It seems everyone uses the term so loosely these days. Social media is a prime example. Everyone has friends on some social media platform that they don’t even know. Then you have the wacks. You know the ones I mean. They just met someone and know them for all of 5 minutes and they are best friends. Sadly, the worst friends out there, are the ones that are your friend only when they need something. Is there such a thing as true friendship?
So, what is true friendship, is it just a condition that is up to each individual to interpret? Or is there a real definition, a state of mind and heart that defines it? I can guarantee that many that read this will disagree. They may even have reasons to justify their non-friendship behavior.
Another big issue about friendship, it has to apply in every facet of our lives, especially in romance. Could friendship be interpreted has trust or just a term for being courteous?
What Is Instant Friendship?
As I mentioned, there are those people who meet someone, and are instant best friends. I will say, I do believe in love at first site. I also believe that anyone can make friends almost immediately. Chemistry works in all levels of relationships. However, there is a trust that has to be built. There is loyalty and dedication that has to be learned and earned.
Just because you meet someone that the conversation is easy and interest align, doesn’t make a true friend. Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people are opportunist. So, that seemingly “instant friendship”, could really be someone working an angle. I personally have to be extremely cautious these days. I have many skills and talents, which makes narcissist and users target me.
It isn’t uncommon for these types of personalities to seek out good-hearted people to use. Nice people that are giving, always are in the scopes of these low life’s. Good caring people want to give and to help. Narcissist know how to manipulate kind people to better their lives, with no regards to the other person. So instant friendship is something you should be very cautious of and take time to see how real it is.
In my opinion, an instant friendship is the first step in the possibility of building a trust. Meaning, it takes some time to learn it and earn it. The saying, “good things come to those who wait,” is highly pertinent in this case. If someone really cares about you, they are going to understand it takes some time to earn trust. What is true friendship? Something that would most likely never happen instantly.
Social Media Friendships
This is almost laughable on some levels. I think that there are really nice people in the world and on things like Facebook. These nice people are going to genuinely care for someone that is having a hard time. However, this doesn’t make them a true or real friend.
No doubt, there are people who are real friends outside of social media that are friends on these platforms. So, I would say this is true friendship. But when you see or get a friend suggestion of some good-looking person. A person that is hot and or has interest you love. If you send an invite or friend request and they accept. This doesn’t make them really a true friend. All this really means is that you just made an acquaintance.
Social friends in reality, are just a network of people looking to build validation of their existence. There is nothing really wrong with this, you just need to keep it in perspective. You have to understand the differences between a network of acquaintances and real friends.
Friendship Of Convenience
One of the most horrible things people due to one another is to use each other. More often than not, this is usually one-sided, one uses the other more so. I am sure you have heard the phrase, “I got a guy.” Usually this means that someone knows someone that they play friendship with to wreak benefits.
One of my talents is the ability to fix cars. I seem to be on top of everyone’s speed-dial when someone’s car tears up. However, if I ask these people to take some time to just go have fun or something of my interest. They are always busy or can try to pencil me in many weeks or months down the road. Yet it is OK for me to stop my life to help them for no pay. I know I am not the only one that gets treated this way, many people encounter it.
No one should ever be considered a convenience. You shouldn’t think of yourself that way nor should anyone feel that way about someone else. Again, this happens mostly to nice caring and giving people. Flaky, selfish, narcissistic people love to use and prey on good people. They get these good-hearted people to do them favors all the while convincing them that the favor is beneficial to the nice guy. This is called manipulation, and this is not what true friendship is.
This is a loaded topic in itself, and sadly is in high numbers of what most friendships are made of. First, do you understand what a toxic friend is? Because this can be the same in a romantic relationship. There are many, many toxic relationships out there. It seems most couples you know are really toxic to each other.
A toxic friendship can follow friendship of convenience from above. You know the type, always needing something from you but never around when you need them. Ever catch yourself feeling pretty positive about yourself, like you can take on the world. You feel happy and content, and along comes that friend that sucks away your sole. That is a big red flag that you have a toxic friend.
Signs That You Are In A Toxic Friendship
- It is a constant of being teased, ridiculed, criticized or insulted when you are around them
- They are always cutting down everyone else you know
- Anything you have to say is not important and if anything, your words are fuel for ridicule
- They love to stir up drama or conflict
- They make you feel bad about things that is their fault
- If you have it bad, they have it worse, if you have it good, they have it better
- It is always a competition with them
- They never want you to do better than them, the like to keep you down
- You are ignored when talking or talked over as if you weren’t saying anything
- They never actually listen to you
- Your attention is expected on demand at a drop of a hat, as if you have no life but to serve them
- Total disrespect of your feelings or boundaries
- It is always about them
- Being jealous of you or your other friends
- They are always the victim, it is always someone else’s fault
- Finding that you are always giving way more than ever receiving
- Feeling physically drained every time you are around them
- You can never be yourself around them
- The friendship is abusive, mentally or physically
- Finding yourself feeling like you have no worth after spending time with them
- Never seeing eye to eye and argue about everything
- When you feel relief that you don’t have to spend time with them
- The friendship often feels more like an obligation or something you are stuck in
- They make you feel stressed or have anxieties
- When you feel more alone when you are with them, rather than when you are truly alone
Lack of Trust or Respect
- No real maturity in the relationship, not having the ability to agree to disagree
- You never have their support
- Can’t rely on them, or fully trust them
- You pull or hold back; you don’t feel you can be open or tell them a truth
I know this appears to be a long list, and you may be asking if these are really signs or complaints. Everyone has character flaws and insecurities, we all do stupid things, so we are not perfect. But when someone is doing a lot of these things in this list, that is toxic. Maybe one or two of them, that is just a flaw. But when you can put a check next to the majority of these, it is time to do something about it.
When You Start Becoming Them
After a while of the constant cut downs, and the criticisms or just always feeling like you have no worth. You start becoming negative, and even looking to bend an ear to criticize the person doing it to you. The becomes a negative reflection, which turns into making yourself feel even more worse about yourself. Once you start down the avenue of needing to be negative towards the person causing you to feel that way. You realize, conscious or from your subconscious, that you are becoming a little like them.
This is when you know, you have to get away or put some distance. It is hard to be positive and upbeat when you have someone always criticizing you or others. Always finding fault with the world to validate how superior they are. This is an influence that will never ever be any good for anyone.
How To Be A True Friend
In order to be a true friend, there are certain attributes that have to come from the heart. They have to come from a natural place within you, like autopilot. These attributes cannot be forced or acted out to fill a checklist. If so, then it is a fake friendship, not a true friendship, and really it is manipulation. The list below is what you should look for in your supposed friend. This isn’t a list to use to pretend to be a friend.
True Friendship is loyalty
You are loyal to each other no matter what. In true friendship, both are dedicated to believing in each other no matter how things may seem. It is a trust and something really nice. A wonderful feeling to know someone believes in you.
Respect Each Other
Respect each other’s boundaries, feelings and needs. By showing your friend that you care about their needs, concerns and thoughts. It is a way of showing that you really care.
This means you feel attached, concerned and honestly want the best for someone. In true friendship, caring is what it is all about. We show that we care from respect, loyalty and being supportive.
Even if you don’t understand or agree, you will be there for your friend the best you can. Being supportive could be as easy as just listening without judgment. It can also mean just be ready to let them come to you when they need you. Just being there can go a long way.
Be a person that your friend knows they can count on. Don’t say you’re on your way and show up hours later. Do what you say and mean what you say. Make your friend feel comfortable to asking a favor. When you don’t feel comfortable asking a friend a favor, there is an issue.
You try your best to put yourself in your friend shoes. Allow yourself to understand what the person is feeling, don’t be critical or judgmental.
Don’t pass judgments on your friend. If you want to be there for them and build trust, let them feel comfortable enough to tell you anything.
Be A Good Listener
This means just that, listen to what your friend says. Don’t talk over them, let the conversation be about them. Remember the things they say, so if ever brought back up, they will feel important that you cared enough to remember.
No Matter What, Be In Their Corner
Be there for them, ensure your friend never feels alone.
Accept Them For Who They Are
This can be a double edge sword. You should accept your friends for who they are. However, if they are toxic to you, you do not have to accept that in your life. Acceptance is allowing you to be you, not trying to change you with manipulation or criticism.
Always Be There
This means even if you are physically alone, you’re not. When a friend is there for you, that runs pretty deep. Also, if a friend calls and needs you, you do your best to get there no matter what. Even if it is just to watch a movie together.
Make time for your friends, even if you don’t have much of it. Don’t make time just because they asked, make a point to touch base with a friend frequently so they know you care and that they are important to you.
Never Throw Guilt
Do not make your friend feel bad for any type of expenditure on you. You Should never blame them for everything out of anger, if you are involved, you share part of the blame as well.
Friends Don’t Keep Score
In true friendship, no one is keeping a score board of who helped whom more.
Always try and give compliments, tell them they look nice, that things they do were done well. If your friend isn’t going to throw you a few compliments from time to time, who will?
This means to be willing to try to show interest in what your friend likes or is interested in. It wouldn’t be fair to only go see what movies one friend wants to see and criticize the other’s likes. Be open and understanding. You can be honest without being critical.
Always be honest with your friends so you both know where you stand with each other. Be mature enough to agree to disagree. This doesn’t mean be critical, criticism is not honesty, it is being negative. Learn to communicate with each other. Communication is key in any relationship.
Be Emotionally Available
This is how bonding is established in true friendship. From all the attributes from above in this list. If you can be trustworthy, honest and not critical or judgmental, care and just be there for your friend. The you are being emotionally available.
Friendship In Romance
If you think you can have a successful and happy romantic relationship without friendship, quit now. Dating, engaged or married, if you are not friends with your significant other, the relationship is doomed. Sadly, the times we live in. Too many people meet, jump in bed for sex with no meaning and move on to the next. So, if this is the type you are, then skip this part.
For those who are wanting a real relationship, you have to have true friendship. So, everything you have read up to this point covers what you need. Same things apply in a romantic relationship. If you are not being honest, respectful, communicating and really genuinely caring. Then what you have is a sex buddy or just an occasional hookup.
If marriage is what you want, and you want a real successful one, then learn to be best friends. Romance, sex and flirting can only get you so far. In order to make the long haul, true friendship has to be there or it fails.
How To Achieve True Friendship
Where does true friendship start? The answer is it starts with you. You have to decide the type of person you want to be before you can ever offer a hand in friendship. Just the same as the saying. “No one will like you, if you don’t like yourself.” In order to be a true friend, you need to be a friend to yourself as well.
How much do you care about yourself; do you actually care about others? You have to make a choice of the type of person you want to be. Do you want to be compassionate, or narcissistic? Is everything about you or others. Are you insecure and need validation for every little thing you do or accomplish? Do you have humility? What is really important to you?
To be a really good friend, you do it just because. No real reason and with no real agenda. In other words, it is nice to have a friend but you shouldn’t ever need one. Placing your needs onto someone else is not being a good friend.
You need to know who you are and what you want. Even if you are unsure, be honest about it. Sometimes having the right friends can help you find yourself. Figuring out who you are may take a life-time. However, you generally take the path you think you want to be. The best advice to achieving true friendship is, just be yourself.
Friendship Is About
Friendship should be about respect, communications and honesty. Never strike out against your friend out of your own insecurities or failings. Being friends shouldn’t be a competition and should always require loyalty.
You should never need a friend to fulfill your own needs. No matter the situation, you should always want a friend’s happiness, even over your own. Because if that friend is as true as you are, they would never let you put yourself out and down just for them. Friendship is a self-sacrifice, but it should work both ways.
Friends do not judge or criticize the other as a negative attack. Friendship shouldn’t be a negative influence; it should be a positive one. They should support each other, even if they don’t fully agree with the other one. Friends should always give the benefit of the doubt and believe in one another.
True friends can agree to disagree. Mature people, people who are secure with who they are. Are not going to worry about what political party you are, or what race, color, gender or sexual preference you are. True friendship is showing you care by living up to the good examples they have demonstrated. A friend will help you better yourself in a constructive way, not a negative one. Because when you know a true friend has your back, if they tell you something you may not agree with or don’t want to hear. It is because they care and only have your best interest at heart.
My Final Thoughts
Friends do not try to manipulate you, use you, steal from you or stab you in the back. Loyal friends will keep your secret when you ask them. True friendships build your own character as well, it builds integrity for starters. Most importantly, true friendship makes you feel good about being you.
Real friends make time for each other, even when freeing up time isn’t always easy, you find a way. Friends should take a day at least once a month and just hang out, just one on one. To be a friend is to be just that, not play the part. Playing the part is when you show up because it’s an obligation or just to make an appearance.
I have lived a very long time without a real friend. There were times I thought I had one but noticed I didn’t feel the best about myself. I noticed something was off, then realized it was all the things wrong in the friendship I thought was.
I have learned that I would rather die alone in honesty, than to be surrounded by lies. No one should ever act like a friend or get hooked up with a bad friend to keep from being alone. I would love to have a true friend, but not so bad I will let bad people in my life. As people get older, they get less tolerant of the crap. So, in time you weed out the bad and hope you at least have some friends of quality left.
Just be yourself and like the person you are. If you are in the midst of making a new friend, they should like you for who you are as well. If not, just keep moving forward.
- Go see a friend just because, it can brighten your day and make them feel really special.
- Take a day at least once a month and do something with a close friend. Tell your wife or husband or significant other that this is important to you. If they don’t understand, perhaps their friendship is in question as well.
- Don’t bad mouth your friend to others, no matter if that person did something or not. Work it out with them.
- Listen to your friend, take some time to make it about them. If they are a true friend, they will always reciprocate. Remember, any relationship should be two-way street.
- Compliment your friend, stroke their confidence ever now and then. Friends are supposed to help build each other up, not tear you down.
- If you really don’t care much for someone, be a real friend and just let them know. Don’t play head-games, use them or keep them on a string.
- Show respect by acknowledging that others have lives just like you do. You can’t expect or is it right, for someone to drop what they are doing just because you want them to. If you want to go out, give that person some heads up. You know it isn’t true friendship if this is happening to you all the time. A real friend is going to consider that you have things going on in your life and give you notice.
- Never be critical of something a friend likes just because you don’t. For example, if you like vinaigrette salad dressings and your friend doesn’t. That person shouldn’t go on like you are an idiot for liking that said crap. Be kind and courteous and just say no thank you.
- Don’t always have excuses why you can’t do something with a friend. If you don’t really want to spend time with them, just tell them. Don’t play head games or string them along. We all have busy lives but if someone is really important to you, you can make the time.
How This True Friendship Topic Affects You
If you have toxic people in your life, then you will always feel down and less about yourself. If you are always being made to feel second, not really important. You will start doubting yourself. As a self-improvement, get rid of all these type of people in your life. Being alone can suck, I get that. However, keeping the wrong type of people in your life just so you are not totally alone is worse.
It isn’t a bad idea to spend time with just yourself, to get to know who you are. Once you are solid in knowing yourself, you will do better at finding the right type of people to be friends with. In other words, don’t settle, aim for what fits you best. Go for what makes you happy. Life is short, you should make the most of it while you can…