In today’s world of instant online connections and accumulating thousands of friends on social media platforms, discerning between virtual friends and “real” friends can become quite a challenge. Most of the time, the people we meet online simply don’t get us like the friends we have in our real lives. Indeed, they just haven’t been there through the tough times and don’t know our background. Now, that isn’t to say that you can’t become close with people you meet online or in other non-traditional ways. But usually, we have one or two close friends that we know have our backs no matter what.
The value of cultivating friendships
It’s fun to have someone to hang out with, experiencing the fun things in life. But it might prove even more essential to have a special person to rely on in the worst of times.
According to the Mayo Clinic, having friends also provides these six vital benefits:
- You gain a deeper feeling of belonging to a support network, bringing purpose into your life.
- You’ll lessen the impact of stress on your life.
- You will also increase your joy, happiness, or contentment in life.
- When you encounter hard times in life, you will have a support system in place. Think breakups, a job layoff, or the loss of a family member.
- Build up your self-worth and confidence.
- Help in making healthier choices, like having a buddy to work out with or drive you home after you drink too much.
Do you know who your true friends are? These five signs will reveal someone’s true intentions:
Be aware of these signals of genuine affection in your friendships.
1. They stay with you through the good times and the bad.
A true friend would never leave you just because you’re going through a rough patch – they would stick by your side and help you through the darkness. A clear sign of a true friend is that he or she will laugh with you during the great times and cry with you during the bad ones. In today’s world of flaky, fake friendships, cherish those who aren’t just fair-weather friends. These are the people you will want to keep in your life, as they are definitely genuine friends who want the best for you and care about your well-being.
2. They accept you exactly as you are.
In our list of signs of a true friend, we couldn’t skip over the fact that a real friend will allow you to be whoever you want to be, without judgment. True friends don’t ask you to change the parts of yourself that even you can’t accept – they embrace you anyway, flaws and all. They put your insecurities to rest and actually find beauty in your imperfections. A true friend will love and adore you for whatever you identify with and will admire you for both your strengths and weaknesses.
True friends don’t place conditions on your friendships – they let you come as you are and don’t put any pressure on you or the relationship.
A true friend will not just let you go through tough times alone – they will drop whatever they’re doing to assist you in hard times. True friends don’t just leave those they love out in the cold; they pick them up off the ground, dust them off, and carry them back to safety once again. A true friend understands that you can’t possibly deal with all of life’s trials and tribulations by yourself, so they have your back no matter what.
4. They make time for you.
Real friends never blow you off or tell you they’re too busy to see you. While they might have to rearrange their schedule a bit, a true friend will never use a lack of time or energy as an excuse to avoid hanging out. A clear sign of a true friend is that they always seem to follow through with their promises and see you no matter how busy their life gets.
They don’t allow life to take over and just toss you aside when things get hectic for them. Instead, they include you in their life and set aside specific times each week to catch up with you.
5. You can feel totally comfortable around each other.
Another sign of a true friendship is that both of you can feel at ease around one another. You don’t have to fake a laugh or force conversation; things just seem to flow effortlessly between you two, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. A true friend doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable or scared to open up. In fact, real friends open their arms and hearts to you and put down their walls to let you in.
You can tell each other anything and not have to censor yourselves. After all, what would friendship be if you constantly had to monitor the things you say? A real friend would never want you to hold back your thoughts and feelings and encourage you to share whatever is on your mind. You can act silly and let your guard down and not have to think twice about doing so. If you want to read more about signs of an authentic friendship, you can do so here.
Nobody can go through life completely on their own. We each need a support system of trustworthy advisors. Once you know how to identify an authentic friendship, the rest is up to you. Cultivate it, respect it, and work on it. Your friend is an asset and a blessing. So in return for their kindness to you, treat that special person well.