The Conversation We Need to Have

In a recent episode of PBS Newshour, Judy Woodruff interviewed Dr. Ted Johnson. Johnson is a retired Navy commander, senior adviser at the center-left think tank New America, and columnist at the…


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Avoiding False Friends

The anti-frenemy ingredient

We should avoid false friendship as much as possible, but most likely, you have had a false friend. The type is friendly to your face but speaks poorly of you any chance they get, and they are never happy for you.

A selfish, two-faced, or untrustworthy friend is toxic but also quite common. Sometimes your false friend is a people pleaser that lies to tell you what you want to hear but then tells the truth to another. This type of friendship generally occurs when the false friend has low self-esteem or the sinister wolf in sheep’s clothing, as it were.

Everyone says they want to be told the truth, but they don’t. So, this creates a dilemma — your friend could lie to make you feel good or tell you the truth and potentially destroy the relationship. A true friend tells the truth, and if that burns the friendship to the ground, you didn’t really lose your friend; hear me out. If telling a friend the truth ruins the friendship, it wasn’t really a friendship. If a friend talks bad about you behind your back or is jealous of your accomplishments, they weren’t really your friend.

If you find out that you have a false friend, remember they weren’t your friend, and you can’t lose what you don’t have. So, if this person ever added any positivity to your life, the false friendship was still a net positive. Be strict with yourself and lenient with others — don’t be mad, just move on.

I just said we should be strict with ourselves and that a true friend should tell the truth, but people hate being told the truth; so what now? You should be a good friend regardless of the perception of potential friendship loss. Remember, you didn’t lose a friendship if telling the truth ends the relationship. Your circle will be small but solid, and your relationships will be genuine. The truth will weed out false friends; use it to your advantage.

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