By Keisha Stoute

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In life we all make friends but contrary to belief true friendship is hard to find. Many people call their exes, coworkers, work superiors, classmates, and business associates their friends when in fact they are not. Having something in common
  or history with someone does not constitute a friendship. When people
  deliberately set out to hurt you by doing spiteful things their true colors are shining bright. Those individuals are not your friend but your enemy! People who are jealous of you and your accomplishments can not be your friend. When you need someone to talk to your true friends are the ones who answer the call. Hello! Running someone down so that you can connect with is a waste of time.
Trying to transform someone who does not want to change is like beating a dead
horse, it is pointless. Here today and gone tomorrow individuals are not dependable and are often flaky and inconsistent. Move on!! Friendships are not
one sided where you are always giving and often come up empty handed or with
little return. True friendship does not impede on your personal growth and
should offer a healthy exchange and not yo-yo like behaviors. These same ideals
can also be applied when assessing your personal relationships. 

Friendship is kind, loving, forgiving, supportive, non-judgmental, patient, and
understanding. In order to have a healthy friendship you must have open
communication, mutual and attainable goals and objectives. True friends do not
tell you what they think you want to hear but what you need to grow! If you are
traveling down a one way street it’s time to back up and change your direction!
It is report card time and you need to evaluate where your so called friends
truly stand! Take the test and let the results speak for themselves.

 A= always    B= most of the time  C= sometimes    D=almost never    F=never

 1.     Is a person that I can trust
 2.    Is a person that I can talk to about relationships, family, work etc.
 3.    Gives fair, sound and honest advice
 4.    Displays healthy give and take and other appropriate behaviors
 5.    Is supportive of me in my endeavors
 6.    Meets my needs in this friendship or relationship
 7.    Is a person who respects me
 8.    I enjoy spending time with 
 9.    Is a person who will not deliberately hurt me or someone I love
 10.  Is a person who cares about me and my well being
 11.   Our relationship is healthy
 12.  I feel like I am being heard and my opinion is valued 
13.   Is a person who has my best interest at heart
 14.  Is a person that I see a positive future with 

What did your results reveal? Everyone needs improvement from time to time and talking about where you are and where you would like to be is a great start. When you find that you keep running into the same problems then you need to re-evaluate the relationship and make a decision. The longer you take to resolve the issue the harder it is to move forward. Always know your strengthens and weaknesses so that you can work towards change and come out on top. Knowledge is power!

 
 

By Keisha Stoute

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In today’s society everyone loves playing “dress-up”. It is fun putting on clothes, make-up, accessories and pretending to be somebody else. You may aspire to be a rich and famous actor, athlete, successful doctor, entrepreneur etc. Once the fun and games are over the costumes are takening  off but when you are an “imposter” you are always in disguise! Imposters are professional sales individuals who love to sell you scripted lies and bags of tricks. I smell bologna! They often embellish the true about themselves, accomplishments and possessions. Imposters will use friendly gatherings, office chit chat, birthday parties, family reunions and other opportunities as a platform to deceive the multitude. Lights, Camera, Action!

Keeping up with appearances and trying to maintain a particular image is the main objective. Imposters purport false images of themselves so that they can look good in the eyes of others. Appearance is everything, dress to impress. They live by the phrase “Fake it until you make it”. These individuals often rent, buy or lease luxury cars, homes etc. and will go to great lengths to proof that they have arrived. Running up debt, getting repossession notices, buying and returning already worn clothes and having credit cards declined at places including Wal-mart are typical behaviors of an imposter. They will always try to out shine others and want to be the best at everything. Imposters will lie about having perfect relationships, jobs, big salaries, large bank accounts, connections, career accomplishments, degrees etc. Some may even go as far as creating phony resumes and trying to pass someone else’s house as their own. They often exaggerate on everyday stories and experiences. Imposters come in the form of men and women who are truly insecure about their self-worth and often feel inadequate. They show up at work, school, church, and even in relationships. Competitiveness runs thick in their veins and they will not stop until everyone is a believer. 

In the end, every performance must come to an end. Bravo! Eventually these individuals will be exposed of their schemes and scams and the mask will be removed. The best way to silence an imposter is to feel confident and secure where ever you are in life. Looks can be deceiving! Remember that success is not defined by materialistic things but by how you feel about yourself.  Know your worth!