Popular online encyclopedia referencing site Wikipedia defines a ‘best friend’ as “someone (singular) with whom one shares the strongest possible kind of friendship.”
Well… What is friendship?
Wikipedia defines ‘friendship’ as “a relationship and concern between individuals and provides positive emotional support.”
Note. “…Positive emotional support.”
Now the question is… Are you getting that from your friends?
I’ve always considered friendships (romantic relationships too!) to be something that’s supposed to be an enhancement to your life. So when making new friends and continuing the relationships I’ve had with current friends, I always make sure that there are a few needs being met mutually on both sides to ensure that the effort of the friendship won’t be pointless, because face it. Some friendships take work. And you should never waste your time on someone who clearly doesn’t deserve it. That’s pretty much the point of me writing this. Some of you need a hint. So here it is!
(There’s a but!)
You kind of have to do all of this secretly. Handle your scandal, if you will. Like a quiet, solo-assessment of your friendship situations.
Why? You ask.
Because no one likes drama and NO ONE likes to be fronted.
Conduct your assessment, keep the worthy, and drop the unworthy. It’s that simple.
The truth is, real friendships aren’t supposed to be complicated, Mean Girls-style back stabbing dramatic smack downs. That shit’s on a movie screen for a reason.
You shouldn’t have people in your life who act like they like you to your face but secretly loathe you behind your back. That’s unhealthy, insincere, and unproductive towards your personal development.
It’s an unfortunate hand we’re dealt with that we will all (at one point) have to deal with these kinds of people in our lives, but never forget your personal choice to save yourself from calling a fake person your ‘friend’, let alone your ‘best friend’.
The first thing you should really look for in any friend or possible best friend is…
Good communication skills.
I’m not talking about the basics. A good friend can go a little further than the average Joe. If you have an issue with your friend, you should be able to bring it up to them, without worrying that the friendship is going to end. Whatever the situation, both parties should be able to come to a positive conclusion without it resulting in a dramatic ordeal. Of course, that depends on the situation. But still, all parties should be willing to talk. Period.
If the people in your life can easily disconnect from you in the face of confrontation, drop them immediately. If your friend is willing to communicate, that effort should be considered.
Which brings me to the next thing you should look for in a worthy friend…
This is one of the most important aspects of a friendship. No relationship in your life should be one-sided. Especially one that’s meant to be an enhancement to your life. If you find yourself always being the one calling, texting, or making plans with someone, stop now and find a friend who will reciprocate. The person that didn’t show any effort doesn’t deserve yours and will (hopefully) see that after you’re long gone.
In my opinion, you can’t have loyalty without effort. Which brings me to one of the most important aspects a true friend can posses…
Loyalty and trust.
Loyalty is everything. Trust is everything. The two go hand in hand. You do not have a good friend if they’re not loyal or trustworthy. If you can’t trust the people in your life with secrets, short-comings, or even your good news, let them go immediately.
People that are loyal and trustworthy seem to be the hardest to come by because it’s extremely hard to unmask the true intentions of the people in our lives. The only way to decipher the agendas of other people in your life is through the process of evaluation.
Review your case files.
Communication, effort, loyalty, trust, fact checking… If you can mentally scan your history with someone to predominately positive results, they are (most likely) worth keeping in your life. If evaluating your history with someone results in predominately negative memories and feelings, it might be time for a change or disconnect.
With lying and being non-loyal, one strike should immediately count someone out. I am too busy to waste my time on people who clearly don’t deserve it. I’m also not fond of second chances, so I don’t offer many. If you give a second chance to someone who has wronged you once, it then becomes your own fault when it happens again. And with liars and the non-loyal, it most likely will happen again.
Never forget that.
The next thing you should look for in a friend is…
Do you have fun when you’re with a particular friend or do they always seem to bring you down?
Are you learning anything useful from the company you keep?
Start asking yourself these questions. They are important.
I personally keep an incredibly diverse group of friends. I have rich friends, poor friends, slutty friends, virginal friends, calm friends, dramatic friends… You name it. I don’t judge people, know that I am not better than any other human, and will be the first to want you in my life if you’re appealing. I’ve always been this way.
However. You must be an enhancement to my life to stay in it.
If you lack ambition, always seem negative, are naturally jealous, passive-aggressive, or a one-trick-pony, you won’t be around me long.
The thing is, you should only keep people around you that inspire and propel you to want better for yourself. The minute a person is contributing to the opposite is the moment they are no longer suitable in your life. As cool as some of those bad friends may appear outwardly, they are toxic and will slowly poison your shine, which should be uncompromisable. Recognize the people in your life that are like this, before it’s too late, and do yourself a favor.
Anyone who does not want what’s best for you is not someone you should call a friend. End of story.
That’s why another thing you should look for in a friend is…
Good friends are hard to find. Supportive friends? Even harder.
As someone trying to make a name for themselves in the industry, I’ve always had a hard time finding supportive friends. People will act supportive of you until they get jealous of your success. To me, that’s bullshit. If you are a true friend, you’ll see my success as our success and be happy about it.
I’ve always thought that the reason good things happen to me is because I only wish for good things to happen to others. To be any other way is dangerous. If you can’t be genuinely happy for other people, who’s going to be happy for you?
Another kind of support you should be receiving from a friend is that of the emotional kind. I’m not saying that you should use your friends as a therapist. Lord knows I ignore the types who expect that of me! But if you’re having a bad day or simply need someone to talk to, you should be able to rely on your friends. Especially if you’re there for them. People are busy, so you shouldn’t expect your friend’s world to stop the minute you call them to vent. However, If they’re a good friend and show effort, they’ll get back to you to offer their support. That’s simply what good friends do.
When someone in your life (that you consider a friend) acts like they don’t care to be bothered by your good or bad news, they probably don’t. Let them go and find someone who does.
The last thing you should look for in a friend is…
People are so naturally dramatic and emotional nowadays that I easily fall for the ones I see that aren’t. If you can approach situations (and people) in your life in a calm and mature manor, you will save yourself a lot unnecessary stress and drama. That’s why people who possess maturity are the best friends you can make.
Maturity will most likely lead to a person naturally exuding good communication, effort, loyalty, trust, inspiration, and support. A lack of maturity will most likely lead to the opposite. It’s extremely important to make sure you know the difference and keep mature company, people who will think before reacting.
Immature, loose-cannon types, are the worst to keep around if you aren’t into self-destruction. Remember that.
If you find yourself surrounded by people who thoughtlessly react, or create unnecessary drama, let them do so without playing a willing victim. You will only help yourself by letting the immature go.
See the signs and never be a victim of a bad friendship.
Nothing about a friendship should be unreasonable. If you already have someone in your life that fits all of the characteristics listed above, congratulations! You’re lucky and your friend is a rarity. A rarity you shouldn’t be picky about. If a person in your life exudes all of these qualities but isn’t popular, cool, or fashion-savvy, they’re still a rare, good friend and should be regarded as such. Never discard a (potential) good friend in the name of shallowness.
You can’t deny that good communication skills, effort, loyalty, trust, inspiration, support, and maturity, sum up the properties of a good friend. Unless you yourself are a bad friend and can’t relate, these qualities are already easy to recognize in the favorite people who currently participate in your life.
Look for these properties in all of the relationships in your life and decide who’s worth keeping or ditching, based on past experiences. By assessing the value of the company you keep, and acting accordingly, you can only save and propel yourself and your life.
Also, know the difference between a “friend” and “best-friend” because every friend is not your best…
(decipher your level of friendship with others by using the diagram above)
Once you privately categorize the people in your life, it’s mentally freeing.
You wouldn’t hold the same expectations of an acquaintance that you do of your best friend. That doesn’t mean that people can’t graduate to higher categories. I’m just recommending that you should use the tools I’ve provided to determine if they’re worthy of being in your life in the first place, before then making that decision.
You may take my advice and be saddened by what you realize about the people in your life. Or you might discover that you had already been secretly filtering out the unnecessary, all along.
Regardless, if you don’t have any friends that exude any of these qualities, you at least have me. I am a good friend, as long as you’re willing to be one to me as well. And Isn’t that how all good relationships work?