Being a true friend and remaining one isn’t easy…especially when one enters adulthood where friendships become harder to maintain and navigate.
And so, it’s only normal that we sometimes ask ourselves “Am I really a good friend?”
To find out if you’re one, here are 10 signs you should look for. If you can relate to at least half of them, then you’re definitely a good friend.
1) You answer their 3AM calls
Unless you’re a night owl with severe sleep issues, you’ll probably hate getting a call at 3 in the morning and getting yanked out of your beauty sleep.
But you trust your friends to know and respect your boundaries, and if they’re calling at you that late, you know it’s because they have a good reason for it—like an emergency!
So when you get that call and see their name on your phone screen, you’ll pick it up and listen to whatever they have to say.
They might be facing a crisis, and in that state even a seemingly innocent, mundane call might just be what they need to stay grounded.
2) You treat them as family
You don’t see your friends as people you just happen to hang around with as you build the next chapter of your life, or as mere stepping stones to success.
You see them as people you want to grow old with—the ones you’ll go grocery shopping and gossiping with at 65 and beyond.
So you treat them in a way you’d treat your siblings—with a lot of patience, a lot of love, and adoration.
You welcome them into your life so fully that you can’t imagine living without them.
3) You tell them off…but in the gentlest way possible
You believe that real friends should lift each other up, and that means calling them off when they’re about to do (or are doing) something that’s patently a horrible idea.
This means warning your friends when they’re about to drink their sixth beer, knowing that they need to drive home.
Or asking your friends to stop and reconsider when they’re about to date a cheating ex or pull off a dangerous stunt like skydiving without a parachute.
And if they won’t listen to you the first time around, then you’ll try harder. Even if it annoys them, you’d rather risk your friendship than seeing them endanger themselves.
4) You show up on their major life events
Whenever something big is going on in your friend’s life, you do your best to be there and show your support no matter what.
Did a friend get dumped and look like they’re about to fall apart from heartbreak? You show up and help them deal with it.
Did a friend get pregnant by accident? You won’t judge her and try to be there for her—you’ll even give her a book on pregnancy.
Did a friend get an award? You’d rush to her apartment with a bottle of champagne!
You well know how important it is to feel the presence and support of friends and family during major life events—good or bad. So you show up.
5) You keep your promises
You might not be the most giving person around, but when you make a promise to do (or not do) something, you do your best to keep your word.
When someone shares with you secrets in confidence, they can trust you to keep those secrets to the grave.
And when you say you’ll visit them at 10pm, they know that the only reason you’d be late is if you got into an accident on the way. In fact you might even arrive early for their sake.
When you actually fail to keep up with your promises, you don’t make excuses. Instead you own it and try to make up with them.
The last thing you want is to hurt your friends and lose their trust by showing them that you can’t be relied upon.
6) You accept them for who they are
Sure, you want them to be the best version of themselves, and so you’ll call them out when it comes to destructive habits like, say, smoking or buying too much junk.
But you’ll accept that these habits are part of who they are and while you might try to help them try to get better, you aren’t going to hate them because of it. Most of all, you won’t ever think that they’re losers for not “fixing” themselves.
And of course, when it comes to stuff that isn’t even that harmful, you’ll just let them be.
It doesn’t matter if their beliefs or personal identities don’t seem to make sense to you or conflict with your beliefs. In fact you might even try to understand where they’re coming from and broaden your perspectives.
You love and accept them for who they are to the core, including their many flaws and quirks.
7) You’d drop everything when they truly need you
If a friend calls that they’re in the hospital or they’re on a road somewhere with a flat tire, you’d find a way to help.
But if you’re at work and can’t just leave right away, you’d ask your other friends and your family to be there for your friend. Maybe you’d call a repairman in their stead.
Heck, you’d even cancel a date just to rush to a friend in need.
Now, of course, you know when a friend is clearly just using you and you know better than to humor them in that case. But this is why you are selective of who you consider as friends.
8) You’re genuinely happy when they succeed at something
The litmus test of genuine friendship is their reaction—not on your failures—but on your achievements.
Most friends are always there when you’re miserable…which is good. But once you share with them your latest achievements—from finding a wonderful S.O, to getting a promotion—some of them would not be able to look you in the eye.
Envy is something that’s 20 times stronger when it’s with someone close to you. So some of them, especially if you’re still under 30, would take your achievements as a personal attack. In their head, they’re thinking “What about me?”
But not you. It’s not because you’re mature enough not to feel envy. Rather your love for them overpowers your own selfish feelings.
9) You’d help them “bury a body”
You’re the ride or die kind of friend.
If a friend gets in trouble, you’d find a way to get them out of it—whatever that is.
Of course, you might not literally help bury a body (you probably don’t want to go to jail), but the point is that you’d do anything within your power to offer them help.
Sure, you’d still tell them off (and even hate them) for even doing something so stupid in the first place, but you’d never walk out on them because…well, you’re just that kind of friend!
You believe that once you’re friends, you should have each other’s backs til the end.
10) You know what they want even before they ask it
You’ve been around your friends for so long and gotten to know them so well that you can tell what they’re actually thinking.
One of your friends might tell you “I’m fine” with a smile, but you can tell from the way they hold themselves that, no—they aren’t fine.
When you feel that they’re struggling with their emotions, you don’t wait for them to ask you for a hug, you’ll be the first one to give it.
When you feel that they’re struggling with their exams, you order them their favorite snacks even if they didn’t ask for it.
You can sense what your friends are feeling and thinking, and that’s why you know how to make them feel loved. This makes you a keeper.
There’s no such thing as a perfect friend. We all have our flaws and our own sets of priorities that can make it impossible to become the bestest friend they always run to.
And you know what, you don’t have to be.
As long as you genuinely love your friends and you are willing to put in the work to make them feel supported, then you’re good.
So don’t feel guilty. I’m sure that when you ask your friends if you’re a good friend, they’d roll their eyes and say “Of course, you are!”