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HELP! SITUATION SPOTLIGHT - "How do I know if someone is really my friend?"

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Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

Courtney Elizabeth Anderson


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In our HELP! SITUATION SPOTLIGHT™ series, we shine the light on challenges that community members have shared with me. This episode is, “How do I know if someone is really my friend?”

Ah, friendship. The bond that forms where we are safe to share our secrets, fears and dreams. We take off our “masks” that we use with the world (to protect us) and we share our authentic selves. The bliss of spending time with a true friend is one of the best parts of life.

Yet, what about the painful experience of letting our guard down, sharing our authentic selves, trusting a person and then later having to face the fact that we were deceived, tricked and manipulated by the person we trusted? We are broken as a person when our trust is broken. How may we ensure that we have “real” friends in our lives while preventing being hurt and made a fool of by “pretend” friends?

Q: How do I know if someone is really my friend?

A: The behavior of a friend is based on the foundation that your happiness is their happiness. Any behavior to the contrary indicates that they are not (yet or still) a friend.

Insults, making fun of you, etc., these are all behaviors that show you the person is not (at this time) your friend. Is it possible that a person was your friend at one time in the past and has changed their mind and is no longer your friend? Yes. Is it possible that someone who is currently not your friend may develop into a “real” friend in the future? Yes.

What do we do to protect ourselves while being open to “real” friends? If the person behaves based on a foundation that your happiness is their happiness, continue to reciprocate (it takes a friend to have a friend). If the person is not behaving that way, you cease to do so (until they return to friendship behavior). “Friends! How many of us have them?” (Whodini, Escape album, 1984)