What Is The Real Definition Of A True Friend?

By Joanna Smykowski

Updated May 11, 2020

Reviewer Aaron Horn

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 friendship.

Focus On The True Friends In Your Life And Nurture Your Friendships
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A True Friend Has your Back

Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, they 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 standby silently when others are tearing you down no matter what consequences they may face socially. A true friend is a friend when is convenient and when it is not. They standby you consistently both when you are present and when you are not

They're Authentic and Honest with You

True friends aren't phony with you. They show you who they really are. 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 goes beyond the surface, any true friendship requires some level of vulnerability. When a friend opens up to you and shares their struggles and disappointments, it is a testament to the trust and value they place in you. Having a friend that shows you that they trust you with their authentic self is a good indicator that you can do the same with them.

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 but rather a true friend will hold you to a standard they know your character is worthy of.

They Accept You for You

A real friend accepts you as you are. They can encourage you to become a better version of you, but they also help you see the beauty of 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, they trust your judgment and respect 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, instead, they celebrate what makes you uniquely you. 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.


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They Want What's Best for You

A false friend might push you to change for them. They 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. They want to see the happiest and healthiest version of you. The encouragement to make the choice that will get you to want in life. They learn the art of being your biggest cheerleader while holding you accountable to your goals as well.

They Don't Abandon You

Fairweather friends are with you when you're happy and successful. Then, when things go wrong for you, they 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 you have in your life, they are around for you! 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.

Focus On The True Friends In Your Life And Nurture Your Friendships
A Professional Therapist Can Help!

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Finding Your Own Definition of a True Friend

Everyone has their own ideal friend. In addition to the qualities shared by all true friends, you may want a friend who shares your interests or goals. 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.

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. Have the disappointments you are experiencing in your friendship become habits? A true friend cares about you and is 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you describe a true friend?

The definition of a true friend is someone who has your back, no matter what. A true friend will always have your best interest at heart. They will never purposely lead you into choices or decisions that aren't good for you.

What is the true and best definition of love by a friend?

True friends are the ones that are there for you unconditionally. A true friend is loyal and is always your friend through life's ups and downs. For most people, true friends often feel more like family than friends.

What are the characteristics of a true friend?

Real friends give you their most authentic selves. You can confide in a good friend and not have to worry about them misusing your information. A true friend will tell you what you need to hear and not just what you want to hear. Real best friends don't stand by and watch you do things to hurt yourself.

What's another word for best friend?

Best friends and true friends are often one and the same. Many people only have one or two true friends throughout their lives. Best friends are the ones who keep your secrets, give you solid advice, and always have your back in a pinch. As the saying goes "true friends really are hard to find."

How would you describe a friend in 3 words?

Loyal, honest, steadfast. True friendships are built on being in a friendship where you never have to doubt your friend's loyalty. A good person and true friend would never do anything to intentionally go against your best interest.

Why some people have no friends?

Some people have no real friends by choice. Others have trouble forming a true friendship so they are friendless for this reason. If you're feeling lonely because you haven't been able to build a true friendship, talk to a therapy professional to learn what it takes to build a real friendship between true friends.

What is a true friend quote?

"A true friend is hard to find." This is one of the most popular friendship quotes of all time. The reason this quote is widely popular is because many people find it to be true. As a result, some people never have a true best friend to share their lives with. If you're feeling lonely about losing a true friend or wondering how to find your best friend -- talk to a licensed therapy professional.

What is a bad friend?

A bad friend is the opposite of a true friend. Bad friends are notorious for backstabbing, telling your secrets, and sometimes even worse. If you find yourself in a friendship situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, keep in mind that true friends won't mind talking it out with you. A sure sign that your "true friend" is actually a frenemy is if they refuse to address your concerns when they come up.

What are 10 qualities of a good friend?

Ten qualities of a true friend are 1. Honesty, 2. Integrity,3. Loyalty, 4. Respect, 5. Steadfastness, 6. Availability,7. Compromise, 8. Reliable, 9. Humorous, 10. Authentic. A true friend will have many of these qualities and possibly even more. When you're looking for your next best friend -- ask your self what qualities you want in a friend.

How can you tell a fake friend?

A fake friend is easy to spot if you've ever had (or been) a true friend. Fake friends seem to do more harm than good when they're around. Unlike a true friend, a fake friend never seems to have your best interest at heart. Canceling dates, not returning phone calls or messages -- are all signs that your true friend may not be who you thought they were.

What is a true best friend?

A true friend is someone you can rely on regardless of the circumstances. While they may give you advice you don't want to hear from time-to-time, a true friend will never lead you purposely down the wrong road. A true friend will always encourage you to do the right thing. Struggling t find a true friend? Talk to a therapy provider to learn why.

What are signs of bad friends?

When compared to a true friend, a bad friend is completely the opposite. While a true friend is considerate of your feelings, a bad friend will brush you off or belittle you when you disagree with them. A bad friend will also not value your time, opinion, and may even be argumentative. In comparison to a true friend, a bad friend never seems to have your back and they only seem to be happy when you're at your worst.

How do you know if your friends don't like you?

A true friend will never do anything to hurt you on purpose. People who don't have your best interest at heart don't seem to be invested in your well-being. Unlike a true friend, a frenemy always seems to set their sights against you and never seems to be on your side. If you're wondering whether your true friend might actually be a frenemy -- chat with a licensed therapy provider for realistic advice. If you're having trouble recognizing a true friend due to your past history, emotional trauma or other reasons, a licensed therapist at BetterHelp can help.


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