Even if you’re deeply involved in a romantic relationship, it’s important to maintain real platonic friendships with those you care about. No one wants to be the type of person that falls off the face of the planet as soon as they get a new boo!
Whether you are in a relationship or not, it’s important to maintain quality friendships in your life. Friends can act as a great sounding board and support system throughout your life. And will often be more constant than your romantic relationship, until you find THE one, that is. If you are in a relationship, it’s proven that maintaining friendships can actually benefit your relationship. Friendships are an important piece of self care that can add some balance into your life when you are in a serious romantic relationship. While friendships can be a source of support and joy in your life - not all friendships are good, healthy friendships. Just like you can have an unhealthy romantic relationship, you can have an unhealthy platonic relationship.
Unhealthy friendships are friendships that don’t provide you with love or support. They are friendships that drain you of energy or leave you feeling bad about yourself or insecure. These are not the type of friendships that you want to maintain or pursue, relationship or not. To avoid unhealthy friendship and prioritize fulfilling relationships, look out for these 15 signs that show that your friendship is the real deal:
1. They notice the little things
A true friend is someone who notices the little things. Whether it’s a different haircut (which is arguably not so little) or a pair of new shoes, you want your besties to notice and acknowledge when you change things up! This is more than the occasional compliment, it means that they are paying attention to you and that you are seen in the relationship. Noticing little changes (good and bad) show that your friend cares about you!
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2. They show up when it matters
One of the key differences between a real friend and other friends, is how they manage/help you manage difficult things in life. Real friends are able to step up for you during important, stressful, sad, difficult times when you need them the most. Showing up can look different for different people especially when you take into account how love languages affect how we show support, so be sure to keep an open mind when it comes to how your friends show up for you. It may not be in the way you expect, but that doesn’t make it any less significant.
3. They follow up
Real friends are people that are clued into your life. They are people that you share news with, good and bad, and people who follow up on this news. Real friends make time for you in their lives, and spend energy keeping up with what’s new in your life. If you tell a real friend about the possibility of a job promotion or an acceptance, they will follow up with you to see if it happened! And they will be by your side regardless of what the news is.
4. They’re dependable
A real friend is someone that you can rely on. You know that they will keep their plans with you. You know that you can rely on them to show up for you when you need it. Real friends are people that have proven they will show up for you in the past and will continue to do so because you are a priority to them.
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5. They always support you
Trying new things is hard, especially if you don’t have anyone to cheer you on! Real friends are people that support you as you try new things regardless of if you succeed or fail. Real friends understand the importance of testing your limits, trying new things, and pushing yourself which is why they support you no matter what. You want to avoid friendships in which people are overly critical or make fun of you for trying out new things!
6. They applaud your success
While your friends should be supportive of you through thick and thin, it’s especially important that they are by your side when you succeed. A true friend will be able to applaud you from the sideline and lift you up in your success. It is often hard to be your own cheerleader, especially if you are not used to bragging about yourself or promoting your successes to others. This is where bffs come in! A best friend should not only applaud your successed, but they should brag about you to the world.
7. They are not threatened by your success
While your friend is applauding your success, it’s important that they are not threatened by it. A true friend will be able to remove jealousy from the situation, and celebrate you for you! If your friend is threatened by your success, or if you feel as if you have to hide your success from your friend, then they are not a true friend.
8. They are self-sufficient
As important as it is to be able to rely on your friends (that is a key part of a real friendship), it’s also important that your friends don’t rely on you too much. In other words, it’s important that your friends are self-sufficient. True friends do not put all of their burdens on your shoulders. They understand that you have your own things on your plate and they respect your boundaries. If you want to be a true friend, you also need to be self aware and make sure that you are not relying too much on your friends. People have different boundaries when it comes to this, so it is often a good idea to talk about these kinds of boundaries.
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9. They make time for you
You should never have to fight for your friend’s time. True friends make time for you and prioritize hanging out with you over other less important things. No one can prioritize you at all times (and should not have to if you are self-sufficient), but true friends make an effort to see you and keep you in their lives. This is the case even if they do have a significant other in their life. And this is a standard you should also hold yourself to, even if you also have a significant other.
10. They keep their promises
Promises are important. Whether it’s a commitment to grab lunch sometime this week, or a bigger promise, real friends understand what promises mean and keep their promises to you. We recognize that sometimes things are out of our control and that it’s not always possible to keep every little promise, but when this is the case, real friends acknowledge the weight of a broken promise and work to make broken promises up to you.
11. They keep your secrets
True friends are people that you can trust with your secrets. You know that they will not share your secrets with anyone, and you don’t have to think twice about telling them gossip or how you really feel about certain situations or people.
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12. They understand you on a deep level
The thing that really separates friends from true friends, is whether or not they understand you on a deep level. When someone understands you on a deep level, you don’t have to explain yourself to them. They understand how you think and what you prioritize. They know how you will react to certain situations and know how to cheer you up when you are in a bad mood. True friends know your flaws and accept you for who you are, imperfections and all.
13. You don’t feel self-conscious around them
Along the same lines, you should be able to be yourself around your true friends and do not have to fear their judgement. True friends accept you for who you are, despite your quirks and annoying habits and don’t make you feel self conscious for just being yourself.
14. They tell the truth, even when it’s hard
We’ve all been in situations where it’s much easier to tell a white lie than to tell the truth. And while lying may be easier sometimes, especially if it means saving a person some embarrassment or heartache, it’s important that you surround yourself with true friends who will tell you the truth, even when it’s hard. True friends understand the value of honesty and will make the (sometimes) difficult decision of being honest so that you know the truth,
15. Being around them makes you feel happy, not drained
Like we said before, friendships should be uplifting. Friendships should be a source of joy in your life, that energize you in some way. If you feel drained by your friendships, or if your friendships are a source of stress in your life, then they are not the real deal. Being around your friends should make you happy, and if it doesn’t you may need to re-evaluate your boundaries or pursue friendships with people who have these 15 attributes.
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By Caitlin Killoren on Feb 28, 2021
With a degree in Psychology and over a decade of experience, Caitlin has made improving people's relationships both her career and her passion. Her work has been featured in publications like Bustle, Well + Good, and Goalcast, and she currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and giant fluffy dog, Remy.