1. Criticize you for being flawed.
As flawed as you might be, as out of place as you sometimes feel, and as lacking as you think you are, you don’t have to hide all the imperfect pieces of yourself from a true friend. They see your flaws as features that make you interesting and beautiful.
The quality of the happiness between two people grows in direct proportion to their acceptance, and in inverse proportion to their intolerance and expectations. True friends love and appreciate each other just the way they are.
2. Walk away when times get tough.
True friendship and good character is all about how a person nurtures another person when they are vulnerable and can give very little in return. Thus, it’s not who’s standing beside you during good times, but the ones who stick by you through tough times that are your true friends.
So take note of who remains in your life when times get tough, especially the people who sacrifice the resources they have in their life to help you improve yours when you need it most. Seriously, when you come out the other side of a difficult period in your life, look around you. The people still standing beside you are your true friends.
3. Discourage you.
Unfortunately, some who seem like your friends will try to hold you back from your full potential. It may be difficult, but don’t let these negative imposters bring you down. Don’t ever let your so-called friends turn your sky into a ceiling. Beware of friends who try to belittle your ambitions. Small hearts and minds always do that. The greatest hearts and minds – the people you should spend time around – make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Remember, encouraging things happen when you distance yourself from discouraging people. Doing so doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
4. Hold a grudge over your head.
Some people will refuse to accept that you are no longer who you used to be – that you’ve made mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved beyond them. They may not be able to stand the fact that you’re growing and moving on with your life, and so they will try to drag your past to catch up with you. Do not help them by acknowledging their begrudging behavior. Let go of their negativity, find peace, and liberate yourself!
A true friend never holds the unchangeable past against you; instead, they help your repair your present and future. If someone relentlessly judges you by your past and holds it against you, you might have to take matters into your own hands, and repair your present and future by leaving them behind.
5. Lie to you.
When you keep someone in your life who is a chronic liar, and you keep giving them new chances to be trusted, you have a lot in common with this person – you’re both lying and being unfriendly to YOU.
If you know someone who avoids the truth by telling you only what you want to hear, they do so for their own benefit, not yours. They are not a true friend and they don’t deserve to be treated as such. Continue reading