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When I think about true friendship, my mind automatically goes to the lyrics of Hannah Montana’s song, True Friend. Whether it is “You’re lookin’ out for me, you’ve got my back” or “Friends hang on through the ups and the downs”, you understand what I’m referencing to.

It is easy to rattle off how a friend is supposed to act and the qualities we look for in a true friend like in the song. But, have you ever thought about what a true friend is NOT supposed to do? These are some things that I have learned throughout my life to distance myself from in friendships and they are even qualities and behaviors that we, as true friends, should make sure we do not do.

A true friend does not seek their own benefit. If someone goes into a friendship thinking that this new friend will help ME do this or that, then it is right off the bat the wrong intentions. Yes, we are supposed to help each other. Yes, we should have friends who help us reach our full potential. The idea of love especially in friendship though is seeking what is best for the other person, despite what you want.

A true friend does not do whatever they want to do all the time, regardless of what their friend wants. Everyone has experienced this. For example, when you and your friend are deciding where to go to lunch. If your friend constantly picks and won’t go with you if it’s not their choice, then is that really a true friend? That’s more of a conditional friendship than a true one in my mind.

A true friend does not do things just because it makes them look better. We all know that person who only posts things on Instagram that makes them look good, either they look skinny or the person they are with is “cool”. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that on social media, but treating people around you like that is not ok. For instance, say you had plans with your friend. On the day of she cancels because a better, more appealing opportunity with a different friend came up. That’s not what a true friend does.

I’m not saying be rude and ignore people in your life that portray these behaviors. As a true friend you still speak and be polite to everyone around you, because that is just the thing to do. However, I truly believe your life will be better and less stressful when you distant yourself from conditional friends like this.

I am an Agriculture Communications Major with a Minor in English at the University of Tennessee at Martin (Class of 2021).
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