This topic comes up a lot, whether you’re a child or an adult, the concept of having a good friend is something that is mentioned frequently, and recognising a good one from a bad one is an important life skill that will make or break you at some point. We see a lot of popular culture show their definition of good friends, the side characters who are mainly on the side of the protagonist and exist to say a few lines and maybe an odd inspirational quote here and there – but what is a realistic version of one.
I’m in a pretty fortunate place in my life where I know I’m surrounded by really good friends, and it took us a while to get there, but it also took a lot of arguments with either them or others to really understand it. I’m also 25, so I’ve had my fair share of friendship breakups and just general drifting away from different groups – it doesn’t help that I went to loads of primary schools as well.
Finding good friends isn’t as simple as recognising the ‘fakes’, since a lot of people who aren’t good friends aren’t fake, they’re just not good. That’s literally it, some people have personality types that are purely self serving, some love a bit of drama and some will use and abuse you to get what they need out of you. Even with all that, does it make them all fake – not necessarily. Since in a lot of cases (this ones the kicker) but they do/did actually care about you, and that’s what makes it all a little but messed up.
So what actually makes a good friend? Well that’s a little bit more complicated and does require you to go through massive life events with them. I’m sorry to say but you can’t really be good friends until you’ve been in a situation that has required both parties to have each others backs, and that will provide the foundation of a really strong bond.
I wouldn’t suggest time being an important factor since we’ve all had those situations where you connect with some people better you’ve known for a small amount of time more than those you’ve known since childhood. That could also be because having friends for that long means you’ve also gone through a lot of changes, it sucks but sometimes you become people who are no longer compatible with one another.
A few things I personally look out for are:
- Whether they are trust worthy
- Whether they actually ask how you are (believe it or not many people don’t)
- Whether they actually care about you as a person
- Whether they can actually sit in silence for a bit. (This is just personally important for me)
- Are they likeminded individuals?
- Are they positive, happy or at least motivating?
- When you’ve hung out for a few hours do they leave you feeling better than before? – This one is mainly due to some people being walking dementors, they need to be avoided at all costs.
There’s a lot more out there, but honestly trustworthiness, loyalty and their general mind set are three super important factors. At the end of the day a good friend is someone who’s there for you, but that kind of relationship swings both ways. You can’t expect all the help and wholesomeness without also returning the favour. It’s a two way street and you have to be able to trust them to reciprocate.
Good friends are basically going to form some of your strongest platonic relationships.