What is a True Friend these days?

Denise - posted on 04/23/2012 ( 45 moms have responded )

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Ok,this will be a bit long like all my posts.I am a bit baffled at how most people claim to be good friends with someone yet they cant be completely honest with them.

For instance,my husband has 3 friends he hangs out with all the time.He constantly tells me he thinks they are all losers for various reasons but never tells them the reasons.He has very valid points as far as their character flaws but knows that if he told them it would ruin their friendship because they can't handle the truth.To give a specific example,one of the guys is the angry alpha male type.He never has any luck with relationships and blames it all on the girl.My hubby says he lacks the understanding to be a good mate.He probably blows up in a disagreement instead of listening to her hence pushing her away since she cant open up to him.Why cant my husband tell him this?

I wonder why we cant be honest with people we consider ourselves to be close to.It seems to be unanimous that people have the hardest time accepting negative things about themselves even when they are true.I actually have a good friend who needs to know something to stop her from making a big mistake.When I tried to tell her she got offended and told me I was too negative.

I dont understand why a person cant tell a friend what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear?Is society so superficial that even friends arent real anymore?If this is the case,who is really being honest with you?Can a person really trust their spouse/significant other?Can we even trust our family?I know Im probably going bit overboard now but hopefully you get my point.I'd love to get input on what others think on the subject.

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[deleted account]

IN the situation you described above, I agree with your husband. Telling his friend that he's an angry alpha male is not going to cause the friend to suddenly change his entire personality, so what's the point? EVERYONE on Earth has flaws, none of us have a perfect character, but we don't need our friends pointing our flaws out to us, we need our friends to support us. So to me, a TRUE friend, is someone who supports and loves their friends despite their flaws and mistakes.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/02/2012

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I have very few close friends for the reason that i'm brutally honest. Always have been. My closest friends know and accept this, and are brutally honest right back, which is what I appreciate. The rest of my friends would fit into the acquaintance category. We have dropped lifelong friends because of dishonesty, and absolutely don't regret one thing!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/28/2012

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I just want to add, that Kelly I apologize for getting so defensive with you. It was a case of me feeling as if you were completely downgrading what I feel is a "true" friend. Which really got under my skin, simply because I consider my "true" friendships very very important.



I do not become a "true" friend with just anyone. It takes me a fair amount of time to develop such a relationship. I am not trusting of many. However, when I am a "true" friend with someone, I put every ounce of my heart and soul into them. It would be very easy for them to hurt me terribly. Therefore I am very careful on who I extend this part of myself to. As, I am otherwise very strong and hold a barrier around my heart. No one can get in unless I let them, thus how it is my choice on who I befriend.



I believe a "true" friendship is so important and mine are family to me, some are even better than some of my family members. ;)



There isn't anything I would not do for my "true" friends. This includes helping them see why they may be having difficulties creating or mending other relationships or why they may be failing in other areas of their life. I am not there to judge them. I am there to love them and help them. I expect the very same from each of them. If I did not have "true" friends throughout my lifetime, I would not be where I am today, internally. Of course I am not perfect, I have imperfections as the next person. I am much more comfortable with who I am today, then say, 5-10 year ago. My "true" friends had a large hand in my growth. I love them dearly. I know they have the exact same to say about me. We have our best interests at heart. Internal growth is so very important. If you are not willing to grow, then you are not welcome in my heart (general you). This to me is a very selfish, egocentric and careless person. If I let them in my space, they would only end up hurting me and driving me bonkers. No thanks, I say. I cannot stand those that are not willing to grow as a person. I simply do not have time for them.



I don't have very many "true" friends, because as Krista stated, they are very rare. The ones I have though, I could tell them anything and them me. We can sit there and have serious conversation without getting too defensive, we also have a lot of laughter (more the latter than the former). ;) We always walk away feeling much better than we did walking in and we most definitely take what one another had to say, to heart.



A "true" friend will tell you if there is something wrong, including if they feel it is with you and how you are protraying yourself to others. A "true" friend will listen and accept that you are there to help them. You are there to provide constructive critcism because you only want to see them succeed and be at their most happiest. I can be upfront with my "true" friends. They know me and know I only mean well. I would never deliberately hurt them. I would also never want them to be hurt from my words or actions. I am very careful of how I present my concerns but I am also honest.



I hope this helps explain how I view a "true" friendship and what it means to me. As this subject - even though I didn't realize at first - is important to me. Perhaps because I hold my friendships very high and believe in them and my ability to be a "true" friend. I am a very passionate person, in everything I do. Most times it works very well for me, the odd time it doesn't. It is a part of who I am, though. I am working on the odd times. ;)

[deleted account]

"No issue with giving your opinion of what it is to you but don't you dare tell me what it is for me and everyone else. I realize it is different for everyone. It simply pisses me off that I give my personal definition and someone thinks it is their fucking right to tell me I am wrong. Get over yourself. I didn't have an issue with your opinion, why do you feel like you have the right to negate my definition? You can continue ridiculing my definition but you can do it alone. It is obvious I am not the only one here that defines a "true" friend as I do, so get over it."--meme



You apparently came back and edited your post after I wrote--If you are going to speak to me that way, you can get over your OWN FUCKING SELF. I NEVER "negated" your opinion of what a true friend is. I compared your definition to mine and explained why my opinion differed. That's a debate, and if it gets under your skin, get over yourself and leave the board, this is obviously not the place for you--I've seen you do the same thing in other threads and it's becoming annoying to the point that people are avoiding threads when they see your name.



I did negate your opinion that you somehow knew that no one on earth could NOT talk about their friends, and your opinion that you somehow have the answers to everyone's problems and have the right to say they are not true friends, or that they can't handle the truth about themselves, when you give it to them and they don't take your advice or push you away because you are unpleasant to be around.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/26/2012

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Kelly---You bring up a good point about someone who does NOT know their flaw, but I have a hard time believing anyone could live with themselves into their 30's and not have a clue that they are angry and dominating. Also, a dominating personality is not considered a flaw by everyone--for the right people, it can be a strength.



I disagree completely that a person in their 30's or even older would always know if they had a serious flaw. It is just not true. I know a good number of self absorbed, angry, selfish, hate ridden, spoiled rotten adults. Although, some of them are and would be willing to listen to some constructive criticism (not all of them though). The problem is, not enough people have the balls to lay it out, even in the nicest, kindest way. I am one of those people that will. However, I also cannot be friends with anyone that drives me crazy. If they value my friendship, they will be willing to hear me out. They will be willing to accept the fact that I care about them enough to help them reach higher ground. Help them be happier within themselves. I expect this from any of my close friends as well.



If there was no one to tell me my flaws, how would I ever really know them? You have to be told before you can fix it and try to grow within.



Now, I am one of those people you just described as your male friend. I too know this about myself and I do my best to acknowledge other's sensitivities. However, I can only do this for so long (not very long). I do my best to be respectful of all but I also will never be untrue to myself or others. My husband absolutely adores my personality because he is the complete opposite. He is very soft, quiet and tame. He likes that he has someone that will go to bat for him and take control of any and every situation. lol



My belief is a friend is meant to be one of three definitions. They are either there for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Not all friends can be life long.



A friend for a reason means, they are there because you attracted them to assist in meeting a need you are looking to have met. This is done either outwardly or inwardly by you.



A friend for a season means, a friend has come because it is your turn to learn, share or grow. They may teach you something you have never known before. It may be about yourself or it may just be about the joy of life.



A friend for a lifetime means, the relationship will teach you lifetime lessons. Those things you must build upon in order to have an acceptable emotional foundation. You must accept the lesson, love the person anyway, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.



ETA:

I should also add that due to my strong personality, I have some very strong friendships. I have let many go and many have let me go. No biggie, as these are relationships that fit into the "reason" or "season" category, for me. ;)

45 Comments

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Stacia - posted on 05/07/2012

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If it's not your problem, don't make it your problem. I developed that philosophy after losing two friends. They'd been dating for more than a year and still she was much more in love with him than he was with her. After hearing him complain about her and avoid her calls while I was talking to him (behavior I had noticed often), I thought about suggesting to her she would be better off with someone who was head over heals for her - like she deserved. Making sure to only give my opinion and not repeat anything he had said or done. I hesitated to say anything, but my husband encouraged me to tell her what I thought, that she needed me to be a TRUE friend. They both stopped talking to me. Now I don't meddle EVER. If someone asks my opinion, I'll give it. If not, I stick to my own problems.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/02/2012

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You got that right, MeMe!

LOL...I'm a bitch...I keep telling people that!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/02/2012

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Thank you Shawnn, it is great to know there are definitely others here, just like me. ;)

Aleks - posted on 05/01/2012

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Very sorry to hear that Krista. My condolences to you.
How tragic for her family and especially her children :-(

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/01/2012

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Oh my, I am so sorry to hear that Krista. Her poor babies and family. :(

Krista - posted on 05/01/2012

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Thanks, guys. Unfortunately, my friend didn't make it. She died early yesterday morning. She was only 36, and the mother of two girls -- a 5 year old and an 18-month old.

So whoever your true friends are -- call them and tell them you love them. Call them often. Don't ever be too busy. Because you just never know.

Aleks - posted on 04/30/2012

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Krista E.

So sorry to hear about your friend. Hope she has a speedy recovery.

Cierra - posted on 04/30/2012

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i think if they are your true friends they should be able to accept what you say.. unless its like completely insulting or rude. you have to think of a 'friendly' way to approach them. most ppl will just complain and mock their behavior behind their friend's back, but will never let them know. that kinda annoys me bcuz i've had so many ppl come to me to vent about certain ppl and i'm wondering why they even still talk to those ppl bcuz they complain more about them than saying anything good about them. so that makes me wonder..what are they saying about me behind closed doors? .....true friends are hard to find.. nearly impossible!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/29/2012

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I wish your friend all the best, Krista... I hope she pulls thru and everything ends up much better for her.

You're right. Anything can happen, at any time. We do need to take more effort, in keeping in contact more frequently. Thank you for the encouragment.

Krista - posted on 04/29/2012

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And ladies...whoever your "true" friends are, please call them up tonight and tell them you love them. You just never know what can happen from one day to the next. My best friend from college is currently in the ICU, fighting for her life. We haven't spoken in person in months -- not due to any conflict, but just due to being busy, and putting it off, and forgetting. And if I could go back and change one thing...I would have called her a hell of a lot more frequently.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/28/2012

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Aleksandra---And I think this is what MeMe is alluding to...... Is it, MeMe?

Very well said Aleksandra. Yes, it is exactly what I am trying to get across. I especially like your ETA. Everything you said is how I see it and how I truly believe a "true" friend should be.

Internal growth is so important and how will one know if no one is willing and kind enough to share their thoughts with them. I mean if you love and care about someone, you must be willing to help them too, including with their growth. I would hope they would me.

Aleks - posted on 04/27/2012

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Anybody who doesn't want to know how their personality affects others, and then goes around boo-whoo ing how everyone is such and such to them .... Well... sorry.... If one has a good friend like that one will surely let them know why people are leaving them or treating them like they do. If things are repeating themselves over and over and over again.. That is a problem. And if that problem gets constantly brought to me over and over again.... Of course I will tell them why. I will try to be as gentle as possible.. not blunt and sharp with the truth. But I will tell it. And if they are a good friend with me, I would expect them to hear me out.... Not storm off defensive.



To be honest, anyone who gets defensive and ends a friendship over being CONSTRUCTIVELY CRITICISED is definitively not someone I would want to be around. Because listening and taking on board things, and then taking steps (successful or not) in IMPROVING ONESELF constitutes a sign that that person is seeking GROWTH. Anyone, who is not seeking growth.... hmmmmmmmmm...... (that is another discussion topic tbh).



I have been told that I am like this and that and the other. Or at least I am perceived by many to be that way. I would be seriously deranged if I didn't at least TRY and ATTEMPT to augment my behaviour in question at least a little bit or in given situations, especially where the result of said behaviour was people not happy with me or disliked me, and that caused me pain. Anyone who thinks they are perfect even with their imperfections are also, on top of their said flaw, egotistical and self-absorbed. And personally I wouldn't want to be anywhere with them.

Its one thing accepting oneself with such traits, and being aware of them, but working to be more consciously aware of where one may be offensive to others. Its called growth. But another to do nothing about it, but then be unhappy and going around crying to people how things are not working out for them (usually as a result of said characteristic).

That is not a true friend, it is what one would call an energy vampire. And if you have had such person come to you for years and years and years on end.. then I am sure not many would be happily providing their shoulder to cry on. One would eventually get really sick of this. Because of this annoyance, one would, as a true and caring friend try to help them out in stopping this merry-go round in painful experiences. And one would hope that if the said person was a true friend of ours would listen to us and take the information and advice on board. May be even ask more for help in how to be more aware and conscious of said characteristics.... Not get defensive, angry and ending the friendship. TBH I could forgive the defensiveness and anger, as long as they have a long, hard, honest look at themselves from that point and start doing something about it.



And I think this is what MeMe is alluding to...... Is it, MeMe?



Anyway, if it isn't , then this is my opinion on this matter of true friendship, anyway.



ETA: Any one who only wants pleasantness and "happy" support from their friends, with no constructive criticism involved is not looking for friends but "yes men" and a FAN CLUB. These are quite different things from friendship.

I knew of a woman like that... she is no longer a friend of mine, even though she seemed nice and fun to be around with.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/27/2012

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Kelly---I did negate your opinion that you somehow knew that no one on earth could NOT talk about their friends, and your opinion that you somehow have the answers to everyone's problems and have the right to say they are not true friends, or that they can't handle the truth about themselves, when you give it to them and they don't take your advice or push you away because you are unpleasant to be around.



I would love to know where you are getting this from. What a joke. I never said I knew the answer to everyones problems. I did say that if I could help and seen my good friend suffering, I would have to help them see their mistake.



I do have the right to say if someone is my true friend or not. I mean, if I don't have that authority over my own self, for who I choose as my friends, then who does?



Many people cannot handle the truth about themselves. Many people are defensive about their flaws.



Who said I was unpleasant to be around? Besides your assumptions.



I couldn't be friends with someone that was fake. Someone that just said what they thought I wanted to hear, even though they were truly thinking otherwise. That, to me, is very disrespectful and selfish. You aren't thinking of them, you are thinking of yourself. You are thinking of how they may get upset with you and how you would not like that. Even though, it may mean you telling them, may keep them from making some serious mistakes. That is a very fake person and they are not welcome in my space.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/27/2012

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Krista---A friend, a true friend, is someone who can tell you to get a grip when you're behaving in a self-sabotaging way. It's the person who, even if you haven't spoken in months, you can call on the phone and pick up talking like no time has passed at all. It's the person who always wants you to be happy and who thinks nothing of lending you her ear, her time, or her cocktail dress. She's one of the first people you call when you have bad news or good.

Exactly. You said it very well. This IS what I call a "true" friend and IS what I have been trying to say.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/27/2012

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Kelly--- You apparently came back and edited your post after I wrote--If you are going to speak to me that way, you can get over your OWN FUCKING SELF



I didn't change anything. I don't play that way. Make sure you read everything when you are reading I guess.



ETA:

I do not appreciate anyone questioning my definition in these cases. You questioned it the entire time. You feel you can down play what you have said but I am sorry, I am telling you I won't accept it. I gave my opinion, that's it. For you to ask me "Who am I" to tell my friend something that may help them, well, that's just it. I am their friend. ;)



Thanks for letting me know that people are staying clear of the threads I post in. Funny though, that I have yet to see it. If they are, well then I suppose a debating community is not for them.

Krista - posted on 04/27/2012

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FFS guys -- seriously. Can we stop with the bickering?

In my view, there are two different levels of friendship. There are friends and there are pals.

A pal is someone with whom you get along well. The friendship tends to be situational. They're a work buddy, or someone from your class, or the friend of a friend. The friendship is superficial and when the one thing connecting you goes away, so does the friendship. And with friends like these, you DON'T get into the heavy-duty stuff.

A friend, a true friend, is someone who can tell you to get a grip when you're behaving in a self-sabotaging way. It's the person who, even if you haven't spoken in months, you can call on the phone and pick up talking like no time has passed at all. It's the person who always wants you to be happy and who thinks nothing of lending you her ear, her time, or her cocktail dress. She's one of the first people you call when you have bad news or good.

Good, TRUE friends like that are rare. Very rare. Not many friendships can withstand the sort of honesty you're talking about. Your husband's 3 friends aren't friends -- they're buddies. And that's okay. You just need to recognize it for what it is.

[deleted account]

"Ummm, not sure where you think that I said "as long as you have discussed it with them, it is fair ground to talk about them", now that is just foolish."--Meme

I got the idea when you said "You're going to have to tell someone of how irresponsible this person is for the poor choice(s) they are making. I highly doubt you would keep it in and never speak of it to someone else. It is a part of human nature to seek acceptance,..." Then turned around in the same paragraph and said you would be pissed if you found out someone was talking about your problems behind your back. I can only assume since apparently a person HAS to tell someone else how irresponsible their friend is that it must be okay to do that in some situation. (I don't think it ever is, and no, I do not talk about my friends' problems with anyone unless they have given me permission--that includes my husband).

I didn't ask you who you THINK you are. I asked you WHO YOU ARE. Ie. What grounds do you have to back yourself up in the two comments I was referring to. How do you know your friend should change the way he treats his girlfriends, rather than waiting for a girl who likes his personality? And, I'm sorry, but telling someone they need to change the way they interact with people IS telling them to change who they are--in fact, it's a bit hypocritical isn't it? Aren't you proud of your "tell it like it is" personality, even though many people see it as a flaw and dislike you for it, yet you want your husband to tell his friend to stop being himself around his girlfriends?

The second time I asked, I'm wondering the same thing. What grounds do you have to say that "you would HAVE to tell someone" about a friend's problems because clearly, not everyone one has to do that--myself included. I don't know if that was a general you, or addressed to me specifically, but either way, it's wrong--no one HAS to talk about anyone behind their back.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/27/2012

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Well, I am unsure of where you got the idea that I go around telling people to change who they are. Meh. Yeah, that would be kinda ridiculous. I simply am not one to beat around the bush. I tell it like it is and if they don't like that, that is their issue, not mine. I don't force my opinion but if they consider me a "true" friend, they should be willing to hear me out and not get defensive.

In response to the second paragraph, who on Earth are you to say I would "have to tell someone" about my friend's poor choices? I would NEVER EVER talk about my friends in a negative way behind their backs. I don't care if my friend was spending herself into a cardboard box, it is not my place, nor anyone else's, to discuss HER problems. So by your logic, if I've told my friend I think her choices are stupid (but I never would say that because it is very judgmental) it's okay for me to go around talking about her behind her back, discussing her problems with others. I vehemently disagree with that idea--whether you've told someone what you think about them or not, it is NEVER okay to say negative things about them to others, and it is never okay to tell others about their private problems. If I found out that a friend was talking to others about a problem of mine, whether we had discussed it together or not, I'd be pissed.

Ummm, not sure where you think that I said "as long as you have discussed it with them, it is fair ground to talk about them", now that is just foolish. However, I honestly do not believe you if you are trying to tell me, you never talk to anyone else - like your husband - in regards to your friends downfalls (that you see in your eyes). Even if you don't, if you are not willing to let them know, YOU are NOT a "true" friend. If someone can just sit back and watch someone they love and care about fuck up, they are not a "true/real" friend.

I also want to make this clear. I do not try to change a persons personality. I am the one to choose whether their personality fits "me" or not. If it does not, I do not befriend them, if it does I will consider it. It takes me a long while to get close to anyone, it does not happen over night or even in a year. I am very very careful with who I choose to be "true" friends with. However, with my "true" friends, I will let them know if there is a potential or apparent problem arising, that I know I can help them with. The ability to help your friend BEFORE they make a huge mistake is important in my view. I am not and never will be one, to sit back and watch the drama unfold before my eyes. You can, all you want. ;)

Now, whether they accept my opinion or not, is up to them. However, I am not all that supportive when they are not willing to listen (even a little) and then come crying about they made the biggest mistake.

If you really want to know what type of friend I am and what I believe is a "true" friend...go read Taurus as a friend. It fits me completely. Pretty much everything within the Taurus definition fits who I am (with a few small changes, here and there - not many).

Also Kelly, I don't know why you keep asking me WHO I THINK I AM but, I need to know how YOU think YOU can dictate what a "true" friend is for EVERYONE??? You simply cannot. You can only define it, as what it means to you. Don't tell me what a "true" friend should be within MY definition. Simply because I do not agree with you AND my "true" friends wouldn't either. ;)

No issue with giving your opinion of what it is to you but don't you dare tell me what it is for me and everyone else. I realize it is different for everyone. It simply pisses me off that I give my personal definition and someone thinks it is their fucking right to tell me I am wrong. Get over yourself. I didn't have an issue with your opinion, why do you feel like you have the right to negate my definition? You can continue ridiculing my definition but you can do it alone. It is obvious I am not the only one here that defines a "true" friend as I do, so get over it.

[deleted account]

In response to Meme's first paragraph...If they are ASKING for your advice in a specific situation where they are making mistakes, then of course you should give it to them. I was speaking of people who go about giving advice to people who do not want to hear it in the guise of "being real." My friend has NEVER asked me "How can I be less abrasive?" nor has he ever asked "What could I have done to have kept my girl friend?" He HAS expressed his sorrow at loosing a girl friend, but that is not the same as asking for advice on the relationship. Even if he had asked for my advice, I would not tell him to change his personality for a girl, I'd tell him to find a girl who loves him for who he is. And that would have been good advice because eventually, he met his wonderful wife who loves him just the way he is.



I'm assuming we are talking personality traits here, but I thought after rereading I realized you might just mean mistakes in life choices, like over spending or something. I don't think it is bad to give a friend some pointers on how to reign in the spending if she is overwhelmed by her debts, but I would ask her if she WANTED advice first. I wouldn't go up to her and say, you are ruining your life by spending too much--she knows that! I'd support her while she cried after her last spending spree, then offer advice.





In response to the second paragraph, who on Earth are you to say I would "have to tell someone" about my friend's poor choices? I would NEVER EVER talk about my friends in a negative way behind their backs. I don't care if my friend was spending herself into a cardboard box, it is not my place, nor anyone else's, to discuss HER problems. So by your logic, if I've told my friend I think her choices are stupid (but I never would say that because it is very judgmental) it's okay for me to go around talking about her behind her back, discussing her problems with others. I vehemently disagree with that idea--whether you've told someone what you think about them or not, it is NEVER okay to say negative things about them to others, and it is never okay to tell others about their private problems. If I found out that a friend was talking to others about a problem of mine, whether we had discussed it together or not, I'd be pissed.



I didn't ask if you had secrets, I don't care if you do or not. I asked if you thought someone was being a "fake" if they kept their deepest secrets, or any thoughts or secrets for that matter, to themselves.







Also, giving someone advice on a certain situation is completely different than telling someone they need to change their personality. Like in Jodi's mom's situation--she could have told Jodi she was worried about her. Telling someone you are worried about them is not the same as telling someone they need to act like a different person in order to keep a relationship. A true friend would express worry to their friend, but leave the CHOICE up to the friend without judgment. Several of my friends suggested I needed medication for my ADD then stopped being my friend because I didn't take it. I didn't mind that they suggested it (once or twice, but if I heard about it every time we talked, I stopped talking to them), what hurt was the judgment that came when I refused medication.

Jodi - posted on 04/26/2012

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OK, I have 3 examples I would like to share. Two are NOT true friends, and one is.



My first example was a girl I grew up with, I have known her since I was 2 year old, our moms were/are best friends. We were really really close, best of best friends. She grew up without a dad, didn't know who he was, not even his name. When she was 16, I was 18 she found out his name, then his address and that he lived in the same town. She decided one day to drive to his house, knock on his door and express her desire to get to know him...he who didn't know she existed. When she did this, she burst in on a family dinner, spilling the "secret" to his wife, his children and his in-laws. When she was telling me about it, and asked me what I thought, I told her I thought she could have and *should* have done it very differently, but it was done and I really hoped it would work out between the two them. She hasn't spoken to me since. I was nice about it, she wanted me to tell her how brave she was, how proud I was and what not like her other friends had...and that's not what she got. If I can't be honest, it's not a true friendship.



Second example. My mother, whom I thought for the longest time was a close close friend of mine. I could tell her anything, she supported me through everything...or so I thought. It turns out, she's the type that tells you what you want to hear when you want to hear it...but later tells you the truth. For instance, after having the twins, I was very depressed, but I didn't see it. I thought, this is just what it's like to have twins, no medicine can make having two babies easier. And mom would go on and on about how hard it was, and how great I was doing. And later, after I went on anti-depressants at my doctors advice, my mom went on and on about how worried she was about me, how bad I was doing, how she thought I needed to go on medication and she's so glad I got the help. If she would have said something, maybe I wouldn't have suffered for 6 months, she wasn't honest with me and I have lost quite a bit of the security of our relationship and take most of what seh says with a grain of salt. (This is not the only example of how she behaves like that, but I'm only listing one! lol)



Last example is my best friend. We've been friends for nearly 15 years now, and best friends the last 8 or so of that. We don't disagree on much, but when we do, we can state our opinions, debate them even, and agree to disagree. She has told me before when she thinks I'm expecting too much of my husband, or when I'm pushing my oldest too hard on something. And because I know she's not judgemental, and that she has my best interest at heart, I can take it. Sometimes, it sucks hearing the truth, but I don't get mad at her, because she's usually right. And vice versa, I can be honest with her without the fear of her getting pissed off at me. THAT is a true friendship.



I do however have friends that i keep my mouth shut on certain subjects, mostly because it's more of a superficial relationship, go and hang out, vent about whatever, have fun. I'm not close with those people, we don't have heart to hearts and I'm pretty sure the feelings are mutual all around. Those kind of friends are fine to have too, and it's ok to be that friend in certain relationships. Some people only need a few close people, some people need a ton of friends, none of whom are really close friends, some need a variety. I have 2 close friends, and a mess of superficial friends. The friends I hang out with to have a good time and that's how far it goes! lol

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/26/2012

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Well, let's see. How about when a person continues to make the same mistakes over and over again? They continue to be sad about the outcome to these choices and seek your guidance and opinion, often. Are you saying it is best to just support them in their poor decision, of which is causing serious turmoil, just so you can be that so called "true" friend? Even though you know full well what steps they could take to help rectify their problems? Then to turn around and speak of them outside of their presence and mock them by telling others' what they SHOULD be doing? I mean, that is the only other way I can see, if you choose to not help them and give them your opinion straight out.



You're going to have to tell someone of how irresponsible this person is for the poor choice(s) they are making. I highly doubt you would keep it in and never speak of it to someone else. It is a part of human nature to seek acceptance, which includes, what you may be thinking that could help this other friends issues. You're going to want anothers opinion, of whether your thoughts seem accurate or not. Unfortunately I cannot stand people that do this. This IS fake to me and I do not like people that back stab me. I do not like two faced anyone, let alone friends. If you have something to tell me, I want to know about it. I do not want you going behind my back and making a spectacle of me, with others. Seriously, I would flip, if and when it got back to me. That is selfish and really disrespectful of a persons heart and friendship.



I would be pissed to find that I was making a huge mistake and my "true" friend wouldn't say anything to me because it wasn't up to them to decide what was right. Sorry but that is NOT a "true" friend.



I also do not believe that every single flaw viewed in anothers eyes, means it needs to be noted openly. Of course everyone is going to have some differences than ourselves. That is what brings a wonderful diversity to people and friendship. However, if I saw a good friend of mine making a terrible mistake, I would have to let them know. It is only the right thing to do as a "true" friend.



I have secrets too. Do I keep them from my "true" friends? Nope. However, I only consider very few my "true" friend. All the others I care about and have a place in my heart for them but honestly, I could take or leave them. ;)

[deleted account]

But who are you do decide which version of the person is "better"? A lot of people think I am a "better" person when I'm on my ADD meds, but I disagree. So am I a selfish, egocentric person for not taking their advice and trying to "grow" into the person they think I should be? Plus, as mentioned above, what if that person doesn't see it as a flaw--my friend sees his abrasive personality as a strength, he'd think you were nuts for wanting to change him. He'd think you were judgmental to tell him he should change. He knows he pushes people away with his abrasiveness, but he considers their "inability to handle the truth about themselves" a flaw....So who is right? Should he change and be more compassionate toward other people, or should other people change to accept the hard truths he gives them? IMO, the answer is neither person should change, they should both stay just they way they are and go find different friends.



Perhaps I AM egocentric, I know I have flaws, but I want friends who will accept me, flaws and all, without trying to change a thing about me. I don't have parents or siblings to point out my flaws either, I don't need them, all I need is a good look at myself. IF I wanted someone to tell me about my flaws and how to fix them, I'd pay a pro, and actually, I do pay a pro.





Which brings me to another point, would the fact that I hide some aspects of myself from nearly everyone make me "fake" in your opinion? Right now, there are exactly 3 people on Earth who know a certain secret about me--my doctor (psychologist), one of my best friends, and me. I have several other "best friends" whom I consider "true friends", and whom I know consider me a "true friend" but I choose not to share this truth with them, so am I being "fake"? I have chosen to tell the one friend I did tell specifically because I knew he wouldn't try to change me and he would trust ME to change myself (with the help of my therapist).



IN effect, I do not not think it is "fake" to reserve parts of ourselves, I think it is fine to keep secrets about ourselves, I think it is fine to reserve our own judgments about our friends' behaviors and actions in order to be supportive and accepting of the friend overall.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/26/2012

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If you cannot be friends with them as they are, then you are not a true friend to that person--not saying you are not a true friend to anyone, just not people you can't stand to be friends with.



I said, I cannot be friends with anyone that drives me crazy. Therefore your assumption is correct, here. Honestly, if you are pretending to be a true friend to someone that drives you crazy then you are lying to them and yourself.



The way I see it, if YOU value their friendship, you will be willing to accept them as they are. Who are you to say where "higher ground" is, or whether they would be happier with themselves if they molded themselves into the person you want them to me.



I think you have misunderstood what I was saying. I in no way was saying they had to be what I thought they should be. I am saying if someone has a flaw it is only common decency to help them see it and help them reach a higher ground BEFORE they lose a relationship somewhere else (or a job for that matter). I can also say this because I HAVE had true friends that DID tell me where my flaws were and I corrected them for the better. After correcting them, I was a much happier person. ;)



In addition there are people that have some flaws that drive me nuts BUT they have more pros then cons. I think it would be very selfish of me to not make them aware of some of these things. Just as it would be selfish of them to not make me aware.



I am a very upfront person BUT through learning from others' and developing an understanding of who I truly am, I have realized I must also have reason with how I conduct myself with certain people. I am not being untrue of who I am, I am just more careful. However, I would never ever be "true" friends with these people, I do however, consider them casual friends.



I don't have a mother or sibling to tell me of my flaws. I must get that information from others that I love and whom love me. Who are these people? Yes, they are my "true" friends. ;)



ETA:

Everyone has flaws and everyone needs internal growth. If they are that full of themselves to think they do not need any further development than I don't want anything to do with them anyhow. Egocentric, comes to mind.



A real stand-up person is willing to accept constructive criticism and is willing to be able to take a proactive look at themselves and seek internal growth.



Really, talk to any HR manager and see what their take is on constructive criticism and the willing of acceptance. No one is perfect and most people do realize this.



However, if they are not willing to take a deep look and grow themselves into a better person, than they are not going to receive much understanding from many people. No one has time for a person that cries wolf and never fixes the problem. In order for this to occur, everyone needs someone to help them notice the flaws. Otherwise they are going to be running around blind and never be able to see what they need to work on, internally.

[deleted account]

" I know a good number of self absorbed, angry, selfish, hate ridden, spoiled rotten adults. Although, some of them are and would be willing to listen to some constructive criticism (not all of them though). The problem is, not enough people have the balls to lay it out, even in the nicest, kindest way. I am one of those people that will. However, I also cannot be friends with anyone that drives me crazy" --Meme

If you cannot be friends with them as they are, then you are not a true friend to that person--not saying you are not a true friend to anyone, just not people you can't stand to be friends with.

"If they value my friendship, they will be willing to hear me out. They will be willing to accept the fact that I care about them enough to help them reach higher ground. Help them be happier within themselves. I expect this from any of my close friends as well."--Meme

The way I see it, if YOU value their friendship, you will be willing to accept them as they are. Who are you to say where "higher ground" is, or whether they would be happier with themselves if they molded themselves into the person you want them to me. Speaking of my friend again, he is VERY happy with himself, despite the fact that he pushes people away--he would NOT be happier trying to be more soft spoken or respectful of others' feelings. Just like I don't think you would be. *I* see brashness as a weakness, YOU see it as a strength in yourself. Neither one of is is right or wrong--a brash personality can be both a weakness or a strength--so neither of us should try to change someone because of a perceived flaw. If the "flaw" is so deep we can't stand the person (and I have people I can't stand too) we're just not going to be great friends, and I accept that knowing that there ARE people out there who would get along with these people I can't stand wonderfully..

I hope that makes sense--I'm speed typing about to run out the door.

Carlie - posted on 04/26/2012

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Your husband's friend also lacks the understanding to be... well...a good friend. People forget that in order to have a friendship with anyone...you have to have a relationship FIRST. If your husband's friend lacks understanding to be a good mate to his girlfriend, then how would he understand a relationship between himself and your husband? And if he doesn't care to understand with his girlfriend.....and if he did care....then he wouldn't be blaming the woman every time. Meaning...he CHOOSES to not be honest.



An honest person is not afraid of rejection. An honest person is not afraid to say "I'm sorry". An honest person does not need to impress anyone. An honest person recognizes that while it's not easy to say "I'm wrong", they do so regardless...because it is the RIGHT...HONEST...thing to do. A honest person will understand that to be DISHONEST or to mince words....would cause more harm than help...and will do so at the expense of the other person...because...an honest person.....would want the same from someone else.



I just described myself. I am an honest person as well. Your friend? She does not want you to be honest, or rather-she is unwilling to hear you speak on it...because she knows....deep down...that there is an element of truth there......and why do people lie?



Because they are AFRAID of the truth. I applaud you for your post. And I thought I was alone.....



:)

[deleted account]

You bring up a good point about someone who does NOT know their flaw, but I have a hard time believing anyone could live with themselves into their 30's and not have a clue that they are angry and dominating. Also, a dominating personality is not considered a flaw by everyone--for the right people, it can be a strength.

I have a friend who is very abrupt, dominating, and blunt. He knows this about himself, he's in his 40's, he knows he has pushed people away because of it, but he also knows that these traits have helped him immensely in his career, his wife loves his brash nature, and there are plenty of true friends out there who will love him despite his "flaws". *I* would never marry a man like him, I can't even spend too much time at once with him because he dominates the conversation, but I love him, and I support him, and I think, despite what *I* consider his flaws, he is an overall good man.

Me? I'm soft spoken, non-confrontational, I suck at housekeeping, and have such severe ADHD that some find it very difficult to follow even a simple conversation with me. Tons of people have told me I should be medicated, but *I* know when I'm medicated I become obsessed with my weight (to the point of needing a feeding tube), depressed, and irritable. Some of those friends have left because I didn't take their advice and they just couldn't love me as I am. I pushed some of them away because I got tired of hearing their advice after repeatedly telling them--I KNOW I'm an airhead! I just prefer the airheadedness to the alternative.

Tracey - posted on 04/26/2012

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Let's put the shoe on the other foot. If I'm the one who has got a big flaw that I'm not seeing--angry female alpha type, for example, and am driving people away--who will help me see it? If it's something I've been doing a long time, I'm blind to it, and I might do a lot of people a lot of damage before I come to realize it--if I *ever* realize it.



So who should I hear it from? I need to hear it from someone, for my kids' sake, for my own sake. Should I then hear it from someone who doesn't care? I probably wouldn't listen.



But if someone I know and trust comes to me, I would take it more seriously. I'd be more likely to listen, even if at first I didn't believe it. I might blow up and walk out of the friendship, too, if I were more attached to my blindness than to the friendship.



So the person who is a true friend has to be very brave and very loving, knowing they could upset their friend to the point of loosing the relationship. It's a difference between loving the relationship and loving the other person.

Karen - posted on 04/25/2012

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I don't want my friends to tell me whats wrong with me.



If someone comes off as judgmental, then I close myself off. It doesn't take long to figure out who is. If someone is an open book, then so am I. If you have nothing to hide, then neither do I.



Good, open people who value friendship as much as I do are really hard to find. Especially now that I am 30 and living pretty far from where I grew up. When I meet someone who seems as excited about our new friendship as I am, I sink my claws in and never let go! One good friend comes along about every 5 years for me. I have a handful of people I can count on, but they are scattered all over the world.

Aleks - posted on 04/25/2012

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To be honest, from my experience.. Some people you can be very honest with, and others not so much.

I have friends where I can be very honest with, and with others I feel like all I can do is tow the line.



There are also topics I can be very honest about with some friends but not with others. And.... then change the topic and that same friend who I could have been very honest about topic A, I cannot really openly talk about topic B. I think we all have our weak points and some friends happen to be able to handle these better (for lots of different reasons) and some cannot as and we get defensive. And vice versa, of course.



And then there are people that are that determined to do whatever it is that gets stuck in their head, that nothing said or done, or anyone, alive or dead, will be able to influence them and convince them why they should try things differently.

And what is worse... these are typically the same people that will come to you time and time again crying how things have stuffed up (once again, for the thousandth time), even though you have previously told them how they should approach things... but of course they have not listened (cause they never do). And IT IS ALWAYS THE SAME. Repeating the same stuff, over and over and over again. And then finally you just realise that its no use, and you stop giving them advice and telling it how it is... because they will NEVER LEARN....lol

[deleted account]

I do not think people can't *handle* the truth about themselves, but rather that they just don't wan to hear it from the people who are supposed to be their friends. We know we are imperfect, we know we make mistakes, and we know we could improve ourselves in a lot of areas--we don't need our friends to tell us that. IF we decide we need advice or want advice in some specific area of weakness, we'll go to a professional and get it from someone who has some sort of proof they know what they are talking about.

Plus, like Sharon said, if the person is getting professional advice and ignoring that, they're not going to listen to advice from a friend either, so bringing it up would just damage the friendship. A friend's job is not to mold a person into the person they should be, a friend's job is to support a person as the person they are already.

[deleted account]

I have a good friend and I'm watching her and her family go through so much in their lives right now... it's so sad to see them struggling... BUT...

All of their current problems come from some very stupid decisions they have made in the past few years. But the decisions they are making now to get themselves out of trouble are still just as silly as the ones they made then. They can't seem to see what they are doing wrong DESPITE the advice they have been given by professionals. Now I could go to my friend and tell her the "truth" as I see it. She may listen but chances are she won't and it will damage the friendship we have, especially as she hasn't asked for my input. So I feel that my role as her friend is to just be a shoulder for her to cry on, not to be brutally honest with her and tell what I actually think (unless she asks me for my opinion or advice).

My point is that a true friend is the friend who knows what you need and will be there to give it when you need it and when you are ready for it. This is different in each and every relationship.

[deleted account]

Without reading any other comments, Denise, are you sure you're not talking about my husband? LOL I mean seriously. My husband has a friend who is in our age group (I'm 40, hubby is 35 and his friend is also 35). He has no kids and has never been married. He can't seem to stay in a relationship past the "you can't have sex with anyone you choose" point. And yet, he is constantly giving us parenting and relationship advice. REALLY????

He's "that guy" in their circle of friends. He's the one that no one is honest witht because they're all worried about upsetting Ray. But honestly, I have TOLD Ray what I think, and he is still my friend. He knows that my honesty came from a non-for lack of a better word-IMPORTANT person. But he still heard me. He still heard the truth. I couldn't sit back any longer and let him pretend to be wise and all knowing when really he's only wise and all knowing about the bar scene. Or the online dating scene.

Sometimes people NEED to hear the truth about themselves. And I think it may come easier if it comes from a third party. Now, I have two best friends. We are all brutally honest with each other. I would have it no other way. But we are girls. I wouldn't take it any differently (the advice) if one of these girls were a guy, but a guy would. Guys think differently. Guys absorb differently. If you have a group of guys (like my husband) who have been friends since 2nd grade, it's almost easier for them to lie to each other than to address a brutal truth. I witness it all the time.

It's called "testosterone". No man likes to hear from another man any type of criticism or critique about how they are living their lives. Especially from their friends. And I'm like you. This makes no sense to me because who BETTER to call me on my bullshit than those who REALLY KNOW me? But men don't think that way. That's all I've got. Men just don't think that way.

Denise - posted on 04/24/2012

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I agree with what most of you are saying in response to my post.I did not post this as a way to say I have a need to be "real"with friends.I am the type of person who accepts the fact that I have a lot to work on.Unfortunately it's true that most people cant handle hearing the truth about themself.I just think that if a person can be wise enough to take constuctive criticism into consideration then it's the first step to becoming a better person.

Of course ,the trick to this is that many people who claim to be helping someone out by pointing out flaws need to do so in a way that wont cause the person to get defensive.I dont always tell people about themselves.As a matter of fact,I was always the type of person to stay quiet in a heated situation to keep the peace but have changed a lot since I met my hubby.He is the only person I can be completely honest with-good or bad.He has taught me how to always view myself as a work in progress.We believe that even if you are a good,successful person,there is always someone who is better at something than you.It gives a person something to strive for.Of course ,I know most people are not at a point to try to better themselves so it is pointless to bring flaws to their attention.

I guess it's just one one those things that would exist only in a perfect world.However,I also have only a few TRUE friends due to this.If a person cant tell me something I need to know then I cant trust them.I believe in telling someone what they NEED to hear rather than what they WANT to hear and try to surround myself with others who feel this way.

By the way,as an update on the issue with my friend who was upset with me-we discussed it and we're good.I apologized for the way I voiced my concern and told her I would keep any negative comments to myself.I also told her that since I value our friendship I would support her in whatever she chooses to do.She sais she understood why I was concerned and she appreciated me always being there for her.This is an example of someone not being ready to hear the truth.Perhaps in any other situation,she would be ok with it but as her true friend I know this about her and accept and love her anyway.

Mrs. - posted on 04/24/2012

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Why be brutal with someone you know would not use the critique to change or be different? If you are a good enough friend to know, this person is not going to change no matter what you say, why hurt them with the "brutal" truth because you have a need to be "real" or "honest"? That is not helpful except to help you feel more "real" or "honest". It is actually, IMO, really selfish. It makes you feel better, but not the friend who is too limited to understand your comments and use them.



We all have limitations and areas that are so entrenched that they will never change. Being a real friend is knowing how best to help taking into account that person's ability to grow. Being a friend means sometimes putting your needs aside to help out...even if those needs are to be "real".



This is especially true when it comes to the whole backseat driver-relationship advice thing. What you see in a friend and his/her partner, what you think is the "truth" they can't see - it may not actually be the reality. Anytime you choose to critique a friend's choice in partner, even if he/she is going on about it, to be "real" - you are making a selfish move. You could instead choose to be honest about your belief in the person being smart enough and mature enough to make the right decisions on their own and that you will be there to support them, no matter what. That is a different, less selfish and honest thing to comment and act on. Those people are your "real" friends.

Stifler's - posted on 04/24/2012

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I agree with kelly he's likely to just disregard that piece of information and continue blaming everyone else. Sometimes just don't need the conflict or drama associated with telling people like that the truth. I have few true friends and a lot of acquaintances. A true friend is someone I can pick up where i left off with even if it was 3 years ago and someone I can discuss things with without starting political warfare or feeling offended by everything they say because I know it's coming from a good place.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/24/2012

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I am only "good/close" friends with few people. Why? Because I demand them to be honest with me about everything, including any constructuve criticism. I also expect to be able to be the same with them. I have "casual" friends, that I would never rely fully on nor would I tell them my deepest secrets. They are the ones that cannot handle the truth.

Unfortunately many many people are superficial. Many people cannot handle the fact that they have a few flaws they could work on. I mean, no one is perfect. So, I know I want close people (that actually know me) to be point blank and help me switch those flaws into positive attributes. I have actually worked on my own flaws by having others point things out (I am a very analytical person though, so I analyze and figure out how to fix it). Not everyone can handle this though, they'd prefer to stick their heads in the sand.

My husband knows I am very straight forward and he had better be able to handle it. I do not mean any ill harm by it, I am just not one to beat around any bush. I tell it like it is because I just don't like bullshit. I do my best to do it in the kindest way possible, not always, though, is there a kind way. It is who I am, thus why I only have a few "good/close" friends. Even those relationships took sometime developing. Most of us hated each other at first. Then they realized that I am a very stable, honest, loving, caring and reliable friend. Guess who they come to when they want "real" advice? Yep, me. ;)

Elfrieda - posted on 04/24/2012

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I agree with Kelly, you see that your friends have flaws but love them anyway. Nobody's perfect. I certainly don't think they're losers, like your husband calls his "friends". I try to be honest but kind, and I hope they'll be the same for me.



Maybe your friend just had some hurt feelings, which happens. After leaving her be for a while to get over it and realize that you only said those things because you thought it would help her, she might welcome a phone call from you so you can get back to normal.

Louise - posted on 04/24/2012

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I have lots of so called friends but only one true friend. We have been friends since high school and we speak every week on the phone no matter where we are in the world. We know each others secrets and share in the pain of each others problems. I can say anything to her and she will not judge me but will give an opinion on the matter. We discuss everything in depth and she is the first person I would call in a crisis, day or night we would be there for each other. Knowing we have each others back in times of crisis is a comfort. We have been friends now for 27 years and in that time we have seen each other through deaths, marriages, misscarriages, financial worries and normal family squabbles. This is a true friend!

[deleted account]

yes, society is fucking superficial. no one wants to hear about what makes them a bad person, or even a slightly unlikeable person. it's truly rare to find someone who is okay with another person being honest with them.



i have no friends BECAUSE i am honest, or because i would rather not have friends if i can't be honest with them. my husband and i are pretty honest with each other, but it's just better to not bother with it. no one wants to know they're not perfect, and hardly anyone ever takes criticism very well.

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