With the days of having hundreds of Facebook “friends” upon us, real friendships built on respect, a common bond, and shared memories seem to be few and far between in the modern world. We can instantly connect with anyone online, but does that make them a tried and true friend?
On the other hand, the friends you thought you could count on in real life can turn out to be just as distant, flaky, and unreliable as people you’ve connected within the cyber world. Studies show that even if people have thousands of Facebook friends, they usually only maintain close relationships with a few people in real life.
So, how can you ensure that these friendships you have invested so much in emotionally are authentic?
Here are 11 telltale signs of your true friendships:
1. They accept everything about you, including your flaws.
They don’t want to change you. In fact, true friendships mean they embrace everything about you, from your quirks and flaws to your best personality traits. That doesn’t mean they must like or agree with everything you say and do mainly, but they don’t bash you or try to alter your personality. You feel like you can breathe a big sigh of relief around them. That’s because in a sea of billions of people, you’ve found one who sees the positive things about you even when you don’t see them yourself.
2. They stick with you through both the good and bad times.
This one probably best distinguishes a fake friend from a real one; in hard times, a true friend would never dream of leaving you in the shadows alone. Instead, they offer to help you however they can and bring you back into the light again. Fake friends often bail on you because they only wanted to stick around when things went well for you, and felt like helping you through your problems was a burden for them.
3. They are happy about your successes and congratulate you when you reach a new goal.
Fake friends feel jealous and contemptuous when you achieve something exciting, but true friends will celebrate your accomplishments with you. To know if you’re dealing with an authentic friendship or not, notice who sticks around when you reach new heights in your life. Some people will try to tear you down, but the real friends in your life will feel happy for you.
4. You feel totally comfortable around them, and they probably know things about you that many others don’t.
They know your best-kept secrets, wildest dreams, and the unique quirks you only share with people you feel most comfortable around. Plus, they know all the details about your love life, your most cherished childhood memories, and all those embarrassing stories that you wouldn’t share with just anyone. They want to know you to your core, not just on the surface. This separates a true friend from a fake one in many ways.
5. True friendships meet you halfway – they don’t expect you always to be the one to reach out to them.
You don’t have to call or text whenever you want to meet. They also show interest in hanging out with you and will contact you often to catch up. You don’t feel like you must chase them to keep them in your life – they put equal effort into your friendship, and make time to see you. They don’t only talk to you when it’s convenient; they reach out to you because they genuinely care about you as a friend and want you in their life.
6. They make you feel happier and more alive, not drained and stressed.
After seeing them, you feel more rejuvenated, vibrant, and excited about life, not the opposite. Authentic friendships will be a perfect energetic match between two people; otherwise, one person will be giving the other one energy, which means that you have an energy vampire on your hands. To know if you have a true friendship with someone, pay attention to how you feel after meeting up with them. A real friend will make you feel good about yourself and life, not depressed and uninspired.
7. They tell you the truth about things, even if you may not want to hear it.
Authentic friends tell you what you want to hear; they never sugarcoat anything just to appease you. They tell you the truth, even if it may hurt. And, you’ve learned to appreciate this, because not many other people in your life will cut to the chase and tell it like it is. They tell you the truth not to cut you down, but to help you make the right choices and become a better person.
8. They forgive you and don’t blow things out of proportion when you make a mistake.
Don’t expect perfection from true friendships; they won’t expect it from you. Plus, you don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them to gain their approval. They know that you will slip up from time to time, and you don’t have to give a long apology. They just put it behind them and know that you have good intentions despite your mistakes.
9. Real friendships mean they don’t talk about you behind your back.
Real friends NEVER gossip about you when you leave the room. Indeed, they act like adults and confront you personally if they need to talk to you. They respect you enough to not spread rumors and tarnish your reputation behind your back; they would instead smooth things over with you and have a rational discussion face-to-face.
10. They allow you to have other friendships without getting jealous and possessive.
Real friends feel confident enough in your friendship that they don’t have to resort to jealousy and trying to control your life. They give you the freedom to pursue other friendships and activities because they know your friendship is rock solid. They realize you don’t have to be in their company 24/7 to validate the friendship.
11. You have so many inside jokes and funny memories with them that you’ve lost count.
You have such a close friendship with them that you’ve spent countless hours together just being silly and laughing about nothing, and in turn, you’ve created so many unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
Final Thoughts on Fostering True Friendships
Like any relationship, friendships take an investment of your time and care. However, the real sign that tells you that you have a friend for life is when you find that you actually enjoy that time spent and look forward to the next time you connect.