If someone says “I really like you” and then is always too busy to spend time with you, you had better question what that person tells you.
If someone says, “I am interested in your work” and whenever you send them an article you have written, they never find time to read it, you should question how much truth is in that statement.
If someone says “I want to have a meeting with you” and then, during the meeting, is busy on their computer or answering e-mails or making notes about something else they have to do, you have to question the desire to have a meeting at all.
If someone says “I support you” but never says anything encouraging, or kind, or complementary, or gives you positive feedback in any way, that is not the kind of support you should seek.
If someone says, “I want to be a part of your group” but isn’t willing to come to your gathering, or take on any of the group’s activities without being paid, or feels imposed upon by what they group asks of him, be suspicious about their desire.
If you have a friend who says, “I will always be your friend” but she resents your achievements, and downgrades your accomplishments, and never notices the things in your life that matter to you, and, in fact, can’t seem to find a way to celebrate you or your life in any way, spend some time wondering if that person’s definition of “friendship” is very different than your own.
It is not news that we judge people not so much by what they say but by what they do. We evaluate them by looking at their lives. We look at the attitudes, the behaviors, their actions, their colleagues, the friendships they have and the work they do enthusiastically. We can easily recognize the people who are sincere and walk their talk and the people who are talking out of the sides of their mouths.
Anyone can claim to be your friend when it is convenient for them to do so. Few will be your friend when you are alone, frightened, in need and downtrodden. Many can claim to be “for you” when you are riding high and doing well. Few will be at your side to offer their arm to hold you up when you cannot support yourself on your own. Anyone can talk about how much they believe in you and what you are doing or what you stand for. Few will have faith and speak up on your behalf when you are struggling and others are speaking out against you.
Be wary of claims. Be wary of those who make promises they cannot keep. Be cautious about those whose actions do not consistently line up with their stated intentions. Be careful, too, that you hold yourself to those same things. Your own actions, as well, speak, with energy, whether you realize it or not.