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How to not be a fake friend: 10 tips for true friendship

True friendship is more valuable than most other things in the world.

Having good friends who love and support you in everything you do is important for your overall happiness.

A true friend is someone who has your back no matter what. It’s a reciprocal relationship.

In order to have true friends, you have to be a true friend yourself.

It’s up to us to make our relationships a priority in life and to put in the effort to develop strong, authentic relationships.

Here are 10 tips to help you find true friendship

1) Consistently be there

True friendship is about being there for your friends, whenever they need you. A true friend is a person who follows through.

They will drop everything if their friend needs them and put them first when they need it.

They will do everything in their power to keep their friend safe and out of harm’s way.

A true friend doesn’t care who is trying to harm their friend, they will always stand up for them when they are in trouble no matter. They are always on their side.

The key to true friendship is this consistency.

It’s about always being there no matter what. You should be able to rely on your true friend coming to your aid time and time again.

Your friend should never have to question whether or not you’re going to show up.

They should never have to question whether you’ll support them and be on their side.

They should never have to question whether you’re going to judge them for actions they have taken, or things they have done.

True friendship is completely and utterly without question.

They should just know.

At the same time, you can expect the same back from them. True friendship is reciprocal.

So, what’s the difference with a fake friend?

A fake friend says what you need to hear in the moment.

A fake friend will tell you that they will be there, but when the day comes, something always comes up. Something is always more important than your needs.

A fake friend will say they won’t judge, but will do exactly that. They will devalue you if you make a mistake and let you know it.

A fake friend is very inconsistent. They will be there when it suits them and their image, and won’t be there when it’s an inconvenience. You can’t always count on them to support you, they could take anyone’s side depending on the circumstances. You can’t always rely on it being your own.

2) Be honest

Friendship is built on honesty. If you aren’t willing to be honest with your close friends, then the friendship is never going to last.

With honesty comes empathy and perspective.

In order for friends to truly know who each other is, they have to be open and honest with each other.

It requires a degree of vulnerability, which is why it’s such a special kind of friendship. By truly being honest and letting your friends see the real you, they can trust you and reciprocate. Understanding each other on this deeper level comes with plenty of empathy perspective to get each other through any tough times that arise.

Being able to share these intricate details of your life is a testament to how much your value your friends and their opinions.

But, it goes further than just being honest about you and your life.

You also have to be honest with your friends. This means opening up those difficult conversations that your friends need to hear – but won’t want to.

True friendship is about having their best interests at heart and being willing to be honest with the truth no matter what.

So, what’s the difference with fake friends?

Fake friends will happily deceive you in order to give themselves a leg up in the world. While they might openly share snippets of their life, they refuse to open up and reveal their true selves to you.

Why? Because they don’t want to let anyone else in. They only care about themselves and aren’t willing to make themselves vulnerable to anyone.

You can’t get close to a fake friend, for the simple reason that they won’t open up enough to allow it. For this same reason, you also can’t trust them.

3) Accept your friends for who they are

True friends aren’t there to try and change their friends to suit them. They wholeheartedly accept their friends for who they are no matter what.

We all have to make difficult choices in life, which can lead us away from our friends and put us on a different path. Sometimes, we simply have to do what is right for us and what we need.

True friends stick around through this thick and thin. They accept the new path you have taken in life and support you through it.

Even if you drift a little.

Even if you don’t see them as much anymore.

Even if you don’t play that main role in their life anymore.

True friends are still there if they’re needed. They offer advice when needed and encourage their friend to make the right decision, without pressure. At the end of the day, being a true friend means trusting their judgement without question.

Friendship doesn’t end just because lives change. They see through these times with complete and utter acceptance for the person.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

A fake friend accepts you at the moment, but it’s conditional. If life changes, if you change, or if they simply change their mind, they will happily drop you.

They care a lot about other people’s opinion. So, if it comes down to a popularity contest and they feel like you’re dragging you down, they will drop the dead weight.

A fake friend offers up their way or the highway. They aren’t interested in trusting their friends’ judgement. They just want what’s best for them, and if their friend isn’t offering this, they will happily leave them behind.

4) Have their best interests at heart

It can be easy to push your beliefs, wants, and desires on your friend, because that’s what you want for them.

But, being in a true friendship means putting what they want first and having their best interests at heart.

At the same time, a true friend won’t just sit back and let their friend waste their life. If they see their friend taking a bad path that is having a detrimental effect on their health or wellbeing, they step in.

A true friend isn’t worried about ruffling a few feathers. They aren’t worried about upsetting or angering their friend at the moment. The end justifies the means and they simply want what’s best for their friend no matter what.

A true friend wants their friend to be the healthiest and happiest version of themselves.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

A fake friend doesn’t like to ruffle the feathers. They simply aren’t invested enough in your life to care if you’re on the wrong path, making the wrong choices, or taking part in unhealthy habits.

Their more interested in the path their own life is taking and will happily sit back and let yours unravel without a second thought.

They have more of an “It’s your life” attitude and take a back seat to everything that is going on.

5) Always ready to listen

True friendship is about give and take, which means you have to always be willing to lend a listening ear. It’s not about being there for the gossip.

To hear the latest news.

To share your latest news.

To share all about your life.

To talk about mutual friends.

It’s also about checking in with your friend and making sure they’re OK. Remembering important dates, like the day their grandad died, and touching base to make sure they’re managing that day.

Listening to a true friend goes so much deeper than the superficial chat.

You have to be genuinely interested in the good and the bad. And to remember key details and follow up. It means picking up the phone just to check-in for the sake of checking in. Simply to say hello.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

As you might imagine, a fake friend isn’t going to invest themselves in your life.

They won’t have the attention to detail to remember important dates and moments and they won’t even consider checking in with you just for the sake of it.

A fake friend is far too absorbed in their own life to genuinely listen and care what is going on in their friends.

A fake friend is likely to check-in when it suits them and tends to dominate the conversation.

6) Notices the little things

A true friend is able to see things that other people can’t.

They can read between the lines of what their friend is saying and understand exactly what they mean and what they need.

When their friend says, “I’m going OK”. The true friend hears, “I could do with some help”.

They know their friend well enough to understand that admitting they are only OK is a big deal for them, and is their cry for help. They hear it and they respond.

It’s about paying attention to the little details that most other people miss. It’s about understanding your friend on that deeper level and knowing exactly what they want and need.

You take your time to truly understand the heart of your friend.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

A fake friend is the one who hears the word, “I’m OK” and takes it at face value. They don’t know their friend well enough to read between the lines and really know what they are saying.

A fake friend doesn’t pay attention to these little details. They are often far too side-tracked with their own life and other friends and don’t have the time to soak up the smaller things.

A fake friend won’t probe deeper to really know if their friend is OK. They are much happier turning a blind eye and simply getting on with their life.

It’s much easier this way.

7) Challenge each other

Being a true friend isn’t about keeping the peace and always agreeing with each other.

Instead, you need to push each other to grow and be the best version of themselves possible.

A true friend wants to see their friend succeed in life, no matter what. And they’re along for the journey to make sure it happens.

A true friend will challenge their friend when it’s needed, to help them be the best version of themselves. This allows the friends to grow together and form an even stronger bond in the process.

A true friend won’t hesitate to tell their friend if they’re in the wrong. But, of course, they will do it with compassion and empathy.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

A fake friend isn’t going to challenge their friend. They are going to keep the peace no matter what.

A fake friend lives in the moment.

They aren’t concerned with turning their friend into the best version of themselves, as they are far too wrapped up in their own lives and doing their own thing.

8) Respect boundaries

Life is all about setting boundaries with those close to you and ensuring they are respected. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries isn’t worth keeping in your life.

Boundaries are what make you who you are. They are generally based on your life values, which makes them very important to stick to.

A true friend will never question these boundaries and they will always respect them no matter the circumstances.

A true friend will never push their friend beyond their boundaries and never try and make them feel uncomfortable in situations.

In fact, a true friend will notice if their friend’s boundaries are being pushed by someone and will always step in to help.

On the other hand, a fake friend has no respect for boundaries. They are more worried about what people around them think, and will happily push a friend’s boundaries in order to win a popularity contest.

For example, if their friend doesn’t like smoking, they will push this boundary and try and get them to join in just because everyone else is. A true friend would never blur this line and put their friend on the spot. It’s about mutual respect for each other.

9) Be loyal

A true friend is loyal.

They don’t consider the friendship to be something that is fleeting or in the moment.

They are looking beyond their here and now into a lasting relationship that will see you both through the years.

Being loyal means sticking by your friend no matter what.

If they make a bad decision, you stick by them.

If they go down the wrong path, you stick by them.

If they say the wrong thing, you stick by them.

Through the highs and the lows, you never leave their side.

Loyalty is at the heart of any friendship. Being able to laugh with your friend, cry with your friend, celebrate with your friend, commiserate with your friend… Being their for your friend no matter what.

So, how does this differ from a fake friend?

A fake friend isn’t loyal.

They are willing to sell their friend out for their own benefit at any point in time. They can’t be trusted for this reason.

A fake friend doesn’t stick around for the bad times and will leave their friend the second they make the wrong decision.

10) Be you

You can’t be a true friend to anyone without first and foremost being yourself.

If your friend is a true friend right back to you, they will accept you for who you are and appreciate every little thing about you.

When it comes to telling the truth, you have to make sure it is your truth.

Don’t try and be someone you’re not, just to win over friendships. At the end of the day, your friends will see through this and you will become the fake friend.

The one who isn’t true to themselves at all.

This means you have to accept yourself first. Accept who you are, the good and the bad.

Once you accept yourself, you will find it much easier to let those close to you in and start developing those true friendships.

Finding those true friendships

Now you know exactly what it takes to be a true friend, but you also know what to expect from true friendships in your own life.

After all, true friendship is reciprocal. If you are making the effort to be a true friend to someone, then they should be doing the same to you.

If you notice you have one too many fake friends in your life, then it’s time to dump the dead weight (as they are likely to do to you before too long) and go on the hunt for some true friendships.

There are plenty out there, it just takes a little time and effort to truly connect with another person, and then a lifetime of working on it.

True friendship doesn’t end, and it is constantly a work in progress.

As long as you’re willing to do the hard yards and make it work, you can guarantee, a true friendship will pull through the thick and thin and come out the other side even stronger than before.

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Written by Felicity Frankish

My name is Felicity (Flick) Frankish and I am mum to Cassandra, Vivienne and Elliot. After studying journalism and digital media, I naturally fell into the online world - and hasn't left since!

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