You know that line in Something’s Gotta Give about versions of the truth? Jack’s character says, “I have always told you some version of the truth,” to which Diane’s character wryly responds, “The truth doesn’t have versions.”
She’s right. But it seems there are different versions of friends because, let’s face it, an awful lot of people have no idea what it means to be a real friend.
Now, I understand friendships sometimes drift apart over the years due to distance, marriage, and/or children. Those things happen. And I know people aren’t perfect—even true friends can make mistakes or say things they don’t mean. Again, those things happen. I’m not talking about changes in circumstances getting in the way of friendships; I’m talking about people who were never really your friend to begin with.
I used to think friends meant being there in good and bad times, being supportive when they’re weak, helping them rise when they fall, and celebrating when they succeed. I used to always think there was only one kind of friend. Boy, was I as naïve as a little lamb trusting a slightly bigger lamb with unusually big fangs, gray pointy ears, and poorly fitted wool.
It seems like the friend thing is getting worse. I hear it all the time: “She just stopped being my friend when I got a boyfriend;” “She says really cruel things to me, then turns around and brags about something in her life;” “He says he values my friendship, but only calls to flirt, then disappears for weeks.”
So, I’ve put together a short list of “friends” to avoid:
- Fair weather friend: These “friends” wear their masks very well. They give every indication of being a real friend until the bottom drops out, things get rough, and then they zippity-do-da right on outta there. Ultimate Friend Fail: No better than a fair weather football fan—not loyal, unreliable.
- Foul weather friend: Polar opposite of fair weather. When something makes you happy or fate hands you a golden egg, this “friend” goes M.I.A. They are unconditional friends so long as your life, in their view, is less than stellar, but when your life finally decides to get good, they split. Ultimate Friend Fail: They rejoice in your sorrow or failure; can’t be happy for you; total evil queen or king in manner of Maleficent.
- Footstool friend: Like bacteria in human form, these charming sorts will be true as tar until you unwittingly help them reach a premeditated goal, at which point they will dump you and move to the next. You are a means to their ends. You are only friend material if you know people, have something they want, or can get them to a particular place in life, whether professional or personal. Ultimate Fried Fail: It’s all about them, the materialistic-Cruella de Vil-mongers.
- Fire-stoking friend: The one who likes to stir up trouble. This friend seems to cause strife between you and your other friends, family, and sometimes your boyfriend or significant other. Ultimate Friend Fail: The Siamese cats from Lady & the Tramp. ’Nuff said.
- Fur-stroking friend: These types are in desperate need of an ego boost. Whether it’s a guy needing a little flirt after being rejected elsewhere or a girl wanting to show off about this or that, these friends keep you on speed dial for a quick “I am so great and wonderful” moment. Ultimate Friend Fail: You are simply their mirror, mirror on the wall.
Um, one more conclusion: People just kind-of suck sometimes.