The 10 Signs of a Good Friendship
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We all know that friends are one of life’s greatest treasures. As Hubert Humphrey once said, “The greatest gift of life is friendship.” But how do you tell acquaintances from true friendships?
Here are ten signs of a good friendship.
1. Casual friends listen to what you say. Great friends listen to what you don’t say.
When you’re ranting about the latest drama with your frenemy, or upset over not getting a call-back for that amazing job you wanted—a true friend hears you in layers. They not only listen to your words, but they feel your emotions, consider your entire life history and weigh that against your current life events and issues, and use everything to thoroughly evaluate what’s really going on with you. When you speak to a true friend about a problem you’re having, be prepared for an analysis that goes beyond the mere words you speak in the heat of the moment. This kind of insight into your psyche is invaluable.
2. A best friend is someone you can only stay mad at for so long because you have important things to talk about.
Fights between the people who are closest to us are almost always inevitable. There are very few real examples of people who love each other without occasionally disappointing each other. We’re humans, after all!
But the truth is that while tiffs between people that aren’t that important to each other can go a long time without resolution, fights between true friends rarely last as long. Why? Because you miss each other, and have more important things to do together than to waste time being upset.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, people that are important to you are worth the shame of sucking up your pride to make things right, as soon as possible.
3. You can always tell when two people are best friends because they’re always having more fun than it makes sense to be having.
A true friend gets your sense of humor and can send you into uncontrollable fits of giggles with a side eye or a catchphrase from an inside joke. They can make it downright dangerous for you to be in public places at times, out of fear you’ll wet your pants or cause that embarrassing kind of chortling where you snort from your nose while gasping for air in an inappropriate place, like a library or during a silent modern art performance.
4. A casual friend makes time for you, a true friend simply has time for you.
A wonderful way to tell a real friend from just an average friend is by how long it takes them to make plans with you. An average friend has a long list of important priorities that come before you do. A true friend will clear his or her schedule whenever possible just to see you, because you are an important priority.
5. Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half a sorrow. –Swedish proverb
When you’re with a true friend, you should feel your positive emotions doubled whenever you’re together, and your negative emotions should be reduced in half, making them easier to deal with. If a friend isn’t making you feel happier than you do when they’re not around, then it’s probably not a real, close friendship.
6. A true friend has seen you both doubled over with laughter, and doubled over in pain.
If your friend has only seen you looking and feeling within a range of normal, they don’t truly know the real you. Your best friends have seen you through the best of times, and through the worst of times, because you let your hair down and can be yourself around them no matter what. True friends know the real you, and love you for it.
7. You grow separately, but not apart.
There are few friendships that remain intact, exactly as they were throughout the course of a lifetime. Change is inevitable in life, especially when it comes to people. A real friendship evolves and matures as the people in it change and adapt to life circumstances, and sometimes we have to give up friends in exchange for personal growth.
True friendships survive life’s curveballs and benefit from the changes. You might not be the same people you were when you first met and became close, but your love for each other continues to grow anyway.
8. You aren’t envious of each other.
False friends feel envious when something good happens to you, and these feelings of jealousy are often easy to detect. Jealous friends will make you feel bad for your accomplishments or successes—or even for a stroke of good luck. True friends will feel genuinely excited for you when something great happens to you in life, without feeling the need to downplay it or tear you down.
9. True friends are our biggest cheerleaders and greatest role models.
Your best friends should not only cheer you on throughout life, but they should also inspire you to be better than you are. If you don’t deeply admire your friend for qualities they have that you don’t, you probably aren’t as close as you think you are. A great friend will inspire you to be a better person through example, and vice versa!
10. You feel happy and energetic after spending time with them.
Think about how you feel the next time you spend time with a friend. Do you feel drained and tired? Or do you feel happy, excited and glad to be alive? A true friend will make you feel positive feelings after spending time with them, while spending time with a casual friend might make you feel the opposite.