Do I Have Any True Friends – What is a True Friend

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2019)

It is good to have at least one friend who always has your back. Friends that believe in you no matter what and of course, they can trust you too. You may have asked yourself this question several times, “What is a true friend?” We all need friends and good quality ones at that, but sometimes we wonder whether we really do have them in our lives. If you are anything like me, you don’t like small talk and hate to spend time with those who don’t return the “love.”

So, what is the definition of a true friend?

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I believe that the real test of friendship occurs when you are at your worse. You may have lost your job or have separated from an organization, lost your house, money… pick one. Do these friends still hang out with you or even check in? Do they respond in the usual way when you are around or are they uncomfortable?

A Lesson on Why Loyalty and Trust Are Important

Hands clasp together-loyalty and trust are important

I was very disappointed some years ago when a companion of mine was accused of something quite serious. I watched in disbelief as some who I thought were close to them became convinced that they were guilty. To cut a long story short, our friend was vindicated but I wondered how those “friends” must have felt afterward.

In the end, I didn’t ask them nor did I encourage any discussion about the matter. I didn’t need to because I am sure they uncovered a valuable lesson here. Not everything has to be discussed and especially when the lesson is loud and clear. The proverbial “I told you so” doesn’t always have to be mentioned.

I never said a word of this to my friend either. Here are the reasons I chose not to;

  • We are all at different stages of maturity in the journey of life
  • People don’t always remain untrustworthy — People can mature and change if given the chance
  • It may have devastated my friend and destroyed their faith in friendship
  • They didn’t need that negative news at the time, but rather encouragement

Characteristics of a True Friendship

In a true friendship, friends have one another’s backs.

  • They know when to defend you if necessary because they understand how you would react in most situations. They have taken the time to get to know where you stand on issues (your values), so they’ll know when someone means you harm
  • Friends are there when you fail and there when you succeed. You are in good standing in their eyes throughout the various stages of life, win or lose; near or far
  • Tough times reveal true friends – sickness, lack, being accused of wrong, losing status, job, popularity…

Friends Are Happy for You, They Celebrate Your Accomplishments

True companions will genuinely be happy for you when you are ecstatic about something you have achieved. They will be glad when something good has happened to you, period. They will encourage you to aim for more and celebrate your accomplishment as though it has happened to them.

Someone Who Is Interested You Will Also Be Interested in Your Significant Others

When true friends are in the presence of your immediate family and others close to you, they will show themselves friendly. They will not only be interested in you but at times display a genuine interest in the things that concern you.

  • They will not see your children as pests or annoyances when you have to break the conversation to attend to their (your children’s) needs.

  • They will not selfishly “crave” your attention when you’re overwhelmed by your own challenges such as dealing with a family member or another friend’s illness. If there is a problem here, be careful.

Let me explain further. Years ago, we had a few friends who would want our undivided attention whenever they came to our house or we went to theirs. Our children and sometimes other friends became a problem for them. However, they were quite happy when we were unaccompanied.

After a group lunch once, one couple was even bold enough to say they thought they were our only “friends,” and that they wished it was just them.

On another occasion, a young couple wanted our little pride and joy of 2 years old at the time, to remain seated and quiet for 2 hours, while we played a “commercial free” game of the “mighty” Scrabble. Their annoyance at having to be “interrupted” by a little brat called our son, was eyeopening for us.

Friends Tell You When You Are Wrong, Even If They Feel Uncomfortable Doing It

Wouldn’t you want to be warned if you are about to turn up a one-way street, rather than risk your life and the lives of others in the process? Some may say, “let him/her learn from the experience, and experience is a great teacher…”

Isn’t it amazing how people love to use great, popular quotes out of context, rather than speak from a place of sincerity, affection, and concern? They often say, “well… they will soon see.”

That’s a mistake we sometimes use and it’s often used as a lazy and uncaring way to deal with situations we don’t want to confront. The rule of thumb here in dealing with friends is this. Would I do this? If the answer is no, then you are probably on to something there. Share, even if it’s just as a precautionary measure.

I know you may say advising people is a tricky thing and may cause them to be upset but this is what true friendship is made of. You must be willing to take a jab from a friend.

Show Empathy Not Sympathy. Friends Don’t Look the Other Way When You Need Help

They are some you can call at any time if there is an emergency or crisis, for example, your car has broken down, and they immediately arise and come to your assistance. They get the kids to school, whatever… If they can’t help, they try some other way. This is because they put themselves in your situation. They show empathy, not just sympathy.

Then, there are those that will sigh to the point that you are left with no other choice than to tell them not to bother… after which, to appease themselves they “poignantly” insist…”are you sure?” Knowing full well that you wouldn’t dare impose on their “kindness.” That’s clever reverse psychology, isn’t it?

True Friends Make You Feel Comfortable Sharing Your Problems

They are a support system for you and you are accountable to them. You run things by them when you need to, and they help point you in the right direction. There is no feeling of embarrassment because you have the test of time as your reference. They sometimes function as mentors.

“I Love You Just the Way You Are!”

That’s how they make you feel without saying it. You are not perfect by any means, yet they love you in spite of. They are not interested in your standing in society, whether you are ugly, handsome/beautiful, white, black, disabled, rich or poor. They remain your friend through thick and thin, the good, the bad, the “ugly” and the indifferent.

True Friends Are Concerned About Your Life

puzzle-friends are concerned about your life

The persons that I truly admire in my life, are the ones who have advised me whenever they thought I was making a mistake. Whether they were right or wrong is not what I am talking about here, but the effort to go out on a limb to say respectfully what they thought, meant and still means a lot. I truly have treasured those moments and often talk about them.

Some years ago, I made a major decision in my life and human nature being what it is, caused persons to react in different but mostly well-meaning ways. However, what stood out from that experience, were the few who called me aside to tell me that I was making a mistake. They painstakingly drilled me about whether I was sure. Friends or not, that says a lot and I respected them greatly for it.

I remember approaching a close buddy of mine once – who was head over heels for someone that wasn’t interested in him. I saw the “future” and the stress it was causing him, so I told him what I thought. He rebuked me… I found it funny, but I understood how he was feeling. I was the bearer of bad news, and he “resented” that, not me:) It all worked out in the end but not in his favor of course:-).

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We had a laugh about the whole thing when his emotions finally settled down. Today, he is the godfather of one of my sons, and he got married on my same wedding date in our honor (my wife and I).

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Friends Who We Are Not so Sure About

Our reaction to others who don’t act the way we expect them to must be sincere, in spite of. They are still our friends. Don’t despise them or drop them. Just understand that we are all different and may manifest kindness and other good qualities in other ways.

Their perspective of our situation may be completely different from ours, or they may have their own personal reasons for not acting the way you expect them to. It doesn’t matter! That person could very well be there for you someday.

Don’t rob them of the opportunity to grow and be there for you in the future. Just make sure that you are doing all that you can, to be a true friend to others. “A friend (when) in need is a friend indeed”

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend, who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24.”

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16 Replies to “Do I Have Any True Friends – What is a True Friend”

  1. Thanks for the thought provoking article. Isn’t it funny how we seem to make friends easily when we were young children. True friends are not easy to find, and when we do find them, it is good that we appreciate them and stick together through ups and downs. Your post is inspiring to me and reading through what you have listed on the characteristics of true friends, I am very glad and thankful to say that I do have true friends in my life today.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and to share such an interesting observation. We need to be as innocent and as forgiving as children in our relationships. It’s great to have true friends and I am glad for you.

      All the best!

  2. I have so many friends but as I was reading the characteristics, I was sieving through them with the points you gave, and I am quite surprised.

    Out of 23, I only identified 1 who had the qualities. This means I really have to sit down and seriously evaluate my life and friends.

    Thanks a lot for the advice.

    1. Hi Dave!

      Thanks for sharing.

      That’s an interesting observation. We all have people in our lives for different reasons. Some will stay, some will move on. We will also have some who will stick around for mutual engagement and support, but just remember to treat all of them the way you want to be treated. Be positive and offer them value and your best self. It will probably be reciprocated.

      If you do this, I am sure that you may be able to “squeeze” a bit more friend juice from some more:).

      All the best to you!

    1. Hi Deborah!
      Thanks for taking the time to read and share such an interesting perception. That’s certainly food for thought.

      I do believe that children, for the most part, can sense a good ‘soul.’ All evidence has certainly pointed to that in my experience. I can’t quite put my finger on it but children are pure and see things the way they are. They are not bogged down with trying to be politically correct, kind and understanding. They just flow in that unbridled innocence. 🙂
      All the best and much success!

  3. Hi, David

    It’s not easy to have true friends nowadays… What I really like in a friend is the ability to tell you things as they are and not sugar-coat them. Sometimes a verbal slap from someone who really cares about you can set you straight.
    And I’m glad I have a selected few true friends in my life.
    Thanks for a very interesting post 🙂

    1. Hi there, Marios! You are welcome! Thanks for taking the time to visit and to read this post. 

      A part of life is having true friends and you are quite right. Friends should be truthful to us and vice versa. That way we can only get better. 

  4. After all said and done, isn’t it self-explanatory why it is a general rule that our true friends for life can be counted on the few fingers of just one hand? I think majority will never experience what it is to have such a true friend, as we live in an day and age where we pretend and play roles while at the same time feeling vulnerable and not wanting to expose ourselves. Somehow we have concluded that acting like that constitutes a normal behavior. It is not. But it will take some time for this fallacy to change. So until the general consciousness about friendship and relationship changes, I will follow just one advice, from a long time mentor of mine. If you don’t have friends, make sure you become best friend with just one person – yourself! Doing just that makes all the difference in the world!

    1. Hi Sinisa!

      Very well said…You have hit the nail on the head. Ok:). Thanks for adding value to this post. You have triggered and confirmed a few things for me that I am in the process of building on. Love the ending but wouldn’t it be sweeter to be the change that we want to see in others and become the best friend to at least one person in spite of?

      All the best and bountiful success to you in all your endeavors!!


  5. Hi David,
    It is true that our friends will not behave in ways we expect at all times. I call this the variety of life. God has created all of us with differences and if we expect others to conform to what we want, then this is not friendship but control. We must accept others for who they are, recognising that we are different flowers in a big beautiful garden. Can you imagine a garden with all roses or forget-me-nots? Just the thought repulses me. Variety is the spice of life and this well-known saying should be accepted in friendships, too.

    1. Hi Sharon. Thank you for taking the time to read, fellow writer. I love the garden analogy and what you say is true.

      People are different and we have to appreciate the value that each friendship may bring to our lives. We must also understand that while there are different types of friendships/people, ultimately, the strength and the essence of friendship lies in this defining factor… a mutual agreement to share, love, respect, to be concerned, and to be there for each other. Its boundaries must be defined by these principles for it to be set apart from casual relationships. What say you:-)

  6. What a lovely post and the loveliest of front pictures.   In the world of social media, the value of “true friends” is so important.  That’s a very though provoking list of the characteristics of a true friendship, including interest in your partner and children.  I think you have summed it up well – True Friends Are Concerned About Your Life.Thank you for your great article, it has motivated me to build on my friendships as I’ve let some slide.  They are so important and I appreciate your advice and perspectives – many eye openers here!

  7. In my experience we have to accept our friends letting us down sometimes. If they’re loyal and long term, they’ve usually had to put up with us at times : the same way as we accompany our friends’ difficult times. I like the way this post unfolds like a meditation on freindship.

    1. Hi Fraser!

      I agree with you. They have had to put up with us too – at some point right?.

      We are not all the same and we shouldn’t expect that people will function in the same way we do. Friends are not perfect and they will indeed let us down sometimes. It comes with being human 🙂 but we do need to know that someone has our back no matter what. I believe the important thing here is to know who – and this is revealed in time. We must accept our friends for who they are. Some will be near in times of need and some will meet halfway.

      Thanks for sharing, Fraser. All the best and more.

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