Life tends to get busy and overwhelming with all the people you meet. Now, it is even easy to make connections with people online! Out of all the friends you have in your life, how can you tell who your real friends are? It is important to discover who you have a good connection with, whose opinions you can trust, and who will be there for you even in tough times. People who have these qualities are the ones that will stick around for a long time.
Help You Celebrate Your Accomplishments
When you have friends that don’t celebrate when you reach a goal or achieve something you have been working very hard for, it can mean that they are jealous and insecure that you are reaching your dreams before they are. So, when one or more of your friends have room in their hearts to be happy and celebrate with you, that is a real friend. Matthew Jones, a life coach, and licensed therapist, suggests, “Surrounding yourself with people that lift you up. Real friends want you to shine.”
Help Each Other Without Expecting Anything in Return
Sometimes, people tend to help with the idea that eventually they can get the favor in return. The norm of reciprocity is common in friendships that are not so close, like at the workplace. According to Adam Grant, Ph.D., in friendships, the norm shifts from reciprocity to generosity. This means that a real friend will focus on what their friend needs, not thinking of what they can get back from them. Real friends lend a hand whenever they can, and don’t expect anything in return. If you appreciate your real friends, you will do the same for them.
Have Meaningful Experiences Together
Grant says that men and women alike “expect friendships to involve mutual activities and shared memories.” A real friend is someone with who you have experiences and meaningful memories with. These experiences are what make your bond stronger. Having something to connect through will bring more trust into the partnership that a friendship is. A real friend will also make time for you to create even more memories with each other.
Listen to What You Have to Say
When having a conversation, it feels good to be heard, whether it be good or bad news. Real friends will be there to listen when you are going through a tough time and you need someone to talk to. They will continuously check in on you to make sure you are being listened to. Even during good times, according to Jones, real friends, “listen deeply and engage you in conversation. They give you the space that you need to feel heard and understood.”
Have Thoughtful Conversations With One Another
A friendship continues to grow when there is good conversation and communication. They ask you how you are, and really are interested in knowing the answer. According to Grant, friends don’t bother with small talk. Real friends can go months without talking and pick up as if they’ve never left. The deep conversations are about love, life, and interests that you both have in common. They also ask you meaningful questions, make meaning and contemplate your values rather then just talking about superficial things.