Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Are you a friend or a flatterer?

The chief difference between a friend and a flatterer is this; the flatterer speaks to please, the friend will not leave out even what is disagreeable….At all events any one would rather see his friend angry with him than anyone else flattering him.” -Saint Basil the Great-

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Flattery will get you everywhere, except true friendship!?

Have you come across that person in your life who always greets you with compliments? Even when you know you are wearing your glad rags and sporting the worst hair day ever! But despite it all she will stand there and compliment you till she’s blue in the face.  Or maybe you are that person? Do you feel as though those compliments will show the other person that you are indeed a good person, a friend? Or are you saving face? Do you plan on gossiping about the flattery later? Or, do you wish to have that person do something for you? Are you manipulating?

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The problem is if you are a constant flatterer your words will eventually begin to lose meaning and validity. You might even find people questioning your true purpose. Why? Flattery and manipulation are often one in the same. Flattery is just served up with a smile and cherry on top.

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Though true, this statement only harms the person doing the flattering.  When we see others in their true bliss, living their true passion, we can’t help but want to have what they have. But the problem is everyone has their own passion that needs to be found. You simply cannot take what another person is passionate about and make it your passion. Just as you cannot assume that because someone looks great with a certain hair color/cut that you will look similar.  We each have different facial features, body types, and passions that are what makes us so marvelously unique.

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Now, it is important to not confuse flattery with encouragement. A true friend will encourage you as long as they see that it will not harm you in any way. The question then is how do you know if you are a flatterer?

How to tell if you’re a flatterer (Source: Counting My Blessings)

1. Are you nicer to someone when you want something from them?

2. Are you kind to strangers, servers, sales-people, etc. – someone you may never meet again?

3. Are you patient with other drivers no matter what kind of car they drive?

4. Are you more attentive to your “rich uncle” than you are to the one on a fixed income?

5. Are you as pleasant around your family as you are around your friends?

Or

1. Do you look to see how many fans or followers a blog has before you leave a comment?

2. Do you swoon over celebrities while avoiding eye-contact with those in need or homeless?

3. Do you encourage your children to become friends with the attractive, popular kids at school?

4. Do you talk to people the same way you talk about them – your neighbor, boss, coworker, etc.?

5. Do you treat the person asking you for something the way you would want them to treat you if situations were reversed?

 

This week’s Homework Assignment:

When you feel the urge to start complementing someone on something first ask yourself…

Am I doing this to manipulate them…do I want something from them?

Am I doing this to make myself for better about gossiping about them?

Or do I genuinely like that necklace, their hair, blog post, etc.?

You might be surprised with your answer. I know I was.

I know I have been guilty of being a flatterer; I am a work in progress, how about you? I have to be honest; I think it will be difficult to break this flattery cycle. I feel like women in particular practically include flattery as a form of introduction, (i.e. “I would like to induce you to Jennifer, who is sporting an awesome necklace today”….or “Hi Cindy it is nice to meet you, I simply adore those shoes”) do you agree? Disagree? Please share.

Friendships: Real, Fake, and Facebook

The other day the children had a friend over for a play date.  I was in the other room when I overheard one of the children claim that they would no longer be the other child’s friend if they did not give them a certain toy. I chuckled to myself. It is rather amusing how we regard friendships when we are young.  By simply sharing a toy, or, as my daughter has attested to numerous times, a treat from your lunchbox you instantly have a BFF. Now, mind you that same BFF will totally take back that status if you don’t have a treat or toy to share the next day. There are so many growing pains in life that revolve around friendships. Thankfully as adults we are more mature and we don’t have to worry about a person being a friend one day and unfriending the next. Wait! Nope. I take that back. While just last month I experienced that precise scenario on Facebook. Perhaps adults have not evolved far beyond preschool and elementary school when it comes to friendships? Or has the definition of friend simply changed?

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With the introduction of Facebook the natural process or evolution of a relationship has become complicated.  It used to be evident who an acquaintance, friend, best friend were but thanks to Facebook everyone is now a friend. Your neighbor, friend! The woman at the grocery store who had to have that recipe, friend! Your child’s music teacher, friend! You get the idea.  A lot of these individuals would be given the title acquaintance back before we had Facebook.  Now we quickly give everyone the title of friend without ever earning it.

It has taken me a few years but I have come to the realization that a friendship is something that is earned.  You can’t instantly be friends without earning the title, without putting in your time, nurturing the relationship.  Also, in order to have a true friendship you need to be a friend worth having. Are you honest, trustworthy, loyal, kind, compassionate, empathetic, a good listener? It can take time and energy to truly be a friend worth having. And it can take many trials and errors before you find a person who can reciprocate.  Unfortunately the pain of realizing an individual whom you thought was your friend isn’t doesn’t lessen with age.  In fact, I think it hurts more. Children don’t know any better, adults do. 

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I did some research on the topic and here is what I found.

Signs that your friendship is fake…..

 

  • A fake friend does not feel genuinely happy when you have positive news. Smiles in front of you but fumes with anger inside.
  • A fake friend will always find fault about you, and highlights your fault.
  • A fake friend will never be humble towards you. His/her ego is bigger than yours.
  • A fake friend is secretly happy to hear about your weaknesses and will use it against you, or worst, spread lies about you.
  • A fake friend will use you as a punching bag, whenever he/she needs an escape goat, he/she will talk down on you to feel good.
  • The worst case, a fake friend is suffering from mental issues, would hurt you verbally, emotionally, mentally and destroy you as a person, without rational explanation

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Fake friends always expect a person to visit, call and see about them, but they don’t want to give in the same effort. They think that it’s okay not to give their effort to put back into the friendship at all, which drains a person out…… Fake friends don’t keep their word! They always leave another person in the dark about something! This means that they don’t call to say that plans have changed, or they don’t call to say something has happened!

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Craves attention from your peers….Ever experience a friend adding a lot of your friends on Facebook to their own list? This comes after only saying hi to your friend once if they’ve even said anything at all… sounds like someone is jealous of your popularity and wants your friends for them.

Disappearing or shying away…..Have you ever experienced trying to make plans with a friend and suddenly they’re always too busy or don’t even call you back altogether. All of a sudden they never want to hang out anymore. Sometimes when people are jealous, they would rather stay away then face the fact that they feel bad about themselves in your presence.

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Signs of a Real Friend……

• If your car is off the road they will offer to drive you even if it means that they are going out of their way to do so, neither will they accept any petrol money from you for doing it.

• Even if you only see each other two or three times a year, when you are together it’s like you have never been apart.

• They will offer their unfailing support no matter what you try to do, even if they don’t agree with your choices they will support you in them.

• They won’t say anything behind your back or gossip about you when you are not there.

• They know about all of your insecurities but won’t broadcast them to the masses.

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In conclusion….

Though I have been hurt a few times and yes, even un-friended a couple of times, I have not lost all faith in mankind.  I believe people by nature are good, God created it so. However our society feeds the ego so much that the good can become difficult to find. Thus when making new acquaintances tread lightly and be cautious. And when you do find that true friendship hold on to it, treasure it, for it is an invaluable gift, and lastly do remember that we are all human, no one is perfect, and forgiveness is a necessity for any relationship to thrive.

What qualities do you look for in a friend? Have you ever found yourself in a fake friendship…what were the signs?  Please share your thoughts, idea, and experience.