Finding out who your true friends are.

There are moments in life that matter and moments that are just moments but you friends, your true friends should be there no matter what, no questions asked.

These three girls are part of my very small circle of friends, I love them to bits. Photos by me.

A number of instances have occurred in the last week that have made me realise how fickle many friendships are. We just don’t get deep with each other anymore. Loyalty is dropped in favour of a new friend with connections, trust is broken like a cheap dinner plate and gossip is replacing care and consideration.

I feel reality TV is partly to blame for this. They edit conversations to create drama and to fit their time slots, viewers are left with half truths and misinterpreted meanings. When two concerned friends discuss another friend's problem, it is seen as talking behind their backs and turned into something it wasn’t.

This, I believe, leads to us being more guarded in our lives worried about what our friends could be saying behind our backs and editing what we share with them. This creates many problems.

  1. We find it harder to be open and honest with our friends, fearing repercussions.
  2. We internalise more and don’t talk about our problems, which can lead to mental health issues.
  3. We mask our pain instead of sharing it, which can lead to addictions

I’m sure there are probably more. Then the worst happens, the issues you had become apparent and hit everyone in the face like the back of a hand and everyone runs for cover. Your relationship ends, you get sent to court for tax avoidance or bad debt, whatever it is you had hidden it so well or at least thought you had and now it’s there for all to see, who is left stood by your side?

The issue is, if you don’t say anything people make up their own stories to fill the void, and create gossip. These people are not your friends. Others will hound you until they get the truth, these are not your friends either, they just want gossip they can tout as fact. Real friends would shut down the rumours let you know they are there and wait, shoulder at the ready should you ever need to talk.

So how can you tell a real friend from a gossip monger? The truth is I’m not sure you can until it’s to late. To find true friends means going through pain and no one wants to do that. However, we all go through pain at some point and at that point it is hard to see through the fog of who is friend and who is foe. Once things have settled, you will be able to see, who was there? Who showed up? Who disappeared? The disappearing friends can stay gone! On the other side, who showed up but hadn’t bothered in a long time? These are trickier to work out, they could genuinely care and want to check you’re okay. They could be looking for their next piece of gossip though, for these wood-work creepers I’d suggest all they need is a,

‘Thanks for your concern, I’ll be fine, it was good of you to check on me. No I don’t want to go into right now.’

Don’t pour your heart out to these friends, they may have known you the longest, they may have genuinely been their in the past but if they haven’t been around in recent months they are probably just fishing. As long as you have some of those showed up, been here all along friends, you don’t need to give these fishers any information. This maybe the excuse they need to get back to a closer friendship with you but the proof is in the showing up and not expecting details, then you’ll know their actions are sincere.

I have a very small friendship group, in fact not a group at all. I have a handful of close friends who I tell everything too. Three of them (pictured above)form a group the others are stand alone friends. They have all been friends with me for years! I mean since high school and primary school. I find most other friendships have never gotten past the surface stage. This is my protective barrier. I don’t want drama, I don’t want gossip, so I keep things light with most people.

It concerns me for my daughter, I don’t know if she will ever have any of those permanent, show up friends, in her life. We seem so much more closed off to people these days. It makes for a lonely world and more internalised pain than we should have to deal with.

I hope everyone can find at least one friend who can be their, show up no questions asked, friend because we will all need one at some point in our lives.

If you don’t have a friend like that remember their are charities that can listen too. The Samaritans and child-line have some fantastic volunteers. You don’t have to go through your pain on your own, sometimes it’s easier to talk to a faceless stranger. I wish you all love and happiness today and everyday.

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