Real friend or counterfeit? We’ve all have relationships where we couldn’t tell the difference. Maybe we think someone is a true friend, but are at a loss when they say something negative or hurtful. First, we blame ourselves, thinking we’re being overly sensitive. Perhaps we minimize it, telling ourselves that we must have misunderstood. Or maybe he or she was having a bad day.
How can we tell the difference between constructive criticism and a hostile comment? It’s not always easy. If it’s an isolated incident, we might be right in assuming one of the scenarios above. Everyone has an off day now and then. Let it go. But, if the same friend habitually makes negative comments, there’s probably more to it.
I have a lot of friends who are proven fans. They are invested in me and in our relationship. They are supportive and genuinely happy for me when something good happens. And they are also there when not-so-good things happen. I cherish input from my friends. It gives me better perspective. It’s what makes life interesting.
Then, there is the other kind of friend. They are mostly quiet, whether things are great or when life is difficult. They make snarky comments on Facebook. When confronted, they claim to have been joking. But they don’t apologize or try to make amends.
I find that people show their true colors on social media. I have a few such “friends” who follow me, either on Facebook, Instagram or this blog. In most cases, they are quiet, but for an occasional dig. There have been a few times when their intentions were clearly motivated by jealousy. It’s pretty obvious (although I doubt they see it that way).
Nobody can possibly like everything I say and do. To be honest, you must be willing to risk being unpopular. I’m perfectly okay with that. You should be, too. If someone is being a Negative Nelly, don’t validate them by paying attention. If their comment bothers you, take a moment to consider the source. Constructive criticism is important if we want to grow and improve. But, if you don’t value the individual offering it, then don’t value the feedback. It’s that simple.
Know who your friends are. Ignore the rest. I’m learning, but it’s a process. You might be tempted to utilize the ‘ignore’ or ‘block’ function on media such as Facebook. I do not. Instead, I allow them the freedom to read my updates, my jokes and my wisdom. I have nothing to hide. When I receive a less than genuine comment, I leave it alone. Unacknowledged, it has no power. It serves mainly as a reflection of the character of the person who posted it. Silence is louder than anything I could possibly say.
Life is too short to spend energy on people whose intentions are less than genuine. If the friendship is not a two-way street, let it go. Eventually, it’ll be a dead end. And sometimes, that’s okay.