With the advent of social media websites, we can now have hundreds or even thousands of friends…but how many of them are true friends? Most of the people you call friends are only acquaintances. You know them in passing and may have a few common interests but you don’t really share an emotional bond.
10 Character Traits of a True Friend
True unconditional friendship is rare and hard to find. What a blessing it is to find a true friend! Quantity of friends is not nearly as important as the quality of friendship.
True friends are:
True friends are honest with each other. They give each other honest affirmations as well as constructive criticism. A true friend will not be afraid to tell you when you’re in the wrong but will not dwell on your shortcomings either.
True friends are supportive of each other. They are there for each other through thick and thin. They may not approve of everything you do or every decision you make but they won’t disappear when the going gets tough.
A good friend is a good listener. They allow you to freely express yourself without interruption of judgment.
A true friend is sensitive to your feelings and needs. Over time, they have gotten to know you well enough that they are aware of your likes, dislikes, and triggers. This allows for a relaxed, easy-flowing friendship.
True friends are loyal. They never talk behind your back and will defend you if others do.
A true friend doesn’t try to “one-up” you. True friends cheer on each other in times of success and avoid expressions of jealousy.
True friends help you when you’re sick feeling sick or depressed. Even if it’s something as simple as helping you with household chores or babysitting your children while you and your husband catch a movie, true friends are there for you.
All of us lead very busy lives but true friends will make time for you, no matter what. Being available to get together, talk on the phone, catch up email, is the mark of a good friend.
Everybody goes through times of doubt, anxiety, and depression but a true friend will not try to drag you down with them. They may vent to you about your frustrations but, for the most part, they look on the brighter side of life and encourage you to do the same.
True friends are respectful. For example, if you have differing political or religious beliefs, they will not insist on repeatedly bringing them up or try to change your ideals. You simply agree to disagree.
Negative Friendship Can Harm Your Health
According to a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, negative friendships can be bad for your health. The study showed that stressful social interactions increase the production of pro-inflammatory compounds responsible for the development of chronic disease.
If you feel exhausted, drained, or depressed after spending time with certain friends, they may be doing damage to your health. Letting go of a negative friendship is never easy. After all, you have had some good times together and may share great memories. However, if the bad times far outweigh the good or if you feel your friend is taking advantage of you, it might be time to cut ties.
Not only will this free you from the negative effects of the toxic friendship, it will also encourage the other person to let go of their dependence on you and stand on their own two feet. Emotionally carrying another person only further enables them to lean on you, increasing resentment and ill will.
The best way to let go of a negative friendship is to be honest. Avoiding the person may work for the short term but in the end; they’ll pressure you for an explanation, which will only increase your stress. Remember, you once enjoyed having this person in your life. Think about that as you sit them down to have a heart to heart. If you feel you can’t talk to them in person, express your feelings in a letter.
Finding a true friend who will be there for you through thick and thin can be a challenge. Once you do find that friend, be a friend to them as well and your friendship should last a lifetime.