What is a true friend? Is it someone who friends you on Facebook? No. Someone who tweets you here and there on Twitter? No. How about someone who likes you when you do favors for them or spend money on them? Absolutely not. Friendship isn’t based on superficial interactions or exploitation.
Real friends always have your best interests and will forge an authentic and enduring connection with you. Here are five traits that separate real friends from fake ones.
1. True Friends Are Good Listeners
Conversations with bad friends are lopsided. No matter how significant the accomplishment is that you’re sharing or how urgently you need advice, a lousy friend will boomerang the conversation back to themselves. For instance, if you’ve gotten fired, a good friend will focus on comforting you and sharing ideas about employment possibilities.
A false friend will immediately relate the topic to themselves by diving into a story about when they got fired because management was out to get them. They want you to listen to them, but they’re unwilling to reciprocate.
2. True Friends Are Forgiving
A bad friend will hold grudges about perceived infractions, no matter how trivial. They’ll refuse to say what’s wrong and may passively-aggressively try to retaliate. On the other hand, a true friend will directly and constructively discuss resolving a conflict or misunderstanding. They know which issues to focus on and which ones to let go of. They’ll also address the situation as soon as possible, so it doesn’t have a chance to get blown out of proportion.
3. True Friends Are Loyal During Tough Times
Fair-weather friends are right by your side when you’re happy, healthy, and have money. But when the bill collectors start calling, you’re grieving, you’ve failed an important exam, or your car gets repossessed, bad friends are nowhere to be seen. Good friends don’t abandon you during rough patches. As a matter of fact, they love you, so they want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with you during hard times, not just the good ones.
4. True Friends Won’t Pressure You to Compromise Your Values
Bad friends simply want a playmate: a good-time Charlie who is on board for anything the false friend wants to do. They don’t care about your values or boundaries. They simply want to have fun, no matter what.
Maybe they want to toss back a few beers at the corner bar, even though they know you don’t drink. Perhaps they want to drag you to the new horror flick that’s playing downtown, even though they know scary movies give you nightmares. Maybe they want to hang out with a friend who has strong political opinions, even though they know you don’t discuss politics.
A true friend honors your values, and if they really want to do something contrary to your principles, they’ll do it alone. They’ll never pressure you or guilt you into anything.
5. True Friends Keep Their Promises
Bad friends mislead you with promises they can’t fulfill. Then, to compound their deceitful behavior, they often try to mask unmet promises by lying. A true friend has integrity; they’re always good for their word. This not only makes them trustworthy, but it also makes them dependable. And a dependable friend is a true friend.
Fake friends try to pass themselves off as real friends. However, they often do things that give away their actual intentions. Sometimes, it can be challenging to know whether someone is a friend or foe, but these five guidelines can point you in the right direction.