Not exactly a story about fake boobs. Although you've heard the saying, “friends are like boobs. You’ve got big ones, small ones, real ones and fake ones.” Well, my definition of a “falsie” friendship derives from the meaning of a set of false pretenses in a friendship that occurs between two individuals. These are girls who believe they’re in a healthy, normal friendship and call themselves BFF’s (best friends forever) but yet they're nothing more than big or bitchy, false friends. It may take a while to figure this out, sometimes even years. I do believe, however, that once the light has shone, no matter how long it’s taken, and you realize the myth of your true match in a friend has gone from happily ever after to sourly thank goodness it's over, you’re in a much better place and no longer left with the scar of false beliefs.
I’ve said to my own daughters over the years, “you can never really lose a real friend, but only a friend who masquerades themselves as your true friend.” The friend that pushes you towards your greatness is way different that the friend who tends to relish in the mistakes you’ve made. Our girls are so completely vulnerable in the middle school and high school years. They want to be accepted and feel included, yet at the same time, staying in a friendship that ultimately is fake will only set them up for failure down the road. Still, we have to let them figure this all out on their own. Somehow, someway, they will find out who their true friends are along the way.
Sadly, the root of all evil, jealousy, is probably the number one reason for tension or friendship breakups. It can stir up a bevy of emotions, ranging from complete shock (“how can my friend treat me like this?” to anger and hurt (“but I’ve been nothing more than a good friend”). The jealous friend can only feel good about herself if she puts herself on a higher scale than others. This includes a friend who may not only be jealous, but hyper competitive as well. Like when your daughter shares her “A” grade on her last exam, her friend manages to one up her by saying she got the “A+.” Perhaps you also notice that same friend who jumps on the bandwagon and follows every thing your daughter does, because she wants to be like her, and do it better. Don’t get me wrong, being competitive definitely has its advantages and is a great quality. It shows how determined and willing a person is to accomplish specific goals. To want to achieve greatness is an admirable quality. However, competitive friendships normally don’t last very long, where it’s obvious that the friend is showing signs of insecurity, and the only way for them to feel better about themselves is to outdo their friends.
Explaining to your daughter that there are different layers of qualities in a friendship is by no means an easy task. Take for instance, a friend who has an incredible sense of humor, laughs like no one is watching, is fun to be around and just makes you laugh until you’re keeling over. That same friend however, may also be the quiet gossiper, and the one who builds alliances to set up friends against each other. To be honest, in terms of recognizing false friendships, things haven’t changed much in the many generations gone by. I’m 50 years young and still am witness to friends who continually behave in juvenile ways, or who don’t get past the high school stage!
At the end of the day, we see our daughters float through the ins and outs of them navigating their way through different friendships. I try to put things in perspective for my girls. I tell them “stay true to who you are, be yourself, be open-minded, but also be cautious. You’ll find that BFF - that best friend forever who isn’t disguised as someone else."