For a long time now, I have been weeding out the people in my life who were no longer good for me.
One of the biggest realizations I’ve come to have is that sometimes, the friend who does nothing for you can be just as toxic as the friend who is obviously harmful for you. Releasing those friends is going to be challenging. Where once I had a huge social circle, now I have close, tight circle of a handful of people whom I’m actually proud to call my friends.
Here’s 10 qualities in a friend that I believe are a good starting point to finding deep, life-long friendships:
1. Trustworthy. Find someone who you can trust with your deepest secrets and most insecure parts of yourself. The friend who is trustworthy knows that everything you tell them is confidential and won’t use it to partake in gossip or backstabbing.
2. Reliable. After you befriend someone who is a flake, soon their constant backing out of plans and showing up late will get tiresome and frustrating. Reliability is so important in a friendship. Ask yourself: Will they do what they say? Are their words just empty promises? And when they do make a mistake, do they admit it and apologize sincerely?
3. Supportive. In your goals and relationships, support from your friends is crucial. Even though they may not understand or agree with it, you can always be comforted in knowing that there is an army behind you of friends who will help you fight to make your dreams a reality. Supportive friends get you closer to achieving your goals, not further.
4. Respectful. True friends respect your boundaries with them. They love your ‘no’ as much as they love your ‘yes.’ If they don’t, question if what they are asking you is a question or a demand. If it is a demand, it’s time to rethink the level of respect they have for you. It’s not love if they are only happy when you comply to their needs and throw a fit when you say no. In the same way, true friends also need to be respectful of the decisions you make in life, even if they don’t understand or agree with it. Don’t stick around with a person who ridicules or argues against your beliefs and choices – leave them to their own toxicity.
5. Loving. The hallmark of a friend you need is someone who is going to love you for all you are. For your bad moods and your highs. When you are succeeding and when you are struggling. When you can’t seem to go on and when you have so many blessings it’s overflowing. The loving friend accepts you with the strings attached, but most of all, sees the good and beautiful in you even when you fail to see it in yourself.
6. Purposeful and driven. The people you hang out with most are the people you become. When you surround yourself with driven, focused people, you will be further motivated to pursue your dreams with them. Find a friend to walk the journey with together – not a friend who you have to drag behind.
7. Honest. An honest friend is like a mirror reflecting back the truth you need to hear, even though it may be uncomfortable. They want what is best for you and will only tell you the truth in love and when the timing is right. Steer clear of friends who use honesty as a weapon in the forms of criticizing and judging.
8. Encouraging. Finding an encouraging friend is a true joy. They breathe words of love into your life, they cheer you on towards achieving your dreams and their presence is like a warm fire on cold nights. When you are down, you can always count on a true friend to remind you to keep holding on.
9. Attentive. And by that, I mean someone who really listens to you. If a person constantly checks their phone, doesn’t seem all there when you talk to them about something important or immediately refocuses the conversation on them after you’ve finished talking, it’s time to reevaluate whether they are worth hanging around.
10. Loyal. You don’t need a friend in your life who will play ‘Where’s Wally’ with you when things hit the fan. A person who is not there for you in your hardest times do not deserve to be there for you in your successes. Make sure that your closest friends are going to be loyal to you through the thick and the thin – those friendships that do can last a lifetime.