She's just not that into you.
In 2006, Facebook went live to all .edu users, and the word "friend" changed forever. No longer did "friend" mean only your nearest and dearest, your BFFs and your girl posse. Suddenly, a friends were "people you may know."
This began to spill from the virtual to the actual. What we'd have before called an acquaintance, we now called a friend. We deemed coworkers friends. The guy who worked the corner deli, the one who knew your order — he was a friend. So were bar buddies and party pals.
This linguistic erosion has made it easier to be... well, a sh*tty friend. And to have sh*tty friends. But we sometimes mistake those shallow friends for actual, help-you-move-the-bodies friends. That's a recipe for serious heartbreak and major drama.
Every so often, we have to examine our relationships, decide who's a real friend, and treat the others accordingly, i.e., not expect things like emotional support. Not trust them with our secrets. And most of all, not treat them as if your relationship is worth more than it is.
It can be hard to take stock of those friendships. Obviously, or no one would mistake a shallow friend for a real one. But there are some good ways to tell.
1. They don't know your family makeup.
A shallow friend might know some sketchy details, but they probably can't say if you're estranged from your younger sister, or if your older brother died in infancy. They likely can't name your siblings.
Not only can a real friend tell you how many brothers and sisters you have, but they know where you stand in the birth order. They also know your sibs' names and important autobiographical details: this one's a cop; that one bashed you with a shovel once; the other is an architect in Chicago. You can't expect emotional support from someone who doesn't know your basic familial facts.
2. They've never met your mom.
A shallow friend doesn't know your mom's name. You could have spawned whole from the ocean for all the information they know about her. If they've been invited to an event where she'd be — a birthday party, a graduation, a wedding — they've begged off at the last minute (or just bailed with no explanation).
If the chance has arisen, accounting for death and geography, a real friend has clapped eyes on the woman who bore you. They met Mom at a dinner. They saw Mom at your house. They were there with Mom when you moved into your new apartment. Your mom also knows your friend's name, because they were introduced, or at least because you mention them in conversation.
3. They ignore your texts.
This is pretty basic, really, but it bears mentioning. A shallow friend sees the message and answers in their own sweet time, if at all. A real friend returns your message as soon as possible.
4. They develop pressing plans on moving day.
Shallow friends pretend they didn't get the message about your moving date. They plead imaginary obligations or claim they're sick. You'll know the last two aren't true: you'll see Facebook pictures of them getting hammered at the same time you were sweating over boxes.
When you need helping hands to move the huge amount of stuff you've accumulated, your real friends are there. They help maneuver the couch through the doorway and don't complain when someone drops a chair on their foot. That's love.
5. They don't really know you, and you don't really know them.
You have no idea what music your shallow friends like; or even if you can name a genre, you can't list out artists. Don't worry, they don't know about your musical tastes, either. All your pop peccadillos are a mystery to shallow friends, except maybe water-cooler convo about Making A Murderer. They don't care enough to find out, or you don't care enough to share.
6. They don't know your dating history.
Shallow friends have no idea who you dated before you married your husband. They don't know about your college proclivity for one-night stands, and have no idea one of your exes left you to become a gay mime. Your love life just isn't on their radar, so much so that they may not recall the name of your current significant other.
Real friends, on the other hand, can remember who you dated, pinpoint who broke up with whom, and name the reason why. That doesn't mean they were there for the relationship. It means you all have shared enough that they know anyway.
7. They don't support you.
Shallow friends are people you don't call when life makes you lemons. When they hear that Mittens went to the great cat rainbow in the sky, they don't comfort you; they say, "Who?" Their comfort, if you ask for it, amounts to "That sucks," followed by "This one time I..."
Real friends know you have the flu and bring you chicken soup. When you're freaking over what dress to wear to a wedding, they sit patiently on your bed while you tear through your closet. When your boyfriend breaks up with you, your cat dies, or your boss decides to downsize, your real friends have a tissue ready.
8. They never ask about you.
Shallow friends turn your stories back to them. They monopolize the conversation. It's all about them, and you better get with that or get out. A genuine friendship involves a 50/50 ratio of conversation topics. You get half, and so do they. Real friends ask about you.
9. They're extremely selfish.
They don't focus on your feelings, help you when you need it, or know about the real you. Don't share your secrets — you don't know if they're talking about you. Don't give them your trust — you can't tell if they'll betray it. You only need a few real friends in this world. Make sure you know who they are.