5 Ways of Knowing Who Your Real Friends Are

Ways to tell the nature of friendships

There are many different kinds of people in your life: co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, lovers — and then there are your friends. But how can you tell who your true friends are? Who are the ones who will see you through thick and thin, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs? It may be hard to know who your "for-real" friends are, so here is a list of five ways to tell.

Secrets

Do they share secrets with you? It may sound childish, but a true friend sees you as a trustworthy person and shares personal information with you. From what’s going on at work to his love life, a true friend doesn’t have dark areas of their life that you’re not allowed to see.

Of course, even more importantly, do you share secrets with them? Do you trust that they will keep what you tell them themselves? Be on the lookout if they share other people’s secrets with you. This is not a good sign that they are keeping your private life private.

Advice

Are you able to give them advice? It’s important in a real friendship for friends to be able to give each other feedback on their lives. For example, what would your friend do if you tried to tell her the person she is dating is obviously using her? Would she get angry and storm out? Or would she stop and consider that you have her best interests at heart?

Do you feel that the advice they give you comes from that same place of compassion, or does it seem that they are just trying to prove that they know more than you? Real friends just want the best for each other.

Forgiveness

Everyone messes up sometimes. A true friend will both admit fault and ask for forgiveness when he is in the wrong, and extend forgiveness to you when you are in the wrong. Remember, though, that extending or receiving forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be perfect between you and back to normal. Trust has to be rebuilt slowly, but a real friend won’t continue to bring up your mistakes at every opportunity.

Protection

In a real friendship, your friend will stick up for you whether you are there or not. It’s one thing for a friend to tell someone to back off who is yelling at you in public. A true friend will tell someone to stop talking negatively about you even if you aren’t there. He will also let you know if someone you think is your friend is saying horrible things about you behind your back, even if it means risking the other person being mad at him. Someone who does not stand up for you is not your friend.

Trust

Finally, you can trust a real friend with things you care about. You can let her be alone with your significant other without worrying. You can loan her personal items without wondering if you’ll ever see your things again. You can trust that she will keep your confidence and watch out for you even when you didn’t ask her to.

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