Are you sure you have all of your friends figured out? Keep reading to find out. During the course of life, we come across a lot of people, each of them possessing at least one unique quality, be it different family background, religion, race, disposition and what not. We also become friends with many of these people and a lot of the time, become of reasons such as naivety and gullibility, it gets hard to keep track of who our true friends really are.

So how do we identify a true friend from a fake one? While this may sound like an easy task, I think it can be much harder than it sounds, as oftentimes, youngsters like us mistake a fake friend for a true

friend. And many times, a fake friend appears good on the surface. They tell you all the pleasing things you want to hear when, in reality, they feign their sincerity and make you feel horrible about yourself through their toxic decorum.

On the other hand, a true friend may not always praise you and would call you out when you do wrong, because they are actually sincere and honest. Be aware of the qualities necessary in a true friend, for it can help us differentiate between a genuine companion and the one who is merely fake and insincere. And it also prevents us from falling prey to a bad company and becoming like one of them, only to learn our lesson when it is too late.

In my opinion, there are certain characteristics possessed by a true friend which differentiates him/her from a fake friend. These qualities are very simple and easy to spot, if we strive to do so without being carried away by only what we see.

True friends never lead you astray

One of the primary differences between a true and a fake friend is that a true friend will never encourage you to commit deplorable actions which may have adverse effects on other people and yourself.

For example, during online classes these days, among other obstacles, many teachers also have to face the issue of disrespectful students. These students tend to team up and call their teachers names, make fun of them and cause disturbance during the class, which is absolutely unacceptable and unethical. You may enjoy degrading others for some time, but it is actually very damaging for the people who are being insulted. Demeaning anyone, especially your teachers, who are worthy of your respect as much as your parents, is never okay and should be refrained from at all costs.

That’s why a true friend would not encourage such behaviour, and they will try to stop you from carrying out such actions. True friends do not want you to get into any problem or demean yourself.

On the contrary, a fake friend would always encourage you to engage in such reckless actions, because they will value a few moments of fun over other people’s esteem or reputation. And on the first sign of you getting into trouble, they will be the first to run away, leaving you to fight for yourself in a situation that you got into thanks to their help.

True friends are honest

Another important contrast between true and fake associates is that a true friend will always give you their honest opinion, without humiliation of any sort, while a fake friend will say anything to please you, even if it’s false, not caring about breaking your trust or setting you up for greater humiliation afterwards.

For instance, suppose you wrote a speech and before reading it in front of the class, you asked your friend if it’s well-written or not. Your friend, knowing your speech needs improvement, lied and told you that it’s good enough. You believed your friend and didn’t fix any errors, and when you read that speech to the entire class, everyone started laughing, making you feel embarrassed.

Being dishonest with your friends is never okay as it damages the wall of trust and may cause your friends to never rely on your words again. Hence, a true friend would be sincere and disclose their honest opinion, without bringing you down, while also saving you from later embarrassment. And they will expect you to trust them and not get offended by their honest opinion, even if it is something you are not happy to hear.

On the other hand, a fake friend would nonchalantly say anything you want to hear, even if it means they have to feed you with lies.

Real friends don’t judge

Last, but definitely not the least, another significant difference between a true and a fake companion is that a true friend will never make false judgments on you and make you feel bad about yourself. However, a fake friend will not hesitate to pass incorrect judgments without getting to know the truth.

For instance, assume that you received bad grades in your test, and instead of trying to make you feel better, your friend accused you of being lazy and not studying well. Although, the actual reason why you couldn’t focus on studies was because of family issues, but you couldn’t tell it to your friend because you felt ashamed.

Refraining from judging anyone before knowing them or the situation is critical, for passing judgments prior to being aware of the facts usually leads to misjudgments. Making judgments before knowing all the facts is not an ideal demeanour, as most of the time, it leads to incorrect judgment. Because of this, a true friend would refrain from judging you before knowing the actual situation. On the other hand, a fake friend would judge you at every chance they get, causing you to feel appalled.

All in all, there are certainly many other distinctions between a true and a fake friend, but, in my opinion, the above-mentioned contrasts are some of the most important ones. It is crucial for one to know how to differentiate between their friends, especially when one is young and does not have much experience of the world and its ways.

Initially, we must be careful with how much trust we put in a new friend and try to not follow them blindly without first understanding what it can mean for us in the long run. Over time, we can judge our new friends through their behaviour in general and, in particular, with others who they consider as good their good friends. If a person is sincere in one relationship or with others, we can assume that they will be sincere with us also. But do not let your guard down until you are sure of the new friend. And if there are any red flags — i.e. things that make you uncomfortable about them, then it is time to part ways before being hurt or betrayed.

One’s company can either make a person or break them. Keeping the company of good associates can help one become a better person, as good friends always motivate you to do better, guide you when you are doing wrong and support you along the way. But the company of bad associates can do the exact opposite and influence your life negatively, doing irreparable damage that can lead to lifelong consequences.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 16th, 2021


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