themighty logo

What Is a Friend, Anyway?


What is a friend, anyway? A friend is someone who understands you, and if they don’t, they try to. They want to know what you’re all about and what you need. A friend is somebody who is there for you when they can be, but also sets boundaries when they need to. Many things make someone a good friend, and the definition of what makes a true friendship differs from person to person. Here are some qualities that make someone a friend that you’ll want to keep in your life for a long time.

A friend is someone who tells you the truth

It’s not easy to tell the truth when the truth is harsh. Sometimes there isn’t a way to dance around a subject or placate somebody. Sometimes the truth is raw and real. There are moments when you need to say what needs to be said, and sometimes there’s no way to sugar coat things. A true friend will find a way to tell the truth no matter how hard it is because they don’t want to hide things from you or let there be the elephant in the room that’ll get in the way of your friendship. They care about you and want you to be well, so if they see that something’s hurting you, they’ll tell you. If they’re doing something that is hurting either or both of you, they’ll let you know, too. A true friend is in it for the long haul, and they’re willing to work through problems in a friendship so that that’ll be the case.

A friend is loyal

If you want to keep somebody in your life, you’re going to honor their feelings, and you’ll be loyal to them. So, if someone is talking behind their friends back, you’ll tell them. They won’t let it slide; they’ll say, “That person is my friend, and I’m not comfortable with this conversation,” or something similar. You’ll remain loyal to your friend, too. When you’re friends with somebody, it’s essential that you’ll have each other’s backs. It’s difficult to speak up sometimes when you’re in a situation where others are gossiping about your friend. It can feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to speak up for your friends. When your friend needs you, you’ll be there. We’ll get to that next!

A friend is there when you need them

It’s not always possible to be there for your friends all the time, but if they physically and emotionally can, your friend will be there for you. When you’re going through a hard time or having an emotional crisis, they will support you in whatever way they can. A friend will make an effort to be there. Maybe, you have no place to stay, and they offer you their couch as a place to sleep. That’s an example of being there. It’s important to note that not everyone will understand what you’re going through or how to help, but a friend will try. They’ll give you someone to talk to, try their best to be there, and show you that you’re not alone.

A friend sets boundaries

Co-dependency is not a healthy dynamic. A good friend knows how and when to set boundaries. One person can’t meet all of your needs because that is not a realistic expectation to place on someone. You need to be able to provide those needs to yourself sometimes, and it’s vital to have a support network rather than one single individual that you lean on consistently. It’s important to remember that people are human beings with their troubles and limitations. A friend will be there for you, but they’ll also be there to set boundaries. A friend will be honest when they can’t be there but show you that they still love you and care about your needs, even if they can’t provide them at the time. A real friend values your friendship, and they’ll make sure it’s a healthy relationship on both ends.

A friend makes an effort to understand

You might not always agree on things, but a friend will make an effort to understand your point of view. They won’t try to force their beliefs on you, and they’ll acknowledge that people are different. They know that not everyone will agree with them all the time. Friends make an effort to understand each other, and that’s what friendship is all about: meeting each other in the middle when it’s necessary and being by each other’s side in whatever way they can. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to maintain friendships or finding understanding within your friendships, a great place to talk about it is therapy. Online counseling is a convenient option if you want someone with an unbiased point of view to talk to about issues that you’re having with friends or friendships. Your online counselor cares and wants you to develop healthy relationships. Friendships can last forever if the effort is there, and that is valuable.