True friendship is something we all aspire to have in our lives. You can’t place a price on friendship as the intervention of a friend can very well be the difference between success and failure or even between life and death. Of course the individual is very important. Nevertheless, there is only so much you can do in life without support from your friends, be it family, spouse, children or other friends you pick up on the course of daily life. So, being someone who has travelled a bit and had the good fortune of having some true friends, I will share my thoughts on what I consider true friendship. Here are ten questions I recommend asking yourself when wondering if a person is your true friend. This is by no means exhaustive and is subjective, but may serve as a decent guide.
1. How often does the person ask after you? If he or she checks up on you sufficiently frequently and consistently whether in person or via various social media, there is a good chance he or she is a friend. Otherwise, think twice. Of course, this is assuming you also make an effort to check up on the person.
2. How often does he or she keep his or her promises to you? Does he or she make conscientious effort to keep promises or does he or she frequently keep you hanging. A person who keeps promises likely values you as a person and is more likely to be your friend than someone who doesn’t.
3. How much time is he or she willing to take out to be with you? Try calling this person to hang out for drinks for example. Is he or she someone who usually enthusiastic about being around you for example, or does he or she seem adept at cooking up the most curious excuses for not attending. True friends take out time from their busy schedules to hang out with each other.
4. How willing is he or she to help you when you are in need? An old saying goes: A friend in need is a friend indeed. There are many friends who rejoice with you when things are rosy. They will praise you like no other when they have something to gain from you. No sooner do you get into trouble than they disappear rather inexplicably into thin air. So, is he or she someone you can call at twelve midnight should you have problems and expect to get moving? If so, you need no more proof that you have a true friend in him or her. Otherwise, think twice.
5. Does he or she caution you when you mess up? A true friend is not afraid to caution you or even tell you off when you go down a slippery slope. He or she is likely to be an adviser and confidant, quick to point out areas where they feel you are better off. So, here’s a simple experiment to try. Do something silly knowingly in the presence of this person. How likely is he or she to call your attention to it? If he or she frequently remains as silent as a mouse, then think twice.
6. Does he or she celebrate with you on events you find significant or on your achivements? A true friend is likely to remember your birthday for example. When you make that breakthrough in whatever field of endeavour you dabble into, who pops champagne with you and makes you feel really good about your achivement? You got it, true friends.
7. Is he or she keen to share insights with you that could better your life in some way? Someone who easily and freely gives you tips on things you can do to accomplish your goals even without asking is very likely your friend. Of course, not every insight a friend gives you will make you a millionaire or even be a good tip in the first place. However, you will usually know if he or she has good intent.
8. Does this person know where you live and has he or she cared to visit? Here is an experiment. Invite this person to your place for lunch on a weekend. What is he or she likely to say? The home is a very important place. It is a place where most people are most at ease in. We all know the cliché: There is no place like home. A person who is enthusiastic about visiting your home is likely a friend. He if or she on the other hand frequently cooks up excuses to not come, think twice.
9. Is he or she honest? Does he or she tell you things they way they are or does he or she try to sugar-coat things? A true friend is likely to let you know in no uncertain terms when he or she does not like something and otherwise. Watch out for consistent honesty in anyone you venture to call your true friend. If he or she lies to you with impunity, watch out!
10. How often does he or she invite you to celebrate his or her successes? When you succeed in that grand endeavour, first you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, right? Then you inform your family to rejoice with you if they are your friends, right? And after that you consider informing your true friends to rejoice with you, don’t you? So, when this person succeeds in his or her goals, if he or she invites you to celebrate, then he or she is very likely your friend, otherwise, you may want to reconsider.
That’s a wrap. If you have that special someone who satisfies several or all of the criteria above, then you very likely have a true friend. Cherish him or her every day and most importantly, be a true friend to others.