Growing up I found it difficult to distinguish between ‘real’ and fake friends, because I was conditioned into thinking that both sets of friends were the same. But what is a true friend and how can we tell the difference between a real and fake friend ? A true friend will be there to wipe away your tears and to help you through your struggles, no matter what time of night it is. But a fake friend? A fake friend will drip poison into your ears and relish the thought of you suffering as they rise in power. A true friend will tell you straight up if your being a wanker but a fake friend will sit and listen with their false sympathies, all the while concocting a master plan to get you out of the picture. I had many fake friends growing up but did we ever stop to consider that we might all have been fake friends at one point? Lets admit it, that friend of a friend that you found just plain annoying but still pretended to like anyway? Why? Because you are afraid of ‘hurting that person’ when in reality you are already hurting them by pretending to be their friend. If I don’t like someone I wont pretend to like them, I will be civil but I will never give them the impression that I want to be friends with them because that is just plain wrong and I know how hurtful that can be.
When I came to secondary school I was a painfully shy gawky 11 year old who clearly lacked confidence. I had just been taken into care a year earlier by my foster mum and while I was beginning to rip away the bandages from the past, my heart still felt sore and it hurt… badly. My first day at secondary school was normal , I sat in a drama lesson and a girl named H beckoned me to sit next to her and we fast became friends, eventually best friends. It all happened so fast, one minute we were buddies and the next we fashioned ourselves as ‘soul sisters’ who would support each other through everything. It all changed about two months in, our friendship group grew bigger and soon I was being left on the shelf. H met C and since us three shared our classes together it was me who became the third wheel and I was painfully aware of what a lone figure I cut. It wasn’t bullying at this point, rather a case of ‘natural selection’ and because I was seen as the weakest I became the person who my ‘friendship group’ cared for the least. They used to run away from me during lunch time because they thought it would be funny to watch me cry and made fun of the way I looked. I had thick frizzy curly hair, buck teeth and a unibrow, in short I was seen as a figure of fun. What started out as me being seen as the third wheel transformed into years of bullying, where I would be called names, ignored, left out and have my property damaged.
I was bullied by people outside of my friendship group too but it was those who called themselves my friends who hurt me the most. They were meant to be there for me but I couldn’t tell them anything, despite H & C’s hurtful behavior towards me I still forgave them everything and kidded myself into thinking that it was just banter. Of course it wasn’t, would a real friend spread rumors about you, tell the boy you liked that you fancied them and delete your work and see it all as one big joke?! No, but a fake friend will talk smack behind your back, a fake friend will use you for their own vindictive purposes and a fake friend will lie to your face when you finally have the courage to confront them and make out that you are some crazy ass bitch . Lord knows how many times I tried to break up with my fake friends but truth is at secondary I had no one and I sure as hell didn’t want to be seen as one of those losers who ate alone. I remember one week where the entire group decided to freeze me out so I hid in the toilets eating my lunch, watching the salt tears plop onto my sandwiches in disgust. I wanted to have the confidence to eat alone and not give a care in the world but truth was I cared too much. When I was meant to give a geography presentation in class but my so-called friend flaked out on me, I was left almost in tears, afraid of what people might think about me standing on stage alone. In fact I remember a classmate called V calling out ‘whether I actually had any friends’ and that is when I broke down. I ran out of the classroom crying, sobbing as I heard the jeers of my classmates behind me.
I am never going to pretend that I am the worlds best friend because I am not but one thing I am not is a fake friend. In year 9 I met CJ, who became a good friend of mine and H’s, since we shared science classes together. H and C had not been best friends for a while and for a time me and H were on happier ground. We spent summers together and spent classes chatting about school and boys, until CJ came into the picture. There seemed to be this continuous cycle, I would meet a friend who I would get close to and then another person would come along and how I saw it, take that ‘best friend’ away from me, leaving me to feel alone again. It happened with H and it happened with CJ, hell even at uni it happened several times but CJ was different. CJ was great, she made me laugh, would invite me over for sleepovers and we would share our innermost secrets with each other. But then something snapped and her and H became closer, bonding through their love of making me feel like S**t. They used to have this game they would play whenever they would see me; point to the unibrow, point to the mustache and make an imitation of a ‘rabbit’ because according to them I looked like a goofy boy who noone would even dare fancy.
When I told H & CJ that I liked a guy called O, it was the first time I had admitted to a “friend” that I had liked someone, because despite my mistreatment, I thought I could trust them with this juicy piece of gossip. Except of course I couldn’t , they went up to him one day after class and pointed to me,shouting loudly for everyone to hear that I fancied him and him and the whole class laughed, as if the idea of me fancying a ‘guy’ who quite clearly thought he was out of my league was preposterous. When I came to class he would go red and his friends would point but instead of my friends supporting me they would join in and make s**t up about me, because apparently that was what real friends would do. I was getting sick of being treated like dirt and while most of the bullying I encountered was not ‘physical’, the emotional side effects were taking its toll. In year 10 everyone went to prom but I decided I didn’t want to go and do you know why? I didn’t want to pretend to like the people who had become my tormentors and forcibly smile my way through conversations that I didn’t want to have. I didn’t want to have to dance and sing to music with the bullies that were my fake friends and act as though everything was ok. I didn’t want to accept the blame for their own horrendous actions and kid myself into thinking that it was my own fault I was being bullied, because I knew that it wasn’t true.When I was told by K that the reason so called friends bullied me was because I was a pushover, it was almost as though they were excusing their behavior and blaming my personality for making them call me names and making me feel worthless.
Hmm, let me think about that for second? Because who doesn’t love being told that their parents don’t love them, that they have no friends and that you are so ugly that even guys will recoil in disgust. Yes, your right, I can see why I am friends with you, because I love wallowing in the drama and making myself look like I am a victim, NOT. Well, shocker here’s a news flash, you guys may have apologized in a year book for -and I quote- ‘anything bullyish’ that you may have done but the truth is you hurt me way too many times for me to ever consider you to be a real friend. I realize now that you were never going to be the one who would stand beside me when I was in pain or mop my tears when yet another bully made a comment on my weight or appearance and that was something I knew a long time ago. I just never had the courage to walk away but here I am walking away and finally telling you what I really think. You were never real friends because a real friend doesn’t target your insecurities , a real friend doesn’t make plans and then cancel to hang out with someone cooler and most of all a real friend will never ever make you feel as worthless and as small as you guys made me.In the words of Bebe Rexa, ‘F**k Fake Friends, you don’t need ’em.
Have You Ever Had Fake Friends?
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