• Jakob Schou Kupferberg

The Importance Of Having True Friends

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Most of us have been in a social situation where we didn’t really feel like we were being our true selves. Our laugh felt manufactured, and when we left the group there was an unsettling feeling of anxiety and worry as to what the others might think of us. This is a typical sign that we don’t actually trust that the people we are spending our time with are our true friends. Instead, we are acting out of appeasement and putting on a show.

All of us want to be loved. All of us want to be appreciated for who we are, and what we do. But in the equation of truly loving others where that love is also reciprocated, many of us fall short and settle for half-assed compromises.

Sometimes we excuse our bad choices with silly arguments or disbelief that there even is such a thing as true and reciprocally loving relationships, or we make-believe that the ones we’ve settled for are the real deal. Or even worse, we tell ourselves ‘they’re cool – I have cool friends’ and that somehow solves all our emotional and social needs.

There is an easy way to figure out which side of the authenticity spectrum you’re on. A friend of mine told me the other day about his personal feelings after having received an abundance of congratulatory messages on his birthday. Yet somehow he still felt lonely as he dozed off into sleep. Like the messages weren’t real – authentic – genuine. Like it was all a play and his friends were all actors.

In the age of social media – this kind of sentiment certainly isn’t without justification. We are propelled to be more social than we have capacity for, and have more friends than we have time for – the obscure notion of quantity over quality when it comes to relations.

But what then when something terrible happens? When your mom stops breathing and is rushed to the hospital? Or – God forbid – YOU catch an illness and suddenly your own life is on the line? And not one of these hundreds – thousands of ‘friends’ take the time to support you in this critical moment cause they’re all too busy performing and ‘being cool’?

The ironic thing is, that these situations happen to all of us. And it’s not until they happen that we are faced with some very serious issues of acknowledgement about the realities of ‘people’ and our innermost personal and emotional needs. About how the attitudes and outlook of the people we surround ourselves with will either add growth, love and positive energy to our lives in the long term, or be someone who’s just going to cause us pain and misery.

Life is not about performing. That’s what actors, musicians and arguably politicians do when they’re on stage or in the public eye. When they’re off, like everybody else, they need good people around them. People who will make them feel comfortable, at ease, and ultimately, themselves.

True – many types of work may sometimes require acting and performing – and work environments don’t necessarily encourage authentic relationships. However, people who spend their entire lives performing – particularly in their personal and social lives – are bound to be miserable. And stressed. Many people in toxic work environments feel the same way too.

You need to be true to yourself – and you need to surround yourself with true friends. Though finding those people may not be easy – having the right, humble mentality when it comes to yourself and the relations you enter into is the first step towards attracting genuine and dependable people into your life.

Because we thrive when we nourish authenticity – both in our acknowledgment of our true needs, feelings and behaviors. And you don’t want to be an actor among other actors in a play nobody would actually pay to see.

There is no understating the value of having true friends.

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