It’s true that your close friendships and relationships are a reflection of you, and more importantly the relationship you have with yourself. When you take a moment to decipher what it is you want from your friendships, it helps you attract and seek out those friendships that help you be the best version of yourself, whatever that may look like. Friendship oftentimes takes the backseat in our lives. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard my mother and aunts say that they simply “lost touch” with their friends over the years, or that “life gets in the way.” While growing apart is an inevitable part of life, maybe we should strive to not let being busy, meeting new romantic interests, distance, etc. prevent relationships from sticking?
Since I’m forever inspired by the topic of friendship and how important it is, I decided to do some crowd-sourcing and asked my followers (all 1800 of them) what qualities they look for in their friendships. The responses were so enlightening that I found myself rethinking what I look for in my own friendships–and it inspired me to create a Craigslist AD for Authentic, Meaningful Friendships. If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, give this a read and see how these correspond with your own ideas of what friendship looks like. Oh, and if you happen to fit any of these characteristics, hit us up on The Chill Times DM’s.
Hello All, I’m Currently Searching for….
A Friend Who Knows How To Be Supportive
- Finds productive ways to uplift you during a tough time (ex: helps you look through job listings after you’ve been fired).
- Has your favorite snacks and drinks readily available when you’re feeling blue.
- *Always* tags you in memes that keep you going through the workday
Life can be really freaking tough. As we get older, life gets more complicated and having genuine friends who can offer you support is the sign of a meaningful and well-intentioned friendship. Across the board, showing support and empathy seemed to be one of the most important aspects of friendship. We all love to know that there are people who aren’t afraid to help you through a tough time, without judgment or shame. Being able to cope with your own difficulties is important, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be open and honest with our close friends about the less-than-stellar aspects of our lives.
Asking for support and giving it back is part of the normal give-and-take in relationships. Not every friend will be able to support you in the way you need, so it’s important to realistically gauge if that friend can handle showing support and if not, then it’s important not to force it or expect too much from them. But when you see those initial signs of a supportive friend, take note of that and appreciate that they will be able to help out when you need it! And remember to always offer them that same support when they reach out to you.
A Friend Who Is Loyal (But Not Blindly!)
- Will stick up for you when the time comes.
- Will not be shady AF (this one is non-negotiable).
- Is the Kelly to your Beyoncé, the Abbi to your Ilana.
Kendrick and RiRi said it best: loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is worse than a friend who takes advantage of you and betrays your trust. If you’ve experienced that moment when a trusted confidante takes advantage of your trust, you’ll know that it, frankly, just sucks. When I think of my first experience with betrayal, I think of my fifth-grade best friend *Karen. Karen took the liberty of inviting our entire fifth-grade class to her birthday party. Everyone was invited…except for me. My 10-year-old heart was crushed. Her reasoning? I was lame because I was rocking Nike Air Force 1s, instead of the light up Skechers everyone else preferred. But jokes on Karen, because fast forward to 2016, and everyone’s rocking Air Force 1s! So basically, I was ahead of our time and she missed out.
Fashionable ’90s shoes aside— betrayal sucks whether you’re 10 years old or in your 50s. It’s only natural that loyalty is a common trait that people expect from their close friendships. Loyalty can be as simple as not bad-mouthing your friend in the presence of others (which unfortunately still occurs in adulthood), or sticking by them when they screw up. This does not mean you need to agree with their choice or make the same choice as them, but you can encourage them to learn and move on from their mistake. All in all, a loyal friend is one that wants to see you succeed and thrive! They are not secretly rooting for you to fall on your ass or envious of your success. No one has time to be second-guessing their friend’s intentions and constantly watching their backs. We’ve all got way too much other shit to worry about.
*It’s important to note that all friendships have limits and boundaries, and no friend should make you compromise your own values.☺ Blind loyalty helps no one.
A Friend Who Shows Up and Is Present
- Doesn’t obsessively check their phone during dinners and lunch dates (I’m 100 percent guilty of this, but improving!)
- When they say, “let’s grab lunch,” and mean it.
- Sends you a Google calendar invite when you make happy hour plans because we’re adults now!
Your time is valuable and you want to spend it with people who respect that. Taking the initiative to make plans and stick to them was an important trait that I found people value in their friendships. That being said—it’s completely normal and inevitable that a friend may need to cancel every now and then. Good friends will understand that sometimes life gets overwhelming, and sometimes a friend may truly not be able to make it for whatever reason–which is completely OK.
However, if you feel like you’re consistently get canceled on by a friend, refocus your efforts on those friends that have shown that they’ll stick to their word. Make use of your time (and your friend’s time) by spending it in a valuable and meaningful way. Showing up and honoring the plans you make with another person exhibits accountability and a mutual respect for both of your time. We all want to be around friends that can consistently show up when they say they will.
A Friend Who Brings the Good Vibes
- “Wanna stay in and watch Netflix instead?” “I thought you’d never ask!”
- Can simply sit and enjoy each other’s company.
- Knows how to make light of the little things when life gets too hard.
Only good vibes welcome here, thank you very much. There was a common theme of wanting friends who are genuinely pleasant to be around. Collectively, people expressed the desire for joy, similar humor, mutually shared interests, positivity, abstaining from gossip and drama, good listening skills, and above all, fun times. Friends who add something positive and light to your life will most likely have one or more of these qualities. To keep it plain and simple, these are friends you vibe with. Your ideas of fun are in sync, and there’s never too much pressure or unreasonable expectations to stress anyone out.
We want to be around people whose energy does not drain our own. Positive energy does not mean all your friends need to be the loudest, most outgoing people in the room. Good energy can be manifested in a multitude of ways, but it’s up to you to decipher what that means for you. For some, it’s going a few months without speaking but picking up right where you left off. For others, it’s sharing the same values and bonding over life goals. For me personally, when friends show support by reading my articles (hi friends!) and coming to important shows and work events, I take it as a sign that they’re a truly dope person to keep close. Find those people you inexplicably vibe with and let the good times roll.
A Friend Who Keeps it a Hundred
- Isn’t afraid to call you out on your BS when you’re gettin’ a little cray-cray.
- Will tell you when there’s spinach in your teeth.
- Talks you out of getting bangs.
This one is my personal favorite. Nothing is better than a friend who resorts to honesty and transparency and leaves all the bullshit on the back burner where it belongs. Those who responded to my Instagram call-out all valued honesty and transparency being at the forefront of their relationships. Being transparent and honest in your friendships eliminates the confusion, resentment, and hurt that occurs when people are being inauthentic and misleading with those around them. Ultimately, even if the friendship does not pan out the way you hope, or it’s best for you two to go separate ways when you approach the situation with honesty and compassion, then really respect and acceptance is all that’s left.
This could also apply to a friend that’s unafraid to tell it like it is. If there’s an issue between you two, they’ll bring it up. It won’t fester and linger for months and months until some out-of-the-blue friend break-up occurs. They present the issue at hand, seek to find a solution or improvement between the two of you, and then move on. Some call it tough love or brutal honesty, but really, it’s just not allowing fakeness to be present in the relationship. Sometimes this means a friend might need to have a difficult or uncomfortable conversation with you. But if it’s coming from someone who is well-intentioned, and wants the friendship to improve, then props to this friend.
This does not mean you should surround yourself with judgmental people who are constantly making commentary on your life and telling you to change, but rather a friend that isn’t afraid to tell you if they believe the friendship is being negatively impacted by a behavior. If you can sense that a friend is telling you something in order to save or strengthen the relationship, then having those tough conversations could be worth having.
*Name changed because I am not petty.
Feature image via Vanessa Granda