An authentic friendship is so much more than just browsing through online pictures and “liking” a shared thought. It’s about a deep connection, a genuine bond and a relationship based on mutual respect. As we spend most of our time in the cyber world and collect “friends” by the bucket-load on social networking sites, it is becoming harder to tell a true friend from someone who is little more than an acquaintance.
If you’re looking to make that distinction and ensure you’re not wasting your emotional investment on someone unworthy, here are 11 telltale signs to look out for. True friends:
1. Accept you for who you are
Only real friends embrace every part of your personality – strengths and flaws alike. They’re not out to reform you or put you down for what you believe or think. When you’re with them, you can truly be yourself.
2. Stay true through thick and thin
Hard times are a litmus test of friendship. Only authentic friends stand by you in your darkest hour, offering comfort and support when you most need it. Those you find missing from your life in troubled times are only happy to be there for you when things are going well. They’re not invested in the friendship.
3. Celebrate your successes
True friends cheer your successes and triumphs with joy that is untainted by jealousy. Fake ones feel contemptuous and may even passive aggressively try to hurt you with sarcasm or aloofness when you soar to new heights.
4. Keep your secrets
Who else but a real friend could you share your deepest secrets with? It is only when you’re completely comfortable around a person and trust them implicitly do you allow yourself to share your best-kept secrets, your wildest dreams, details of your romantic trysts and your unique quirks. You know your secrets are safe with them.
5. Reciprocate freely
Genuine friends meet you halfway because you’ve built healthy relationships with them. You don’t have to chase them with calls and texts in order to keep in touch. They put just as much effort into the relationship as you do, making sure you know they’re thinking of you and want to spend time in your company.
6. Make you happy
If you come away feeling positive, happy and more alive, you’ve just spent time with real friends. If, on the other hand, you feel sapped of energy and full of stress and negative thoughts after spending time with someone, they’re probably not people whose company you should seek.
7. Stay honest
Sometimes we need to hear the plain truth, and a true friend will make sure we do. Real friends don’t sugarcoat things just to keep us feeling good about ourselves. They tell it like it is because they genuinely care for us and want to see us making better choices in our lives. It takes courage to be honest in such situations, and only real friends can manage that. And they don’t just dump you when they’ve said their piece. They stand by you as you overcome your challenges and come out stronger, happier.
8. Forgive you when you make mistakes
Genuine friends are forgiving when we slip up once in a while. They are mature enough to realize no one is perfect and that there are occasional missteps in any friendship. They have the capacity to put fleeting unpleasantness behind them and build a stronger relationship with you.
9. Don’t gossip about you
Real friends never gossip about you when you aren’t around. Their relationship with you is based on respect and they do not violate that by talking about you derogatorily behind your back.
10. Allow you to have other friendships
True friends are secure enough to let you maintain friendships with others without getting jealous or possessive. They don’t feel the need to control your life and relationships.
11. Treasure shared jokes and memories
Just as much as you, they treasure every inside joke and memory created from spending countless hours together. Those shared memories that last a lifetime are the invaluable legacy of a long and true friendship.