Authentic Friendship

This day and age, everybody loves dupes and replicas.  In America alone the counterfeit industry makes 600 billion dollars a year. In some cases people act like owning a dupe or counterfeit is just like having the real thing. But that isn’t really the case…

A while back, I wanted this ring from Pandora but didn’t have the patience to wait to get it for my birthday or for Christmas. I saw a replica of it on eBay for like £7 and got it. At first it looked beautiful and people complimented it because they assumed it was the real thing. After a while, it started to change colour and made my finger go green but I chose to ignore it and kept wearing it until my finger hurt so much that I couldn’t wear any rings on it at all. Eventually, on my birthday I got the actual ring, I wear it everyday, it is still as shiny as the day I got it and most importantly it does not make my finger go green.

The problem is, the mentality that something fake does no harm does not stop with fashion brands, but has taken over people’s relationships as well. Everywhere I look I see fake friendships, superficial connections and people with more faces than fingers.

Being a lover of integrity, I used to feel that it was important to call out what I saw was so clearly false but I soon realised that, just like the woman with the fake Prada bag likes to pretend it is real and doesn’t want people to know it is fake, people generally rather hold on to false friends and put on rose-tinted glasses instead. Just like I wanted to continue wearing my fake Pandora ring, even though it was causing more harm than good to my poor finger, people would rather be surrounded by fake friends than have no friends.

When I moved to university, I found myself in a superficial environment, an environment where people never confronted their problems with each other because they wanted to ‘keep the peace’, an environment where it was socially acceptable to tell everyone else about the problem you had with that person, than to tell the person themselves. It was as if honesty and integrity were words we used in church but never put into practice in real life. Confrontation was seen as a sin and rose-tinted glasses were in fashion and worn by everyone. I hated it but I ignored and conformed to it for a whole year. But just like the way my finger turned green from the fake Pandora ring, I could start to see where I was beginning to change for the worse:

  • I was always paranoid because I didn’t know who I could trust
  • I was always anxious in group situations where I knew everyone sat smiling at each other actually couldn’t stand each other
  • I didn’t know how to be myself anymore because of fear that I would be the next topic of conversation when I left the room
  • I became more secretive because I knew that they would critically analyse and judge my life the same way they did everyone else’s

It was horrible and admittedly I too became very fake. After a year of living that way it took me a whole other year to completely rid myself of fake friends and superficial friendship groups. It took me so long because I was scared of being alone, I was scared of what they would say when I was not there and I was scared that I would never find genuine friendships. But the fear of being a fake friend and spiralling down the path I was on was worse than being alone, so I made a change.

You see the thing is about fakes and counterfeits, they are easy to get, convenient, look good on the outside and cheap so you can keep getting more of them. But they will never be as good as the real thing and believe me when I say one real thing is worth more than all the fakes put together. You will never get your hands on the real thing if you keep spending your money on fakes. Time is money these days and I used to spend all my time in superficial relationships –  is it any wonder why I couldn’t find genuine and honest people?

Counterfeits aren’t obvious to people who have only ever had fakes, but counterfeits are so obvious to anyone who has the real thing just like fake friends are so obvious to see to anyone who has experienced genuine friendship. People purchase fakes because they love what they represent and love the image it portrays to the world. People settle for fake friends because, well if I’m honest I don’t know why I ever did and why anyone ever would. The time during my second year of university that I spent feeling lonely and isolated was worth it because it created the space that I needed in my life to have the honest and beautiful friendships that I have today.

I have learnt so much this last year about friendships. I love that I can confront my friends when I’m upset without feeling like they’ll turn against me. I love leaving a room knowing more likely than not, they’ll be saying nice things about me not negative. Even when it’s hard being told that something I did or said wasn’t okay, I love when my friends confront me because they say it to my face, not to anyone else. I love that I can freely be my flawed self with them and not feel like I’m being judged. I guess what I am trying to say is, I would rather have one beautiful Chanel purse than 25 Primark bags… besides we all know that the Chanel purse will last longer than all of them put together.

You can trust a friend who corrects you, but kisses from an enemy are nothing but lies. – Proverbs 27:6 (CEV)

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You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.

So dear reader, my heart isn’t that you judge others or hate the people who were not great friends to you, but my heart is that you will be encouraged to pursue being an authentic friend and having authentic friendships. In a world that loves fakes be the real thing, get the real thing and do not ever settle for anything less! Take it from someone who has had both the real and the counterfeit.

For more on the topic of friendships click here and watch my video

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