Friendships are an important part of life. Friends add enjoyment to our lives and provide comfort in times of need. But living with a mental health condition can make finding friends a little more difficult. Here are some ideas on what to do when you meet others.

Meeting new people can be nerve-wrecking, and a mental health condition can make you more insecure and less confident. 

Being in groups of people may be stressful, and symptoms of some mental health conditions can have physical symptoms that are sometimes difficult to control, or you simply may not feel like going out and being around others. 

While it may be difficult, putting yourself in situations to meet others can provide you with not only a group of people to hang out with but also a good support network if you need it. 

Should You Tell Your Friends about Your Condition?

It’s ultimately up to you to decide to tell. Some people will benefit from telling many friends. Others may benefit by telling a couple of close friends and waiting to tell others. You are an expert on your own mental illness and can decide for yourself.

If you’re stressed about whether to tell other people, you might feel better if you write down a list of pros and cons. Maybe some people won’t understand. But maybe you can also see benefits to telling the people who will understand. If you’re afraid, the list of pros can remind you of the rewards of overcoming your fear.

We all have those special people in our lives with whom we share our happiest and even our craziest days. These people make us forget that life isn’t exactly a fairy tale but it can be an interesting adventure; they are our soul sisters, our comrades, our confidant, our besties, and whatever funny and cute nicknames you call your gang.

As much as we hope to meet the right people, sometimes we fall into the trap of getting acquainted with some individuals who actually do fit the basic definition of a ‘friend’, but have motivations that don’t really last the test of true friendship.

So the question that we need to answer now is, is there a way to figure out if you’re hanging out with superficial people, with ‘fake friends’? How can we differentiate these group from the genuine ones, our true friends? Let’s find out.

1. True friends support your crazy ideas; fake friends mock them.
We have those crazy and unconventional ideas that can either get us into trouble or can actually help us discover our true selves – and sometimes, it takes one true friend to understand that what you want to do will not only help you know yourself better, it will also bring out the part of you that you never knew existed. On the other hand, fake friends won’t even dare to take that challenge with you and will immediately conclude that your crazy idea is indeed crazy and not worth the risk.

2. True friends find time; fake friends make excuses.
It doesn’t mean that you have to ask every single friend you have to schedule a regular chat or dinner with you. It just means that at times when it matters the most, true friends will do everything in their power to find time and create opportunities just to be with you. On the other hand, fake friends will give you a long list of excuses just to dodge the bad times and will only reappear when things have finally steady.

3. True friends accept your bad parts; fake friends leave because of them.
Human beings are not the most perfect species but our imperfections make us unique. True friends acknowledge that and they can effortlessly accept your bad parts while making true to their promise that they will be there for you no matter what. On the other hand, fake friends won’t even have the patience to try and will leave as soon as they find themselves in the most unfavorable situations.

4. True friends accept who you are; fake friends want you to be like them.
True friends won’t force you to ditch your wardrobe and change your hairstyle just because they think it’s not fashionable or it’s too simple. True friends will in fact, help you be yourself and appreciate your personal choices – while fake friends will make sure you fit their own definition of trendy and stylish, their own description of a perfect member of their social group – or else you’re out.

5. True friends believe you can; fake friends think you’re being too ambitious.
Remember that time you tried to be ambitious and applied for that dream job of yours? Who were the people who were there to encourage you to aim higher and who were the ones who said that it’s impossible, that you’re only going to disappoint yourself if you fail? True friends will always believe in you even if they themselves think it’s impossible; fake friends will give you every reason to make you doubt yourself.

6. True friends are there in bad times; fake friends wait for the good times.
There are friends who would ditch you for a few days or even months especially during the darkest and most challenging times and when all of these are finally over, they would magically reappear and be back in your life, just like that. Remember that if they can’t be there at your worst, it speaks a lot about your “friendship”.

7. True friends face life with you; fake friends make you feel alone.
True friends are there to make you feel that no matter how life gives you lemons, at least you won’t be alone to make the lemonade and share a toast for better days.

8. True friends apologize and forgive; fake friends ignore and forget.
It’s not unusual for even the best of friends to fight or disagree on something. However, it’s a mark of fake friendship if a single argument can either break your relationship apart or weaken it. True friends always find a way to fix whatever is broken, and not through shortcuts. It’s important to admit if mistakes are made, to apologize, and of course, to sincerely forgive.

9. True friends make you feel good; fake friendship feels heavy.
True friendship does not require a tremendous amount of effort just to last and make it through the test of time. In fact, being with true friends feel light and making the relationship work is as easy as breathing. On the other hand, fake friendship feels heavy and at some point, so toxic that just being with these people drains your energy, physically and emotionally.

10. True friends love your imperfections; fake friends only take the good parts.
How many times have you been told that something is wrong with you and that you need to change so that you can attract more people in your life? How many times have you been told you change who you are, to like different things and subscribe to different values just to please other people?

The truth is, you don’t need to be a different person to win friends. You just have to be yourself and celebrate your imperfections as long as you are not hurting anyone. True friends will encourage you to grow on your own terms. Fake friends would want you to fit to their description of an ‘ideal’ person just to feel that you belong.

There’s no general definition that can separate a good friend from a bad one but everyone can agree that fake friends have these distinct characteristics based on selfishness, self-centeredness and their sole objective to benefit from a person or a relationship.

We only live once – be with your crowd, hang out with the right people who will accept you for who you are and will help you be the best version of yourself.

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