Real or Fake: How Your Best Friends Can Be Your Worse Enemies
Having a best friend can be like having that sibling you always wanted. You don’t have to be with them 24/7, there’s never a dull moment with this person and in some cases, it’s almost like looking in a mirror. You trust this person with your deepest, darkest secrets and you look at it as an honor when the same is reciprocated. But if you’re not careful, your best friend could be your worse enemy in disguise. They may not directly try to take you down themselves or talk bad about you in your face, but they’re doing something far worse. They are a cancer that’s killing you from the inside and you don’t even know it.
I had a cancer once before, but luckily I was able to cut it out before it was too late. My “best friend”, let’s call him “Freddie”, was no good for me from the moment I met him. The signs were there, but I didn’t know until after the fact. Here are a couple of way that you can tell if your “best friend” is your cancer.
They Talk The Talk– It seemed like Freddie’s mouth got me in as much trouble as he did. He was a smooth talker and quick on his feet. That’s good if you want to be a comedian, but not so good if you use it to annoy people. Freddie’s mouth was always running and was the busiest when I stood next to him. Now, there’s nothing wrong with riding for you boy whether he’s right or wrong. But when you’re on the losing end of every battle then something is wrong. He broke me up with my girlfriend, got me kicked off of my high school basketball team, got me robbed at gun point, I’ve been on numerous dummy missions, we’ve had a group of guys try to run down on us, and the list goes on. While I was trying to figure out how I even got in these situations, Freddie was having a good laugh at my confusion. As long as he wasn’t the only person suffering, he was good. He didn’t care about my well-being and dismissed any grips I might have had. ANYONE who is ok with falling as long as they have you by the ankles is not a true friend. A true friend wouldn’t put you in those predicaments and if they did by mistake; they would do everything in their power to make it right.
They’re Good Actors- It’s ok to put on a front for people every once in a while. Especially if you don’t know the people you’re dealing with. The term fake it until you make is quite relative when it comes to having a fake friend. Freddie symbolized confidence in front of other people. In his mind, he walked on water and everyone around him was lucky to experience his ambience. In reality, he was one of the most insecure people I’d ever met. When it was just us, all of his fears and self-doubt would be expressed to me in the most confidential space I’ve ever been in with someone. It was almost like talking to a totally different person, but we were closer than ever. One day, the same presumptuous Freddie showed up to school, but he had a genius idea. He was going to tell all the kids about the insecurities he expressed to me the day before. The problem was, I became the host for these insecurities. Of course the kids laughed and poked fun of me with Freddie leading the charge and all I could do was sit there and take it. Later, when it was just me and him, I asked him, “Why did you lie to everyone?” His response was, “That’s the only I can deal with it. To live it through you.” He thanked me for not blowing his cover and assured me that it was just jokes. He didn’t mean those things he was saying. This is supposed to be my best friend?
They’re Secretly Jealous of You- It’s natural for friends to take the lead in the relationship every once and while. Some people do it more than others. With Freddie, it was always about him and what he wanted to do. We hung out every day and he was the one that came up with all our activities. Ironically enough, he wouldn’t do anything if I wasn’t involved. I guess that part made me feel needed.
I remember one time were we decided to be rappers (And I say “we” I mean him). As embarrassing as that is to admit today, I can honestly say I wasn’t that bad. I still recall writing my raps in my M&M notepad. You read correctly, not an Eminem notepad, but a notepad with little M&M candies on the cover. I didn’t choose the Thug Life, it chose me. Like I alluded to before, I wasn’t the best by a long short, but as a natural-born writer, I had no problems with putting my thoughts on paper. Freddie on the other hand struggled to say the least. We ended up networking with some older guys who rapped and of course it was a show and prove type deal. I spit my lyrics and at the most they seemed interested. When it was Freddie’s turn, he said he couldn’t remember his raps and forgot his notepad at home. I knew the truth. He was afraid and there was nothing wrong with that. The older guys gave us a CD with beats on it and told us to write to them. When we got home, Freddie had a proposition for me. He said he would let me have two of the beats for myself if I gave him two verses. Thinking back on it, he had no type a leverage to brokerage such a deal, but what the hell, he was my friend. I trusted him. He ended up taking the verses and the beats. I didn’t really care because being rapper wasn’t my thing, but would a friend steal from you? I don’t think so.
You’re Their Only True Friend- People would ask me all the time “Why do you hang with this guy?” It’s simple. He was my next door neighbor and we did everything together. But nobody cared about that. They were really asking how could I be friends with someone who’s either fought or almost fought everyone we knew within a ten-mile radius of our neighborhood; including me.
You have to be a special kind of person to rub literally everyone you meet the wrong way. You have to be an even more special person to be befriend someone who rubs literally everyone they meet the wrong way *pat myself on the back*. But that was a clear sign that I chose to ignore for whatever reason and it did nothing, but hold me back in the long run. A lot of time and energy wasted on a one-sided relationship, but you live and you learn.
Going deeper into high school, Freddie and I started to drift apart. I found my group of friends and he found his. It wasn’t until I branched out that I realized that there’s more to being a friend than just circumstance. The only reason I hung out with Freddie is because it was convenient. It wasn’t always bad, but when the bad outweighs the good then you have a problem. A real friend shouldn’t hold you back. A real friend should stand up for you when you’re not around to defend yourself. A real friend shouldn’t come with disclaimers. So choose your friends wisely. Try to surround yourself around people who’s going to make you better.
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.