People can be dishonest, disloyal, and selfish. They can put on a face to get what they want, no matter whom they have to hurt to get it. They are capable of deceiving people who, through the kindness of their hearts, have given them a chance to be their friend. Even the best of us fall for some of these tricks; a person comes to us apparently wanting a companion, and he or she instead ends up humiliating or hurting us. Many of these people are supposed to be our friends. So, how can you tell a true friend from someone who’s just pretending?
A real friend won’t always wait for you to call. I’ve been in one-sided friendships before in which the other person, or “friend” wouldn’t make any effort at all. I decided to stop calling the person for a week or so, and learned that when left to his own devices, the guy wouldn’t try to make plans or anything. Thinking that I might be jumping to conclusions, I gave him another week. Still nothing. I haven’t seen or talked to him since, and it’s because he wasn’t willing to make the small amount of effort to keep up our friendship. It takes two to maintain a friendship, and a real friend will eventually call, no matter who usually calls first, just to make sure everything is okay.
You can tell if someone’s a real friend or not if he or she notices when something is wrong. If you’re not acting like yourself or seem unhappy, a real friend will pick up on it because he or she will be paying attention to your emotions and expressions. Someone who’s just acting as your friend might not notice anything at all and act as if everything is normal because he or she doesn’t really know you very well, or might not even really care whether or not you’re feeling alright. A real friend can read your emotions, no matter how hard you try to conceal them, and will be genuinely concerned about you.
Real friends help each other out even when they’re not asked. For example, one of my best friends needed some money early on in the year, yet she refused when I asked her if I could lend (or just give) it to her. However, she said she couldn’t take money from me, so I did what I thought was the best option: I slipped the money into her locker and she never even found out it was me. Had I asked for her approval, she might not have gotten the money she needed. So what if she didn’t thank me for it? She needed my help, so I took matters into my own hands like a real friend should.
If someone’s really your friend, he or she won’t give up aiding you so easily. A real friend will try to move heaven and earth for you before throwing in the towel. This means that he or she won’t limit him or herself to “conventional” methods to help you out, because conventional methods are easy, and when an easy action just doesn’t cut it, you’ll still need help and your friend should be there for you. Good friends won’t give up when they’re needed, because it’s easy to pretend to be a friend and back out when things get tough; it’s hard to get in the middle of a problem and work your way out.
The easiest way to tell if someone is really your friend is to attempt to have a really deep, meaningful conversation with him or her. Talk about a relationship, family matters, the future, or something that you find yourself thinking about when you’re alone. A real friend will actually get into the conversation because he or she knows that it means something to you, whereas a “pretend” friend will say you’re acting strange and dismiss the conversation. Real friends don’t mind being uncomfortable or emotional every once in a while, and this test is almost sure to weed-out the fakers.