Good friends are invaluable. They bring their own rewards. You may find it easy to recall times when your good friends helped you out. You may have been going through a rough patch but they were there to pick you up and pull you through. Of course, the value of a good friend is not restricted to when times are tough. On a regular basis, they help you to enjoy good times, lift your spirits and increase your emotional energy. When evaluating the quality of  friendship it is important to remember:

a)      There will be times when a good fried needs your help to get through a difficult time. This may drain you of your emotional energy and leave you feeling tired and weak.

b)      The same good friend will offer you many opportunities to share good times with them. These times will greatly improve your emotional energy leaving you feeling positive and energised.

Emotional energy is essential for mental health and wellbeing. It is not about pedantic score keeping but over time, you will find that a good friend has a positive impact on your emotional energy. A good friend helps to bring out the very best in you. Fake friends do the opposite.

Fake friends are people who give all the impressions of being a good friend but little, or none, of the effort.  They consistently rob you of your positive energy and emotions but do very little to help you restore your balance. Fake friends can be tricky to spot because they easily pass themselves off as a good friend and in some cases they may actually think that they are being a good friend.

The difficulty in spotting fake friends

Social psychology teaches us that we are more likely to like those whom we spend more time around. In today’s virtual world, with the advent of social media, it has become even easier to spend time around people. You no longer have to be in the same place. You don’t often ask why you are spending time with these people and in the end you confuse social interaction with friendship.  Fake friends are often confused for a good friend because you interact with them on a regular basis. However, if you were to assess the value these interactions add to your life, you would soon see that these people do not have a positive impact.

2 Fake friends whom you need to kick to touch

In most cases, you do not need to cut off contact with your fake friends. You simply need to reprioritise the relationship and give them less of your energy. However, there are 2 of these fake friends whom you should seriously consider removing from your life, or at the very least, drastically reduce the amount of time you give to them.

1. The belittler

At some stage of your life, you will probably have had a friend who seems very confident but wasn’t really. When you look closely, you find that their confidence does not come from building themselves up; it comes from knocking everybody else down. They are forever belittling others, including you. To make matters worse, this behaviour often gets worse when you have company, as they feel it makes them look more impressive to others. In reality, it rarely does.

The belittler can sometimes change their ways when you confront them in an assertive manner. Unfortunately, it is rarely the behaviour which is the real problem. It is more often their faulty thinking and low self-esteem which leads to the behaviour. Unless they sincerely seek your help, there is little you can do to change their ways. It is usually best to say your piece and distance yourself from them. A simple rule to help you deal with these fake friends is:

‘If you need to make me feel small so that you can feel big, then you’ve got to go’

 2. The emotional drain

These fake friends drain your emotions by regularly dumping their problems on you. As a good friend, you are happy to listen to your friends in their times of need but these people take advantage of that good nature. Every time that they have an issue with something in their life, they will be in touch with you. To make matters worse, they will happily share their problems but they will rarely do anything to resolve them. They just want somewhere to dump their problems so that they can feel as if they have done something about them.

Adding insult to injury, the emotional drain doesn’t like to eat where they sh*t. They don’t like to share their good times with the same people that they share their bad times. When they are having a good time, you will never hear from them but as soon as they hit another speed bump, your phone will sound like an air raid siren, warning you that there are about to be some major problems dropped on you. A rule to help you deal with these fake friends is:

‘If I am not good enough for the good times; you are not going to burden me with the bad times’

Good friendships are based on values. Define your values with Values Based Living.

Friendship is one of life’s most beautiful gifts. When you have a good friend, they will help you to become a better person. They help you through the tough times and are there to share your good times with you. It is a two way process. Emotional energy is essential for mental health and wellbeing. There will be times when helping friends will drain you of your emotional energy. A good friend will also help you restore your emotional energy when they share their good times with you. A friend who only ever takes, or seeks to boost their emotional energy by stealing yours, is not a friend at all. These are fake friends and their importance in your life needs to be greatly reduced. If you have any friends who fall into either of categories above, you need to consider taking action.

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