Humans are social creatures, who have an essential need to interact with and be accepted by other people. The social interactions that people have, and the feelings of being accepted by other people are known to have incredibly great health benefits, some of which include higher quality of life, greater self-esteem, longer life span, and lower risk of having illnesses. Friendship, which is a product of these social exchanges, is therefore beneficial to human lives.
While some friendships make us feel more alive, others seem virtually pointless. There is a popular quote which says that a true friend is difficult to find, hard to lose, and impossible to forget. This goes to show that true friends are extremely rare; casual friends are more common. Most friendships are solely perceived as opportunities, without duty. If you have a friend that believes that his or her friendship to you is a duty he/she is prepared to embrace, that makes you one of the luckiest people on the planet. Do you want to know why?
A true friend will not abandon you in times of adversity
One true test of friendship is what happens between friends when adversity sets in. How do your friends treat you when things aren’t going well for you? Do they remain your loyal, devoted friends when you lose that excellent job you had, failed that promotional examination, dropped out of school due to financial problems, or lagged behind your progressively successful peers? A true friend will remain committed to your friendship irrespective of the adversities you may be facing. He or she will additionally make an effort to simplify your life.
A true friend is trustworthy and loyal
He/she will never gossip about you or say nasty things behind your back. He/she will not spill secrets shared between you, will not make you look bad to other people, and will stand up for you when other people unfairly criticize you.
A true friend is honest, straight-forward, and considerate
He/she will not lie to you. They will tell the truth at all times because they believe you deserve to know the truth. True friends do not speak the harsh truth; on the contrary, they speak the truth in an intelligent and self-loving way, taking into consideration your self-esteem and mood.
A true friend has your interest at heart
While he or she strives to accomplish great goals, a true friend will also want the same for you. He or she will be supportive of your dreams, sharing useful ideas and sometimes involving in those activities that can help make your dreams become realities. He/she would care about your welfare and offer to help when things aren’t going so well for you. He/she is quite dependable, and will jump to your aid, even if it is 4 am.
A true friend is authentic and willing to be himself/herself around you
He/she is not afraid to share his/her deepest secrets with you, because he/she knows that you will neither judge him/her nor think any less of him/her. A friend whose commitment to your friendship diminishes the moment they are aware of your flaws, imperfections or the dirty secrets of your past is not a true friend. A true friend will abide all your imperfections and remain your committed friend regardless. This is because true friends love us unconditionally.
A true friend will sympathize with you when you are sad and rejoice with you when you celebrate
He/she will be there to help you when you deal with some challenges, will care to share some of your burdens to simplify your life, and will make an effort to improve your mood when you are blue. He/she will celebrate with you when you achieve your goals, get a promotion, pass your examination, win a lottery, etc.
A true friend is a great listener
A true friend will listen attentively to you, with phones put away, even if what you are saying is unimportant. He/she will also value your opinions, even if they are not very good. He/she will give a positive feedback and constructive criticism where criticisms are appropriate.
A true friend is a positive person
He or she is a positive person with positive beliefs, who speaks positive words that drive you towards accomplishing your goals. Their positive presence is a blessing to your life, because you can tap into the positive energy they exude. They are a beacon of light that shine brighter and brighter each day.
A true friend will share some time with you
He/she is willing to sacrifice some time for you, just to be there when you need them. He/she will go and see a movie, play video games, attend social events, and engage in a chat when you need companionship. He/she understands your need for companionship and is willing to sacrifice some time just to satisfy that need.
A true friend is willing to share with you what he or she has
He/she may buy you gifts just to show how much he/she cares about you. They may share some useful ideas with you, if they are confident those ideas will be of use to you. They will invite you over to their homes for lunch or dinner, and organize a little birthday party for you, if they have the means to do so.
A true friend is patient and forgiving
He/she will forgive you when you offend them, tolerate you when you act annoyingly, understand you when you become intolerant, and keep in touch with you, regardless of the changes in the circumstances surrounding your friendship. For more information about how to sustain good friendships, read my article, ‘Making lasting friendships’.