7 behaviors that separate your true friends in life from everyone else

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I distinctly remember my uncle’s wise words, “True friends are like diamonds—bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style.” And while I’m all about expanding my social circle, I’ve come to realize that not all friendships are created equal.

You see, it’s easy to confuse acquaintances or fair-weather pals with genuine friends. But the truth is, there’s a world of difference between them. True friends stand by you through thick and thin. They’re the rare gems who shine brighter amidst life’s darkest storms.

So, you might be wondering, “How do I distinguish these precious diamonds from the pile of pebbles?” Well, there’s no foolproof formula or magic trick. However, certain behaviors can help identify your true friends in life.

This brings me to my next point.

Recognizing these behaviors not only helps us appreciate our true friends more but also guides us in becoming better friends ourselves. 

So in the spirit of making our friendships more meaningful, let’s delve into these distinguishing behaviors that separate your true friends in life from everyone else.

Sit back, relax, and let’s embark on this journey together.

1) Unconditional support

True friends are a beacon of support. But here’s the catch—this support is not contingent on conditions or circumstances.

Ever had a friend who miraculously appears when things are rosy and disappears when the going gets tough? That’s not a true friend.

A true friend stands by you through your triumphs, but more importantly, during your trials. They don’t shy away when you’re facing difficulties. Instead, they roll up their sleeves, ready to face the storm with you.

While it’s easy to join in on the celebrations, it takes a true friend to stick around when the party ends, and the clean-up begins. 

This unconditional support is the hallmark of a real friendship and, undoubtedly, one of the key behaviors that separate your true friends from everyone else.

2) Honesty, even when it’s tough

There’s no sugarcoating with true friends. They tell you like it is, even when the truth is hard to swallow.

Let me share a personal example.

A few years back, I was about to make a major career shift. I was excited, blinded by the potential gains. Everyone around me was supportive of the decision, everyone except my best friend, Sam.

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, Sam asked me the hard questions. Was I prepared for the risks? Had I considered the impact on my family? He didn’t share my enthusiasm. Instead, he voiced his concerns, concerns that I had conveniently overlooked in my excitement.

Initially, I was hurt. But as I pondered over his words, I realized he had a point. His honest feedback made me reconsider my decision and ultimately saved me from a potentially disastrous situation.

That’s what true friends do. They don’t tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. They’re not afraid to voice their concerns if they think you’re heading down a wrong path.

Because at the end of the day, a true friend values your well-being more than your approval. And this brutal honesty is what sets them apart from everyone else in your life.

3) They celebrate your victories

True friends don’t just share your woes, they also bask in your joys. They’re your personal cheerleaders, celebrating each of your victories as if it were their own.

Let me paint a picture.

A couple of years ago, I managed to secure a book deal – a long-held dream of mine. The news was met with a flurry of congratulations from my circle. But it was my friend Emma’s reaction that stands out in memory.

Instead of just a pat-on-the-back or a congratulatory message, she threw a surprise party in my honor. She invited all our close friends, decorated the place with posters of my book cover, and even had a cake shaped like my book. She made the entire evening about me and my achievement.

But it wasn’t just the grand gesture that made it special. It was the genuine joy in her eyes, the pride in her voice when she announced my achievement to everyone. She reveled in my success as if it were her own.

That’s what true friends do. They don’t merely acknowledge your victories; they celebrate them with you. 

This genuine happiness for your success is an unmistakable trait of true friendship, one that sets it apart from all other relationships in your life.

4) They respect your boundaries

True friends understand that everyone has their own space and limits, and they take great care not to overstep these boundaries. They know when to give advice and when to simply listen. They understand when you need company and when you need solitude.

For instance, there are days when I feel like shutting out the world, retreating into my little cocoon. My true friends understand this. They don’t take it personally or insist on intruding. Instead, they give me my space, check in on me from time to time, and wait for me to come out of my shell at my own pace.

This respect for personal boundaries is not just about giving space during tough times. It’s about understanding and respecting the other person’s individuality and personal choices.

True friends don’t try to mold you into their image of an ideal friend. Instead, they accept and respect you for who you are, quirks and all. This acceptance and respect for personal boundaries is a defining trait of true friendship, setting it poles apart from all other relationships in your life.

5) They promote your growth

True friends don’t just accept you for who you are, they also inspire you to become the best version of yourself.

You see, a Harvard study spanning over 80 years found that one of the keys to long-term happiness is having solid relationships. But true friends don’t just contribute to your happiness by being there, they do so by pushing you towards growth.

I have a friend, let’s call her Lisa. Lisa and I have been friends since high school. Over the years, she has been my rock, my confidante, my constant cheerleader. But more than that, she has been my catalyst for growth.

Whenever I fall into a comfort zone, Lisa is there to nudge me out of it. She challenges my perspectives, questions my decisions, encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. She promotes growth, not just in terms of career or skills but also in terms of character and perspective.

She doesn’t do this out of a sense of superiority or criticism, but out of genuine care for my well-being. She knows that growth is a vital part of life and happiness.

This is what sets true friends apart. They’re not just content with having you in their life; they want the best for you. They push you towards growth and greatness because they genuinely believe in your potential.

6) They’re there during the mundane

When we think of friendship, we often think of shared adventures, joyous celebrations, or comforting each other during hard times. But true friendship isn’t just about the highlights or lowlights; it’s also about the everyday, mundane moments.

This is something I experienced firsthand with my friend, Mark.

We’ve been friends since childhood, and over the years, shared countless memories – from riveting adventures to heart-wrenching moments. But one of my most cherished memories with Mark is rather mundane.

It was a regular evening, and I was home alone, doing laundry. It’s not particularly exciting or fun, but Mark happened to call. Instead of ending the call or suggesting a more exciting activity, he decided to keep me company over the phone while I did my chores.

We chatted about everything and nothing—our day, our hopes, our silly fears. It wasn’t an adventure or a crisis; it was just a regular day made extraordinary by the presence of a friend.

True friends are there for you not just during pivotal moments but also during everyday life. They make the mundane magical simply by being there. This ability to transform ordinary moments into cherished memories is a unique trait of true friends, distinguishing them from everyone else in your life.

7) They accept you, flaws and all

In an era of social media perfection, it’s easy to feel the pressure to always present the best version of ourselves. But with true friends, there’s no need for pretenses.

True friends see your flaws, your quirks, your eccentricities – and they accept them. They don’t just tolerate your imperfections; they cherish them because these imperfections make you, you.

There’s a certain comfort in being around someone who knows your flaws and loves you anyway. It provides a safe space for authenticity and vulnerability – a place where you can let down your guard and just be yourself.

Remember, true friendship isn’t about finding people who are perfect. It’s about finding people who see your imperfections and choose to stay anyway.

These are your true friends, the ones who separate themselves from everyone else in life.

The final reflection

If the behaviors listed in this article resonate with the friendships you hold dear, consider yourself fortunate. You have managed to find the rare gems in a world full of pebbles – true friends.

However, remember that friendship, like any relationship, is a two-way street. It’s not just about finding true friends but also about being one.

Being a true friend means offering unconditional support, embracing honesty, celebrating each other’s victories, respecting boundaries, promoting growth, being there during the mundane, and accepting each other’s flaws.

Take a moment to reflect. Are these behaviors that you exhibit as a friend? If not, it’s never too late to start. Remember, a true friendship is not just about what you get; it’s also about what you give.

It starts with self-awareness followed by conscious effort. Friendship is a continuous journey of learning and growing together. It’s about investing time and emotions and nurturing the bond with care and respect.

In the words of renowned author Mark Twain, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” And what better way to do it than being that irreplaceable true friend in someone’s life?

So as we wrap up this discussion, I leave you with this thought – let’s not just seek true friends; let’s strive to be one. 

After all, in the grand tapestry of life, it’s these threads of true friendships that add color and richness to our existence.

Remember, in the quest for diamonds, let’s not forget to be one ourselves!

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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