We’ve all had that “friend” who makes you feel like the friendship is real but eventually you realise that it is more damaging than good for you. They do not have your interests at heart most of the time and often you will catch yourself faking it around them. If a fake friend finds out who you truly are, they probably won’t be friends with you anymore.
So how do you know you have a fake friend? Fake friends are the people you hang around with that drain your energy. You don’t feel comfortable, genuine, or emotionally secure around fake friends. Here are some other key points that may help
- Your interests have become more and more different.
- You no longer work together / play on the same sports team / attend the same organization.
- Over time, you grew apart.
- You are always walking on eggshells.
- You are less alike than you originally thought.
- You have become different people than when you were younger.
- You have nothing in common anymore.
- You only hear from them when they ask to use your lawnmower / want to borrow your car / need help with next month’s rent.
- “Jokes” are no longer funny anymore.
- It’s just too emotional.
Turning a fake friend into a real one often takes a lot more effort than it’s worth. The longer you spend time with a fake friend, the longer your fake friend boundaries are established, and the harder it becomes to turn a fake friend into a real friend.
So how can you get rid of the fake friends in your life?
This is Marie Kondo’s KonMarie Method for relationships.
Step #1: Know Your True Friends
These are some signs that you have a genuine friendship, and not a fake one:
Real friends give us their attention and are present to our needs.
They support us when we are feeling down.
True friends are genuine and keep their promises.
They are there for you even if they can’t get something from you.
They accept your flaws.
They actively listen rather than focus on themselves.
True friends make us want to become better.
Step #2: Identify Your Obligatory Friends
Obligatory friend is someone you don’t enjoy spending time with, but end up spending time with because you feel guilty. It’s a habit you do not know how to stop.
Step #3: Identify Your Spheres of Interest
When you first meet someone, you are not sure how many of your interests and their interests overlap. You both have spheres of interest, and you wonder how much overlaps.
Then as you get to know each other, you find more and more commonalities. The areas you have in common are called relevance. The closer your spheres of interest, the more you like someone.
Sometimes ‘interests’ can be points of relevance such as:
Working at the same company
Living in the same building
Going to the same school
Playing on the same team
Being a part of the same organization
Having gone on the same trip
The more commonalities you have, the more relevant someone is to you. In a great relationship, the circles move closer together:
Step #4: Avoid The Slow Creep
The slow creep is when your spheres of interest slowly creep farther and farther apart.
The problem with fake friends is we often do not realize a friendship is becoming obligatory until it’s already highly unfun to hang out with them—and then it’s hard to break up. You can know someone for years and not realize how much you have changed or that you no longer are enjoying each other’s company.
When your spheres of interest move farther and farther apart, you get closer and closer to becoming ambivalent about the person and your relationship.
And ambivalent relationships are dangerous.
Step #5: Beware of Ambivalent Friends
Our friends can become fake friends when we begin feeling ambivalent about them.
Ambivalent relationships cause the most emotional strain, take the most energy, and are the most toxic. You might not realize it, but ambivalent relationships are more toxic than toxic ones. Wait! What? I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true!
Step #6: Safeguard Your Social Energy
We only have so much social energy. And ambivalence takes more energy.
With toxic relationships, we know we need to cut them out—and often do. Ambivalent relationships are much harder. Guessing, wondering, protecting—those all take a lot more energy. It takes so much physical energy to be on guard.
Fake friends give you guilt.
You know how this goes. Habit. Routine. Guilt.
Are there people who you are close with for the wrong reasons? Are there people who you are lying to yourself about? Are there people you dread hanging out with?
Letting them go helps you both.