7 signs you have a legitimately good friend in your life, according to psychology

As we grow older, you’ll notice that friends come and go.

Some are there for a season, while others are there for life.

Some are there as acquaintances or casual friends, but some have qualities that immediately push them into the category of ‘good friends’.

These are people you hold on to, and who usually will stick by you throughout your life.

So while it’s great to have a community of people to lean on, most of the time it’s not the quantity of friendships you keep, but the quality of these friendships.

Having a few genuinely good friends is far better than being surrounded by many surface-level friendships.

And today we’ll explore the signs that you have a legitimately good friend in your life, according to psychology, so you can have better insight into the company you keep.

1) They push you to become better

Being in our comfort zone is easy, and sometimes too easy because we stay at the same place and many years later, find ourselves still stuck in the same job, same position, and routine as we were before.

But friends who want the best for you know that learning is a lifelong activity.

Pushing yourself is the only way to grow and develop into a better version of yourself.

That’s why these friends will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and gain new experiences, sometimes challenging your views and encouraging you to take on a different perspective.

While we may think having friends who agree with us fully all the time is a good thing as it reduces the chances of arguments, it’s better to have people encourage you to think differently – but in a supportive, non-judgemental way.

If you have friends who exhibit this trait, you’ve found people who you can call legitimately good friends.

2) They’re genuine and don’t have ulterior motives

Don’t you hate it when you just know the people who are congratulating you are actually super envious of you deep down?

They don’t mean what they say when they pat you on the back and are only there because 1) they have to and 2) because of your achievements so that they can benefit from this.

Friends who are genuine about your success are hard to find and are thus worth keeping around.

According to psychology, true friendships have no jealousy between each other because they don’t see the other person as a competitor. Instead, they’re happy for their success.

In fact, true friends support the other person’s journey towards success.

Perhaps you’re starting a bakery business and they’re the first ones to purchase and write stellar reviews of your bakes. 

Or maybe you’re at your first gig at a bar and they’re there to cheer you on.

They want to see you succeed and have no ulterior motives of sabotaging your success.

Even if you don’t succeed, they’re there ready to pick you back up and encourage you to try again.

3) They hold you accountable

True friends hold you accountable.

Maybe you’ve shared your goals with them and during your meetups, they check back in to ask how you’re coming along in the areas that you wanted to succeed in.

Or maybe you set a resolution to become a better person in certain ways, and when you mess up, they call you out on your actions.

Instead of looking the other way, true friends are there to lead you back to the path that you placed yourself on at the start.

Rather than encourage distractions, or to allow you to do whatever you want, they guide you to where you want to go.

Of course, no one can make you do anything, but they’ll be there to support, encourage, and when the situation calls for it, show you tough love.

We tend to see ourselves in quite a biased way, so getting a third-party perspective into our lives can help us uncover blind spots that we may not be aware of.

4) They’re reliable and trustworthy

Who wants a friend who says one thing but does another?

It just shows that they don’t respect you as a person, or a friend, by putting you low on their list of priorities.

But true friends keep to their word.

When they say they’ll do something, they’ll deliver. 

Even if they don’t, they will find a way to make it up to you, not before trying their best to show up for you.

You know that they have your backs and you can count on them when the situation calls for it.

5) They respect your boundaries

Legitimately good friends respect your boundaries because they respect and love you for who you are.

Some people treat boundaries as suggestions and cross them anyway.

They do this because they don’t value the other person as a friend.

But close friendships are built on a foundation of love and care.

They know what you dislike, understand your flaws but accept and love you despite these.

They want what’s best for you, and therefore, will strive to uphold your happiness. 

6) They support you through hard times

There’s a reason why some people are called ‘fair weather’ friends.

It’s because when the going gets tough, they’re the first ones to disappear. 

They only return when things are going well because they don’t care enough to stick around to support you when you’re going through challenges.

Sometimes, it’s because they don’t want to be caught in the fray.

But legitimately good friends stick by you regardless.

They’re there when you need a word of advice or just a listening ear.

This is what sets them apart from casual friends, or people you keep only surface-level relationships with.

7) You can be yourself around them

True friends accept you wholeheartedly.

They see your flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings but are still willing to call you their friend.

When you’re with them, you don’t feel the need to become someone else.

You feel free and liberated to be your authentic self because you know that they will not judge you.

Sure, you may mess up and make mistakes, but that’s part of being human.

The important thing is to acknowledge where you went wrong and do better.

What’s more is that these friends are there to guide you – whether it is holding you accountable or encouraging growth, legitimately good friends will be by your side pushing you on.

Concluding thoughts

If you have a friend or a few friends who exhibit these traits in this article, good for you!

Not many people are privileged to find people like these in their lives.

So treasure these friends and keep them close.

It’s important to be surrounded by genuine people who want what’s best for you, and who will spur you on to become the best version of yourself.

They will add so much happiness to your life.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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