Sunday, 26 November 2017

Teen Talk: Dealing With Fake Friends

 

In the years since becoming a teenager, I've grown very aware as to how many people turn out to be fake friends. I used to be incredibly trusting, and always willing to impress anybody, but nowadays, I'd much rather mind my own business, and keep my circle small.

When you're going through secondary school, and ultimately, the phase of peer pressure, it can seem like you need everybody to like you in order to make yourself valuable as an individual. There's an overwhelming desire to get approval from everybody your age, especially those who are seen as being labelled 'the cool clique'.

All throughout primary school, and secondary school, I was never popular. None of the other children really had an interest in being my friend, and they didn't really care whether I liked them or not, because they had already formed their own group - a group that I wasn't ever going to be part of. At the time, it got to me. In fact, it got to me more than I would let on. I was very shy, and very reserved, so I wasn't exactly a joy to make conversation with, unless all you wanted in reply was a couple of stutters from a girl who's cheeks were as red as a tomato. I didn't go out much, I didn't watch Disney Channel religiously, and I didn't wear all the latest fashion. I was quite an outcast, really.

When I was in a little bit of a low place last September, and in a reflective mood, I wrote a blog post about being an introvert. It allowed me to get all of my thoughts out of my mind, so I was able to process them much more easily. If you're an introvert, or you're struggling with shyness, you may find it comforting, or even just somewhat reassuring. At least, I hope you do.

The thing is, you don't need validation from any of your peers. You just need to stay true to who you are. Friendships are empowering, and amazing if they are with the right people. They take time though. You don't just speak to someone once in a blue moon, and suddenly become joined at the hip. It's all about trust, communication, honesty, and to a certain extent, vulnerability. If someone is acting fake, talking about you behind your back, laughing at you, or insulting you, get rid. Don't even waste your energy on them. Don't bother giving all your time to them. They don't deserve it, not for one second.

I suppose cutting off fake friends is like moving on after a break up. Well, not exactly, but there are plenty of similarities. Don't ever give too much of yourself to someone straight away. See how they act within the first few months, see if they start opening up to you, and just take it slowly. Trust your gut, as well. If something seems a bit fishy, then it probably is. Basically just believe your inner instinct. Fake friends usually just want to spread gossip, and put you down at every opportunity they get, so anyone who does that isn't a true friend of yours.

I've come across my fair share of fake friends, but especially since leaving secondary school, I've realised that I'm much more likely to notice the signs, and so I stick with those in my circle, and always act more wary than I need to, just in case.

Hopefully this post has helped some of you. Fake friends are never any fun, but once you have got rid, you can make room for the better ones, which is exactly what I've done!

Lots of love always,


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