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.