In the insanely fast pace of our crazy world, wise people understand that real friendships can’t be rushed. They take time to cultivate and develop. I’m personally grateful for people in my life who I’ve had the honour calling friends for many years. These friendships are like a fine wine that just keeps getting better as time goes on. The thing about true relationships is that they stand the test of time. At the heart of them is faithfulness, loyalty, understanding and trust…characteristics which are proven over years.
In the world of instant messaging and social media, there are some pitfalls that wise people will want to avoid. One of them is the danger of developing fake friendships. These are always rushed, are extremely fickle and they never last. Here are five fake ‘friendships’ to watch out for:
1) NETWORKING FRIENDSHIPS
These aren’t genuine friendships. They’re merely associations. These ‘friendships’ are built on what someone else can get out of you, what doors you can open for them and what opportunities you might create that will better their life. Problem is, they are fickle. When opportunity ends, so does the ‘friendship’. That’s because it was never a real friendship in the first place. It was a relationship of convenience. See it for what it is…and manage it appropriately. But whatever you do, never believe it’s your friend.
2) SYMPATHY FRIENDSHIPS
These ‘friends’ come alive when you’re going through a crisis. That’s because your crisis makes them feel better about themselves. They love giving sympathy because this takes their attention away from their own misery. It may feel good to have ‘friends’ like this around you when you’re going through tough times, but when things get good again, watch what happens. Notice how they’re never happy for you when your life seems to be going well. That’s because their power over you is gone…at least until your next crisis comes along. Nah, you don’t need friends like this.
3) HIGH MAINTENANCE FRIENDSHIPS
These are 24/7 crisis ‘friendships’ which drain your energy and draw you into a complex world of toxicity that is far beyond your expertise. While it’s always good to want to help people, questions should be asked when your desire to help someone is greater than their desire to be helped. The direction of travel in high maintenance friendships is always one way…the wrong way. Whatever you do, avoid ‘Fake Street’. It’s a dead end.
4) MANIPULATIVE FRIENDSHIPS
These ‘friendships’ are as unpredictable as the British weather. One day, they’re filled with the sweetness of joy and laughter. The next, they’re soured with awkward silences, mood swings and temper tantrums. Too often, we make excuses for this kind of dreadful behaviour. But here’s the truth…are you ready? You don’t need ‘friendships’ like this in your life. They’re manipulative, uncaring, selfish and can become hugely damaging to your life and others too. Love the person…but stop tolerating manipulative behaviour.
5) GOSSIPY FRIENDSHIPS
Remember, the person who gossips to you will eventually gossip about you. The problem with gossipy friendships is that they search for the negative and thrive off the salacious. These friendships are fake because they carp and snipe about others but never deal with the REAL issues of their own heart…like jealousy & insecurity. As followers of Jesus, these kind of ‘friendships’ are no reflection of the one we follow and do nothing for our faith in him either. Gossip creates toxic culture which brings out the worst in other people. Wise people are quick to understand this.
Real friendships take time. If you want authentic friends, be an authentic friend. If you want great friends, be a great friend. If you want faithful friends, be a faithful, loyal friend. In the end, we always ending up getting what we attract.
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