Good friendships are vitally important to our lives. They provide support, can help to keep us grounded and can cheer us up. We are often drawn to people who share similar common values and interests. That’s not to say that we’ll always agree with our friends or that we’ll all have the same hobbies and interests necessarily but there will be certain commonalities that bind us together.
Trust and loyalty are two other important facets when it comes to friendship. Good friends are those whom we should feel we can tell our deepest secrets to without having to worry about anyone else finding out. In fact, we can often reveal things to our friends which we might never consider sharing with members of our family.
Loyalty is equally important. Good friends will always stand up for us and be there in both good and bad times. It doesn’t necessarily mean that friends will always back us 100%. For example, a good friend should always feel comfortable about telling us if they feel we’ve done or said something which they don’t agree with and, as a good friend to them too, we should feel able to be accept any constructive criticism or advice in the spirit in which it’s being offered. True friendship also means being there for our friends in both good times and bad.
Gauging a True Friendship
Most of us will have friends who, both individually and collectively, mean something to us in our lives. Some of them will be friends whom we associate with collectively as a part of a larger group of people whilst others will be unique to us and they will remain a totally separate entity from the rest of our friendships.
However we choose our friends, the important thing is that they offer us some sense of meaning to our lives and, hopefully, vice versa. But how do you gauge a friendship? Well, there are certain fundamental questions that you should ask yourself when evaluating friendships. They include:
- Do you share any interests and do you have similar values and morals
- When you’re together, do you have fun and do you feel appreciated and connected
- Do you look forward to spending time with this person
- Has your friendship stood the test of time both through good times and bad
- Has any conflict or arguments with this friend been minimal
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of those questions, the chances are that you have a friend worth keeping.
How do I Recognise When a Friendship Isn’t Worth Saving?
You’ll all recognise the phrases “we just clicked straight away” or “we hit it off immediately” and you’ll all have certain friends whom you can say this about – i.e. people whom you were instantly drawn to the moment you first met who have then gone on to become good and long lasting friends.
Other friendships may be just as good but have been a lot slower to come to the boil. Therefore, you’ll all probably be able to relate to people whom you may not have particularly liked the first time you met or whom you gained a false impression about but, having got to know them better, they have still become true friends.
The important thing about friendships is that they don’t always occur instantly and you need to evaluate their potential over a period of time. Ways of identifying if a friendship is not worth saving include:
- Where a person is constantly swinging the conversation back towards themselves and has no interest in what you have to say
- Where a person simply uses you to vent their anger and frustration about their own lives
- Where a person’s life has become such a dramatic ‘soap opera’ that anytime you spend with them, you know it’s going to be emotionally draining and offer you very little fun
- Where a person is constantly either putting you down and/or criticising you in front of other people or in private
- Where a person is solely driven to compete with you
- Where a person betrays your trust
If you can relate to one or more of the above list, it might be time to evaluate whether or not that person is worth having in your life. Remember, friendships are there to enhance your life and bring true value and meaning to it, allowing you to gain a true sense of your own ‘place in the world’.