenemy? YES QUEEN. Here’s how to cope.

Let It Go

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You’ve broken the friendship off for a reason, so let it go. Sure, it’s going to be easier said than done if you’ve been friends with that person for a long time. But I promise, you’ll start feeling so much better without their negativity weighing you down. There’s no harm in holding on to the happier memories you shared together, but stop letting their negativity and pointless dramas hold you back.

Surround Yourself With Real Friends

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There’s no better therapy than good times with good friends, especially when you’re at a low ebb. That said, don’t start bitching about your ex-friend to everyone who’ll listen – especially if they were a mutual friend. In the same way fishing for sympathy and slating your ex after a nasty break up can make you look like a desperate spinster, going on and on about your ex-friend will eventually start to grate on even your closest friends. And please, for Christ’s sake do not post passive-aggressive updates on any social media platforms. Resist the urge to dig out a relatable quote and upload it to Instagram. You’re a strong woman, do not stoop to this level. And do not give anybody an opportunity to screenshot you. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. The best thing you can do is move on with your head held high and let karma work its magic.

Don’t Give In

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Sure she/he was a fake friend, but she/he may find it hard to let go. She/he may have even been totally unaware of their toxic habits, and the sudden conflict may come as a total surprise. If you feel she/he is trying to worm her/his way back in, make a brief list of the reasons you decided to call it time on your friendship in the first place.

Until next time,

Lou x

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