A true friend embodies all the characteristics that define a true friendship. We’ve all had moments where we’ve questioned our relationships with people. I’ve had friends in the past I was unsure I wanted to keep being friends with.
The reasons were mainly due to changing interests and differing attitudes towards life. When you think of what a true friend means to you, it’s possible you start to wonder if anyone fits into your ideas.
Maybe when you think about it, you don’t even know what a true friendship is supposed to mean. A therapist could be useful to help you sort through your thoughts on these things.
But someone who’s a true friend in your life should never be someone who constantly puts you down. They also shouldn’t be somebody who’s rarely there for you and consistently disappoints you.
A true friendship involves people that you can always call when you need them. They encourage you and guide you through the difficult times in your life. They give you a good laugh.
I’ve put together some ideas to help you understand what a true friendship is supposed to be. Perhaps you might find these signs and examples can work for your definition of someone that’s a true friend.
What is the definition of a true friend?
A good friend is someone that reflects a variety of positive characteristics. Among those positive character traits include:
10 True Friend Traits That Define a True Friendship
1. A True Friend is loyal (They’ve got your back)
When you’re struggling in life, a good friend is someone that’s supposed to be a person you can count on to be loyal to you. They always have your back when people try to hurt you physically or emotionally. They’re ready to defend you.
It’s easy for people to be there for you during the good times. It’s real for people to be there for you even in the bad times.
Great friends are there through all the physical illnesses, mental health problems, and any disappointments in life. They don’t abandon you.
I recall a story someone told me about how they ended up having to be in the hospital for a time period. Some people she thought would visit her never showed up. But she was surprised that some other people she knew did actually show up.
Needless to say, those people probably became closer friends with her than ever before. And it’s probably the same case with all of us whenever people are loyal and ready to help us fight our battles in life.
2. A True Friend is honest and real with you
A person who’s truly your friend will be real with you about who they are and what they think. They’ll be vulnerable enough to open to you about their struggles and disappointments.
That openness can make you feel comfortable to be as open with them as well. In addition to being honest about themselves, they’ll be honest about you too.
They’ll have tough conversations with you about your flaws even if you might not want to hear about it. But of course, they’ll do it with love and empathy, and not say it in a way that tears you down, but instead builds you up. Good friends should always want the best for each other.
3. Open-minded and accepting
Real people don’t judge you for who you are. They learn to accept all of your quirks and oddities that make you the person you are.
They don’t constantly try to change everything about you. A real person will listen to your changing thoughts, ideas, and actions in life and try to support you.
It’s not to say there’s anything wrong with disagreeing in friendships. It’s also not to say you can’t help with improving a flaw that someone has, which could be significant.
Being open-minded means just being open to understanding a person’s way of living and being and doing your best to accept that. You should never feel pushed by a friend to become something that you don’t want to be.
4. True Friendship is Selfless
There are a lot of things we probably wouldn’t do for strangers that we’d do for our friends. It’s because we care; we choose to be selfless in what we do for those people that are closest to us.
One of the most common selfless acts we do for our friends is loaning them money. We trust that they’re going to pay us back eventually and try not to focus on it too much.
If you have to wonder if your selflessness is being taken advantage of, then you might want to hold off on giving to that person for a time period. It’s important that there’s altruism on both sides of the friendship.
5. True Friendship is Kind
I’ve seen people hang out with those who just make fun of them. Some do it just to be accepted and liked by somebody. But no one should have to endure mean words and backhanded compliments just to have somebody be their friend.
Everyone should respect themselves and have the dignity not to tolerate people in their lives who don’t treat them kindly. In most if not all of the friendships I’ve ever had in life, the people always tried to be kind and complimentary to me.
It’s understandable that sometimes friends will crack jokes on each other every now and then. But if you feel it’s to a point where it’s too personal or hurts your feelings, then a real person will hear you out and not talk to you in that way anymore.
We all know we can’t trust everyone with our personal business. There are people who will listen to your problems and complaints and then go gossip about them to someone else.
A person whose real will never go around talking about your personal stuff to everyone they see. The people that we allow to be close to us can be trusted to keep all of our deepest and darkest secrets.
Beyond our personal business, a sign of a good friendship is being able to trust someone with your personal possessions. As an example, you would be able to trust that person to watch a pet or a child if you needed them to do it.
You can discover over time if that level of trust exists by testing them with small things and small tasks. As they prove themselves to be trusted, you can then allow them to be trusted with big things and big tasks.
7. True Friendship is Fun
Your good friends are supposed to be the people that can get you to have a good time whenever you need it. They’re the people that can crack you up with hours of laughter.
The good ones are the people that know just what to say or do to get a smile on your face. Everyone’s version of fun is different. Whatever that version is for you, make sure you have that with someone you consider one of your friends
Related: 9 Important Benefits of Having Fun
Caring is a key factor that separates acquaintances from friends. An acquaintance will probably not go out of their way to see how you’re doing much.
They may only talk to you whenever you reach out to them. A friend will call or text you to see that you’re doing alright and maybe schedule a time to meet up.
They’ll also take time to listen to your problems and give you any advice to make whatever you’re going through better. These actions and many others are what illustrate that someone cares about you and therefore is a real friend in your life.
9. Like-minded (or even opposite)
All of us have particular qualities, interests, and goals that we’d value in a friend. Finding people who share your way of life can make for a great support system.
In other cases, some of the best friends can be almost completely opposite from each other.
But it’s those differences that can make those connections interesting and exciting. If you’ve struggled with choosing the wrong friends, a counselor can potentially help you understand how to find the right ones.
10. True Friendship is Encouraging
We’ve all had moments where we didn’t feel we had the ability or skill to do something in life. Maybe you felt shy about approaching someone you liked. Perhaps you’ve wanted to fulfill a dream but didn’t have the confidence to take the steps you needed to go after it.
Friends can be the fuel we need to take that chance we’ve always wanted to. They can motivate us to do things we never thought we could do. While it’s good to encourage yourself from time to time, the best people in life do well in encouraging us to be better.
How do you describe a true blue friend?
A true blue friend is one who’s loyal and consistently proves themselves to be genuinely there for you. They’re ready to support you in any battles you have in life, no matter how difficult it is.
People who are truly in your life are authentic and real. You have no doubts about what they say, and their actions back up who they are.
Why is a good friendship important?
Research has shown that having good friends makes a huge difference in our lives. In a study conducted by researchers at a university in the Netherlands, it was concluded that friendship could reduce our stress in situations of social rejection.
In another study published in the British Psychological Society, it was concluded close friendships help us overcome adversity. Overall, in the moments we need it most, close friends can help us to stay strong, let go, and continue to move forward in life.