Survive Your 20s With This Harsh Lesson: Not Everyone Is Your Friend

Let’s acknowledge that true friendships are more than superficial chit-chat and sugarcoat. It takes lots of time, luck, and challenges to see genuineness from each other. 

However, as we are living in a social media society where people can rush to call someone ”friend” just after a few fun encounters, it is easy to end up disappointing ourselves as the friendship fades away or even ruins our lives. 

Maybe after those uncomfortable experiences, many of us realize that: ‘Not everyone is your friend!’ Hit the road with Jobandedu.

First Of All, Let’s Redefine ‘a Friend’’

What does it mean to be a ‘friend’? It is really up to your own definition. There is no exact right or wrong answer to this question. 

However, many people agree that a friend is someone who cares about you, adores you, and respects you at heart. In every circumstance, they will make sure you benefit in one way or another, or at least not harm you. 

A true friend won’t make use of you for their personal gains. They encourage and support you to be a better person and will stand by you in your worst. 

Survive Your 20s With This Harsh Lesson: Not Everyone Is Your Friend
What is a friend? Source: @sammiechaffin

Now Why ‘Not Everyone Is Your Friend’? 

As mentioned above, a friend should keep your best interest in mind. However, everyone’s lifestyle and ideologies are different, so preferences are unavoidable. Sad truth: You can not be the apple to all eyes. Thus, you should not expect everyone to care about you, to love and support you along the way as a friend. 

More than that, the ‘not everyone is your friend’ quote also reminds us not to be naïve to fall for ‘instant friendships’. Some people might treat you nicely to achieve their personal interests and might leave you disappointed when they are done with you.

Or simply, you and the person are no longer for each other. The past was sweet, rosy like ‘’Sweet Child O’mine’’ but as we grow, our lifestyles change significantly to a point where there is simply nothing in common between the two. In the end, it is natural that the used-to-be friendship fades away. 

However, if you are not rational enough to stop pouring so much effort or expectation into this kind of friendship, it can negatively affect your life, especially your well-being. You might question yourself constantly whether you are inadequate, overly sensitive when it is possible that the person does not suit you as a friend. 

True friendship is supposed to lift up your spirit. But if you fall for an untrue friendship, it can put you in lots of troubles and toxicity. 

Therefore, choosing whom to be your friend is an important skill to have. 

Now Why ‘Not Everyone Is Your Friend’?
  Not everyone is your friend. Source:  Maison Pur 

Which One is Not (Yet) Your Friend?

Having good friends is no doubt essential. They enrich our experience and inject more happiness into our lives. However, the tricky part is that we can easily love and appreciate someone so much that we delude ourselves into thinking that they are our true friends when they are actually not. 

Before stepping into a friendship, we would like to give you some wake-up signs of someone who is not potentially your true friend! 

Those Who Are Not There When You Need Help

Imagine you are in an emergency, and you call your friends for help, but they frequently reject you with a million excuses, well well, red flag!

True friends will give you a hand when things get tough on your side. They reassure you when you’re vulnerable, frustrated, and hopeless. They know that without their help, your life will get difficult. 

However, please note that no one can always be there all the time for you, as they have their own lives to take care of. So yeah, someone who is always bailing out isn’t a good friend either. 

Those Who Are Not There When You Need Help
Which One Is Not Your Friend? Source: Obie Fernandez

Those Who Always Take And Never Give 

Do you have a friend who always asks for a ride, money, car, or notes from class? Do you have a friend that only asks you to do a favor, meanwhile, they have never given you anything in return and only make an excuse if you ask?

If you feel like you have been exploited by someone like that, it might be time to step back. Friendship is a two-way relationship filled with healthy give-and-take attitudes and we shouldn’t ever feel like we’re being made use of. 

However, it can be difficult to tell if that person is taking advantage of you. Thus, there are infallible signs that you should not ignore, for example, they don’t listen to you, but always expect you to listen to them; they’re constantly asking you to do favors for them; they are always making you pay for things; they only reach out when they need help, etc. 

Those Who Constantly Give Destructive Criticism 

If you find yourself around a person who constantly criticizes you for what you did, your plans, your behaviors, your styles,your past mistakes, time to have a second thought.

A good friend will genuinely tell you when they think you’re making a mistake or screwing your life, but someone who always criticizes won’t. Psychology has a term for this behavior: ”gaslighting” – Those who basically make your actions, speech, and emotions seem wrong so you always feel bad and they feel better about themselves. 

Those Who Talk About You Behind Your Back

Many of us have gossiped about other people at least once. There is no problem in friends talking about you to others whether it is positive or negative (as long as there is consent). Sometimes hearing a bit more about what you have experienced makes people sympathize with you. The flag to notice here is the ”inconsistency”.

A friend has much to criticize you, they never share them with you, but only with others. It is quite likely that this person wants to spread negativity about you. It’s a sign that they’re not sincere and trustworthy. Keeping them as ”friends” can put your social life in lots of trouble in the future. 

Do you want to see an iconic example? Here it is!

Mean Girls (2004) – Four-Way Call – 1080p – YouTube

Those Who Don’t Celebrate Your Success

Real friends celebrate your achievement. They encourage you when you’re working hard towards a goal, and they are delighted to celebrate what you’ve gained. If you fail, they’ll pat you on the back, and reassure you. 

If someone always seems pissed and slightly irritated when you succeed, then you should question your friendship. It’s unavoidable to feel a little jealous sometimes when a friend achieves something, but if someone lets their jealousy affect the friendship, they probably aren’t as sincere as you thought.

Like-Minded People Are Not Yet True Friends

How exciting it is to find someone with things in common, maybe a career goal, an unusual hobby, or an interest in politics. But be careful! This excitement can create an illusion that you just found a friendship. 

Many friends can be like-minded, but not all those who are like-minded are your friends. They can be your peers, colleagues, teammates. However, if you guys don’t feel a sentimental bond, it is not yet a friendship. Therefore, don’t be disappointed if that person does not treat you as close as a friend. 

Which type are you? Types Of Co-workers In The Workplace 

Those Who You Feel Comfortable Around May Not Be Your True Friends

Friends tend to give each other a comfortable feeling when they are around. However, not all those who give you the same feeling are your true friends. People who you had so much fun with at a party, a vacation might only bring you short-term pleasure, but don’t want to get any closer to you. All they want is to have fun. Thus, you should not quickly attribute your joyfulness to them and assume that they are your friends. 

A true friend will facilitate your personal development, and development accompanies uncomfortableness. They will reveal the bitter truth to you if doing so is in your best interest, and will reject going to a party with you if they know that you haven’t finished the assignment deadline. 

How To Tell If Something Is Not Right With Your Friendship? 

First, please don’t ignore your guts. If you feel something is not right about a person or a friendship, you should clarify what’s going on and intentionally scrutinize the relationship.

Second, we recommend you take a break from a confusing friendship and give yourself some time and space to reflect. You can jot down those events that put you in doubt, or even trivial matters that triggered the uncomfortable feeling. Don’t feel embarrassed with your thoughts, be very honest with yourself. 

Then take some time to retrospect, find out the real reasons behind those confusing emotions, and consider the next steps you would take. You might want to talk to someone you trust, post an anonymous question on an online forum. Just search for a mature and appropriate way to approach the problem. Then make your decision. 

The Only Four Tips You Need To Find True Friends 

At this point, we can agree that finding a true friendship is not easy at all. That might be why many of us often tend to put so much effort to spot and maintain it. We try to be involved in all kinds of social activities, conversations and show off our uniqueness to catch others’ attention. 

However, most of the time, those efforts are ineffective. Because the more we focus on others, the more distant we are from our true selves, which eventually leads us to the wrong circle. 

So how to find good friends? Here are four biggest tips to keep in mind: 

Set Principles 

First and foremost, you have to set your principles on making friends – the foundation of your friendship. If people don’t possess the qualities that you expect, they won’t be your friends by any means.

Of course, no one is perfect, and being open-minded to diversity is essential. However, when it comes to the nature of your friendship, there must be trust, respect, equality. We shouldn’t be extreme to the point that we reject a prospective friendship due to political differences. BUT, still supporting Fascists is beyond the spectrum of political positions. It reflects the unnegotiable beliefs on human rights.

Honest With Yourself

Being true to yourself is by far the most important step to all kinds of healthy social relationships. 

First, you will have better clarity about what you want in your life and who you are. People can be manipulative and may dictate you, but when you are honest and clear about your needs, your wishes, and your identities, you will accept the fact that: 1) not everyone will like you, 2) you are not for everyone, 3) not everyone is your friend. This will help you avoid putting unrealistic expectations on random people along the way, and find out your potential friends easier. 

Second, relationships can hardly survive without honesty. If you are not honest with yourself, how can you ever be honest with anyone else? If you hide the truth from yourself, how can you expect to share it with anyone else? To have a sustainable and healthy relationship, make sure you show the other person your ‘true self.’ 

Watch Video: How To Know Yourself – YouTube

You Attract Who You Are

Setting principles on an ideal friend is good, but have you ever wondered why you keep going through the same jerks in life? Unfortunately, knowing what you want is never enough. You need to discover what lies within, who you are, to attract positive people.

A good way to do this is by studying yourself seriously, do you know your values, beliefs, and your actual behaviors? Learn what brings you consistent joy and stick to those things. Find a favorite community and immerse yourself in it. You will find people with the same values as you. 

Also, don’t forget to reflect on your weaknesses – which might be an obstacle in your journey of finding genuine friends. Being good friends can also mean being good humans, as you have to carry qualities like honesty, support, empathy.  

Your positive development as a human being will send out signals that make others appreciate you and desire to have you as a friend. 

Let It Go

It’s natural to drift away from some people as life goes on and constantly changes. We should not expect that we can keep in touch with everyone – it’s seriously impossible to keep up with every single friend you’ve ever had, especially as you have new relationships in different stages of life. 

Our past was as sweet as candy. However, if we feel like there are no more common grounds between us, it is okay to let it go. Don’t feel guilty that the friendship lapsed. Instead, keep the good memories in your mind and wish them all the best. Just make sure that if you guys ever come across each other, don’t hesitate to say hello and send big hugs. 

The Final Thoughts – Not Everyone Is Your Friend

Aristotle has a famous quote: a friend to all is a friend to none. We hope that after reading this article, you can accept the fact that ”not everyone is your friend” and not try hard to be ”friend with everyone”.

But if you still regret the likability, we would recommend you to search for ‘‘not everyone will like you quotes’‘ and ”you are not for everyone quotes”. Hopefully, those quotes will give you more empowerment! 

More and more good reads are available in our Career Advice section.

Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose works full-time at JobandEdu and has been a sorority member and leader since 2020. She has authored hundreds of articles on determining the career path, sorts of employment, the job-seeking process, and self-improvement as a devoted leader and aid to others. Despite her countless accomplishments, Sophia knows the hardships of securing a position in the employment market as a novice. On top of that, she's eager to share her command and life-long experience through her writings.