9 Ways To Know Someone Is Your Real Friend

Kehlani explains how you can tell whether or not you are actually down for someone.

August 04, 2015

Ting 1 & 2 , shotta shit

A photo posted by Lani Tsunami lil'LayLow (@kehlanimusic) on

Tsunami Mob is what our new FADER cover star Kehlani calls her best friends. It’s also what she calls her fans, who she treats like friends, and whose allegiance to her not-radio-pandering music may prove to be lucrative enough to turn Kehlani into a legit pop star.


Back in March, before the release of her excellent mixtape You Should Be Here, Kehlani defined the type of person worth fucking with.

1. When you're with them, the vibe is always positive

“I lose my voice every day from cracking up,” Kehlani said. “I'm a very fun-loving person, and when people are too serious or they get cranky a lot, like, they have negative vibes, I don’t tolerate it. I'm very sensitive; when someone really negative is around me, I'm like, ‘Woah. I can feel you. You got to back up.’”

3. They’re into things that you already like doing

“I've had the same best friend since I've been in the seventh grade. His name is Edward,” Kehlani said. “The friendship started because we had the same interests. We went to theatre camp and we both sang, danced, and did theatre. So we automatically clicked up.”

4. And they share your big-picture goals

Kehlani doesn’t just like her friends, she admires their sense of purpose. “I respect my friends because they demand respect, you know? They are all a bunch of quirky, different, not-cookie-cutter-looking people. Not the typical bad bitch, you know, but they got my back when I need anything,” she said. “We all want to inspire other people. We all want to make a difference. I think that's what draws us together: we have a common goal of making it bigger than us.”

5. They make good on their promises


A photo posted by Lani Tsunami lil'LayLow (@kehlanimusic) on

Kehlani said she’s found it difficult to stay close with people who don’t commit to their work. “I know people who are like, ‘Yeah, I'm a producer,’” she said. “But when was the last time you made a beat? You're a singer, where is your songs? I know it's hard to get studio time but dang, you know how many people just record stuff on their laptop? How are you sitting at home all day, with this goal you want to accomplish but you aren't putting any work towards it?”

6. And they don’t ‘yes’ you

Kehlani’s closest homies also work with her, but they’re not doormats. “My team is made up of my best friends. And I'm the leader of the pack, it's my team,” Kehlani said. “But if I get fed up, or I'm in too much of a leader mode and something comes out the wrong way, they'll never hesitate to let me know. Like, 'Yo, remember who you are talking to right now, we are your friends. We don't just work for you.’ Sometimes it gets really stressful — I’m 19 and I’m running my entire team. [Ed note: Kehlani is now 20.] Some of the girls that work for me are older than me, and sometimes I have to be a little extra. Like, ‘Listen to me, pay attention,’ because I have to run my ship. But my friends keep me in check.”

7. They’re into you, not just your spotlight

“Some people will come up to me like, ‘You look like a dope person to have a conversation with. I want to sit down and do regular stuff with you, like go to the movies.' Other people come up to me and go, 'Hey, I want to get backstage at your shows, and could I meet your stylist?’ Or, ‘You guys are getting some free stuff, let me come. Oh, you about to kick it with this person, you going to this party?' That's the ultimate no-no.”

8. And don’t read too much into what’s on your Instagram

isssss a wrap! #tsunamisox

A photo posted by Lani Tsunami lil'LayLow (@kehlanimusic) on

“People that beg to be on my Instagram or like trip out when I don't tag them in a photo with me? None of my real friends would freak out about that, or me following them or something,” Kehlani said. “ If one day I want to pull a Kanye and follow nobody but, like, who I'm dating or pictures of baby animals or something? If I wanted to do that, my real friends would never call me up and be like, 'Yo, are we not friends? We got a problem?’ They’d be like, ‘I understand, Maybe Instagram is too much for her right now and she needed those baby animal pics.’

9. And if someone’s going to become a romantic friend? They need to be able to handle your lifestyle

In a romantic partner, Kehlani’s looking for someone who respects her career and doesn’t feel diminished by all that comes along with it. “People may be like, ‘Yeah I'm really down for you.’ Then they realize I'm never home,” she said. “They have to be able to be confident enough in themselves to where they know, like, ‘My girlfriend's around fifty hundred million rappers right now, and I know she's not doing anything because I'm here.’ And they have to be able to be very supportive of me and not have any type or jealousy or feel intimidated because I'm the woman in the relationship. Guys I dated in the past always [started off] supportive about my career, then all of a sudden it's like, ‘Well, dang, you're doing all this stuff, and I'm just at the house.’ I don't want to emasculate anybody, you know?”

9 Ways To Know Someone Is Your Real Friend