Phoney Friendships

I hung up the telephone and asked myself, “Why did that conversation make me feel this anxiety and doubt?” That was my friend on the phone, a person I have genuine affection for. I should have been happy, felt a sense of satisfaction, or excitedly anticipated our next talk, but instead, I felt demeaned and foolish for sharing my opinion and ideas. “This cannot be possible, my friend is helpful and giving, they told me so. I must be injecting my past insecurities into the situation.”  I would convince myself.

The telephone rang again and there was a moment of dread, “Could this be the same friend calling back? Did this person forget to inform me of yet another reason why my thoughts were wrong?” I answered anyway and then found relief in the voice of a true friend who had always wrapped me up in a blanket of warmth and trust. A gentle soul who respected my ideas and encouraged me to continue cultivating my goals into realities. We talked for hours and shared our thoughts, our emotions and our future hopes and dreams. At times our opinions would differ, but somehow they blended respectfully together anyway. We hung up and my aspirations were energized and my heart overflowed with love.

Why was this conversation different from the last? In both conversations we shared creative ideas and had opposing opinions, yet this conversation left me wanting more and the last conversation left me picking up the broken pieces of what was once an exciting idea. Had I lost touch with reality?

                    The answer finally came to me.

The first friend was imprisoned within their own narcissism. That friend believed all ideas should match their own and if I disagreed with them, their narcissistic reaction would always be to surround those opposing ideas with doubt and negativity, after which I would be presented with the half-hearted verbal permission to “do it your way, but. . .” Then if I dared question that authority their narcissism would transform into anger and I suddenly would become an enemy, a backstabbing user who never cared about their feelings. A thoughtless idiot who just did not ‘get it‘. A loser that was never deserving of their friendship in the first place.

The second friend was a true friend. A person who was secure with themselves, who understood the differences between people and respected the ideas of others. A friend who was willing to encourage my direction even if they could see a better, safer, shorter way of getting there. A friend who could debate with me and hug me at the same time. A friend who would accept my guidance even if they were not lost. An honest friend who never hid behind a wall of justification and secrets. A strong friend who would accept my moods, ideas, emotions and missteps without ever a thought of ending our friendship.

The phone rang a third time and I purposely did not answer, knowing that the narcissistic friend would be furious at me for ignoring them and the true friend would understand.


Phoney Friendships — 21 Comments

  1. Wow, I totally feel ya on this topic. I think we must share the same narcissistic friend 🙂 I love you and I’m glad your “true” friend picked up the phone and put things back together. My narcissistic friend does the same to me so I only answer the phone about 2x a year when I have the energy to listen to her speak for hours on end about herself and then argue with me when she asks me how i’m doing and why i’m doing it that way.

    Love you and am grateful to read your blogs and share small bits and pieces of your day. Wish I was as sharing as you, but know that I care immensely.

    • I would guess we all have friends who make us question why we continue the friendship with them. In the end, it’s those who stick by you, even when anger sweeps in, that proves a friendship is strong and real.

      A few years back, I overstepped my involvement into a friends failing relationship and almost destroyed our friendship in the process, but the strength and love between us prevailed and our relationship survived.

      We have to learn what friendships are worth saving and which are not.

  2. wow i have that same problem with an old forever friend! she always make me think about what i have said. she is quiet about things but just that and her expression let me know her disapproval. i sometimes wonder if she is growing old and ornery and pigheaded. sad. on the other hand i have another friend who i adore that encorages me and helps me and calls often just to talk and ifeel good about it! i am not as analylitical as u but i do know what u mean and how it make u feel. and that first friend i mentioned does the same thing on FB as she does in real life – but others have noticed it so i know it’s not just me. good to know who your friends really r!! and one of them is u!

    • I suppose friendship is all about sharing something both people need and want. I have friends who are all about themselves all the time, but the still respect my thoughts and ideas, so I don’t mind listening to them. Other friends are not so respectful, so those are the ones we need to distance ourselves from. Everybody is different Sue, thank goodness for that! 🙂

  3. Some people just see the world as flat, where people are scenery; simply actors and props to decorate their own self expression. I see it so often and so often it is without malice, just seized by their own mirrors. Then there are the rare souls, the fireplaces of our winters; those whose aim in life to their friends is to selflessly burn like a log in the grate for our comfort so that we don’t freeze to death for want of expression or validation. And in the same sense, we burn for them.

  4. In short, I so agree. Those who would make you feel less than you are, those who would take you down to build themselves up, those who have a constant need to be ‘superior’, and to tell you so by demeaning you, those are not your friend.
    I was married to a person like this – took me many years to have the confidence to get out. Because confidence is another thing they steal …. Big hug, Steven and Wylde !!! Geli

    • My first love relationship sounds very similar to yours Geli. By all accounts he was an abuser. He manipulated me by slowly tearing me down. He discovered my insecurities, my most vulnerable emotions and my biggest fears, all of which he used against me. It turned out to be five years of hell. By the end of the relationship I was in a weaker state of being than I ever thought possible and it took just as long to pull myself back together as it did to tear me apart.

  5. I read this earler, and had to ponder on it for a while.
    I for one, have few people I talk to on the phone so wasnt sure how to “relate” but friendship is friendship, most of my friends are older, some are very old. (most on FB) but each one brings something special into my life, my very old friends…in nursing homes, feel it their duty to tell my my hair is too long, or im too fat or I need to dress nicer so as to look “presentable” in her words…she is so afraid im going to die alone i think….
    but I love her like a mom….as a child I always wished she was my mom….I cannot for the life of me understand why, except…she always listened to what I had to say….she would ask me about the movie I had just gone to see, or about the experiences of swimming or what ever was on my agenda of the day spent with her daughter who was like a sister to me at that age. I dont ever remember coming home and having my mom ask me about my day….Im sure she did in her own way, but I remember being sent to my room, being told to settle down when I was so excited about some boy talking to me at school, or even just being invited over to a friends house for a meal…it was always just settle down time will come for you to go there…or what ever her statement was for me to take and be……my older friend i shall call Ruth, saw to it that I knew how to make a bed, she scolded her daughter/my cousin, when we got out of bed and didnt make it right away….wow…did she scare me sometimes…but I was always willing to go back, always sad to go home….
    my own mother heard us laughing in bed one night, she comes into the bedroom and shook whom she thought was me, telling me to settle down….it was my cousin….she never did stay the night again 🙁

    does that make me narcistic to be thrilled that someome actually listened to what I had going on, or self centered to be talked to as a friend, as someone had interest in what I had to say….I know I always hated going home from her home….i even climbedinto the clothes hamper hoping my own mother wouldnt find me and just leave me there….a 4 year old has a strange way of thought huh….I just didnt want to go home….

    Now, she sits in a nursing home, I go visit her as often as I can…we laugh, we cry, but we always leave each other saying I love you….
    I miss my mom she has been gone over 14 years now…but I never did have a good visit, sitting and talking and enjoying one another….

    wow, you seem to have a way of drawing my memories out, and I thank you for allowing me to say…whats on my mind, even if its not totally on topic, my mind just takes a trip of its own just from your topics 🙂
    love ya Steven!
    you can call me anytime 🙂

    • The telephone was used as only a prop for the story, although I do love talking on the phone and can spend hours chatting with my friends.

      Your friend in the care home is not a narcissist for the simple fact she remembered and asked you about the movie you watched days earlier. Suggesting you cut your hair or drop a pound or two is just affection. To some degree we all have narcissistic moments, there are some who have called me a selfish bastard on many occasions. We are only human after all. More importantly . . . is that you touch an emotion within yourself when you read my blog posts. That alone makes writing these little stories worth something to me. I enjoy reading the thoughts and experiences from others, it makes the blog post multidimensional and showcases the wonderful similarities and differences we all share.

        • I know….I just threw her in as an example of what a narcissist probably wouldn’t do. I don’t know if you are one or not. lol I’d have to spend time with you, but from all of our communications you seem pretty ok to me.

  6. “i will not defend myself to u for being me” is now my new reply to the person i mentioned that was so disaproving! what a great way to put it – thanks steven!

    • It makes sense doesn’t it? Perhaps we should always ask ourselves if a friend is forcing us to do that . . . and if so, consider walking away sooner.

  7. Insightful read on the situation Steven. Happily I ignore those that are negative and can only find my flaws but never their own. Of course I spend a lot of time alone but that is also a plus in my book.

    Have a wonderful T Day weekend….And don’t burn the bird.

    • I am trying to reach that place of ignoring, but my Scorpio keeps whispering “fight back!”. One day I will reach a happy middle ground. . . maybe. lol

  8. Hi Steve, I read your article, and after it resonated with me, leaving me a little surprised, a couple of names popped into my head. I never thought of them in this way before. I do have some friends I call narcissistic and Understand it is an illness too. Thank you for enlightening me with a new perspective – ( I think) lol

    • Well, I hope you don’t judge your friends to harshly. . .at least until you know for sure if they really care about you or only care that you care about them. I never thought about narcissism being an illness, I mostly considered it to be immaturity that lasted a lifetime. It probably is a combination of both.

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