It isn’t difficult to make friends in Isla Vista, but this place is so much like a dream that it makes it hard to tell who your real friends are, as opposed to fake friends that only want to know you because you live oceanside, throw great parties or have a useful connection.
On Saturday night, I received a phone call from someone I met at a party. We see each other almost every weekend but hardly ever text or call each other. I am on the 6600 block on Del Playa Drive on my way to a party when I get the call:
“Hey, can you do me a favor?”
“Sure, why not? What do you need?” I respond.
“I need some money.”
“Money,” I thought.
It’s a Saturday night and this person wants me to run over to the 6800 block on Sabado Tarde Road just so I can give away my money and most likely never see it again? Luckily for me, I simply didn’t have it so I had to decline — and this is what pissed me off — as soon as the person realized I didn’t have the money to give they hung up the phone immediately. No goodbye, no “by the way, awesome party, you should come by anyway,” just an abrupt click. Gone.
I started to think about this person and whether they had called me for anything else other than a favor. I couldn’t remember one time, not one. I tried to remember when that person invited me out to a party with them and I couldn’t recall a single instance. I tried to remember all of the favors that person had done for me but I could only draw a blank because the memory simply wasn’t there.
This made me re-evaluate my friendships in Isla Vista. I had to wonder, “Who are my real friends and who is just using me for favors?” It isn’t hard to tell who is a user and who is a true friend if one simply looks carefully. It is easy to be blinded by a nice smile and cordiality. People here are generally very good at kissing ass.
Most people will act nice and sweet to your face and when you turn around they pick at your flaws like a nasty scab. Feigning sincerity in friendship is an ancient practice. There is always that person who only calls when they need a favor or that person who smiles every time they see you but if you look into their eyes as they smile, a big “fuck you” is visibly radiating from their pupils.
Some people, if they don’t like you, are honorable about it and remain up front. Generally, one will know where one stands with this person. That person will either treat you like a friend or simply ignore your existence. This person is honest and most likely loyal to the friends he or she does keep.
However, some people will hate you and you would never know it by the way they smile and wave. In order to tell how this person actually feels one must use all the powers of perception one possesses. Little signs and indications let you know how a person truly feels towards you. There are four questions you must ask yourself:
First: When I see this person and say “hi” how long does it take them to acknowledge me and keep walking? Most of the time, when you see a good friend, you are genuinely glad to see that person and that feeling is reflected in your hello. That person looks straight at you with a warm and personal greeting. He or she will generally have something pleasant to talk to you about or maybe invite you to a party that weekend.
A fake friend will pretend not to notice you at first. Then, upon noticing you, will give you a big, almost sarcastic, greeting. It is obvious when they pretend to be interested because their eyes keep drifting off to look at anything except you while they nod their head intently in agreement at whatever you say yet make little contribution to the conversation.
After about a minute or so of hearing you ramble on about whatever, this person will become visibly distressed because all they want to do is leave and have thus spent the last 30 seconds trying to figure out how to successfully exit the conversation.
Second: Does this person invite me to go out to parties or bars with them on the weekends? A good friend is always calling you about a party or trying to hit you up to go to Dublin’s or Gio’s. A fake friend will remain elusive about their whereabouts lest you decide to invite yourself along and they have to figure out how to say no.
Next: Does this person make eye contact with me during conversation? If someone does not look you in the eye during discourse, most likely that person is not paying attention to you or the conversation. A true friend is comfortable with you and, therefore, would have zero issue looking directly at you when conversing. It is only natural to remain casual and undisturbed with a familiar face. A fake friend will avoid your eyes and become only vaguely responsive, slowly pulling back interest in hopes that you might get the hint and move on.
Finally: Does this person only call me when they need something? A true friend calls you for random things like going to State Street or BevMo! to get alcohol, a party or Sharkeez or a friend’s house or to find out how you did on your midterm. A fake friend will call you for money or alcohol or drugs or to find a party if they are bored … nothing else.
If you know someone that fits the description of a fake friend, do yourself a favor and avoid that person. Do not waste your time with someone who does not have enough respect to treat you with dignity. Do not waste your time with someone who cannot be honest about his or her feelings toward you. Do not waste your time with someone who sees fit to use you like a tool, without remorse, as if that is your only purpose.
You know who your real friends are because those people have your back and would help you through anything. Those people are comfortable and happy with you … and you know who those people are when shit gets real because they stick around.
A true friend will help you bury the body and then drive you to Mexico. A true friend would never rat you out to the cops. A true friend would never use you for favors because a true friend is there to help you if you need it and vice versa.
Kelly Nassour is a third-year English major.