What is true friendship?

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Friendship is defined as “a relationship of mutual affection between two people.”

While this sounds simple on the surface, friendship can be quite complicated. While true friendship is rare and should be cherished and appreciated, false friends are rather toxic and should be avoided. However, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a real and a fake friendship. Different people seek out friendships with others for different reasons. Sometimes common interests are the motivating factors. In other cases, money, power, and other influences may prompt others to form friendships. In most cases, true friendships tend to stand the test of time, while false friendships eventually dissolve or end in unpleasant ways.

In all honesty, making the difference between a real and a fake friendship can take time. However, we will try to explain to you the set of traits that usually coincide with a true friendship.


True friends usually show empathy for each other. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another human being. In simple terms, empathy is putting yourself in another person’s shoes and understanding their point of view. True friends will always show empathy, especially in times of need. This may include offering moral support in times of need or even just listening to a friend who is going through something. A person who seeks to befriend others for impure motives will likely have difficulty showing empathy. This is indicative of insincerity at best and sociopathy or psychopathy at worst.


Like empathy, trustworthiness is another telltale sign of a true friend. It is true that it is not always easy to know whether or not a person is honest when a friendship first develops. However, time will eventually tell. The more time you spend with someone, the more you get to know them. It becomes easier to spot the little things and observe patterns of behavior. A trustworthy friend will not gossip about matters that have been confided to him in confidence. Nor will he or she lie or misrepresent facts to get something he or she wants or to satisfy ulterior motives. There is no basis for a friendship without trust.

Mutual respect

In any true friendship, there is always mutual respect. Even if the two parties don’t always agree, it’s the admiration of the person that makes the difference. Even the best andmost sincere friends will sometimes have disagreements. Just as friends often have common interests and similar hobbies, there are almost always differences of opinion from time to time. A person’s respect, or lack thereof, for their friend often determines how they behave when opposing viewpoints collide with each other. A person who lacks respect is more likely to insult and lash out. Conversely, friends who respect each other usually listen to each other, even if they eventually agree to disagree.

A closer look at true friendship

Empathy, trust, and mutual respect are primary aspects of true friendship. However, true alliances are deeper than just qualities. They consist of actions, explains Power of Positivity. How a person acts when they see someone win, lose, succeed or fail speaks volumes about the sincerity and authenticity of the friendship. True friends will stay through the good times and the bad; they will not feel secret resentment when they see the person they love succeed. In addition, a true friend will speak up and try to offer help when they see someone going down a dangerous path.

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Believe it or not, one’s instincts or inner feelings about a person also play a role in friendship. Most people can innately sense that a person is not what he or she seems. He or she may be the best suitor in the world, but if something is wrong, that feeling should be taken into account. When you are in the company of real friends, you feel comfortable. Frequently unpleasant emotions in the company of a specific person are almost always a sign of a problem. Countless studies have proven the harmful effects of being in bad company. Choose wisely.

Do not be possessive

Allowing other friendships and relationships is another sign of a true friend. Although possessiveness is more common in unhealthy romances, some people demand that their loved ones be their only friend. While this may seem harmless at first, possessiveness is anything but. The fact is, healthy friendships are a part of life. Sane and confident people will not feel compelled to isolate their friends from others.It is normal to connect and form friendships with more than one person; anyone who thinks differently should be approached with great caution, if not avoided. Sometimes prevention is better than cure.

True friendship and interactions with others

The way we behave with people we consider friends or loved ones is very telling.

There are a shocking amount of individuals who do not realize this. For whatever reason, whether it’s ego, naivety, etc., people tend to see themselves as exceptions to the rule. This view is rarely as accurate as most of us would like.

A person who gossips, spreads rumors, or complains about friends in their absence is likely to replicate this behavior in all friendships. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s very likely. Time has a way of revealing a person’s true colors and intentions. Chances are, if he says bad things about one of his friends when you are present, he will probably say bad things about you when you are not. Some complaints or expressions of displeasure are genuine. Some are even valid. Whether or not they feel part of a true or false friendship is up to each individual.

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The gaze of others is an excellent strategy for determining a friend’s sincerity. Outside perceptions from the right sources can also make a difference. Sometimes you can be too close to someone or something to objectively notice things or evaluate situations. Fortunately, the presence of family members or other friends can make a big difference. These people can pick up on body language, behaviors and their intuition to draw conclusions.

However, it is critical to note that outside perceptions are not always infallible. Family members and other friends can be biased in their assessment of others for a plethora of reasons. While outside input from others can be helpful, it should not be used as a sole means of determining a friend’s sincerity. As with observing how a friend treats other human beings, deciding what to do with outside input is ultimately a judgment call.

You attract what you are

Many people in this world apparently attract toxic people into their lives. It may be a friend with hidden agendas, a narcissistic friend, or someone whose intentions are impure. In any case, one of the most common reactions to consistently negative relationships is to question why they exist. Unfortunately, this is something each person must discover and evaluate for themselves; however, the following information will likely prove beneficial.

Each person attracts who they are.

This does not mean that people attract their alters, but that they attract individuals and friendships that in some way coincide with their deepest beliefs.For example, a confident, self-assured, and self-satisfied person is likely to attract friends who support and encourage them. Positive, happy people are not immune to negative friendships, but they are much less likely to do so.

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On the other hand, people with low self-esteem, unresolved issues, and a lack of self-confidence are much more likely to attract negative friendships. This often creates a vicious cycle, as a person’s dating habits have a direct impact on how they view themselves and the world. A person who is used to being in toxic and insincere friendships and relationships is well advised to do some introspection. Improving your perspective and self-perception can make a big difference. As the old adage goes, your vibration attracts your tribe.

One last word

Talking with a counselor or therapist can really help people who are trying to determine whether or not they are part of a true friendship. Professional help can also provide assistance to people who are looking to form healthy friendships with others. Empathy, trust and mutual respect should always be part of the equation. A healthy connection with other human beings is what ultimately leads to true friendships.

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