There’s little doubt that social interaction, friendship, and companionship are vital to our mental wellbeing. Still, how do you know if your friends like you for who you truly are, or whether you’ve picked up some superficial friends along the way that are only there for the good times?
Let’s think about why superficial friendships can only ever make a half-hearted stab at adding the value to our lives that authentic ones do and how to spot them.
Ten Signs You Have Superficial Friends
Here we will run through the top ten tells. If some, or all of these sound familiar, it’s a bright red flag that your nearest and dearest don’t care much about what lies beneath.
1. Don’t call me, I’ll call you
Having a friendship that can go for weeks or months without contact and pick up right where it left off isn’t unusual or a negative! But, if you have people in your life that put in as little effort as possible, they’re probably at least a bit selfish.
Friendship, like any relationship, works both ways, and if your mates only ring when they want something and ignore you the rest of the time, it’s not a companionship built on anything meaningful.
2. Gossip queens
We all probably like a bit of juicy gossip from time to time! However, a sign of poor quality friends is when they spend all your time together nattering about other people and spreading vicious rumors.
Remember that you can tell a lot about a person from the way they talk about others – and if they’re cruel about your mutual contacts, you’ve got a solid idea about how they talk about you too.
3. There is radio silence when you’re having a tough time
Now and again, you’re probably going to have a rubbish day and need someone to vent to, talk it out with, or just share your pain.
If you’ve got a friend who is first in line for the parties, is always on hand to get frocked up for a celebration, but is mysteriously busy when you need a shoulder to cry on – put them straight in the superficial friends’ list.
4. You realize you don’t trust them
Let’s keep this simple! If you know someone who is a little fickle, unreliable, and always has plans when you need some help – they’re very likely not a great friend.
However, if you have any inkling of distrust, sometimes leave something out of the conversation because you know it will be repeated or stored up for a rainy day; you’re better off with genuine friends with whom you can be open and honest.
5. They’ve got to be first to the finish
Another massive sign that you have a superficial friend is if they turn everything into a competition. We are all unique and do things our own way, at our own pace.
Your lives likely align with your closest friends’ somehow, but if that is less supportive and more combative, it isn’t healthy. Comparing who earns more, travels more, has a happier relationship, looked better in that dress? It’s all toxic and not what you need from a friend.
6. Your friends don’t know the real you
Shallow people don’t tend to dive too deep and rarely talk about anything real – emotions, feelings, and things they are passionate about.
Friends should always accept you inside and out, and if they don’t know what you like, can’t remember your middle name, or haven’t given any thought to bringing up something that they should have known would be a sensitive subject, they deserve a wide berth.
7. You’re on guard around them
One of the interesting things about us, as people, is that our gut often knows something is up well before our brain has caught up. Everybody shows a slightly different side of their persona, depending on the situation.
For example, you’re probably a lot more relaxed when slouching on the sofa watching Netflix than you are in a corporate meeting! If you feel reluctant to chat about personal topics, have a smidge of the doubt when they start boasting about their latest achievements, or feel guarded or on edge, they’re not your people.
Likewise, if you wouldn’t see a friend without a full face of makeup? You already know the answer!
8. They aren’t all that interested
Great friends can boost our self-esteem, support us when we need it, and share in our triumphs, as we do in theirs.
If people close to you don’t ask questions, aren’t supportive, or seem mildly disinterested even when you’re experiencing some real drama, they probably don’t care because it isn’t about them.
A superficial friend always wants to be the center of attention, is extraordinarily selfish, and won’t hang about if the spotlight is on you.
9. Emotional support is non-existent
The strongest, toughest of us hit a stumbling block every once in a while, which is nearly always related to our emotional connections.
Friends who don’t know your family, have no clue about your dating history, and haven’t got the foggiest about the Achilles heel that will send you reeling are in no position to offer emotional support when you need it.
In some cases, this isn’t even intentional. Still, superficial people aren’t going to scratch beneath the surface to understand what might be going on.
10. You’re often not included
Lots of friendship groups have different dynamics, and it might be that some particular activities are more relevant to some than others.
Still, if you are excluded from things, intentionally and often enough for you to notice, those aren’t the people you want to have your back.
What Does It Say about Me If I Have Superficial Friends?
It’s vital to realize that we’re all a little fickle from time to time, and a superficial friend might have no idea that they’re not putting nearly enough into your friendship.
Should you feel like this applies, it’s always worth having a heart to heart and explaining how you feel.
The best-case scenario is that your friend has no idea that they are being a little selfish and will value your presence in their life enough to make a concerted effort.
And, if they don’t? The world is materialistic and harsh enough as it is – I’d not invite anyone who falls into the superficial friends’ category anywhere close to your energy.