What is a true friend? Do you know? Do you have one? As I’ve observed some relationships the past few years – including my own – I’ve realized that the people we consider friends, aren’t always deserving of that title.
We blur lines between who says they’re our friend and who actually lives the role. I’ve seen this play out a lot with teenagers, especially. Not just my own teens, but my friends’ children as well.
I see grown women and teen boys and girls want so much to have friends that they will accept people as “friends” when they act like anything but what a true friend should act like.
That begs the question, right? What does a true friend really look like?
A true friend does not leave you out. Friends include you. They don’t sit in a classroom, dorm room, living room, church, coffee shop, and get up as a group to go for a walk or get a burger, and not ask everyone along. A true friend has manners and will invite everyone who’s present.
A true friend realizes they can have a best friend (even more than one!) and non-best friends, and have them all in the same room–and everybody has a good time.
Maybe it comes with maturity, but it’s true: you can have friends other than your best friend. You can get coffee, even go on vacation with another friend, and still keep your best friend. This becomes possible because you’re not jealous; you’re secure in your relationship with your bestie.
Real friends don’t talk negatively about you. If they have a concern or issue with you, they talk to you about it (kindly). They don’t talk to everyone but you. That’s gossip. And people who gossip about you aren’t your friends.
A true friend has your back at all times. This means they will support you when you need them, cheer you on, and help however they can. It also means that if there’s negative talk going on about you in their presence, they defend you, and they shut it down. They never, by any means, participate in it.
By having each other’s backs, it also means that they let you know if they fear you’re involved in something unhealthy (a behavior, a relationship, etc.)
A true friend hears you. They don’t just listen, they hear you. Hear your heart, your dreams, your feelings. Even if they don’t understand everything, they pay attention.
A genuine friend is happy for you. There’s no place for competition with true friends. They’re secure in their relationship and celebrate when each succeeds. They share successes and failures. They don’t feel the need to one-up the other.
A friend makes you happy, not sad. It’s simple: friends will sometimes disagree. But they’ll work it out because they value the relationship. They’ll agree to disagree or they’ll just let whatever “it” is, go. If a person is making you feel bad more than they’re making you feel loved, accepted, and appreciated, they’re not a friends.
Friends give grace. Just like in a marriage, it’s not always 100% all the time. Sometimes you’re giving 100% and the other person just can’t. They’re struggling with something; their life is a mess; or they’re just in a funky season. A true friend knows you and knows when they need to give more when you can’t. And they’ll know you’ll do the same when it’s their turn to need that from you.
Friends don’t leave you out, put you out, single you out or rule you out.
Friends include, inspire, invite, and they are instrumental in your well being.
If you find yourself wondering why they don’t invite you, why you walked into a room and they didn’t bother to say “hello”, why you’re seeing the group you thought were your friends post pictures of their fun times all over social media…and you weren’t invited, maybe they’re just not friends.
By the way, mean girls exist, and not just in the movies. They come in all ages, social statuses, and phases of life, so watch out.
You don’t have to chase friends. You enjoy being together so you seek each other out for a movie, a phone call, and to spend time together. It’s not one-sided.
A friend, by definition, is someone who cares for you. If someone isn’t treating you with care, maybe you should stretch and find some true friends. Because that’s what you deserve.
Know your worth,