The growth of fake friendships, often depicted in movies and TV shows like “Mean Girls” and “Stranger Things”, shows the rise of trouble with fakeness amongst friends. Many teenagers struggle with this problem and for a lot, it’s hard to decipher between a real and a fake friend. Only recently problems with fake friendships have become more prominent because of the use of social media applications and envy.
According to Verywellfamily.com, a site that specializes in health and wellness, there are eight ways of telling if your friend isn’t really your friend. If they are selfish, thrive on gossip and drama, require faking it, are envious, lie, are critical, untrustworthy or sell out others, these may be big signs and it may be time to address the situation.
Senior Macy Floro thinks that a way you can tell if your friend is being fake is through social media. In real life, it’s harder to be mean face to face and it’s easier to hide behind a phone or computer screen. With the growth of social media, it’s easier to talk about someone without them knowing about it.
“I think more teenagers now than ever are experiencing things like this because of the rise of social media and high school cliques,” Floro said.
School counselor Bill Brown believes that if you feel like you’re the one mostly contributing to the relationship, it may be a sign of a fake friendship. According to him, If you’re stuck in this kind of situation, an effective solution is to confront the friend.
“You’ve got to call them out,“ Brown said, “You can say, ‘Hey look, I’m doing these kind gestures towards you but I’m really not getting that back’, maybe then they’ll realize.”
Though calling them out is a good option, according to HealtyPlace, a website that provides mental health support, resources and information, many teenagers struggle with speaking up and communicating their thoughts and feelings. Studies show that it can be hard to stand up to someone, especially someone you consider your friend, so another other option could be messaging them privately.
“If they bring up things they know are important to you or go out of their way for you, I’d think that would be a real friendship,” Brown said.
Sophomore Milana Adrian believes that the key aspect to deciphering between a real and fake friendship is communication. If you text someone about a serious situation and they reply to you with a dry, or a simple and boring response, it may signify that they aren’t entirely interested in talking with you.
“A real friend will text you first, try to start up a conversation and are always happy and willing to talk to you,” Brown said.
Another important factor in figuring out who your real friends are is jealousy. As stated by a site about mental health information, PsychCentral, many times, jealousy rises from one’s own insecurities. People with a low self image and lack of confidence may be jealous of their friends’ looks, grades, or family life, which can lead to them being fake knowingly and sometimes even unknowingly.
According to Adrian, if she or he uses you to buy them stuff, or give them the answers to the homework you had last night, but never does any favors for you in return, it’s a big sign and it may be time to confront them about it.
“It’s not a movie where you come up to the friend, tell them off, everyone claps, and you walk away dramatically,” Adrian said, “Sometimes you need to give the person some time.”
Before automatically going into a friendship, Floro would try to check the person’s reputation, maybe ask friends she knows who are friends with the person about how they are and hangout with them a couple of times to see how they act when they are with you versus when they are with their other friends.
“If they act any different to other people compared to you, it could be that your friend is fake,” Floro said.