Your friend is your close companion, someone you are fond of, spend time with, talk with and sometimes even seek advice from. It can also be someone you have known for a long or short time, either from school, your workplace, community, religious organization, or even that special person you met under some unique circumstances and, to a large extent, have bonded well with. But beyond the boundaries of who you recognize as your friend or not, there’s still a unique group of persons or a person who stands out above the lot as your true friend.
Who Is A True Friend?
A true friend is a friend more than just an ordinary friend. He or she is someone you share a deeper level of understanding with, respect, and can even confide in. It may or may not be someone of the same gender with you; more so, your true friend exists regardless of the circumstance you are in. He or she will stand with you through thick and thin, look you in the face, and counsel you when there is need to without fear of hurting you. This is important, especially when you are in the wrong.
It is worthy to note that someone being friendly with you doesn’t qualify the person as your true friend. True friendship is not a one-time occurrence or an attribute of friendship manifested by your friend at irregular intervals. The attributes that distinguish your true friends from your other friends are always visible; it can be described as the person’s lifestyle and perhaps the heartbeat of your friendship with the person.
Again, the friendship you share with your true friend is that which has been cultivated and nurtured over time based on mutual trust, understanding, love, and care for each other’s wellbeing. That being said, you should be friendly with people as often as the prevailing circumstances of your meeting them permit, but beyond the boundaries of what friendship means to you, you can tell with the points below who your true friend is and who is not.
What Makes A True Friend And What Qualities Do They Possess?
A true friend’s qualities and what makes one qualify as your true friend are finely interwoven as the same. However, it might be hard to see all these qualities in one person due to several factors beyond the person or your control. Be that as it may, you should take caution and see that your friend has exhibited many of the qualities/characteristics listed here before being considered as your true friend.
1. Not Jealous
A true friend is not someone who sees himself or herself as a competitor with you. He or she should understand that people are different and attain different levels of success in different ways, times, and different levels of effort. Whether you are both in the same walk of life or not, your true friend should never be jealous of how well you are doing, the notable and successful people in your social network, or just about any interesting thing happening in your life that is not observable in theirs.
2. Stays by You
Life is full of ups and downs, and it is given that you might not always be on an upward trajectory. A study in America reported that people feel blue at least 3 times a month. This figure gets even higher when it’s broken down into various categories the respondents were drawn from. It showed that women and young adults aged between 18-24 years spend more days depressed than what is typical from the sample. The role of a true friend is vital in such times. You may seek comfort and get solace from friends, but only your true friend will understand where it hurts you the most and will, in fact, stay and help you till you feel better.
3. Motivates You to be Better
One of the benefits of having a true friend is that such a person should find strength and motivate you to do better. You may be overcome with worry about how things are going in your life or at a loss on what to do; whenever such mindset sets in, confide in your true friend and find strength in his or her motivating words. It is also important you bear in mind that you should not weary your true friend with your life worries. Bear in mind that he or she is also human and may also be passing through challenges.
4. Gives Advice
Yes, one of the benefits of having a true friend is that such a friend is in a position to advise you. He or she is your friend and possibly has had the same experience as you. Even when that is not the case, your friend knows you as much as you know yourself, so in a situation when you at a loss on what to do, seek your true friend’s opinion and advice on how to forge ahead. The chances are that your true friend might even offer to help you see things through.
5. Listens to You
Listening is key to effective communication, without which there will be loss of meaning and, of course, misunderstanding between two or more people. Your true friend should have a listening ear; he or she is someone who understands that you have a voice and deserves to be heard. Whether you want to make a complaint or contribute to a discussion, your true friend should listen deeply to you before accessing your complaint/comment.
6. Honest and Truthful
It is becoming increasingly hard these days to find people who are honest and truthful to the core. But for your true friends, this is one quality you can’t gamble with. Any friend who you have that is not truthful and honest to you should never be considered as your rue friend because the dangers of having a dishonest and untruthful friend are more than any benefit you might assume to have by associating with such a friend.
7. Loves You Unconditionally
Friends who love unconditionally stick to the end when they love each other unconditionally. There’s no shortcut to it. A true friendship that is not built on unconditional love will crumble no sooner than it started.
8. Prioritises Your Friendship
Above all, your true friend should value your friendship like it means the whole world to him or her. If you’re both working-class people, you should create time to meet up or devise avenues to keep in touch with each other. Excuses, like not having the time or being engrossed with one thing or the other, is a no! People create time for anything they attach importance to. Similarly, prioritizing your friendship also cuts across many other things; your true friend shouldn’t do something that will jeopardize your relationship, and this includes telling you the truth at all times.
9. Won’t Necessarily Impress You
Yes, sometimes it pains to be told the truth, especially when we are doing something wrong. Your true friend should be someone who can look you in the face and tell you when you aren’t doing something right, wronged someone else, and needs to apologize. Anybody who you see as your true friend should never condone any irresponsible behavior from you but should tell you the truth in the face as it is.
10. Doesn’t Discriminate
Your true friend understands that people are born differently and will see the beauty of who you are. He or she won’t compare you unnecessarily to other people and point out flaws you have or how you are so different from others. Rather your true friend will encourage you to be the best version of yourself, and if there’s anything you are faltering at, you will be encouraged to get better at it. Also, your true friend shouldn’t discriminate against others, whether in your presence or behind you.
How To Check If You Are A True Friend Yourself
There is no shortcut to being a true friend to someone just like the person, or others are to you. The same measure, characteristics that you look out for in another person to know if such a person is your true friend or not, is also what you should look out for to know if you qualify as a true friend to some other person. Essentially, you should be the true friend you wish another person to be to you.
So you should ask yourself if you are the true friend you want your friend to be. To answer his question fairly, you should ask yourself these questions and provides answers to them as honest as possible:
Are you jealous?
In your mind, do you often see yourself competing against your best friend? If you try to do things better than they do or try to get approval from people ahead of them, you are not a true friend.
Do you stay with your friends?
Parts of the lyrics of the famous song “Lean on Me” by Bill Whithers say Lean on me, When you’re not strong, And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on… If you are a true friend to your friends, this lyrics should be relatable to you as it summarises what a true friend is.
Do you motivate your friend?
Again, a huge onus is on your shoulder as a true friend, especially when your friend is not at his or her best. You should be able to see the light at the end of a dark tunnel and encourage your friend to persevere despite the travails they are going through. Be a source of motivation and don’t demoralize.
Do you listen to your friend?
Some people think their opinion matters above that of everyone else; they tend to lord it over others without giving a listening ear to what their friend has to say, the pain they are passing through, or how they feel something should be made better. Such a friend is nowhere close to being a true friend. So if you are to be a true friend to your friend, you should have a listening ear to them.
What advice do you give?
True friends advise their friends wisely. The advice you give should be such that it will lead your friend aright and not lead them astray. There’s always this tendency to advise without permission and judge your friend. This usually ends up complicating the issue and sometimes ruining the friendship. So you are only a true friend when you give valuable advice to your friend.
Are you honest and truthful to your friend?
It can never be overemphasized the importance of honesty and truthfulness in friendship. In fact, being honest and truthful to your friend is a secret to having a successful and lasting friendship. If you possess and exhibit these qualities to your friend, you are undoubtedly a true friend.
Do you try to impress your friends?
This is another way to evaluate if you are truly honest with your friend. It is given that you should make your friend feel alright most of the time, but sometimes, it is that constructive criticism that will end up saving the day for you and your friend. As a true friend,
Do you love your friend unconditionally?
By loving your friend unconditionally, you love them for who they are without necessarily expecting to be compensated in any way. In essence, you are content with the friendship and would readily accept and forgive your friend. If this best explains you, then you are a true friend.
Do you prioritize your friendship?
Do you see yourself always giving excuses for not meeting up with appointments you scheduled with your friend? No matter how busy you think you may be, you prioritize what you attach importance to, so if you don’t prioritize your friendship, you are obviously not a true friend and vice versa.
Do you discriminate against others?
Discrimination against people is a subtle form of ethnic profiling and outright racism. If you discriminate against your friend or their friends for some reason, the fact is you are not true to the person. As a true friend, you should not discriminate against people.
How Do You Test Friendship?
Friends are forever but don’t conclude until you have tested your friendship. The outcome can go either way because you never can tell what someone who you think is your true friend thinks about you. In the end, you should know where your friendship stands than continuing to wallow in ignorance.
If you answered more YES to NO’s, then your friendship is healthy, but if you answered more NO’s to YES, your friendship with that person is toxic.