What Is The Real Definition Of True Friendship?

Updated October 7, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team


It is normal to question your friendships and if they feel true to you. If you find yourself questioning your friendships, a therapist might be able to guide you towards fostering better friend relationships. A therapist can help you improve your overall well-being through relationship growth, as well as topics including social anxiety, loneliness, what to do when friends let you down, and much more.

Do your friends often disappoint you? Do they put you down all the time? Do they abandon you when you need them most? If so, maybe it’s time to find a new definition of a true friend. Here are some of the things to look for when you choose the people you’ll trust with your true friendship.

A True Friend Consistently Has Your Back

Focus On The True Friends In Your Life And Nurture Your Friendships

Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, friends do everything they can to make sure you stay safe. They don’t care who is trying to harm you; they will defend you anytime, anywhere. If they can help you, they’ll do it without reservation or reward. A true friend is not one who repeatedly is telling you negative things other people say about you. First, they make it clear by their words and by their actions where they stand when it comes to you. Secondly, they don’t just merely stand by silently when others are tearing you down no matter what consequences they may face socially. A true friend is a friend when it is convenient and when it is not. True friendships stand by you consistently both when you are present and when you are not. True friendships are full of support, and can offer a good laugh after a long day.

They Answer You With Empathy, Perspective, And Honesty

True friends aren’t phony with you. They show you who they really are. In healthy relationships, they’re honest with you when it matters most. They never try to deceive you to make themselves seem stronger, more successful, or better than they really are. A true friend will feel comfortable going beyond the surface, as any true friendship requires some level of vulnerability. Having a friend who shows you that they trust you with their authentic self is a good indicator that you can do the same with them in life. A true friend is not only honest about themselves, but they are also honest about you. They are able to have difficult conversations in telling you things that sometimes you may not be eager to hear. The key is that they do it in love and with grace. They don’t tear you down. A true friend will hold you to a standard they know your character is worthy of.

They Accept You For You Despite Differences

A real friend accepts you as the person you are. Great friends can encourage you to become a better version of you, but they also help you see the beauty in who you are right now. They don’t get sidetracked by what others may say or think of you. Instead, they celebrate the you they’ve come to know. Although a true friend may encourage you to make good decisions, a friend is someone who trusts your judgment and respects your own personal judgments. They don’t become passive aggressive when they give advice you don’t accept. Instead, they respect boundaries and value your feelings and thoughts. They don’t push you to become who they want you to be, or to do the same things they do. Instead, they celebrate what makes you uniquely you. They acknowledge you for you, know that you matter, and want what's best for your soul. They accept your personal growth and evolutions along the way because the reasons they value goes far beneath your personal style, interests, profession, marital/relationship status, etc.

They Want What’s Really Best for You

A false friend might push you to change for them. Fake friends might give you the feedback you want rather than the words that will actually help you. A true friend acknowledges your feelings but at the same time points you towards a happier, healthier life. A true friend is not complacent in your personal growth; they don’t passively sit by and watch you make choices that are not good for you. Real friends listen to you when you talk about your feelings, your ideas about the world, and what brings you joy. A friend is someone who gives you encouragement to make the choice that will get you to want in life. Friends learn the art of being your biggest cheerleader while holding you accountable to your goals as well. Spending time with a trustworthy friend makes you feel compelled to make the choices that feel right to you, speak your truth, and live to the best of your ability. Laughing with a great friend can help you forget about your troubles, and you can listen to them talk about theirs.

True Friendship Doesn’t Abandon You

Fairweather friends are with you when you’re happy and successful. Then, in tough times, when things become challenging for you, these friends feel compelled to move on to the next happy, successful person. A real friend, on the other hand, stays with you through traumas, disappointments, mental health crises, and physical illnesses. They don’t abandon you just because it’s easier or more comfortable to avoid you. Because a true friend truly cares about you, they actually want to be there for you during your difficult times. They care more about what you are going through more than they care about how fun you are. A friend isn’t around simply for the things or good times you have in your life — they are around for you! Friends want to hear about your relationships, school and work, ideas, and your family. So when your life gets more challenging and you find yourself feeling pretty down or overwhelmed, you won’t have to go through these challenges alone with a true friend in your corner.

How To Develop My Own Perspective Of A Meaningful Bond?

Focus On The True Friends In Your Life And Nurture Your Friendships

Or you might want to spend time with people who are different from you in ways that challenge you to grow as a person. If your current friends let you down, redefining true friendship can open the door to a rich, rewarding relationship.

You might ask yourself questions about friendship, like, What are the signs of true friendship? What is a true best friend? What are the five qualities of true friendship? What factors define true friendship? What is perfect friendship? How do you become a true friend? What's the difference between a real friend and a true friend? What's the difference between a good friend and a true friend? What is a friendship symbol for best friend? What does pure friendship mean?

Much like our personal styles, we all may have different needs and desires when coming to friendship. You may also come to recognize that some differences are able to support you in some areas of life while you may have another friend that you rely on for support in another area of your life. Expanding the friendships that make up your support system can help ensure that your needs are adequately being met. No friend is perfect, and no friend will be able to be everything to you. Even true friends will sometimes disappoint us. What matters most is how they respond to your feelings and the patterns they establish in their relationships. We all need the support of friends in our lives. Have the disappointments you are experiencing in your friendship become habits? A true friend cares about you. They're able to have concern and respect for your thoughts and emotions even when they may not agree. If the disappointment you are experiencing in a friendship has become consistent, it may be time to redefine your definition of a true friend.

Talking to a professional therapist can help you understand where you are going wrong as you choose your friends. The therapist can offer you a sound psychological basis for recognizing and nurturing the friendships that will improve your life and bring you happiness and peace now and in the future. It only takes a moment to reach out for help. When you do, you can start your journey towards satisfying friendships with real friends.

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