Tina Fey by James White for Esquire Magazine
I recently wrote about leaving my New Zealand friends behind and how I knew that our friendship would last. This got me thinking about Friendship and what it means to truly be a friend. It used to be that your best friend was the one who sat next to you in class and the person you’d talk to on the phone for hours when you got home (whilst your mom yelled at you to ‘get off the phone now!’). But in the days of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where a friend is just a ‘click’ away, how do you tell the difference between a nice acquaintance and someone who would walk over glass for you (not literally of course – this isn’t some sick episode of ‘Survivor’).
I’ve been super lucky to make some REALLY great friends over the years and after a few not-so-great friendships I think I’ve become quite good at discerning the keepers from the rest. To me, here are the 8 signs of a true friendship:
1- You’re not afraid to be yourself
We all have a few ‘quirks’ that we’d prefer to hide from the rest of the world but if there’s one person that you should be able to be 100% yourself with, it’s your best friend. After all, ‘your real friends are the ones who know everything about you and still like you anyway’. For example, my best friend and I have an understanding that it’s OK for me to bust out some Singstar when I’ve had a few drinks as long as I don’t mind her occasionally burping like a man.
2- You celebrate each others’ success
A true friend is genuinely happy for you when you get a promotion, get engaged or buy a house. No matter what’s going on in her life and whether she’s single, looking for a job or whatever, she’ll still pop open the Champagne and do a little victory dance with you. There’s no such thing as frenemies – they’re just called jealous b#tches.
3- Your friends are here when you need them
Marilyn Monroe once said ‘If you can’t handle me at my worst then you sure don’t deserve me at my best’. It might sound cliche but it’s often in times of need that you realize who your true friends really are. If your friends aren’t by your side when you just got dumped or are suddenly not answering your calls when you’re out of money, then it’s probably time to send them to the ‘island of lost friends’ because, honey, they just aren’t worth it!
4- You’re honest with each other
Sometimes it’s the role of your best friend to tell you things that you don’t necessarily want to hear. If those pants make you look like you’re about to join the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ then wouldn’t you like your best friend to (gently) tell you?
There is ONE exception to this rule though – I like to call it the ‘boyfriend’ clause. If you think that your friend’s boyfriend is a bit of a dickh#d then you should probably bite your tongue (at least for now). Love can be a blinding thing and has been known to break up even the strongest of friendships (*cough* The Beatles *cough*). Trust that your friend will see the light eventually. Or accept that you’ve lost her to the Dark Side.
5- You listen to one another
It’s easy to jump to conclusions and give advice but it’s much harder to actually listen to someone and truly understand where they’re coming from. If your friend is able to listen to your 10th rant about your ex and is still able to say ‘it’s his loss‘ (even if it means that’s she’s now stuck with you) whilst offering you some constructive feedback, then you’ve got yourself a very special friend indeed.
6- You get over stuff
A true BFF will know when to push and when to let go. You might disagree on things and even have big arguments but you’ll always find a way to compromise and forgive each other. Nobody is perfect and who wants a friend who agrees with everything you say anyway? Isn’t that what your boyfriend is for?
7- A true friend has your back
A true friend will never say mean things about you or stab you in the back. She’s loyal and always ready to stand up for you. She’ll also stop you from doing stupid stuff like calling your ex when you’re drunk or throwing up all over your hair.
8- You keep in touch
This is probably the most important sign of all. I’m not saying that you should suffocate one another here. But if you’re not willing to make an effort to see someone then I’m sorry but you’re not really friends.
Facebook stalking does not count as being friends.
And neither does thinking about the person.
What qualities do you most value in your friends? Have you ever had to break up with a friend before?