Good friendships are hard to come by.
Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and really looked at who your "friends were?" Do they all deserve that distinction over being called acquaintances?
While it's perfectly fine to add whomever you want to your friends list on your multiple social media platforms, it is interesting to think about which one of them would go the extra mile for you and have your back.
Strangers online revealed they found out the hard way who their so-called friends were when Redditor mediastoosocial asked:
These Redditors were ignored by people who were too cowardly to have honest conversations.
Death Of A Friendship
"Ghosted me after 20+ years of friendship. He was my best friend for as long as I can remember but at some point he just stopped saying yes when I suggested getting together. We could have a conversation about anything but the second I brought up doing something it was radio silence. He finally agreed to something then blew me off like an hour beforehand. No raincheck or suggestion we try again. I was depressed for days but that was the day I gave up."
"He was the best man at my wedding. I loved him like a brother and still hope he's doing well and happy. But the rejection hurts so much that I just don't try anymore. I've mourned the death of our relationship and am done with it. And I still don't know why."
You're On Your Own
"After 25 years of friendship...I announced to my best friend that I was moving to the city she was in. I had a great job opportunity and felt like it was an awesome time to make a big life change. I was so excited to tell her, I could hardly wait. She flatly replied with, 'cool'...and when I asked her what parts of town I should look at to live she stated 'I can't help you, you should just figure it out when you get here'. We never had a fight, had been close for our entire adult lives and I had continually helped her in all aspects of her life without hesitation. To this day, I cannot tell you why she started treating me this way. Long story short, we live in the same city and haven't seen each other in 6 years. And I'm quite sure we live minutes away from each other. I will prob never know what happened."
"I gave her a birthday present and she just said she didn't like it and found it in the thrash when I visited."
"She would always be late to everything."
"She got tickets to an Incubus concert and a meet and greet, it wasn't in our city so I saved all of my money to be able to afford the trip and a week before she texted me saying she was going to Disneyland so she sold the tickets."
"I painted a whole big beautiful mural in her room and two months later just painted over it with purple cause she got bored."
"Invited me for coffee and I got really excited because I hadn't seen her for a while and had a lot going on, I was almost homeless at the time so I took the little money I had to pay for my coffee, I got there and it was a MLM with like six other people (just as disappointed as me)."
"Then she did it again, I don't know why I thought it would be different, that's the last time I saw her."
The Worthy Replacement
"I had 12 hours before I deployed to Afghanistan. I lived about 6 hours from my point of departure (airport from which I would fly into theater) and my friend/ex-girlfriend had committed to driving me there on that day. Packed, dressed, goodbyes said, I take an Uber to her house with all my gear and baggage ready to go. I knock on the door and she answers in her robe. I ask her if she was about ready and she proceeds to tell me that she forgot (after we had talked 2 days prior) and that she really wasn't feeling like driving that distance. Utterly shocked and confused, I explain to her that if I miss my flight, it's considered a 'failure to report for duty' and I could be considered a deserter or AWOL.
Heavy consequences for it either way. She told me to figure it out and closed the door. At that point I had no idea what to do so I called my first sergeant. We worked in a very remote location and he was the closest person to me at that point. That man drove the 3 hours from his home to get me and then the other 6 hours to the airport. Bought me dinner and got me tipsy before I had to get on my flight. I had the stunning realization that day that you really can't trust anyone, but I gained a lifelong friend as a result. We still talk regularly 'til this day!"
Ditched On Graduation
"They all bailed on my college graduation and graduation party. And then accidentally included me on an email thread about all of them coming up with different excuses for missing my big day. It made me feel incredibly alone and I had no idea that they viewed me in such a negative light. As an adult I realize they were jealous...but back then, just assumed I had a major character flaw and started isolating myself from people."
Reddit Users Share Their Best 'It's A Small World After All' Experience
Lies and infidelity are not what define friendships.
After The Affair
"My best friend got with my first husband while I was pregnant, helped destroy our marriage, supported him so he could quit his job and avoid paying child support, joined him in abusing my kids while they were with him, and then tried to cry on my shoulder when he ended up screwing her over when they split after 14 years of jointly making my life a living hell."
When Lending A Hand Backfires
"Let a guy stay on the couch in my one-bedroom apartment so he wouldn't be living in his car. A few weeks later, he was sleeping with my girlfriend. I found out and kicked them both to the curb. 6 or 8 months later he calls me out of the blue and apologizes, then tells me she cheated on him and asks if he can move back in! Gave him a hard no and hung up on him. Last I heard from or of him."
"Promised to invite me to a group outing, only to text me one day out of the blue that they already left and 'oh well.' From mutual friends who went on the outing, they told me that this friend never told them that I was invited."
"In 8th grade, after I switched schools, a friend of mine called me one night and told me a kid I wanted to be friends with killed himself. 3 months later I visit their graduation ceremony and find out he lied to me and that the kid was still alive."
Getting Beat Up
These Redditors recalled being involved in physical altercations.
"Long time ago, but my tenth birthday party. The first time I'd actually tried to have a big group, it was around thirty kids at a park with a t-ball set up, normal picnic stuff, the like. My best friend at the time said he had a surprise for me in one of the fenced walkways leading to the park, where he sucker punched me and his other friend and he took turns jumping on and kicking me. After a few minutes another kid from the party saw, ran them off, and took me back to my ma away from the other kids so I didn't have to be too embarrassed."
"My best friend since middle school got me knocked unconscious after starting a confrontation with a large group of guys. Proceeded to tell everyone we worked with that I had started it. Few weeks later I had returned from a holiday to my home country and he had moved one of his friends into my room at the place we were renting. Never talked to him again."
The Big Push
"This guy pushed me into the ground for no reason mid-sentence when he knew I was still injured from a car accident (which he knew I was hospitalized for). He then immediately turned his back and walked away without a word. I was too shocked to say anything immediately and he was gone. I wasn't saying anything bad or mean to him either, it was something casual akin to the weather. After that I had to slowly and carefully get up front my crouching position by myself and sat myself on a nearby fence to gather myself... When I later confronted him about it, he got super defensive saying it was just a light shove and a prank :/
Super not okay, I had to strain my back muscles really uncomfortably just so I wouldn't hit the ground and I don't think anyone should live in constant fear that their 'friend'" might at any minute risk paralyzing them for life just to get a cheap laugh.
"This same guy also kept parroting something my abuser said which I told the group in confidence. I told him to stop but he said he wouldn't and that I was being too 'PC' as if my personal story is something to be politically correct about???? I trust some people less now. No one seemed to care or stand up for me or anything and I felt utterly alone..."
"I do not talk to this guy anymore..."
The Potential Murderer
"They tried to drown me."
"For proper context we were doing a swim class in school, I did talk to a few teachers and the principal but none of them did anything so I at the time just figured nothing would come out of it if I kept on trying, though I do wish I did get something done about it legally."
Many of the Redditors in the thread expressed disappointment after someone whom they thought was a friend inexplicably ignored them.
People change and friendships evolve over time; however, that is no reason to deny a person of any sort of communication if one reaches out to the other.
Moving on from friendships happens, and it's fine.
It would be wise not to gain an enemy by disrespecting someone with whom you used to call a friend.
Various life circumstances can force relationships with friends and family to change.
But what happens when the people you care about change?
A friend or family member becoming someone you no longer recognize due to making poor life choices can be devastating.
But not all changes are for the worse. Sometimes, someone you're close with who – does a complete 180 and becomes a better person – is commendable.
We all have the capacity for improvement, but does that mean we transform into completely different people?
Curious about the experiences of strangers on the internet, Redditor gigi_c16 asked:
"I had a best friend who was honestly one of the nicest people on the planet, but due to depression and peer pressure from toxic people, she began shoplifting and getting into drugs. She stopped caring about people and start doing such risky things that I couldn't even hang out with her without feeling unsafe. She ended up getting me in so much trouble one time, that her mom (who considered me another daughter) told me that we had to separate to protect me from harm and trouble. I miss her family cause they really were another family to me, but she refused to take responsibility and continued being put in dangerous situations."
The Dad Who Fell Into Trouble
"I have a friend from my childhood who's parents really went down the wrong path. I played sports with him and was in school with him from age 3 to graduation. His dad was always his biggest supporter and always sat next to my parents at every game. He was seriously such a nice guy. When we got into high school this kids house was the hang out. Nobody knocked and at any given time there would be 5-10 kids hanging out there. In my four years of high school I watched his dad go from a fun loving easy going dude who loved his kids, to a guy who steals and robs to get his hands on any drug he could put into his body. We took in my friend to live with us when his dad skipped bail and was the subject of a state wide man hunt. It got to the point where he was doing drugs in the house with his oldest son. Seriously one of the saddest things I've ever seen."
The Great Aunt
"after my tight laced, pearl-wearing great aunt had a stroke, she turned into a foul-mouthed, swearing sailor. so sad, yet so flippin hilarious."
"One of my classmates grew up and decided he was going to be a cowboy. Hat, boots, occasionally chaps... which is fine, except having grown up with him i can pretty safely say he's never worked or lived on any type of farm or ranch and I'm pretty sure he's never even ridden a horse. We are from a very small town and he didn't associate with the horse. He was the emo/punk kid! And everyone liked him for it, he was considering super cool. Now he's a fake cowboy, and most of his hometown friends actually do farm or ranch... and we all know that he doesn't. I don't get it. But its embarrassing watching him throw around country jargon that doesn't make sense. I don't know why he's trying so hard and I don't know where this came from."
Effects Of Schizophrenia
"One of my best friends from childhood ended up with schizophrenia. I watched him turn from a killer musician loving friend and trend setter into a delusional paranoid that refused to take psych meds but self medicated with alcohol."
Former High School Friend
"An former high school friend with 80-85 ish % average in class, turned into a Hells Angels in his 20s or 30s, murdered people, then died by homicide. Those events took place a very long, long time ago."
People Can Change
"My father used to beat the crap out of me as a kid. My siblings too. Purely randomly he would come home late at night, completely sober, and beat the sh*t out of us because he felt like something had been done incorrectly. At about 40 years old he went out one day and bought a drift boat and started fishing. He hasn't been the same since. He is still boisterous and sometimes crosses lines verbally, but he is generally quick to apologize and has been learning ever since. I didn't realize people could change."
"I went from an alcoholic, 0.22 gpa, academic probation, almost on death's door from overdosing a billion times on various drugs, in a dead end pizza job, no friends, living with my abusive parents...."
"to a sober soon-to-be university student with 3.25gpa STEM major, improving mental health, a fantastic boyfriend, and a place to call my own in six months from now."
"Life can get better."
"My mom went from being a good cook to an absolute legend in her 50s. Like, I've eaten at some of the best restaurants in all of Europe and her food is still in my top 5."
"I was a hellion as a teenager. Didnt help that no one took my mental health issues seriously because I was 'just a teenager.' I got better, learned my own coping mechanisms, grew as a person, but I guess I never completely got over things at age 18, because the depression symptom-switched into an eating disorder."
"No one took my ED seriously either (I reached 80lbs at one point), but I have since self-recovered. I have lingering issues around food and I am very socially withdrawn, but relatively speaking, I am much better now. I'm physically healthy for the first time in my life, I no longer lash out at people (although I still struggle to give others the attention they deserve).
What The Pandemic Did
"My mom. She went from your average stay-at home denim jacket wearing Canadian mother who loved coffee and Angel statues and would listen to upbeat optimistic songs like 'Walking on Sunshine' and 'Don't stop thinking about tomorrow' and turned into an alcoholic leather jacket hoarder that partied every day of the week and collected band and beer memorabilia and only ever listened to music about drinking, f'king and being on drugs when she met my step-dad when I was 11."
"Things went from her taking care of me and parenting me, to me having to grow up real fast so I could take care of her and parent myself."
"Oddly enough though the pandemic has turned her around again. Being in quarantine and not being able to have 20 people over every night has made her desire to drink flatline and also given her plenty of time to go through and clean out her house. I'm proud of her right now, but I'm also worried that she'll wind up reverting as soon as [the pandemic]'s over and she can see her 'friends' again. All I can do is hope that her progress will stick."
People come and go in our lives, but the few who have stuck around and been a constant presence in your life are the ones you will treasure the most.
But friendships evolve as our situations change.
Some bonds end because your party-going besties are no longer compatible with your slowed-down lifestyle.
And in many common cases, some amities slow to a halt when friends get married and start a family while you remain single.
Curious to hear about people's friendships, Redditor CaligulaBlushed asked:
"When I quit drugs."
"When they tend to leave you out when they are going out or talking and chatting."
"Walking down a pavement and somehow you always end up being the one standing behind because you can't fit all in a row."
Missing The Memo
"I was the only girl in a big guy group for ages in high school. One time we'd all organised to go to the movies and were to meet at the train station. I got there a couple minutes early. I waited for 20 minutes, sent a message to my friends. After no reply and waiting for an hour I finally got a hold of one who said they'd cancelled late last night but forgot I was going so they hadn't told me. We'd made the plans a week in advance and I had to call my dad in tears to explain and get him to come pick me up after he dropped me off."
"Big wake up call, it was time to move on."
"Same here. Friends would go have lunch or get a cup of coffee and I was never invited. That hurt me so bad I got depressed. Luckily, I left those people behind me and doing fine now."
"Spent all day trying to get any of them to go see a movie with me that evening. Called people, texted people, no one was available. I decided 'screw it, I'll go alone' and went early to get a ticket and caught a good number of the people I invited coming out of the movie together. They dodged me."
"I sat in my car and wept until the movie started then wept the whole way home."
The Third Wheel
"When I quit putting in the effort to make the plans. I realized I was a 3rd wheel in the group that wasn't invited unless I did the actual work. I was basically ghosted."
The second they began demanding nice little extra things I'd do for the friendship. The second it became expected rather than appreciated was when I was done with it."
"Literally all they did for fun anymore was get trashed and party, that was not a life I wanted."
"When they started getting married one by one and having kids. After that, everything they did revolved around couples activities or kids activities. Those of us left in the group who are single were sort of shut out."
Time For Healing
"When I started therapy."
"When I realised they always talked very poorly about a girl who was in the same class as us in junior year. The girl came from a middle/rich family so she had some manners we didn't (we were from the hoods) so they were always talking dirty about her and critizing her. That girl was never mean to any of us and was the kindest person I have met until then. I never said defended her when my friends talked but it was seriously growing on me and I just left that group, I slowly stopped talking to them. And I became real good friends with her and she is today one of the person I trust a lot."
Caring For A Former Friend
"When I was drunk at a party, and 911 needed to be called for a former friend that I frankly hated."
"Everyone disappeared when the ambulance and police were heading over. I was stuck drunkenly telling her mom over the phone that her daughter had a severe panic attack and possible alcohol poisoning, and that I was sitting with her while waiting for emergency responders."
"Her mom kept saying I must be her one genuine friend, and I hated that girl for being a petty backstabber. Even if I hate someone, I wouldn't leave them drunk and alone in the middle of a panic attack."
"I cut those friends off after that. It had been a long time coming. The rest of my time at college was very lonely."
In Time Of Need
"I found myself homeless and they all disappeared. Came back around again when I got an apartment but I just didn't want to rekindle the friendships."
"When it went from smoking a little weed, drinking a few beers, and taking the occasional dose, to opiate abuse and full blown alcoholism. In other words when it went from just having some fun to serious addictions. It was time to go. For the record most of them are dead now. Despite my user name I'd prefer they still be alive."
Irritating Friend Group
"I just noticed that anytime I hung out with them I was irritated. We had all been a great friend group from middle school through high school but as we progress through our twenties priorities and things that we all found fun changed drastically."
"I could not stand the people that they became friends with outside of her friend group and those people couldn't stand me. One of the incidents that stands out most in my mind is that while spending the evening with this friend group I put lipstick on and then proceeded to be judged by all of the other girls in the room with them all saying 'I hate makeup! I think anyone who wears makeup is superficial!'"
"I was also irritated at the way that they conducted themselves in terms of making plans. I'm a very impatient and spontaneous person but I am at least aware that a little bit of planning is required when deciding to go on camping trips or travel to another state or country. These folks were kind that just go by the seat of their pants. It would wind up being one of the more stressful times because no arrangements had been made in advance and no research had been done."
"They also would never give me solid answers if I invited them to things like concerts. I would wind up missing out on things because I didn't want to go to them by myself but my friends would never say yes or no until it was too late."
Having someone to support you and to be a positive influence in your life can be a beautiful and even life affirming thing. But toxic positivity is also a thing.
It's insidious and can serve to completely invalidate the other person's feelings.
Believe it or not, when someone is seeking help and support, they're not necessarily looking for positivity.
Consider what writer Sarah Schuster has to say on the subject:
You can't make someone be positive. You can't sprinkle positivity dust on them and make their problems go away. And honestly, when people are seeking help and support, they're usually not looking for straight-up, inspirational poster positivity. More often, they're looking for validation that their negative feelings are OK.
Toxic positivity is the opposite of what many of us are looking for when seeking help and support:
The hard-to-face truth is, supporting people isn't about being "positive." In fact, when you force positivity down someone's throat, it can actually have the opposite effect. "Toxic positivity" can make people feel unsafe expressing their negativity, and negativity thrives in isolation. It can make people think there's something wrong with them for not simply "choosing" happiness, and shame is negativity's enabling best friend.
When we're supporting someone who's hurting, we need to leave room for positivity to grow. And you don't yell at a flower to "just" grow — you water it. In this case, you water it with listening, with validation, and with unconditional support. It's OK to experience negative emotions, and with support, we can help people who are stuck in negativity find their own way out. Simply telling them to "be positive" doesn't cut it.
This is where a graphic created by Whitney Hawkins Goodman, LMFT, owner of The Collaborative Counseling Center, comes in, and it's eye-opening.
Hawkins Goodman successfully illustrates the difference between toxic positivity and actual validation and hope below:
Here are some positive sayings I found on Pinterest. Alone, they're pretty benign. But for someone who is really struggling they can sting. I translated them into some different variations that I think still inspire hope, but are validating. What do you think?
See the difference?
Others do, and the chart has proved rather eye-opening for those seeking to understand the two distinctions.
We should always work on ourselves to be better friends––and better people––step by step!