“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ? Thomas Sowell
We all have that one friend who is way too brutally honest, but we love her anyway. Deep down you know she has a heart of gold, but there are times you wish she’d just lay off a little. Her advice is borderline rude and she’s always saying “it’s what you need to hear,” which is nice and all, but that doesn’t stop it from hurting like hell when she shuts you down with the cold hard truth. Well, before you cut her out of your life for making you feel like shit about drunk texting your ex, you should know this: Science says your ‘meanest’ friend is actually the friend who cares the most about you.
From how she shits on the crop top you knew was a risky buy to how she screenshots the pictures of other girls your boyfriend has been liking on Instagram, she’ll be the first to tell it like it is without even the slightest hesitation. But the thing is, no matter how hurtful it might be, she’s just looking out for your best interest in the long run.
A new study from Science Daily shows that “people may try to make someone else feel negative emotions if they think experiencing those emotions will be beneficial in the long run.” Basically, if it takes making you feel bad to get you to see the reality of a situation or do the right thing, a good friend will be the first to do it.
In the study, 140 participants were put in hypothetical situations, one being “inducing fear of failure in a loved one who is procrastinating instead of studying for an exam.” The researchers found that the participants who were the “meanest” to their hypothetical loved one were the most empathetic and genuinely cared about a positive outcome. Meaning they didn’t sugar coat exactly what their ‘loved one’ needed to do in order to score well on the exam. The participants were straightforward in their approach, which qualified as mean but they knew it was necessary for their well-being.
Think about it, do you really want a friend who’s just going to ‘yes you to death’? Of course, there are times you just want someone to hear you and agree with you, but that’s not going to get you very far in life. The truth is, someone that only tells you what you want to hear does it because it’s easy for them, it avoids conflict and they walk away feeling accomplished.
A friend who tells you what you want to hear isn’t trying to help you grow or become a better person. A friend who gives zero fucks about you, lets you walk out on a Friday night in a questionable outfit just so she can get your opinion on hers. She urges you to get back with your ex because she wants a connection to one of his friends. She cares more about herself 90% of the time and is constantly dismissing every issue you bring to her. The truth is, this “friend” is toxic and you’re so much better without her.
A real friend is going to tell you the hard truth, no matter how difficult it may be. A real friend won’t fear that you’ll resent them for their honesty, or brush your needs aside, instead she’ll stick by you every step of the way–starting with step one of realizing the truth of the situation. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, she’ll tell you just what you need to hear to get yourself out of it. When your ex is drunk texting you every weekend, she’ll block his number on your phone without you even realizing. If it’s starting to show how much you love Oreos, she’ll tell you that you better get your ass to the gym.
Having a friend who is mean to you is the best thing you could ever ask for because she’ll keep you in check like no other. The fact is, she’s not actually mean, sure she’s a firm believer in tough love but she cares about you too much to let you slip up or make the same mistake twice.
If you have a ‘mean’ friend, don’t let her go because she’s the most real friend you’ll ever have. No matter how much her comments might hurt you, know that they are coming from a place of some serious love and you’ll grow to be an even better person because of her.
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