How dull would life be without friends?
Friendships are important for our emotional and mental wellbeing. Having a strong support network increases our chances of overcoming obstacles. Sharing a laugh with a close friend lowers stress levels and some studies suggest that having strong social support could even make you live longer.
In modern times, the definition of friendship is rapidly transforming. With social media taking center stage in our lives; the lines are blurring between people you know online and real friendships. According to Facebook, once you click accept on the Friend Request a person who lives across the street sent you — the two of you are Friends. Even if you barely know this person in real life, he/she will have access to all your details that only “actual friends” were supposed to know in the yesteryears.
Social media profiles are creating a society that is increasingly superficial and materialistic. People are forgetting the things that matter and are focusing more on outer appearances. To gain a large fan following people feel the need to portray an airbrushed perfect image of themselves that is far from reality. Likewise the people we end up attracting to our friend circle care more for superficiality than our true personalities.
17 Traits of True Friendship
Millennials and Generation X’s need a quick revision of the traits of true friendships. We have compiled 17 characteristics that you will find only in a true friendship.
1. They encourage you to be yourself
True friendships are not based on pretense. You know you have found a true friend when you do not feel pressured to act in a way that does not come to you naturally. When you are with your friend you can just be yourself without any fear of judgment. You can let loose your weird and goofy self without a care in the world.
2. They do not hesitate to point out our faults
Surrounding yourself with sycophants may give you an ego boost but it will be detrimental to your personal growth in the long run. A true friend will not hesitate to call you out on something wrong. So you will always have someone to keep a moral check on you.
A real friend would also not think twice before telling you when you are lacking in a particular skill. Not because they want to tear you down, but because they are honest and want you to improve. They would mostly break it to you gently with the intent that you get better. Trust their feedback because they have your best interests at heart.
3. They are always there to offer support
A true friend is someone you can always count on when you need help. They will listen to your problems patiently and never trivialize your issues. Such friends follow through with their promises and never leave you hanging.
4. They listen to us pour our heart out
In a real friendship, you would feel comfortable enough to share your innermost thoughts and deepest secrets. You could call them up and talk for hours unloading the day’s burden. They would offer you a shoulder to cry on, give helpful advice if they can, and provide words of encouragement to uplift your spirits.
This is one of the best traits of true friendship.
5. They help us overcome challenges
A true friend is one who encourages you to face your fears. When you feel like throwing in the towel and calling it a day, they would put you back on track and tell you to try one more time. They become emotionally invested in our problems and want us to succeed no matter what. A true friend would nudge you to try harder to overcome challenges and that is what makes them so precious.
They give us our daily dose of positivity. They are like a ray of sunshine in our lives, they give us much-needed motivation and help us recharge to put in all our efforts one more time.
6. They lower our stress
When we share our problems with them, they don’t add to our stress rather they know exactly how to make us unwind. Just spending time with them will make us feel better because they uplift us in every way possible.
They know what topics we are sensitive to and they would make a conscientious effort not to bring them up in a conversation. They would listen to us gripe and complain then suggest an activity which would help get things off our mind.
The best thing about friends is that they share common interests with us. So when we feel like escaping our humdrum routine lives we can call them up to go on a road trip or hiking. Such friends are a blessing to have because we can go on adventures with them and create everlasting memories.
7. They keep us grounded
An enduring friendship is based on having fun and creating memories together. The euphoria of spending quality time with our friends makes us appreciate life. They keep us grounded in the present and help us see the good in life.
When we are engaged in an activity we love like going to the beach or mountaineering with our favorite people, all our senses are wide awake and we are truly living in the moment. We unknowingly practice mindfulness which is immensely beneficial for our mental and physical wellbeing.
8. They prioritize the friendship
Not saying they should walk out on their other commitments but a true friend genuinely cares about you and even if their lifestyle is hectic and they can’t hang out, they would check up on you to see that you are doing okay. A real friend would never sacrifice the special bond that they share with you for anything else. They will cherish the time they spend with you and will always be there for you in your time of need.
Even when they are insanely busy they would reshuffle their schedule to fit you in or find other ways to get in touch via Skype or WhatsApp. They would leave kind and thoughtful messages for us to let us know they care and that we can always trust them.
9. They always have our backs
You can count on such friends to keep a secret. They would not let you get into trouble but if you do they would cover for you. They would put your well-being over everything else and stick by your side through rough times. You know you can come to them when you are in a sticky spot and they will never hesitate to lend a helping hand.
This is one of the great traits of true friendship.
10. They forgive and forget
Even the best of friends have disagreements sometimes but a real friend is quick to accept an apology and move on. They don’t hold grudges and they don’t let petty matters turn sour a wonderful friendship. They don’t torment you by reminding you of the time you messed up, they don’t hold past arguments against you, they are quick to move on.
Arguments are a part of a healthy relationship, but they should not cause strain on your friendship. Two people can have widely differing views on politics or religion but as long as they approach these subjects with care and do not force their opinion on the other, they will not affect the relationship adversely. Our political and religious beliefs are very closely tied with our identities and they are hard to change, having a respectful debate is acceptable but it is always better not to bring up topics that might trigger strong emotions.
11. They help us improve
True friends want us to achieve our fullest potential and be the best versions of ourselves. They would push us to be the best by always being encouraging and helpful. Don’t confuse that with someone bossing you around or constantly demeaning you, a good friend sees your potential, and because they want the best for us they would always be supportive toward us and motivate us to do well.
If they see us struggling they would provide us the support we need to succeed. If you keep failing at the diet that you set out on, instead of berating you a true friend would offer to go to the gym with us.
12. They are happy to see us succeed
One sure way to find out whether you have a real friend is to notice how they behave when they see you succeed. A true friend shares your happiness, they are ecstatic to see you rise. When it is your time in the limelight they would be among the crowd applauding you the loudest.
13. They are kind
Kindness is a trait that has become so rare in today’s world, so if you find this in someone; value them. If a person is kind they would always approach life and other people from a place of compassion and love. They would not use hurtful words toward you even in jest. They are conscientious of the feelings of others and never try to cause someone pain intentionally.
In the immortal words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
14. They are honest
A real friendship is based on trust and the only way you can build trust in a relationship is by being honest. A real friend will always be upfront with you, they won’t hide plans and blindside you. In return, you will find it easier to open up to them because you know you can rely on them.
15. They will stand up for us
Your friends should have the courage to stand up for you. If they see you getting cornered they won’t turn the other way and pretend not to notice it, they would stand by your side and offer support. A real friend would stick up for you even when you are not around, they would ignore any social benefits and defend their friends from personal attacks.
16. They include us in their triumphs
Just as you can be sure of your friend feeling happy for your success when it is your friend’s turn to shine they make sure to include you in the celebrations. They won’t suddenly start giving you the cold shoulder once they think they have made it. Real friends keep their egos firmly in check. They will make sure to take time out to hang out with you because they value your company irrespective of the trajectory their lives take.
17. They are empathetic
They understand where you are coming from. They do not set unrealistic expectations for you and they do not needlessly criticize. They are adept at putting themselves in your shoes so they always know what you need. They will accommodate us as best as they can and provide the necessary emotional support that we need.
Here’s a quick recap of 17 Traits of True Friendship:
- They encourage you to be yourself
- They do not hesitate to point out our faults
- They are always there to offer support
- They listen to us pour our heart out
- They help us overcome challenges
- They lower our stress
- They keep us grounded
- They prioritize the friendship
- They always have our backs
- They forgive and forget
- They help us improve
- They are happy to see us succeed
- They are kind
- They are honest
- They will stand up for us
- They include us in their triumphs
- They are empathetic
Friendship is a beautiful bond that brings two people closer together. A true friendship is rare and stands the test of time. If you find a friend embodying the traits listed above, cherish them, and keep them close. Like any relationship, friendships need constant tender loving care to make your love and trust on each other thrive. It is like a potted plant that will bear beautiful flowers if tended with care.
For a friendship to survive over a lifetime it is necessary to put ego aside and approach the relationship with humility. Being conscientious to your friend’s needs and responding to them always with compassion and kindness will make them value you more.
A strong friendship can help us overcome our troubles and fill our lives with smiles and sunshine. Hold on tightly to your friends and enjoy the time you spend with them. True friends are people you may not be related to by blood but they will end up carving their own special place in your lives that will be impossible to replace.