Just about everyone has experienced really good friendships.
They do wonders for us, help us develop into a better person and improve as we age.
It’s proven that having friends helps us to feel happier, achieve more, and it’s a great peace of mind knowing we have someone to talk to.
They can pull us out of depression. Save us from making disastrous mistakes, and spur us on to do better.
But for every genuine friendship, there are dozens of less productive ones. We have all had the ‘hanger-on’s’, or those who want something from us.
These ‘friends’ can be toxic. Being able to recognize the difference it very important. Sometimes our judgement gets clouded, and maybe you need a reminder.
Here are 10 ways to tell if someone is a real friend:
Friends Show Us How to Value Ourselves
Most of us are our own harshest critics. We criticize ourselves, beat ourselves up when we make a mistake, and maybe lack a little self-esteem. But true friends are great at lifting us when we feel down. They point out our plus points, and help us realize it might not be as bad as we think.
Whether it’s as deep rooted as not feeling comfortable in our own skin. Or, just being passed over for a promotion at work. A real friend will understand how you feel, and how to help. They boost our self-esteem without even trying, and it’s a mutual process.
Friends Are Not Afraid to Tell Us When We’re in the Wrong
We all make mistakes. Sometimes we just go down the wrong path for one reason or another. Either way, a true friend is not afraid to call us up on it. I’m not talking about arguing, or picking at faults. But setting us back on the right path, we’re we should be.
Superficial friends, or friends who are ‘yes’ people will not pull you up when you’re in the wrong. If two people care about each other they can be open and honest.
Friends Make Themselves Available
We all lose track of our priorities from time to time. But on the whole we know where we stand with others. True friends are willing to make themselves available if they’re required. We all live busy lives, but a friendship is something worth prioritizing.
Casual friends always have excuses; need to go to the gym, watching a film, already have ‘plans’, these are all excuses. Things that can easily wait. Think about how you’re treated by others, and who you treat your friends when they ask for your time.
Friends Really Listen to You
How often while talking to work colleagues or acquaintances does the other person change topic when you’re talking? When you have something you want to talk about, how many people are there for you to turn to?
Knowing a friend is going to listen, and give you valuable advice is priceless. Having a two-way conversation with someone is incredibly satisfying. Confiding in someone and receiving empathy and understanding is a fundamental building block in a solid friendship.
Friends Are There to Support Us in Tough Times
It’s not surprising that you have plenty of friends with you when you’re going through good times. But how many friends are there when you go through the bad times? There is a direct correlation between success and the number of friends.
It’s all very well being popular, but does it really count if it’s not real. The only way to truly find out who you friends are is to experience some adversity. True friends will be there right next to you the whole time, and help you get back to the top.
Friends Lower Our Stress Levels
It’s hard not to absorb a certain amount of stress in our daily lives. Work, home life, finances, time-pressures, it all contributes to a stressful life. However, when we’re with friends these moments should not be stressful. Real friends can sense stress or anxiety, and will know how to help.
Sometimes it’s as simple as having a smile put on your face. Other times it’s as serious as having someone step into your would and help you out. Either way, time with friends is a great stress reducer.
Friends Keep Us Humble
Real friends not only help us reach our potential and enjoy our highs, they also keep us rooted. It’s all too easy to grow an ego when you’re surrounded by people who do not have you’re best interests at heart.
But real friends who are close to you know the real you. They know your history, where you came from, and how you got to where you are. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be humbled, and remember where we came from. Along with those who helped us get where we are.
Friends Have Our Backs Regardless of the Situation
True friends stick together. This isn’t just an old proverb, it’s a fact built on real situations. Conflict and sticky situations are a part of life. Knowing someone genuinely has your back is one of the best feelings in the world. This is one of the staples of having a friend, you’re no longer alone.
Having ‘someone’s back’ doesn’t mean you agree with them unconditionally. It means when the going gets tough, you’re there. But equally if your friends needs to be set straight, you have the front to do that too.
Friends Practice True Forgiveness
We all make mistakes from time to time when it comes to life choices, or relationships. You will go through tough times with friends over the years too. But guess what? The friends who are still here are the ones that count. Why do friends forgive each other? Because they care on a deeper level.
No one ever said it’s easy to be a life-long friend. So make the effort when required, and learn how to forgive if you find it difficult. If you value the friendship, it’s worth it.
Friends Spur Us on to Be Our Best Selves
Friends push us to be the best versions of ourselves, and self-improvement is a key to experiencing life at its finest. In fact, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. You should be pushing your friend, as much as they do you.
Look at their examples of selflessness, kindness, generosity, and all the things that drew you to them. Give back as much as they do and flourish together. A true friendship is one of the greatest gifts that life presents to you – cherish it.
Quality, genuine friends don’t come along every day. So when you have someone who ticks all the boxes above, let them know how much you appreciate them.
Buy them a gift or arrange a pleasant surprise for them.
There are many other ways to tell if someone is a real friend, don’t be harsh on someone not if they are trying their best but falling short.
Friends are awesome, and so are you.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.