Keep it Real

I know this person. At one time, I thought we could be friends. She was funny, and smart, and well-read. When I saw her, she would gush things like, “Hi lovey! How are you? What’s going on? Sooooo good to see you!” as if she thought I was awesome, but before I could respond to any of her questions, she was off to the next person. Soon enough, I realized that she was all talk and no walk. In a nutshell? She was full of it. I stopped trusting what she said because it obviously wasn’t heartfelt and real.


I continued to like her. I thought maybe she just needed a lot of validation and hey! I get it. I would still approach her and try to be friends and invite her to girls’ nights, dinners, wine tastings, what-have-you, which she said she could attend, but then just wouldn’t show up at the thing. How many times there was an empty seat at so many events because she never made it without any explanation. Still wanting to believe the best of her, after a bit of time I introduced her to some amazing friends of mine, and the three of them are still very close. Which quite frankly, sucks the butt for me.


See, after some years, I stopped initiating conversation with the BS One because it finally hit home that she didn’t mean anything she said and there was nothing behind her profession of friendship. I see her fairly often because the other good friends, but I don’t make an effort with her anymore, One thing about me? I cannot be fake. If I don’t like you, I try to hide it, but it’s in my eyes. I’m sorry, I just can’t pretend. And so she got it. She came to understand that I wasn’t into her anymore. And I kept hoping and hoping and hoping she would ask why, because I suck at assertiveness, too. I’d heard many hypotheses she ventured as to why my enthusiasm for her waned (I was jealous…always the catch-all explanation), but none of them were accurate. Even after all this time, I still want her to ask. Because this is what I’d say:


You aren’t authentic. I know you aren’t mean or horrible or anything the least bit awful, but you’re not real with yourself or with others and I cannot stand that trait in a person. So really? It’s me, not you. But I cannot continue to put my energy into pursuing a friendship with someone who doesn’t mean what they say. And THAT is why I don’t talk to you anymore. Please pass the wasabi nuts.”


See, inauthenticity bothers me to the core. I CANNOT ABIDE IT. It is one of the very few things I HATE. I remember my last job where the CEO, whom I worked closely with, was the most narcissistic, egocentric butt muncher you could conjure up in your worst nightmare. And she did this thing, where in public she projected a warm, altruistic, caring persona, when in reality, she was the EXACT opposite and spent much of her time stuffing 18 lipsticks in her teeny tiny vanity purse. When I finally couldn’t stand it anymore (she sent passive-aggressive emails, refused to let people in our office talk or laugh, and DROVE people who saw through her out of their jobs), I gave notice. In the three weeks leading to my departure, she barely said a word to me other than a cutting comment, and often talked behind my back. OK. It happens. But? At my going-away lunch? She came up behind me, put both hands on my shoulders, gave a squeeze and said, “Let’s all say one adjective that describes San Diego Momma,” as if she loved me and hated to see me go.


You know, all for show. Show, show, show. She didn’t mean a word of it. And because my eyes are windows to my soul, my eyes were saying, “Get your lipstick-stuffing, teeny-tiny-purse-carrying FAKE hands off of me.” At any rate, 18 out of the 20 people in attendance at that lunch used the word “real” to describe me, so that was eff you enough I suppose.


So what I’m saying is: Be authentic.


Mean what you say.


Don’t pretend to like me when you don’t.


And please don’t use people just to get ahead.


Finally. Whatever you do, if you’re not real, DO NOT LOOK INTO MY EYES.


17 Responses to “Keep it Real”

  1. Bravo….absolutely brilliant. So few people have the nerve to tell someone these things to their face. I wish I did. I kinda let those who insist on the facade, continue to play it off in front of me, and I’m too non-confrontational to say anything.

  2. adrianne says:

    ditto the Bravo!

    i would never have the nerve to accuse someone of being fake, but often have the thought. our perception of self is often so skewed from the way we are really perceived by “the public”.

    i [had] a friend much like the woman you describe in your first paragraph. needless to say. i was the one constantly putting forth the effort – making the phone calls, ensuring her comfort, etc., etc. – until i finally said “fuck it.”

    also? it’s all over my face if i don’t like you. my family calls it “The Face”. SO OBVIOUS.


  3. Wow…I’ve often felt this way, so THANK YOU! for putting it into words! I’ve tired of the fair-weather friends, myself. I’ve been keeping to myself a bit more recently, to reflect on conversations, and figure out who the people are that I really want to have in my life. It’s an ever-shrinking list as people show their true colors.

    Hugs to you, Lovey…wow, after reading the “Lovey” in your story, one would think it was ME, but I’m pretty sure I’m not fake…if I ever seem to be, I sure hope someone knocks some sense into me, or at least SAYS something, so I can get my act together! ;)

  4. Theresa says:

    Love you and will FOREVER!

    Keeping it real since we met in 4th grade :)

  5. The Zadge says:

    I have a standing rule that I can’t be friends with someone who uses the term “lovey.” Or “interface,” for that matter.

  6. becky says:

    Of course, the first thing I’m going to do the next time I see you is look deeply into your eyes. And maybe even squeeze your shoulders, just to see what you do. Ha!

    I do mean it when I say I want to get together sometime. And just visit. Talk a little writing. Or whatever.

  7. Me says:

    We could be great friends.

  8. flutter says:

    have you read the four agreements? because one of the main points is to have integrity with your words. it is AMAZING how hard it is for some people.

    I would totally hang with you if I still lived in SD

  9. diamond dave says:

    Yep. I too like real people, and try to convey the same. I think John Candy’s speech in the motel room (the “you want to hurt me?”) speech says it all for me. Except for the part where he says, “I like me”, because sometimes honestly I don’t.

  10. April says:

    So true! Been there, done that many times. Honestly, that trait in so called friends drove me to having guy friends. ‘Cause if they think what you say is BS, they tell you it’s BS. They don’t say it’s great and then tell your other friends it’s BS. Authenticity – I think that’s my new favorite word. Thanks for your great post!

  11. jenny ford says:

    I think everyone can totally relate. And the sucky part is you spend a ton of time hurt and evaluating who you are until you figure out who they REALLY are!

    I can’t be fake either. And I really hate it when people are fake. Do you find that super outgoing (extroverts) are sometimes major liars?

  12. Rima says:

    You said it. I know a person just like the one you described. She’s smart and well-liked, too, which is why it’s so hard for me to understand why she doesn’t see how superficially she’s acting. I wish you lived in Cleveland, BTW.

  13. Be who you are. True friends will stick with you, even when they see the bad parts. Fake doesn’t do anyone any good.

  14. I was JUST TALKING about how hard it is to fake-be-nice to people I don’t like. I either avoid them or give them the brisk hello and walk away.
    People like this one are irritating as heck.

  15. theresa says:

    You’re amazing!!!! I love this!

  16. Jill says:

    I’m SO tired of trying to make friends with people who just don’t get it.


    Wish we lived closer. You got it – and then some!

  17. Christina says:

    Ohhhh soooo true, the fakeness always comes out. Lots of fake-flakes in my life.. I got tired of putting in all the effort and getting nothing in return. Learned it’s not worth my time and energy but that was a process cause I’m kinda like- “can’t we all just get along???”

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