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How to identify a true friendship in this complicated world

True Friendship – Recognition
How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another’s personality. Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion.

How can we recognize potential friendship? Signs include a mutual desire for companionship and perhaps a common bond of some kind. Beyond that, genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism.

True Friendship – Relationship, Trust, Accountability
True friendship involves relationship. Those mutual attributes we mentioned above become the foundation in which recognition transpires into relationship. Many people say, “Oh, he’s a good friend of mine,” yet they never take time to spend time with that “good friend.” Friendship takes time: time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, time to invest in each other’s growth.

Trust is essential to true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the Internet the next day! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship in a hurry. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away.

True friendship requires certain accountability factors. Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle. Friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends.

True Friendship – Examples of Real Friendship
True friendship stories are found throughout the Bible. In Genesis 18:17-33, we read about God sharing His intentions with Abraham. Abraham responds by telling God his thoughts and feelings about the situation. God and Abraham are able to do this because they trust and respect each other.

First Samuel 20 focuses on the friendship of David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. David was running for his life from Jonathan’s father, Saul. Jonathan recognized that David was innocent. Because of the true friendship they shared, David survived Saul’s assassination attempts and went on to become one of Israel’s greatest kings.

Real and true friendship involves freedom of choice, accountability, truth, and forgiveness. Peter and Jesus give us this example: Peter, afraid for his life after Jesus is led away from the Garden of Gethsemane, denies knowing Jesus (John 18). As He is led away by His accusers, Jesus casts a look toward Peter that says, “I knew you would deny Me, and I forgive you” (John 21).

Real friendship looks at the heart, not just the “packaging.” Genuine friendship loves for love’s sake, not just for what it can get in return. True friendship is both challenging and exciting. It risks, it overlooks faults, and it loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even though it may hurt. Genuine friendship, also called “agape” love, comes from the Lord. The Lord Jesus calls us His friends and He laid down His life for us (John 15).

Relationships in real life involve different levels of friendships, and that’s okay. But humans are designed by God for lasting relationships. Often our isolationist society offers only vague, empty relationships. God wants us to have friends here on earth. Most of all, He wants us to be friends with Him!

God’s Word tells us that a friend sticks closer than a brother, and that in order for one to be a friend, one must show themselves friendly (Proverbs 18:24). The question is: what type of friend do you desire to be?

Proverbs 18:19 in the New Living Translation says: “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.” When we’ve offended a true friend – whether by breaking a trust or by speaking the truth with love – we risk losing that friendship. We must be careful not to break the trust. But when not speaking the truth will cause greater hurt in our friend’s life, we must be willing to sacrifice our needs for those of our friend. That is true friendship.

If we sometimes offend a friend without meaning to, God’s Word offers a solution. It’s called forgiveness. There is no greater example than the love of God for us. It is so great that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that our friendship with God might be restored. He did that in spite of the fact that we have offended Him deeply. We have disobeyed His commands, turned our backs on Him, and followed our own path. So the question remains: What type of friend do you want to be? True Christian friendship forgives.

Do you need a friend? God wants to be your true friend. Are you longing for companionship? God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5). Who do you know who needs a true friend today? God wants you to befriend others. He calls us to be His hands and feet in a world starving for true friendship.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? – We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

Friends bind people in a bond of love, mutual trust, understanding and loyalty.

Friendship is a relationship which involves mutual self respect, trust, loyalty and affection. Good friends enjoy each others company, share the same interests and are loyal to each other.

A friend is some one, who stands by our, even during difficult times. It requires honesty and mutual understanding md has to be nurtured with devotion and patience.

Just as it takes patience grow a garden, in friendship, too, first a seed is planted and then it has to le taken care of, nourished and watered, daily. One has to tend it with love and care.

Friendship is Man’s emotional and psychological necessity. You can share your feelings, frustrations and happiness with your friend. You can also depend upon your friend for keeping your trust.

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A true friend never lets up down even under most threatening circumstances. He/she will never jet ray you even under pressure.

The importance of friendship cannot be undermined because we cannot survive without good friends. It is a very important relationship in the emotional life of every human being. A friend, who supports him only when it is convenient, is called a “Fair-weather-Friend”.

The one, who supports his friends, through emotional difficulties, is a “True Friend”. He is ready to make sacrifices in order to help his friend. A true friend is some one, whom you [know will be there for you, whenever you need him.

Friendship is a necessary part of every human’s life as none of us is self sufficient. A friend is a trust-worthy companion who cherishes special moments and memories of life with another person.

A good friend plays an active part in his friend’s life. He is happy when his friend is happy. He feels achieved with his friend’s accomplishments. They share affection, which fills them with positive energy, they spend time thinking of their friends, of who is important for them and how to find ways to help them.

Friendship requires devoting time and patience. There can bal disagreements and quarrels also, which is natural, but one must have till patience to deal with such frustrations. Being reasonable, a forgiving nature! Willingness to compromise when one can and persistence to rebuild friends are needed for a true and lasting relationship.

True friendship cannot flourish! Without a give and take attitude the more the efforts put into it, the morel will lead towards everlasting happiness and trust. Friendship also helps in molding the kind of person you are.

Never rush to make friends because friendship needs a good foundation. We must accept our friend as he is. The essence of friendship is sincerity and giving one’s self to your friend without thinking of getting anything in return. At times, when we meet new and interesting people,! Our loyalty changes and old friends are forgotten. A lesson to be learnt, “Do not forget old friends while making new ones.”

Why it takes courage to be a good friend.

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly, therefore, share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.

Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the word kenzoku. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin. Or a friend from grammar school with whom we haven’t talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.

The question then arises: why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated by the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others? The closer we look for the answer, the more elusive it becomes. It may not, in fact, be possible to know, but the characteristics that define a kenzoku relationship most certainly are.

What draws people together as friends?

  1. Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can’t still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it’s probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
  2. History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
  3. Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it’s difficult for a friendship to thrive.
  4. Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can’t be said to define a true friendship.

What makes a friend worthy of the name?

  1. A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It’s said that “good advice grates on the ear,” but a true friend won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you’re wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can’t see yourself.
  2. Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won’t ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
  3. A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.

Of course, we may have friends who fit all these criteria and still don’t quite feel kenzoku. There still seems to be an extra factor, an attraction similar to that which draws people together romantically, that cements friends together irrevocably, often immediately, for no reason either person can identify. But when you find these people, these kenzoku, they’re like priceless gems. They’re like finding home.

How to attract true friends

This one is easy, at least on paper: become a true friend yourself. One of my favorite quotations comes from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Be the friend you want to have. We all tend to attract people into our lives whose character mirrors our own. You don’t have to make yourself into what you think others would find attractive. No matter what your areas of interest, others share them somewhere. Simply make yourself a big target. Join social clubs organized around activities you enjoy. Leverage the Internet to find people of like mind. Take action.

As I thought about it, there are four people in my life I consider kenzoku. How about you?

If you enjoyed this post, explore my home page, Happiness in This World.

What is it that makes a true friend?

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.

Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the word kenzoku. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin. Or a friend from grammar school with whom we haven’t talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.

The question then arises: why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated by the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others? The closer we look for the answer the more elusive it becomes. It may not in fact be possible to know, but the characteristics that define a kenzoku relationship most certainly are.

What draws people together as friends?

  1. Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can’t still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it’s probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
  2. History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
  3. Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it’s difficult for a friendship to thrive.
  4. Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can’t be said to define a true friendship.

What makes a friend worthy of the name?

  1. A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It’s said that “good advice grates on the ear,” but a true friend won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you’re wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can’t see yourself.
  2. Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won’t ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
  3. A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.

Of course, we may have friends who fit all these criteria and still don’t quite feel kenzoku. There still seems to be an extra factor, an attraction similar to that which draws people together romantically, that cements friends together irrevocably, often immediately, for no reason either person can identify. But when you find these people, these kenzoku, they’re like priceless gems. They’re like finding home.

How to attract true friends

This one is easy, at least on paper: become a true friend yourself. One of my favorite quotations comes from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Be the friend you want to have. We all tend to attract people into our lives whose character mirrors our own. You don’t have to make yourself into what you think others would find attractive. No matter what your areas of interest, others share them somewhere. Simply make yourself a big target. Join social clubs organized around activities you enjoy. Leverage the Internet to find people of like mind. Take action.

As I thought about it, there are four people in my life I consider kenzoku. How many do you?

My book, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, is available now; read the sample chapter and visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble to order your copy.

By Ditch the Label

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  • Post date

    We’ve all had friendships that have ended up a little pear-shaped and it’s unfortunate that most of the time, we all have to get burnt before we can spot a bad friend from a good one. We’ve pooled together our own experiences and come up with 15 of the most common signs that somebody isn’t your friend for the right reasons. If any of these apply to your friendships, we would encourage you to think twice about them and try to determine whether they are really a friend…

    The 15 friendship signs

    1. They only call when they want something

    All friendships should be equal – which means that you should receive as much as you put in, it’s all based on reciprocation and mutuality. If you’re putting in more than you’re getting out, you should think twice about what they are asking from you.

    2. The conversation is never equal

    Do you find that you just spend your whole time focused on them when you’re hanging out? Yeah, that’s not cool – we all have problems and things we’d like to talk to somebody about.

    3. They put you down or make fun of you in front of others

    A definite no-no. Usually, people do this because they feel bad about themselves and want to use somebody else as a distraction. Draw a line through any friendships like this immediately.

    4. You feel bad about yourself when you’ve spent time with them

    Sometimes it’s difficult to analyse behaviour, but your emotions never lie. Friends should make you feel good, empowered and uplifted. If you leave them feeling like crap then you should probably re-evaluate the benefit you’re getting from the friendship. Some people, unfortunately, just like to bring others down.

    5. They are aggressively competitive

    It’s good to be a little competitive now and again, but like most things – you can have too much of a good thing. A friendship based on competitive behaviour is NEVER healthy or a true friendship.

    6. They aren’t happy for you when good things happen

    This is one of the most common tell-tale signs and it’s also based on competitive behaviour. A true friend will want to see you succeed and be happy.

    How to identify a true friendship in this complicated world

    7. They bring drama into your life

    It’s usually the people who spend their time moaning about drama who are the ones causing it. You don’t need that negativity around you.

    8. They bitch about you behind your back

    An absolute no-no. Friendships need to be based on mutual respect and trust. Don’t put up with that crap.

    9. Your relationship feels like it’s built on conditionality

    This is likewise for all relationships in your life. You should feel like they are unconditional and not based on you being or acting in a certain way.

    10. Your friends bail on you

    Sometimes it happens and that’s fine, but if it’s consistent then it obviously shows that your friend is unreliable and much less invested in the friendship than you are. Maybe it’s your turn to bail on them, permanently.

    11. They use your secrets against you and share them

    This is malicious and absolutely nothing a true friend would ever do.

    How to identify a true friendship in this complicated world

    Are you looking to break up with a toxic friend? Here are our steps to breaking up with a toxic friend.

    12. They are a bad influence and make you do things that get you into trouble

    Nip this in the bud before you end up getting yourself into trouble. Friends don’t make friends do bad things… or text when drunk, but we’ll turn a blind eye to that one… for now.

    13. They talk about their other friends behind their back

    If they do this, the chances are, they do it to you too. It’s fine to have a moan occasionally, but anything malicious would probably indicate that they aren’t as genuine as they’d like you to believe.

    14. They bail when you need them the most

    So there are friends, who are, well… friends and there are friends who are still your friends at 3am on a Wednesday morning in the midst of your breakdown. The latter are your friends for life and it’s important to know that you can rely on a few select individuals to be by your side through thick and thin.

    15. They exclude you from things with mutual friends

    If it’s on purpose and happening often, despite you bringing it up then we suggest you create some distance. It is important to remember that sometimes it can happen accidentally so try and talk to them about it before jumping to conclusions.

    It’s not me, it’s you: breaking up

    Firstly, speak to somebody about it, make sure your response is rational. If it is, then deal with it, accept that it isn’t your fault and mentally move on.

    Once you’ve done this, you have 1 of 2 options:

    Let the friendship naturally fade out

    Stop making arrangements, stop replying and distance yourself from them. Eventually, you’ll become increasingly distant until you’re officially no longer friends on Facebook.

    Confront them

    There are 2 schools of thought surrounding this: confrontation can be good if you’d like to hopefully try to resolve things, but on the opposite end, confrontation can be incredibly empowering if you’ve felt particularly suppressed or upset by somebody. Arguments can be healthy, provided that they don’t put anybody at risk and won’t make situations worse. We’d recommend a mediator to help keep an argument balanced.

    With the days of having hundreds of Facebook “friends” upon us, real friendships built on respect, a common bond, and shared memories seem to be few and far between in the modern world. We can instantly connect with anyone online, but does that make them a tried and true friend?

    On the other hand, the friends you thought you could count on in real life can turn out to be just as distant, flaky, and unreliable as people you’ve connected within the cyber world. Studies show that even if people have thousands of Facebook friends, they usually only maintain close relationships with a few people in real life.

    So, how can you make sure that these friendships you have invested so much in emotionally are actually authentic?

    Here are 11 telltale signs of your true friendships:

    1. They accept everything about you, including your flaws.

    They don’t want to change you. In fact, true friendships mean they embrace everything about you, from your quirks and flaws to your best personality traits. That doesn’t mean they have to particularly like or agree with everything you say and do, but they don’t bash you or try to alter your personality, either. You feel like you can breathe a big sigh of relief around them. That’s because in a sea of billions of people, you’ve found one person who sees the positive things about you even when you don’t see them yourself.

    2. They stick with you through both the good and bad times.

    This one probably best distinguishes a fake friend from a real one; in hard times, a true friend would never dream of leaving you in the shadows alone. Instead, they offer to help you however they can, and bring you back into the light again. Fake friends often bail on you because they only wanted to stick around when things went well for you, and felt like helping you through your problems was a burden for them.

    3. They are happy for your successes and congratulate you when you reach a new goal.

    Fake friends feel jealous and contemptuous when you achieve something exciting in your life, but true friends will celebrate your accomplishments with you. To know if you’re dealing with an authentic friendship or not, just notice who sticks around when you reach new heights in your life. Some people will try to tear you down, but the real friends in your life will feel happy for you.

    4. You feel totally comfortable around them, and they probably know things about you that many others don’t.

    They know your best-kept secrets, your wildest dreams, and the unique quirks that you only share with people you feel most at ease around. Plus, they know all the details about your love life, your most cherished childhood memories, and all those embarrassing stories that you wouldn’t share with just anyone. They want to know you to your core, not just on the surface. This separates a true friend from a fake one in many ways.

    5. True friendships meet you halfway – they don’t expect you to always be the one to reach out to them.

    You don’t have to call or text every time you want to meet up. That’s because they also show interest in hanging out with you, and they’ll contact you often to catch up. You don’t feel like you have to chase them in order to keep them in your life – they put equal effort into your friendship, and make time to see you. They don’t only talk to you when it’s convenient; they reach out to you because they truly care about you as a friend and want you in their life.

    6. They make you feel happier and more alive, not drained and stressed.

    After seeing them, you feel more rejuvenated, vibrant, and excited about life, not the opposite. Authentic friendships will be a perfect energetic match between two people; otherwise, one person will be giving the other one energy, which means that you have an energy vampire on your hands. To know if you have a true friendship with someone, just pay attention to how you feel after meeting up with them. A real friend will make you feel good about yourself and life, not depressed and uninspired.

    7. They tell you the truth about things, even if you may not want to hear it.

    Authentic friends tell you what you want to hear; they never sugarcoat anything just to appease you. They tell you the truth, even if it may hurt. And, you’ve learned to appreciate this, because not many other people in your life will cut to the chase and tell it like it is. They tell you the truth not to cut you down, but to help you make the right choices in your life and become a better person because of this.

    8. They don’t blow things out of proportion when you make a mistake – they forgive you.

    Don’t expect perfection from true friendships–and they won’t expect it from you. Plus, you don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them just to gain their approval. They know that you will slip up from time to time, and you don’t have to give a long apology. They just put it behind them and know that you have good intentions despite whatever mistakes you might make.

    9. Real friendships mean they don’t talk about you behind your back.

    Real friends NEVER gossip about you when you leave the room. Indeed, they act like an adult and confront you personally if they need to talk to you. They respect you enough to not spread rumors and tarnish your reputation behind your back; they would rather smooth things over with you and have a rational discussion face-to-face.

    10. They allow you to have other friendships without getting jealous and possessive.

    Real friends feel confident enough in your friendship that they don’t have to resort to jealousy and trying to control your life. They give you the freedom to pursue other friendships and activities in your life because they know that your friendship is rock solid. They realize that you don’t have to be in their company 24/7 in order to validate the friendship.

    11. You have so many inside jokes and funny memories with them that you’ve lost count.

    You have such a close friendship with them that you’ve spent countless hours together just being silly and laughing about nothing, and in turn, you’ve created so many unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

    Final Thoughts on Fostering True Friendships

    Like any relationship, friendships take an investment of your time and caring. However, the real sign that tells you that you have a friend for life is when you find that you actually enjoy that time spent and look forward to the next time you connect.

    With the days of having hundreds of Facebook “friends” upon us, real friendships built on respect, a common bond, and shared memories seem to be few and far between in the modern world. We can instantly connect with anyone online, but does that make them a tried and true friend?

    On the other hand, the friends you thought you could count on in real life can turn out to be just as distant, flaky, and unreliable as people you’ve connected within the cyber world. Studies show that even if people have thousands of Facebook friends, they usually only maintain close relationships with a few people in real life.

    So, how can you make sure that these friendships you have invested so much in emotionally are actually authentic?

    Here are 11 telltale signs of your true friendships:

    1. They accept everything about you, including your flaws.

    They don’t want to change you. In fact, true friendships mean they embrace everything about you, from your quirks and flaws to your best personality traits. That doesn’t mean they have to particularly like or agree with everything you say and do, but they don’t bash you or try to alter your personality, either. You feel like you can breathe a big sigh of relief around them. That’s because in a sea of billions of people, you’ve found one person who sees the positive things about you even when you don’t see them yourself.

    2. They stick with you through both the good and bad times.

    This one probably best distinguishes a fake friend from a real one; in hard times, a true friend would never dream of leaving you in the shadows alone. Instead, they offer to help you however they can, and bring you back into the light again. Fake friends often bail on you because they only wanted to stick around when things went well for you, and felt like helping you through your problems was a burden for them.

    3. They are happy for your successes and congratulate you when you reach a new goal.

    Fake friends feel jealous and contemptuous when you achieve something exciting in your life, but true friends will celebrate your accomplishments with you. To know if you’re dealing with an authentic friendship or not, just notice who sticks around when you reach new heights in your life. Some people will try to tear you down, but the real friends in your life will feel happy for you.

    4. You feel totally comfortable around them, and they probably know things about you that many others don’t.

    They know your best-kept secrets, your wildest dreams, and the unique quirks that you only share with people you feel most at ease around. Plus, they know all the details about your love life, your most cherished childhood memories, and all those embarrassing stories that you wouldn’t share with just anyone. They want to know you to your core, not just on the surface. This separates a true friend from a fake one in many ways.

    5. True friendships meet you halfway – they don’t expect you to always be the one to reach out to them.

    You don’t have to call or text every time you want to meet up. That’s because they also show interest in hanging out with you, and they’ll contact you often to catch up. You don’t feel like you have to chase them in order to keep them in your life – they put equal effort into your friendship, and make time to see you. They don’t only talk to you when it’s convenient; they reach out to you because they truly care about you as a friend and want you in their life.

    6. They make you feel happier and more alive, not drained and stressed.

    After seeing them, you feel more rejuvenated, vibrant, and excited about life, not the opposite. Authentic friendships will be a perfect energetic match between two people; otherwise, one person will be giving the other one energy, which means that you have an energy vampire on your hands. To know if you have a true friendship with someone, just pay attention to how you feel after meeting up with them. A real friend will make you feel good about yourself and life, not depressed and uninspired.

    7. They tell you the truth about things, even if you may not want to hear it.

    Authentic friends tell you what you want to hear; they never sugarcoat anything just to appease you. They tell you the truth, even if it may hurt. And, you’ve learned to appreciate this, because not many other people in your life will cut to the chase and tell it like it is. They tell you the truth not to cut you down, but to help you make the right choices in your life and become a better person because of this.

    8. They don’t blow things out of proportion when you make a mistake – they forgive you.

    Don’t expect perfection from true friendships–and they won’t expect it from you. Plus, you don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them just to gain their approval. They know that you will slip up from time to time, and you don’t have to give a long apology. They just put it behind them and know that you have good intentions despite whatever mistakes you might make.

    9. Real friendships mean they don’t talk about you behind your back.

    Real friends NEVER gossip about you when you leave the room. Indeed, they act like an adult and confront you personally if they need to talk to you. They respect you enough to not spread rumors and tarnish your reputation behind your back; they would rather smooth things over with you and have a rational discussion face-to-face.

    10. They allow you to have other friendships without getting jealous and possessive.

    Real friends feel confident enough in your friendship that they don’t have to resort to jealousy and trying to control your life. They give you the freedom to pursue other friendships and activities in your life because they know that your friendship is rock solid. They realize that you don’t have to be in their company 24/7 in order to validate the friendship.

    11. You have so many inside jokes and funny memories with them that you’ve lost count.

    You have such a close friendship with them that you’ve spent countless hours together just being silly and laughing about nothing, and in turn, you’ve created so many unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

    Final Thoughts on Fostering True Friendships

    Like any relationship, friendships take an investment of your time and caring. However, the real sign that tells you that you have a friend for life is when you find that you actually enjoy that time spent and look forward to the next time you connect.

    The best friend of Marcus Tullius Cicero was named Atticus.

    His real name was Titus Pomponius, but he took the name Atticus because of his love for Greece, especially the city of Athens in the region of Attica, where he spent many years of his adult life. He and Cicero became fast friends as young men and remained so throughout their long lives. Cicero was devoted to Roman politics and spent most of his years in that turbulent city during the first century BC, a time of tremendous upheaval and civil war. Atticus, on the other hand, watched Roman politics from the safe distance of Athens while remaining in close contact with the leading men of both sides back in Rome. Even though they were often apart, Cicero and Atticus exchanged letters over the years that reveal a friendship of rare devotion and warm affection.

    In the year 44 BC, Cicero was in his sixties — an old man by Roman standards — living on his farm outside of Rome removed from political power by the dictatorship of Julius Caesar. He turned to writing to ease the pain of exile and the recent loss of his beloved daughter. In a period of months, he produced some of the most readable and influential essays ever written on subjects ranging from the nature of the gods and the proper role of government to the joys of growing older and the secret to finding happiness in life. Among these works was a short essay on friendship dedicated to Atticus.

    How to Be a Friend — or in Latin De Amicitia — is arguably the best book ever written on the subject. The heartfelt advice it gives is honest and moving in a way few works of ancient times are. Some Romans had viewed friendship in mostly practical terms as a relationship between people for mutual advantage. Cicero doesn’t deny that such friendships are important, but he reaches beyond the utilitarian to praise a deeper kind of friendship in which two people find in each other another self who doesn’t seek profit or advantage from the other person.

    Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle had written about friendship hundreds of years earlier. Indeed Cicero was deeply influenced by their writings. But Cicero goes beyond his predecessors and creates in this short work a compelling guide to finding, keeping and appreciating those people in our lives we value not for what they can give us, but because we find in them a kindred soul.

    How to Be a Friend is filled with timeless advice on friendship. Among the best is:

    1. There are different kinds of friendships: Cicero acknowledges that there are many good people we come in contact with in our lives we call our friends, be they business associates, neighbors or any manner of acquaintances. But he makes a key distinction between these common and quite useful friendships and those rare friends we bind ourselves to on a much deeper level. These special friendships are necessarily rare, because they require so much time and investment of ourselves. But these are the friends that deeply change our lives, just as we change theirs. Cicero writes: “With the exception of wisdom, I’m inclined to believe that the immortal gods have given nothing better to humanity than friendship.”
    2. Only good people can be true friends: People of poor moral character can have friends, but they can only be friends of utility for the simple reason that real friendship requires trust, wisdom and basic goodness. Tyrants and scoundrels can use each other, just as they can use good people, but bad people can never find real friendship in life.
    3. We should choose our friends with care: We have to be deliberate about forming our friendships if for no other reason than that they can be very messy and painful to end if we find out the friend was not the person we thought. We should take our time, move slowly and discover what lies deep in a person’s heart before we make the investment of self that true friendship requires.
    4. Friends make you a better person: No one can thrive in isolation. Left on our own, we will stagnate and become unable to see ourselves as we are. A true friend will challenge you to become better because he appreciates the potential inside you. “Even when a friend is absent, he is still present,” says Cicero.
    5. Make new friends, but keep the old: No one is a sweeter friend than someone who has been with you from the beginning. But don’t limit yourself to the companions of youth, whose friendship may have been based on interests you no longer share. Always be open to new friendships, including those with younger people. Both you and they will be the richer for it.
    6. Friends are honest with each other: Friends will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want them to say. There are plenty of people in the world who will flatter you for their own purposes, but only a real friend — or an enemy — will risk your anger by telling you the truth. And being a good person yourself, you should listen to your friends and welcome what they have to say.
    7. The reward of friendship is friendship itself: Cicero acknowledges that there are practical advantages to friendship — advice, companionship, support in difficult times — but at its heart true friendship is not a business relationship. It doesn’t seek repayment, and it doesn’t keep score. “We are not so petty as to charge interest on our favors,” writes Cicero. He adds, “The reward of friendship is friendship itself.”
    8. A friend never asks another friend to do something wrong: A friend will risk much for another, but not honor. If a friend asks you to lie, cheat or do something shameful, consider carefully if that person is who you really thought he was. Since friendship is based on goodness, it cannot exist when evil is expected of it.
    9. Friendships can change over time: Friendships from youth will not be the same in old age — nor should they be. Life changes all of us with time, but the core values and qualities that drew us to friends in years past can survive the test of time. And like ne wine, the best of friendships will improve with age.
    10. Without friends, life is not worth living: Or as Cicero says: “Suppose a god carried you far away to a place where you were granted an abundance of every material good nature could wish for, but denied the possibility of ever seeing a human being. Wouldn’t you have to be as hard as iron to endure that sort of life? Wouldn’t you, utterly alone, lose every capacity for joy and pleasure?”

    Cicero’s little book on friendship had a tremendous influence on writers in the ages following him, from St. Augustine to the Italian poet Dante and beyond, and was one of the earliest books translated into and printed in English. It is no less valuable today. In a modern age of technology and a relentless focus on the self that threatens the very idea of deep and lasting friendships, Cicero has more to say to us than ever.

    What happens when your BFF’s behavior makes you say WTF? When do you stay loyal and when do you call it quits? By request from listener Alyssa, Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen tackles when to stick it out in a troubled friendship and when to walk away.

    How to identify a true friendship in this complicated world

    Despite what the Spice Girls would have us believe, it’s not true that friendship never ends. Research actually confirms what we’ve all experienced: most middle school friendships don’t even last a year. And while some adult friendships last throughout life, some make us feel like we’ve been sentenced for life. So how do you know when to make a break for freedom?

    Sometimes it’s obvious: a so-called friend steals your money or your partner, or in the case of Taylor Swift, your back-up dancers. Now we’ve got bad blood, indeed.

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    How to identify a true friendship in this complicated world

    But sometimes it’s not obvious: do you tough it out with a friend struggling with addiction? Can you stay friends with someone whose values undergo a radical change? Do you leave behind a boring friend or remind yourself true friendship isn’t about entertainment? And of course, what to do when a friendship starts off strong and just fizzles? Nothing happened, but there’s just nothing there anymore. Is it okay to let go?

    Fundamentally, you don’t need a checklist of legit and non-legit reasons to end a friendship. Go with your gut and your heart. That said, here are seven questions to ask yourself to make those fuzzy situations a little bit clearer:

    Question #1: Does it feel genuine, or like a transaction? Some people are friends with you because of what you can do for them. Red flags include friends who repeatedly try to sell you something, ask to borrow money again and again, or keep tabs on favors. (“You owe me housesitting because I took care of your dog.”) These friends routinely cross the line between friendship and business.

    The transaction might also be more subtle—you’re friends with them because they admire you with cartoon hearts in their eyes and in return you get a shot to your self-esteem. You’re friends because they hold you back just enough that you can blame them, rather than yourself, for not accomplishing your dreams.

    In sum, if you leave every interaction with an urge to wash your hands, look closer and see if you might using them or being used yourself. In the end, you want friends, not an entourage.

    Question #2: Are you holding each other back from getting healthy? Back in 2007, a now-famous study in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked the spread of obesity through a “deeply interconnected social network” of more than 12,000 people, underscoring that social ties link to health behavior.

    Turns out healthy (or unhealthy) habits can circulate within a smaller friend group, too. For instance, unhealthy psychological habits like a tendency to put each other down or to complain constantly can spread from friend to friend. Or unhealthy body image or disordered eating habits might be a culture in your circle.

    More seriously, if you’re battling a substance abuse problem normalized by a friend group (“If we all drink until we black out, doesn’t that make it normal?”), it’s difficult yet crucial to drop friends. Indeed, showing up at the same bar with the same people will inevitably lead to the same behavior.

    Ideally, friends work together to eat better, team up to exercise, or weather the horrors of stopping smoking together. But if your friend pulls you down, pressures you to drink or smoke after you’ve made it clear you’re trying to change, or otherwise ridicules your attempts to take care of yourself, it may be time to distance yourself.

    Question #3: Are you being manipulated? Manipulation, fundamentally, is managing the emotions of others, and not in a good way. It’s sulking to get someone to feel bad, it’s being especially nice to butter someone up.

    It’s really hard to put your finger on whether or not it’s happening, because being the target of manipulation is like being the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling water—it’s only after you’re out that you realize the full extent of what was happening.

    But there are clues: your friendship may feel unnecessarily intricate. You’re at a loss for words when others ask you about the friendship. “It’s complicated,” is the best you can muster.

    Another clue: without quite realizing it, you’ve changed for the worse as a result of this friendship (less happy, less secure, less confident) but somehow you’re the one always doing the apologizing. Or you may just feel like something is always off. You even ask your friend “what’s wrong?” but the answer (or the resulting silent treatment) just makes you more confused.

    Any of these clues may be signs of emotional manipulation. Indeed, a 2016 study unsurprisingly found that manipulation hung together with lower levels of important friendship characteristics like being able to express personal thoughts and feelings, providing comfort when needed, simply being fun to be with, and always being there for each other (which, by the way, in research-speak is called “reliable alliance”).