We all want friends. Friends make life better. They can help you out of a jam. They’re just good to have around.
But what exactly is a friend? What does true friendship look like?
Here’s my take on what the ingredients of true friendship are:
What is true friendship?
True friendship is not based on how much you do for someone else but on how much they do for you. It is not based on how much you have in common but on how much you can appreciate each other’s differences.
Friendship isn’t about being with someone who agrees with everything you say or thinks the same way as you do; it’s about having someone who accepts your opinions and beliefs wholeheartedly, even when they differ from theirs.
Friendships are built on a foundation of trust.
People often ask me, “How do you know when you’ve found a real friend?” Friendship is about trust.
True friendship means you can be yourself around the person without worrying about being judged. It’s a relationship where you feel safe to confide in one another and trust that whatever comes out of your mouth won’t be used against you.
In this way, friendship is like building a house. It’s all about the foundation. You create a solid foundation with trust and honesty.
True friendship is long-lasting.
True friendship is something to celebrate. It’s the kind of relationship that can be built upon for a lifetime, and the feeling it elicits is unlike anything else.
A true friend doesn’t just appear out of nowhere one day; there’s a process behind how those bonds are formed, and the good ones last through thick and thin. They are the ones who stick with us until the bitter end.
You might not hear from one another day to day, but when a significant life event happens or when one of your friends is going through a rough patch, they’ll be there by your side.
It’s the friendship that keeps on giving even when it seems like nothing is happening.
The friends you can call up at any point in the future and say, “remember that one time years ago when…” and instantly be transported back to a moment in time when you had a good laugh or shared a special moment together. These are the types of friends that you will have for life.
A real friendship survives the distance (geographic or emotional).
When you have a long-distance friendship, it can be easy to wonder if you’re missing out on the “real thing.” A friendship is real whether in person, over the phone, through text message, via Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, or email. It may not be as physical, but that doesn’t make it any less fulfilling.
A real friendship has people who want to spend time together and share their lives with each other. They don’t need to live within driving distance of each other, and they don’t need to meet up every weekend for dinner and drinks.
When you’re apart, you’ll talk about your kids, social lives, and pets—all things that are just as important and interesting when they’re thousands of miles away. A real friendship has moments where you feel like you’re there with the person in front of you, even when you’re not physically together. Something in the back of your mind tells you they’re always there for you whenever you need them to be.
A true friendship learns from its experiences together and can grow stronger because of them. If one friend moves away, there’s no telling what adventures await: new places to visit, jobs to tackle together and memories to create.
Friendship is sharing goals together (or supporting each other’s goals)
Friends are those people who make parts of your life better by their presence, and they don’t owe you any particular thing in return.
They’re the ones who are there for you when you need advice or a place to cry, just because they want to be there for you. They’re the ones who ask about your hopes and dreams, not because they want to add them to their bucket list but because they genuinely care about helping you achieve them.
One of the most important things friends do is support each other’s goals. Whether it’s helping each other as we recover from peer pressure into our early 20s, supporting each other as we branch out into new careers in our 30s, or supporting each other through marriage and family in our 40s, friends are there as we grow up and change. The way that we can be supportive of our friends’ goals is to actually listen to them and think about how we can help them rather than dismissing what they say out of hand. And if you’ve ever had a friend who was always supporting your goals and helping you get what you wanted, then you know what kind of friendship looks like.
True friendship is about more than just being nice to someone.
It’s about knowing them well enough to love them for who they are and not just what you want them to be. It means having an open mind and heart that allows you to understand where your friend is coming from when they say or do something different than what you would do in their situation.
So, what does true friendship look like? To me, when people say they have true friends, they often mean they have people they can trust, people who will be there for them no matter what happens in life.
I hope this article has helped you think about true friendship and how we can build more of it in our lives.