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Mean Folks Can Make Great Friends | Their Honesty Can Save You

Mean Folks Can Make Great Friends | Their Honesty Can Save You

Keep your friends close and your mean friends closer. Not only will they tell you, "you look like you put on your grandma's clothes" but they'll also tell you the harsh truth you need to hear sometimes.

We all have that one friend who doesn't shy away from being brutally honest. Remember the times you were told, "they're not worth your time, so stop trying" or "stop letting others walk all over you?" These seem like statements of concern. But there are also times you have heard "Are you freakin' outta your mind? Don't give me that BS again." Well, these are the folks who are not just concerned but unabashedly blunt in letting you know when you've goofed up. 

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These are the friends that you definitely need to keep around. While they may not think twice to call out your mistakes and use the bluntest of words to tell you why you were wrong, they are the same ones who look out for you and warn you against your own unhealthy patterns. While we don't suggest you stick around with people who are deliberately mean or toxic people, knowing that those who mean well aren't always polite is good.

Keep your friends close, and your mean friends closer

Yes, they don't hold back from smacking you in the face with their brutal honesty, but what you should know is that they have your best interests in mind, especially when they choose to say things you don't want to hear. It was found that sometimes people make you feel a negative emotion when they know that it can improve your wellbeing in the long run, according to a study published in SAGE Journals.

This means that they might make you feel bad for the moment because they know that it will eventually push you to do what you have to do, whether it's ending a toxic relationship or just remind you to take a break from an exhausting routine. The findings of the study showed that people who genuinely care weren't being mean just for their own satisfaction or pleasure, but they had noble reasons to do so, according to APS (Association for Psychological Science).

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The only time when being 'cruel to be kind' is good for you

Some of us are lucky enough to have friends who aren't afraid to tell us when we are wrong even, even this means putting their relationship with you at stake. "A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship..." wrote the author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self and co-author of The Ten Worlds: The New Psychology of Happiness, Alex Lickerman for Psychology Today. "A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you're wrong," he added, saying that they are willing to "risk fracturing the friendship if hearing it lies in your best interest."

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So, if your new "trendy" haircut looks terrible or you're trying too hard to please your partner, they will let you know even if you don't want to hear it. When these friends seem like they're being cruel, it could be their way of being kind. "People can be ‘cruel to be kind’—that is, they may decide to make someone feel worse if this emotion is beneficial for that other person, even if this does not entail any personal benefit for them,” said psychological scientist Belén López-Pérez, who was part of the study.

When to draw the line

While the friends who really care about your happiness might be mean to you, there might be others who are constantly mean for no good reason. If your friend's advice is not helping you but constantly making you feel bad about yourself, it's a red flag of an unhealthy or toxic friendship. They might be pretending to be on your side while nursing resentment at seeing your success or happiness. 

"They're not gonna listen, and [they’re] not going to be terribly empathetic or compassionate," said clinical psychologist Jill Squyres, according to Women's Health. "…If they do listen, it's usually to give one-sided advice that makes them sound smart or more competent and successful than you."

It's wise to listen to your intuition when it comes to trusting folks. A good friend cares less about what you think of them and more about how good you feel about yourself.

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References:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797617696312
https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/making-people-feel-bad-can-be-a-strategy-for-helping-them.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201312/the-true-meaning-friendship
https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a25939904/signs-of-toxic-friendships/