What It Means to Have a Good Friend

Sure, we all have friends on some level but we realise as we go further through life the real value of a true friend, but what IS a true friend?? Well… for many people this means different things, because generally our friends, of course, appeal to us based on our unique core beliefs and interests. Sometimes we meet people with many shared interests to us, but the real meaning of friendship runs deeper and I believe there are similarities in a true friendship regardless of age, sex or common ground.

Not being so LOYAL. Contrary to popular expectations and beliefs, our friends should not need to be at our every beck and call or ready to answer the phone in a heartbeat, and such expectations of people in this modern-day world full of pressures and distractions is actually both unfair and unrealistic. There is a difference in loyalty for the purpose of keeping your friends’ closely guarded secrets, genuinely wanting the best for them and not entertaining, nor engaging any negative talk about them. As opposed to relying and depending on them to assist you or speak to you when you need them. Of course, friends can help each other, if they can and are able to but we also need to be able to recognise that we love them for more than a dependency or need. It’s that quiet confidence that the love is there regardless of how many weeks or sometimes months have passed since you last made contact. We’ve all heard of, or are lucky enough to have a friend who we can ‘pick up where we left off’ with. Truly appreciating that people sometimes have other commitments and understanding that life gets in the way is a healthy element to any friendship.

Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.

Listening to what they say because they need to say it, NOT because they want advice. Sometimes we just want to vent, OK? Sometimes, especially us women, know we’re being irrational but we have that need to ‘get things off our chest.’ Which also means we don’t always want a problem solver or an instant “Why don’t you just do this?” It often just feels good to be heard. If we want advice, we usually ask for it.

Letting your walls down. Letting your guard drop when you get to know someone can be a bit nerve-wracking and none of us generally enjoy appearing vulnerable. However, letting the right friends in and allowing them to see the softer, real side of you is a key factor in building the foundations of a great friendship, humans thrive on connection and connection does not come from perfection. Often, you’ll find people like to see that side of you, the best people LOVE that side of you because they are possibly wanting someone who they too can share their vulnerability. Relatability is what we often appreciate in our humour, relationships/friendships, dilemmas and many aspects of general life. It’s definitely not to say we need to go around being doom and gloom of course but more just to allow ourselves that authenticity which is refreshing in a largely “fake” society, plus you never know who will love that side of you that you hide.

A real friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.

Being unphased through the good and the bad times. We all go through them, and gaining the trust of a non-judgement friendship is huge, these are your rare and special diamonds. The ones who you can tell anything to and they literally listen. These people are not here to gossip or speculate that your marriage may be on the rocks, these are your people that you can tell when you feel like burying your husband in the back garden only to rely on them to back you when your husband is also your rock, they can support you through the good and bad. That mature understanding that life is like that. It’s a tough place of acceptance for some friends but the real ones get it and they just want you to be happy.

No one likes the Jones’ ok? Fed up of keeping up with them? Been there, done that. No sense of fulfilment comes out of empty friendships where you feel you have to match each other on houses, cars, holidays, whose got a bigger extension. Yes, a sense of relatability helps a friendship but is not essential. Sometimes it helps to meet people going through the same stage in life and that can mean making new friends when you have a baby, or move country or go through ‘the change.’ It can be tough to recognise that we each chose different life paths and that can make for natural comparisons. We all do things at different times and it would be boring if we were all the same, that old cliché but it’s really true! When you meet the people that are doing different stuff from you but you love and support them regardless, when you have more of a soul connection with someone it’s possible.

I only see my best friend a few times a year, that’s why she keeps being my best friend..

All it mostly boils down to at the end of the day is your ability to accept each other for who you are and want the best for one another. We can guide and offer advice to our friends but at some point, we have to trust them to make the best decision for them. If a friendship no longer ‘serves’ you and by serves you I mean it no longer feels like it works or you feel that the balance is mismatched, generally when you feel a sense resentment it’s a good sign that you need to communicate your feelings and possibly decide if the friendship is still worth holding onto. Two good people can end a friendship without it being anyone’s fault, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and that’s life. We needn’t dwell on the what’s and why’s or obsess over what we feel they did wrong. As the saying goes, “sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can come together.”

Photo by Lauren Richmond

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