10 True Friend Characteristics That Define True Friendship

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:

  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Selflessness

10 True Friend Traits That Define a True Friendship

Sunset silhouette of four people jumping in front of an ocean true friend

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.

Related: 12 Reasons Why Honesty Is the Best Policy and Gets You More of What You Want

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.

Related: The Value of Selflessness | Meaning, Examples

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.

6. Trustworthy

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

8. Caring

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.

Related:  5 Uplifting Ways to Build Each Other Up

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.

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  1. Jo Ann Navarre says:

    I have read all of the traits of a true blue friend. I am lucky enough to have 2 in my life. I have had many fake friends in my 61 years. My question is one of the two friends is going down a very dark path. Regarding his health his life and his family. He is all of the positive and has all 17 traits of a true blue friend. To the point of attempting to save a person who has no interest other than a daily fix. This person has turned her back on her children her family and her church. From what I watched over the last year this person has no interest in making any change but relies on my friend for everything. Knowing the mention of her name causes many problems among his family and friends. Being the die hard person that he is it’s gotten to the point over the past year she has lost all 4 of her children, gotten further into dependencey on the drug of her choice.
    Has pending charges which hold several years of incarceration, you are unable to walk into her house the bathrooms are barely working and always has a houseful of people who openly do drugs in front of her children the two she has back illegally her and these people sit around where they are able and sit for hours in a comatose state for hours. She was given the opportunity a year ago to do something about her situation rehab, and other related classes all to be done before her impending court date has not done anything not even a phone call to set up rehab,the classes, or even a safe place for her children to live. Yet my friend keeps saying she is a good person and deserves a chance. He has bent over backwards provided a safe place for her & her children taken her to an dr. To get a plan of recovery started paid for a few much needed repairs. He truly believes he is helping but from all points he is causing anger within his family, causing health issues to himself which could easily be his cause of death. I have tried to carefully approach the issue with him and he refuses to see what everyone else sees. I am afraid he has been compromised to the point of becoming a part of her drug use. How do I find a way that he will see the situation for what it is. I have a lot of time good & bad invested and I love this person as my friend and mot ready to lose him. He has always had my back I would like to have his. Suggestions anyone?

    1. Gerald Kabitz says:

      You can only help people that want to help themselves. You need to have no guilt for stopping your friends destructive behavior. Sometimes tough love and telling your friend that you will be their for her once she want to straighten out. Otherwise back off so that you do not wreck the relationship you have with your family.

  2. Excellent

    My reality according to this definitions

    I have ZeRO friends

    1. Friends are not only those people who you meet outside.. you can make your brother or sister your bestfriend.. and believe me they are one of the great friends of yours…

  3. Finding a true friend is a luck based thing……..

    My ” Best Friend” betrayed me recently…….It hurts…..

    And this thing have led me to a conclusion that life without friends is nothing but life with toxic friends is like invitation to your own death by you……