YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME: Four Ways to Know if Your Friend is a True Friend
by Helena Nikitopoulos
Contributing Writer Helena Nikitopoulos is a fourth year English student at Western University with a passion for writing. Follow her on Instagram: @helenawrites and @helenanfitness
Losing a friend is a lot like losing a part of yourself. Every ex-friend resembles a part of you at a certain stage in your life. While one friend resembles your childhood, another represents your adulthood, each teaching you a lesson about yourself and who deserves to stay in your life. Although it was probably easier to lose a friend when you were a child, as you merely disagreed over who can run the fastest or who can paint the best picture, losing a friend at any moment in life is a loss either way. As finding out someone’s intentions is always difficult, I have compiled four helpful tips on how to know if your friend is in your life for the right reasons.
1. They must accept you for YOU!
Rather than try to turn you into something you’re not, they accept your flaws just as they do with your strengths. You should never feel like you’re not enough or that you’re being judged for being yourself. Instead, you should always feel accepted and loved in their presence. Someone who makes fun of you for being yourself doesn’t deserve to be in your life. You are beautiful inside and out and no one should ever make you feel unworthy!
2. Make sure your friend is putting in the same amount of effort as you are
If you feel that a friend of yours is not putting in enough of the effort, ask yourself why. Are there some external or internal factors contributing to her distanced behaviour? If not, maybe question whether they are a true friend who enjoys spending time with you. How do you feel around them? Do you feel happy or like something is missing? A good friend should always make you feel valid and important so if you find that your friend is not treating you with the same amount of love or making enough time for you as you do with them, perhaps this friend is not in the friendship for the right reasons.
3. They forgive you when you make a mistake
There is no worse feeling than making your friend upset. Rather than beat yourself up for it, apologize. True friends should always understand where you are coming from and never take anything too personally as they know your heart. Rather than hold grudges from your previous behaviour, they should learn to forgive you.
4. Pay attention to how they make you feel
I used to hold on to friends – even the ones who didn’t want to be held onto – in order to fill this void in my life. I didn’t want to risk being alone so I would do everything to keep them as a friend, even if that meant losing myself along the way. What I realized is that friends should never make you feel insecure or upset but bring out your best self. So, if you find yourself more miserable around certain people, take a break from them. While being alone may make you feel lonely, there is nothing worse than filling the void with those who bring you down.
What we don’t know – or rather what we often find out too late – is that we must let go of the friends who are not good for us in order to learn from them. While your childhood friends taught you how it’s important to share and care for others, your high school friend taught you how to let go of your insecurities and believe in yourself. In your adulthood, your old friends taught you how to mature while still taking risks to better yourself. All of your past friendships have taught you important lessons along the way. They are the colour pallet that makes up your self-portrait. So, in a way you really haven’t lost anything but gained important insight to carry with you throughout your future friendships. Perhaps the greatest lesson of them all is realizing that the loss of a friend is the universe’s way of protecting you; telling you that you deserve someone who loves all of you.