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7 Types of Fake Friends That Are Secretly Bringing You Down

7 Types of Fake Friends That Are Secretly Bringing You Down

One of Bob Dylan’s most memorable songs, Positively 4th Street starts with the immortal lyrics “you’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend…” the song is a rant against a false friend of his, and when I first heard it. I was struck. Struck by a feeling of recognition, of that there was something intrinsically relatable about the song.

All of us, many times in our lives come across people who present themselves as friends. We come to trust them, spend time with them, but after a while, for whatever reason, their true nature shows itself. They may have mistreated you, ignored you when you needed help, or used you as a tool for their own gains.

These people can be hard to spot, it can be difficult to understand their goals and intentions.[1] But they tend to fall into seven particular categories.[2]

1. The Complimenter / The Lothario

It’s part of human nature to like being complimented, and we in turn often like those who are complimenting us. Beware the complimenter , as they know this. The complimenter throws you with praise and appreciation to get close to you fast. You need to question why they want to get close to you so quickly. What are their goals, it could mean they have confidence issues and are genuinely a great and kind person, but it could mean they want something very particular from you and not your friendship (be wary if the complimenter is of the opposite sex).

Luckily the complimenter is easy to spot, as their over friendliness can easily seem fake (because it is).

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2. The Manipulator

The manipulator can be one of the most dangerous forms of fake friends as they are often the most difficult to spot. The manipulator is only effective when they have earned your appreciation and your trust, it is here when their deviousness comes into play. A good friend, a real friend always takes your thoughts and feelings into account, the manipulator has no reason to take these into account as to them you are only a chess piece to move in order to get what they want. Don’t expect them to stick around once they have gotten what they want. Avoid at all costs.

3. The Social Climber

The social climber sees friends as others see expensive clothes or items, something that makes them look good. In their minds they are constantly judging all they associate with, and are ready to drop you or any friend if they feel they are no longer needed as they climb the social ladder. Like the manipulator, they only associate with you if it suits them, and have little regard for your feelings or wants.

4. The Copy Machine

The copy machine is not so much a friend, but a fan. Where the complimenter, the manipulator, and the social climber are shrewd and cunning. The copy machine is willing to drop or modify any aspect of their personality or character to mimic yours. Their end goal for their mimicry is uncertain, but possibly to them there is an aspect to your personality that they want. With good friends, there is the possibility to challenge each other, to grow and find out more about each other. With the copy machine, you are only dealing with a warped mirror image.

5. The Pretender

The pretender is much like the friend Bob Dylan sang about in Positively Fourth Street. They are someone who only acts like your friend when it suits them. They can be friendly, they can even be fun to hang with. But there is no loyalty to them and in the same way they are pretending to be your friend, they are also perfectly happy to pretend that they are not your friend if they think that will negatively affect them.

Most of the time the pretender shows themselves in debts that will never be paid back, borrowed items that aren’t returned. Like many of the fake friends on this list they don’t really think much of your thoughts and feelings as they are not important to them.

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True friends are there with you just as much in bad and difficult times as in good times. The pretender never shows when things get tough.

6. The Cheater

Unlike every other entry on this list, the cheater may well once have been a true friend. You might have been important to them, and they may have been important to you. You may even think they are still your friend, when secretly all that has changed. The cheater is a person who stays and acts like your friend when they are secretly doing something that utterly betrays you and your trust. Most commonly this is having a secret romantic or sexual relationship with your partner. Sadly the cheater is only knowable once they have already broken your trust, and until then appears to be a true friend.

7. The Rival

The rival is the least subtle of all fake friends. Unfortunately they are quite common. Have you ever had a friend that, whenever you mention something you or a friend has done, they immediately say something that makes them the focus of attention? Then this a rival.

Every achievement you make is to them a challenge, not something to be duly celebrated. If you get a new TV, they get a bigger one, if you take up a new hobby, then they take it up too with the exclusive intention of becoming better at it than you. What’s worse, is that if they can’t beat you, then they move to spoil your enjoyment, eventually they cease being your friend then become an enemy. They never were your friends to begin with.

There is no single way of spotting a fake friend. But ultimately it comes down to these things.

Is there something fake about the way they interact with you, and you often feel worse off after spending time with them? These are two major red flags, and may very well suggest your social circle has been infiltrated by a fake friend.

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Make a note of how real friends treat you compared to the fake friend. The difference will be clear.

Importantly, if they are difficult to engage with and seem to have no real interest in spending time with you, then grant them their wish and keep them at a distance. There is no point in respecting someone who doesn’t respect or have much time for you.

Your first instinct may be to reach out even more in this situation, but this can only leave you feeling unwanted and unliked. Always put your own personal and emotional needs first.

Ask yourself if the person is ever a bully.

This might not be outright and obvious, but it can be a lack of caring when you are suffering. Often times fake friends, in particular the manipulator use emotional blackmail to get what they want from you. Don’t fall for it.

Now here comes the hard bit.

Ask yourself how much their friendship means to you.

You might have noticed that some times in your life that you hang out with and spend time with people for no real reason. Perhaps you spend time with them almost out of force of habit. This is a similar situation.

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You should consider if you truly enjoy spending time with them. Or if they seem to hurt or sadden you.

If you still want to be their friend then you have two options.

Keep them at the distance that you are comfortable with, with full knowledge of how they act and operate. Alternatively, you can tell them how they feel and risk offending them, or them cutting the friendship. It is possible that this will make them more aware of their negative behavior and may seek, over time to become a true friend, but this shouldn’t be expected.

It’s important to realize that friendships have a natural ebb and flow. Even real friends may one day stop being your friend one day. People naturally drift apart, becoming increasingly distant, and distant until no more connection is made. If you no longer want to be friends, then ultimately you just need to stop trying to be friends. Eventually they will get the message.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Arthur Peirce

Lifestyle Writer

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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