False friends


I recently find myself contemplating aspects of friendship again due to current events. And there will probably be other posts like these forthcoming while I consider them.

As I was looking up quotes on friendship I was reminded of a term being thrown around so callously: False friends.

I’ve seen it often in recent times and have even had it attributed to myself by someone when I did not play along the way they wanted and it subsequently led to the end of the friendship.

It’s such a petty and childish term. How can someone be a false friend? You’re implying that the friendship was since its inception started under false pretences. Friends can be immature, they can be incompatible, they can be abusive and they can even be downright manipulative; most of these included under the banner of “bad” friends. But it should be considered that even the most manipulative person will be hard pressed to be friends with someone they truly can’t stand.

The friendship usually starts due to a mutual interest, liking or advantage. And in all three there is a sense of purity. Is a friendship that started due to the one person wanting something the other had any less pure than the one that started due to a mutual laugh at a joke. I don’t think so. Neither friendship would’ve grown if the two people involved didn’t find more about each other to like. Sometimes this liking is short lived and sometimes people stay “friends” longer than they should.

And I think this is when people start throwing such hurtful terms as “false friends” around when a friendship dies. Because lets face it, people tend to say that when the feel they’ve done nothing to jeopardize the friendship. When the other person disappointed them so much that it amounts to a betrayal big enough that it taints what the whole friendship might have symbolised.  They’re hurt that this “friend” didn’t stay the person they had met at first and fallen in friend-love. Out of experience and observation you need two people to foster a friendship and it cannot happen if one of the parties is apathetic. Thus it stands to reason that all bad friendships once started off good.

I always wonder what sense of entitlement and vanity leads a person to use a term such as false friends. They are actually portraying themselves as the perfect friend; innocent of any part they might have played in the horrible end. Do they actually believe they were completely innocent or are they doing it so other people will believe them the victim? I have reason to believe the second.

I am not denying that the betrayal of a friend is heart-rending but I do feel if you had any respect for what you shared with that person, regardless of how it ended, that you should not disrespect it with such petty terms. They once had an influence on your life and whether bad or good you have grown through knowing them. By demeaning the time you’ve spent together you’re doing the same to an experience that has shaped you as a person.

I’ve had bad friends for sure, and I’ve been betrayed by friends, just as I’m sure I have been cast in those categories myself by past friends. But there’s the rub: no-one sets out to betray another on-purpose. It usually happens through stupid choices or well intended actions. And being labelled a false friend is just adding insult to the injury of a failed intent or action.

I will say this – that to date I have not seen men whining about “false friends”, it’s mostly girls/women. Here’s something to consider: do girls lash out so much more because they feel entitled to “true friends” as portrayed in almost every teenage targeted production or is it because they’re weapons generally takes the shape of words and emotions?

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7 thoughts on “False friends

  1. Francois Smit says:

    Happens with guys as well. With friendships, just as with relationships it’s dead the moment that neither party is willing to keep fighting for the relationship.

    …so by that logic, if you’re still fighting, then chances are it’s not over yet and if you’re not, then both parties are to blame.

      • disgruntledmystic says:

        I’d like to suggest that “fault”is not a useful concept in this context, since it not only does not help to bring about a desired outcome, but can actively get in the way.

        In almost every case that I’ve seen where progress has been made, whether personal or professional, the focus was not on fault, but on outcome. And in every case where
        progress was stalled, it’s because the focus was on fault.

      • Mareli Basson says:

        it’s understandable that people tend to turn to fault when something precious has been lost. Nobody wants to think of it as “their fault” but that’s what tends to happen towards the end of a friendship/relationship; it ends up being less of a fight to preserve what once was and rather a fight of where the blame should lay once all is over. which is sad..

  2. Francois Smit says:

    haha, I said “neither party”, not “either party”. First person that gives up might be blamed for “giving up”, but if the second party doesn’t fight for it they’re just as guilty for “not trying to save the relationship/friendship”.

    Some relationships/friendships aren’t worth saving – but the choice to end it is always mutual – Both parties have to DECIDE to stop fighting for the relationship, for it to be over.

    • Mareli Basson says:

      The subtleties of using either or neither is lost on me tbh, but I agree with the second part of this comment. Its a mutual choice that brings it to an end no matter how it happens

  3. Endraca says:

    I think in the end of the friendship/relationship it can still be one sided – think more in the line of stalker. But they are the exception that proves the rule – that as long as fighting is happening there is still something to fight for. That something can be fighting for the actual friendship/relationship or just to find a reason/someone to blame why things did not work out.

    But I also agree that the media tends to build this idea of “true friends” (and true love – coincidence? I think not) and people seem to feel very upset / alienated / alone when people do not live up to those ideals. Then they lash out with the similar label “false friends”.

    I’ve seen many examples of guys feeling betrayed by “false friends”. I just think we see less guys “whining” in general about topics like those as that is not “manly”. Does not mean they do not feel betrayal by their friends and wish they had “true friends”.

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