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7 Signs That Your Friends Are The Real Deal

7 Signs That Your Friends Are The Real Deal

We all have friends we hang out with every week or so, and maybe grab a cup of coffee with when our schedules line up. But if we are lucky, we also have friends who keep us updated on their daily digestive movements, come over uninvited on the weekends, and share pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with us. Those friends are the ones you come to know as the real deal. Here are seven signs which show that you have true friends.

1. You feel completely comfortable around them.

    The phrase “pants optional” applies here. In fact, you could probably walk naked around your true friends and they wouldn’t even be confused. That’s just how comfortable you are with them. You’ll know you’ve got a real true friend when you feel almost the same ease with them that you do with your family. You feel as though you can say, do, or be anything around them without ever feeling awkward or judged. After all, a true friend accepts you in all your weirdness and even reciprocates it. Pants-less watching Disney throwbacks together? No problem, just as long as you remember to pass the ice cream back.

    2. You Know They’re Trustworthy.

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      Friends who are the real deal have seen you at your best but they’ve also seen you at your very worst. They have a photo album on their phone practically dedicated to that one time you mixed Vodka and Fireball, and that was only one of your many embarrassing nights they’ve witnessed. But even with all the potential blackmail they’ve collected over the years, you know they would never show it to a single soul if you didn’t want them to, and vice versa. I mean, they’ve had their nights, too. Still you just don’t show the pictures of those nights to others to prove it.

      3. You Can Communicate Telepathically .

        You know what they say: the friends who are telepathic together, stick together … or something like that. A true friend can read you like a book, regardless of your cover. They’ve observed all your social cues enough to know when it’s time for them to leave you alone or to get you the heck out of somewhere. All it takes is a glance and they’re there, coming up with some brilliant excuse to rescue you from your personal hell. The only problem is when they’re not physically there to pick up on your signals. That’s when you have to rely on their telepathic skills over text, sending them gibberish “help me” codes only they might understand.

        4. You Do Everything Together.

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          It’s not a “you braid my hair, I braid your hair” thing. It’s a “we do more together than most married couples” type thing. When you and a true friend are hanging out, it’s almost as if you two mold into one person. Their interests become your interests as well as the other way around. And even if you don’t like the same things, you find ways to compromise so both of you win.

          “Want to go to an art show?”, you ask. “Sure,” they reply and add: “Want to get El Pollo Loco after?”  “Yeah, why not.” And some day might ask: “Want to move in and never leave my side again?” And you’ll reply: “Thought you’d never ask.”

          A true friend is someone you can do everything with and never get tired, except when they overstay their welcome by eating your hidden stash of chocolate. Now that’s just plain rude.

          5. You Like and Dislike the Same People.

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            Have you ever liked a person’s character originally and then had a close friend tell you they didn’t like them? At first, you try and defend the reasons you like the other person while your friend lists all the reasons they don’t. Afterward, you start to question why you even like the person yourself, and then, all of a sudden, it happens. You’ve begun to dislike them as well. I’m not saying that a true friend will try to sway your opinions of people. In fact, it’s the opposite. You trust your close friend’s opinion so much that you’ve come to trust it as much as your own so when that joint intuition kicks in, you know that your friend is the real deal.

            6, You Realize They’re There For You No Matter What.

              On a more sentimental note, a true friend is there for you even in the worst of circumstances. They’re the ones comforting you after a break up, defending you when you’re being hit with criticism, running alongside you when your car’s about to be towed, and helping you get back on your feet when you trip and fall (while laughing hysterically of course). They’re your Superman when you don’t want to be saved but need to be rescued. And as cheesy as it sounds, they’re the ones you consider to be your future bridesmaid or best man because no day will ever be special without them by your side. Heck, you might as well marry them. They’re already a huge part of your life.

              7.  You Can’t Live With Them But Most Definitely Can’t Live Without Them.

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                No matter how close you are to a true friend, you both are going to have your days when neither of you can stand the other. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the circumstances surrounding the issue that caused such an apocalypse are. There will come a time when you and your true friend aren’t getting along. That being said, when a friend is the real deal, there is no cataclysmic happening that will ever be able to drive you two permanently apart.

                While you may be annoyed almost to the point of temporary loathing, you know this too shall pass, and soon enough, you and your friend will make up and be merry once again because you know your friendship is unbreakable. Again though, if they don’t learn to pass the ice cream or respect your chocolate drawer, things could turn ugly. Just saying.

                Featured photo credit: Adventure Time/hperticarati via flickr.com

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                Published on April 7, 2021

                6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

                While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

                1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

                Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

                If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

                In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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                2. They Make Everything Transactional

                Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

                For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

                Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

                A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

                Some statements to be wary of include:

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                • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
                • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
                • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
                • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

                3. They Criticize Everything

                One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

                However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

                Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

                • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
                • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
                • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
                • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

                4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

                We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

                For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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                This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

                5. They Socially Isolate You

                Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

                Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

                This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

                In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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                6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

                It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

                Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

                Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

                • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
                • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
                • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
                • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

                Final Thoughts

                It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

                More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

                Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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