Friends Versus Fakes

Evidence of true friendshipIf your best friend had a wedding planned months in advance, gave you the date, and told you it meant the world to her for you to share her most special day with her, would you tell her, “I’ll try my best to be there?” Or would you say, “Short of a death in the family, I wouldn’t miss it for anything!”?

And if on the day of your best friend’s wedding the boss at work asked you to work late, would you tell him that staying would be impossible? Or would you resign yourself to leaving a voicemail on the bride’s phone telling her you’re awfully sorry you had to attend to stuff at the office on her wedding day?

On your friend’s most important occasion, would you fail to attend because you couldn’t get a babysitter? Couldn’t afford a new dress? Couldn’t miss the latest installment of your favorite nighttime soap opera?

Many people exist with the mistaken assumption that being a true friend means sending a Christmas card every year. They enjoy the illusion of intimacy and connection that being a friend provides, but they can’t be bothered to make friendship a genuine priority. These are fake friends, the worst kind of charlatans. These frauds view the support and loyalty of their social network as a convenience, another number programmed on the speed-dial, not something that requires effort and commitment.

Real friends go the extra mile — or in the case of our wedding example the extra several hundred miles. The genuine friend drives roundtrip from San Diego to Los Angeles to be there for her bride. The fake can’t be bothered to make a half-hour commute.

There’s nothing essentially bad or wrong or evil about the fake friend. They’re as selfish and small-minded as you and me. But to consider them as anything more than what they really are — a casual acquaintance passing himself off as someone who really cares — is a mistake. Friends can be counted upon. Fakes cannot.

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