Anyone who knows me knows I never entertained the idea of having a "best friend."
For a long time, I thought that having a best friend would sort of diminish or belittle my other friendships.
It's almost like,
"Hey, meet my best friend so-and-so. And also, here are my other, less-significant acquaintances I just call my friends."
It's a totally pessimistic way of thinking about it, I know, but that's how I viewed the dynamics of BFFs, which was why I would never have one.
Now that I'm no longer 9 years old and narrow-minded, I can finally say that I have a circle of people in my life I consider my really good friends.
They are friends I've shared some of my most regrettable experiences and secrets with, to the brink of crying over a pint of Talenti gelato together (because it's Mediterranean Mint or nothing at all). Thankfully, I was emotionally prepared for that.
What I wasn't prepared for were the sudden changes that came with some of these friendships.
I was not prepared for the arguments that transpired, the apathetic attitudes and the feeling of being unappreciated the way I appreciated them.
I was giving my all in these friendships (and still am), but the same effort is not always reciprocated, which is the hardest secret I've had to keep.
This might hurt you more than it will them, but you deserve to know when you're being taken for granted.
You deserve better than a lopsided friendship, and if you're anything like me, you'll want to know the warning signs early on.
So here they are: Five telltale signs your so-called friend might not really be your friend at all:
1. They don't stick up for you under any/all circumstances.
I am the proud Joseline Hernandez of my group, which means I'm most likely the one to throw the first drunken blow for a friend in need.
But you know what sucks? Not having that ride-or-die friend who would do the same thing for you.
A real friend would never allow someone else to talk sh*t about you, or leave you hanging and alone when help is needed.
So, if your friend hesitates to come to your aid when you're being picked on, provoked or attacked, just imagine how responsive he or she would be when something more serious happened to you?
2. They don't know when it's time to take control.
You can't be the parent of your friends all the time — that's impossible. Sure, you're not the babying type, but you look out for your friends when you know something is wrong.
Even the most responsible and independent person knows when he or she has met his or her match.
In cases like these, when you're in too deep, it is your friends' responsibility to take the wheel when you can't handle everything that's happening.
Whether it's an emotional struggle or the take-me-home-I'm-drunk-and-need-you-to-hold-my-hair struggle, your friends should always be able to sense those red flags and assume the instinctive big brother/sister role with urgency.
3. They don't care about your problems.
Every good friend knows that when a friend sends him or her a manuscript of a sh*tty day via a text message, it's best to either call that friend or reply back with at least a paragraph of interest.
But, we all know about those “friends” who reply with incurious, one-word replies like, “oh” or “damn.”
And, if they're really feeling like grade-A assh*les, they'll respond with the infamous, “k.”
Your problems are just as valid as your friends', and warrant heartfelt responses, too.
FYI: If you are pouring your guts out to these “friends” and all they feel you're worth is a “k,” you essentially have been granted full permission to kick your foot up their asses.
4. They only call you if they need something from you.
Yes, I do have a car, and it doesn't bother me that I'm the only designated Uber driver of the group, but the least you could do is spare me a few dollars for the fourth ride I've given you this week.
Or how's about a phone call that isn't one minute long, and doesn't follow the script, “Hey Paris, what you doin'? … Can you give me a ride to work?” but more like, “Hey Paris, thanks for the (fifth) ride this week. How have you been?”
There's really nothing wrong with helping your friends out because really, it's a fundamental aspect of friendship.
But if you're noticing that your friends are calling you more and more to acquire services from you and less to check up on your well-being, you need to weed those bastards out of your life for good.
5. They don't keep their word.
Maybe I'm too sensitive about this, but I hate it when my friends back out on their promises.
It's one of my biggest pet peeves and I think that even though it's probably only a small concern for most people, it's one to definitely keep watch of.
If you find your friend is constantly making up excuses for last-minute retractions on the little commitments you have made together, there is an even greater chance they will do this on more important occasions, too.
If they are incapable of honoring their words, it's a sign of fleeting trust that will only lead to more disappointments.
Good friends are hard to come by and best friends are even harder to have these days.
But, letting the bad friends go doesn't mean you should stop caring; it just means you're done trying to force others to stop caring.