An old saying goes, “Surround yourself with the people you want to be like.” Successful people want to surround themselves with successful people. Optimists like to be around optimists. How can you tell if you’re hanging around with the right group of friends for you? Here are 15 signs that you are surrounded by good friends who care about you and not just what you can do for them!
A good friend can tell when you need an ear, or just to take the floor for a few minutes and talk something out. More importantly still, they help you determine where you have good, solid, actionable ideas and where they think you’re a little off base.
Good friends take the time to ask about your life, your interests, and your opinions. They also take the time to be there when you need them, and want to help you be the best person you can be.
There’s nothing wrong with blowing off a little steam, celebrating a milestone, or just making an event happen “because.” A group of friends who are really in tune with your needs know exactly when and how to party without taking it to extremes or getting you involved with anything illegal or uncomfortable.
Even the best party has to end eventually, and good friends can tell when it’s time to leave. If someone’s getting drunk and belligerent, or you’ve been yawning for the last half hour, they will understand it’s time to call it a night and leave gracefully.
You may not always agree with what your friends say or their perceptions of a situation. However, they’re always thinking of what’s best for you in the long run. This can be a tricky line to walk, and sometimes you have an obligation to ignore the advice of others. Nevertheless, a good friend will be less worried about sparing your feelings than looking out for you.
Even when you do something your friends don’t agree with, if they’re really good friends, they will support whatever you decide to do, within reason. They may not agree or like what you’re doing, like moving across the country to snag a good-paying job, but they’ll be there with the pizza and beer while you load up the truck!
Good friends don’t lie. (Except on rare occasions of the “Does this dress make me look fat?” sort. Those kinds of lies don’t count, because they are intended to spare your feelings.) When the chips are down and you really need to be told the truth, your friends may hate it…but they’ll do it. This applies in situations like when your friends tell you maybe you’re partying a little too much or working too hard. If they tell you something like this, they’re speaking from the heart. You owe it to them and your friendship to listen.
A good friend cares about the people close to them. If they don’t hear from you periodically, they pick up the phone or even send an email. “Dude, where you at? Everything okay?” This doesn’t mean they constantly worry about you, because sometimes people get sick or busy and life happens. But they do take the time to let you know they’re thinking about you.
Sometimes you just want (or need) to be left alone. Work assignments, homework, or relationship woes can all leave you feeling like you just need a little downtime to work out your situation. A good friend understands and respects this. They’ll make it clear that they’re available if and when you need them, but they also understand that everyone needs alone time once in a while. Conversely, they also know you well enough to say, “Enough’s enough!” and drag you out of the house by your hair if necessary!
A good friendship doesn’t come with a balance sheet. While you should always try to give as good as you get from your friends, that doesn’t mean you or they should feel obligated every single time. The point of a friendship is to be there as much as you can, when you can, to the fullest extent you can. Sometimes that means Jim picks up the beer, while you bring the pretzels. Sometimes Josh throws the party and you pitch in with the cleanup. Sooner or later in a good friendship, the books will balance naturally and intuitively, without either side having to do anything except be themselves.
Let’s put some rules on “anytime.” This does not mean three in the morning, unless someone is dead! Within reason, however, and during the hours when you KNOW they’ll be awake, you can call and say, “Hey…you got a few minutes? I need an ear.” If they say, “Not now, but let me call you back,” then respect that. If they’re willing to sacrifice time to help you out, it’s only fair that they should be able to do it on their schedule, especially for those who have “real jobs.”
Part of being a good friend is being available, and this applies just as much to you as it does your friends. A friend who feels like you’re available for them when needed is more likely to be there for you when you need them!
Milestones deserve to be celebrated, and misery loves company. A good friend will congratulate you on your accomplishments and achievements without letting you rest on your laurels. Similarly, a good friend won’t let you wallow in self-pity when things go a little sideways. A good friend will celebrate or commiserate with you as appropriate, always asking the question, “So what’s next?”
We all wear masks and put on a show in our public lives, whether we choose to admit it or not. A good friend sees beyond the mask or the front and looks at the real person behind them. You can tell a good friend because they’re not afraid to call you out on your front, but they still want to be around you even when what’s behind it isn’t always the nicest, kindest, or best person. A good friend inspires you to be and do better than you are, but cares for you because of who and what you are.
No one likes to hear it when they screw up. That’s just human nature. However, a true friend is able to tell you you’re making a mistake without making a federal case of it. People who love you and support you even when they don’t necessarily agree with you are the kind of friends that are worth keeping, no matter where life takes you.
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