Whether we’re happy or sad, or at our worst or best – our friends are the ones we always want to share those moments with. But from the acquaintances in your life to the people you meet every day, how does one go about recognizing true friends? Is it based on how long you’ve known someone? Or is it based on how well you connect? While we all have our own interpretations of what real friendship might look like, I've made some observations based on my own relationships on five simple ways to recognize a true friendship:

Practice presence.
Give 110% when a friend needs you. It’s not just about being physically present, but more about being emotionally and mentally available for someone. It goes beyond just the words or the advice you give – sometimes all someone else will want is to know that someone else cares and knows what they're going through.

Listening vs. venting.
We vent to our friends during moments where we’re highly inspired or when we’re just contemplating life and need a sounding board. But as every relationship is a two-way street, remember to give as much as you take. Be just as strong a listener as you are a ‘venter’ and avoid being too focused on your own problems.

An honest you = an honest them.
Honesty is the pillar of any true friendship. When you speak openly with your friends or extend yourself to them with genuine authenticity, you’re able to connect with them on a soulful level. In contrast, while you and your friend(s) might be close, remember that they are not mind readers. So there will be some days when you both are out of sync! And too often, problems arise because of what’s left unsaid between people. So always speak up and always do your best to communicate honestly.

Kindred spirits.
Over time, you’ll begin to realize that you and your friends have way more in common than meets the eye. You’ll eventually begin to read each others’ minds and just freakishly know their reactions inside and out. I like to call this level of friendship, where you've reached an almost telepathic connection, as finding a kindred spirit.

Humor.
Lastly, don’t take life so seriously. Make time to create memories with your friends! They’re the ones who will laugh at the most ridiculous things with you, at whatever hour, on whatever topic. So always remember that humor is the backbone of any relationship because your friends are likely the ones who know the best ways to make you laugh.

Look at the people in your life and be honest with yourself: allow yourself to let go of the toxic relationships and devote your energy toward the genuine ones instead. We all go through friendship losses and hiccups, but I truly believe that taking a conscious mental audit of your friendships from time to time allows you to better value those who are positively impacting your life and making it worthwhile. Life’s too grand to waste time on unhealthy friendships. Practicing these tips will not only make you a better friend, but help you to recognize who is being a better friend to you.

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Nikita Raja is a media professional by day who works in the entertainment marketing world. By night, she spends time by fueling her other passions such as film, the arts, writing, travel and food. She was born in Tanzania but raised in Canada and has insatiable wanderlust to explore. With her constant curiosity to learn and grow, she pursues writing, content creating on the side and is always looking for new projects to pursue.

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