We've all known someone like this - they say they are your friend, but they talk behind your back. They suck up all the attention and energy wherever they go. They are always seeking favors from you (that's what friends are for, right?) but disappear the second you need help. They say things to cut you down (often followed by "just kidding!")
Why do we put up with these kinds of friends?
I can only speak for myself, but I think our desire to please and fit in has a lot to do with it. I remember wanting so badly to be a part of a well-regarded group (not popular because that was a little out of my realm, so "well-regarded", i.e., not socially outcast, seemed like a viable option) that I would put up with a lot to hold onto friendships I really could have done without. I think (I hope) I have learned a lot from the experience
For anyone who has reason to question if their friends are really their friends, here are some good indicators that they aren't -
1. You can't be yourself around them - you feel you have to act, dress, talk, etc. like them to be accepted.
2. They gossip about other people when you're with them. (A sure indicator of what they do behind your back when you're not there.) Worse, you find yourself gossiping more when you're with them, too.
3. They make passive/aggressive comments about your accomplishments, likes, desires so you feel like you have to downplay yourself to be more like them. You notice yourself moving further away from your goals.
4. Your self-esteem is tied to what they think/say about you. You give them power to control your moods.
5. They isolate you. You start to distance yourself from your family and other friends.
Any other warning signs you can think of?
Better yet, what are some of the qualities you find in a real friend?