I can sense a fake post a mile away. Just skimming the headline of an article that has been stolen and reproduced usually gives me a shiver. So it is no wonder that meeting fake people causes me to draw back from any and all people associated with them. And I do mean all.
I would rather have no friends at all than a fake one.
As an Empath, I have always been sensitive to clues. Years ago, I met a lady who was to work with me very closely. She was too happy…all the time. One day, she started telling me a story about how her husband had cheated on her. She laughingly said “Hahaha. I could murder him.” I looked at her and I knew that was one of the few things she actually had told me that was completely and totally true. Her hatred was as great as the Emperor’s from Star Wars. Seriously. I had this vision for a second and it was gone. I saw beneath the mask.
Later, she would do other odd things until one day I could take it no longer and I had to report her behavior. I later left the school because yes. We worked with children and they didn’t believe me. A year later she was let go and I ran into her working at a yogurt shop. The mask was there again.
I have many stories like this when the words, body language and energy of the person don’t match up. There are people with massive followers that I refuse to associate with as I have seen the mask slip. All it takes is one time for me to have that feeling click and I know.
Energy doesn’t lie to me.
I have been manipulated by a person who was once one of my closet friends. She would smile at me and tell me how much she wanted to see me, but wouldn’t I invite so and so over as well, a male friend, to my house…because you know, she was married. I would later hear things about parties she had, that I wasn’t invited to, or outings she had that we had planned, but she took someone else. I am a grown woman. I left high school a long time ago. If you are sensing these things in your adult friendships my friends…get out.
Signs you must leave:
- They are your friend or are friendly to you when they need you. At other times, like the time you say “Hey. I have had a really bad day. Can I come over?” They tell you “Now is not really a good time.” Had the situation been reversed, you would have changed your plans, got come wine and chocolate and opened your door in your PJ’s. <<< truth.
- They compliment you daily…but you sense something else. This started with the lady who I worked with. I realized I was probably working with a psychopath and pathological liar who continued to pretend she was stable so she complimented everyone around her all the time with this giant smile. I could almost sense her real words underneath. It gave me the creeps.
- In each situation, they are a new person. This is a huge sign. <<< My close friend was never the same person and I noticed it, but I guess I wanted a best-friend so much at the time, that I just passed it off as insecurity. I tried very hard to form a close relationship, but I never knew what type of person I was dealing with. Just when I thought I got through, it would happen again.
- The lies and stories are so thick, you aren’t sure what is truth anymore. In the end, they have changed different versions of a story so many times you are left feeling completely and totally used. Drained. Even though they have tried many ways to keep anger, pain, or something else hidden, you always sense it. It is the true self under all the stories. Your instincts are right no matter how much they deny it.
What do you do now?
- Avoidance. This is my go-to thing. I know it. I “hermit” because I am so damn tired of being lied to. I can’t stand the fakeness I see daily and that includes social media and twisted “news” that isn’t really news at all.
- You learn to trust again…eventually. To do this, you have to be willing to put yourself out there to make new friends. I get it, I truly do, but not everyone is the same. Trust your gut.
- You join a club or go to a local meet-up of people with interests like you. If there isn’t one, you can always start one, but it is important to find people you can trust. I know it’s hard. You are always welcome to come join my Club as well if this resonates with you.
- You journal about your experiences and you move on. You get very clear on how you want to feel and you start to create that for yourself. No one wants to feel used for sure. Start making a list of how you want to feel. Loved, energized, important, lifted-up, and of course, authentic.
Want more help? >>> Here is Journaling for Empaths. <<< A workbook to heal your soul.
not operating normally or properly.
“the telephones are dysfunctional”
The friendship started innocently enough. We had lots of things in common so small talk led to drinks after work, outings, and even group adventures. I was so happy that I had found a friend who really listened to me and supported me. As time went on, I started feeling heard less and less. I tried to make adjustments in the conversation, but it always circled back to whatever new and terrible thing had happened to her. Some nights, I would be on the computer for hours consoling her and helping her through something. I would go to bed mentally and physically drained. The “friendship” was not reciprocal.
My husband had enough and told me to just ignore the messages that always started out the same way. It seemed she wanted to catch up and “talk”, but we never did anything anymore. She didn’t call me on the phone, didn’t answer my text messages, and didn’t want to see me. She just wanted to use messenger as her personal dumping ground all night long.
I felt alone and isolated in the friendship. I was not important enough to make time for. There were other examples as well. An event we were going to go to together that she said we would plan…weeks later, photos of her with someone else at the event. Exercise class no show…and excuses on nights I asked her to do something with me, or just come over and chat. However, throughout this process, when she needed me or wanted to come over to see a mutual friend, I made the time. I was always making time because trust is something I value.
That’s when it finally hit me. I didn’t trust her anymore due to the lies and excuses. I was nurturing a friendship that was crumbling because I believed she would wake up and see what she was doing to me. It wasn’t going to happen because I was not the only one she lied to. She lied to her husband, to her work, to mutual friends, and most of all, to herself. I could not fix this. She had to get back to seeing a weekly counselor and nothing I did or said would ever be enough until she was ready to work on herself.
How to cope when a friendship ends?
- Make a plan. What would you do if you were to run into this person again? What would happen if this person wanted back in your life? I know the answers seem hard to think about, but it’s best to run through that now while you are fresh to whatever happened in the relationship. The main question is does the relationship empower me or deflate me? Is there capacity for an authentic, honest relationship or not? Honestly, you already know the answers to these questions.
- Write your feelings down. I know that this is not like a funeral…but in a way, it is. You are dealing with the stages of grief, and it is a serious thing. You have loved that friend, cared for that friend, and despite your best efforts, the friendship ended. I haven’t forgotten the moments of happiness the friendship brought me, and despite the fact that for the better part of a year I saw the friendship going down a steep hill into a black abyss that sucked all the joy out of it, I still regret the way it ended. But I also know it takes two working together to save a relationship. Not one. The primary emotion that comes to me is anger because of the way it ended. Anger that I was made to be in the middle of something that was never about me anyway.
- Think about the qualities you really want in a friend. I was in a bad place when we met, but as I started to get better, it seemed to make my friendship worse. That doesn’t even sound okay to me now. How could a friend not be happy for me? I wanted someone who could talk to me in person and not make excuses because they were mad that I was doing better. I am not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
- That brings me to “Don’t take it personally.” Everyone is dealing with their own demons. If the friendship ends, there is a good chance that it is freeing you up for something new. It will hurt for a long time, but eventually you will realize that you have broken the cycle and moved on. New friends await you, and this time, as soon as you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, be brave and have that conversation on what is important to you in a friendship. If this person is meant to be in your life, they will understand, value you, and most importantly, make time for you.
As your self-esteem and self-worth improves, these old friends WILL fall away if they are not meant to be in your life. You are making room for so much more my friend. In my closed group, the Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on exactly what we want to attract in our lives and that includes new boundaries for ourselves and realizing that it truly is okay to feel worthy.
You always say yes. Even when it’s inconvenient timing or you are about to eat dinner. Your friend “needs” you yet again or your partner asks you to do this one little thing he or she just doesn’t have time to do. You might even be the go-to person at work…working long after hours, because the boss just knows that you will say yes. Yes, sure I will do this.
What are the signs?
- You try to have a good nature about everything…so it gets used. Because you naturally want something great to happen for your friend, they ask you to do more things like that. Plan an outing, sure. Keep their kids all day? Why not. You were only going to relax from exhaustion. Pay for everything because they always forget their money <<< wait. Big sign. Big. Let’s split this bill? But they ordered lobster, 2 martinis and a flaming desert brought to the table by a monkey wearing a fez. You ordered water and a salad. Say no to splitting the bill.
- What you do is clearly not appreciated...in fact, they act surprised if you mention they asked you to do x, y, z for them last weekend so you can’t right now. They do not reciprocate at all, nor will they ever. Never. Be honest with yourself. How is this making you feel right now? Are you beating yourself up for being so nice…and feeling used right now? Write down your thoughts about the last time someone used you.
- One set of rules for them…another for you. This one is huge. I had an acquaintance, I thought she was a friend actually, but I know better now, who said that a few things I did were not okay. If I made an observation for example, I was automatically judging OR gossiping. But she could turn around and say “Oh look at so and so. Umm. I just don’t like them….what do you think <<<” At that time, and that time only, I could answer. This borders on “policing” your behavior. Being told what you can and can’t do. It would be okay for her to act this way, but not me. Snapping at you in front of adults, yet had you done the same thing, you would have heard about it. This is setting limitations on what you can do, but they think it doesn’t apply to them. This is manipulation in a friendship or relationship and it is wrong.
- Being treated this way makes you feel isolated and alone. How you feel about this treatment is often ignored as well…but you are not alone. You should not feel ashamed to speak out on someone who likes to use double standards in a relationship or friendship. They have the do as I say not as I do attitude, but clearly you are starting to see this. Get out now. Go to counseling, therapy, write about it, but leave and don’t feel bad. This is NOT about you. It’s about them. All about them. They will continue to manipulate your feelings and try to turn it around so it is your fault. It isn’t.
- They rarely contact you first…unless they need something. In any type of relationship, whether it is home, friendship, relationship, work, or family, the only contact you get is when they need something. I am learning to put up better barriers against this, but this is a big sign to me that I am not important. They are too busy to listen to you, contact you, etc, but the moment they need something, the story changes. My ex-sister-in-law comes to mind right now as well as a few others who are no longer in my life. But I wouldn’t hear from that girl unless she wanted to bash my brother or have me babysit. Period. That was it for our entire “friendship”. When I was really ill, she called me. To ask me for a favor. Didn’t know I was bad off. Didn’t ever ask. Not once. That was the last time she called because I finally told her that I knew she only called me for 2 reasons and never once in 7 years asked me how I was doing.
How to handle it now.
- Talk to them first. If you don’t you only have yourself to blame.
- If talking doesn’t improve anything at all, use distance.
- If distance doesn’t work as well as you’d like, make yourself completely unavailable to them for a very long time.
- If all else fails, leave the relationship or friendship so that you can make room for new people in your life who truly value you, your gifts and what you have to offer others.
- Start your own self-care routines that truly focus on your wellness.
Want more help? See the Work With Me tab as my Closed Group frequently does lots of work around setting up safe boundaries.