By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Are your friends really good for you?
Some friends are positive factors in your life. Other people, you are calling friends are destructive. We all need people in our lives but how do you tell which of these folk you should keep as friends and which should be demoted to the “acquaintance” category?
Friends are those people who you can turn to when you are down. The ones you think will hold your secrets. Acquaintances are those people you can talk to about sports or the latest show on T. V. but do not feel comfortable telling them things they might use later on to hurt you.
An old but true saying goes “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” For better or worse we become more like our friends over time. Pick your friends wisely.
Here are some characteristics to look for in friends that will enrich your life, not pull you down.
1. Friends build you up not tear you down.
There are some people in your life that it just feels good to be around. They are positive people, and they are positive about you.
Negative people tear you down in order to make themselves feel better. Hang with those who want you to succeed not those who expect you to fail.
2. Friends want the best for you.
If that supposed friend is backbiting, spreading rumors or competing with you, cut them loose. Some people are too jealous to enjoy seeing you succeed.
A true friend will be happy for you when good things happen in your life. True friends are not jealous.
3. Friends accept you as you are.
True friends know about your flaws and like you anyway. They should care enough to tell you the truth when you mess up but they should also like you anyway.
You do not have to pretend to be someone or something you are not in order to keep their friendship.
If a friend insists you look a certain way, attend a certain function or spend money on specific things to fit in with their crowd, – beware.
4. They don’t insist you change if they are to remain your friend.
Friends want you to grow and change. They do not ask for the changes because they think there is something wrong with you, they love you for who you are after all. They do want to see you grow and develop because they see that you have so many possibilities that they what to see you succeed.
Friends who insist that you conform to their standards to be with them are all about themselves and not about you.
5. You are happy around them.
Good friendship makes you feel good. If it hurts to be around someone, if seeing them always brings you down, take another look at this relationship.
Friends are a source of joy. You should feel at ease around a good friend not feel that you are constantly being judged.
6. Friends bring out the best in you.
There is just something about having a good friend that makes you want to do more, be more and results in you being the best you can be. Your friend should be encouraging you to greater accomplishments. They should not be pulling you down.
If that person is holding you back – they are not a friend.
7. Friends are supportive of you.
Friends are there when you need them. They support you in the tough times as well as the good ones. If you only see someone when times are going well they are “fair weather friends” the kind that has no substance when the storms of life occur.
Pick friends who support you, come what may.
8. You like the same things.
Friendships customarily develop around shared activities and interests. It is possible to be friends with someone who likes or believes different things than you do. But not having any common interests makes for some difficult choices. If you find that you are both sharing things that help both of you grow and develop this is helpful. But if you find that you need to give up your interest and beliefs to be around this other person, question this friendship.
9. You share common goals and values.
If your friend is all about shopping and having the latest things and you are determined to save and be frugal this friendship is headed for trouble.
Divergent views of right and wrong can undermine your values.
Sure you can hang out with a drug addict and not use, but is that really enjoyable or are you giving up having a friend to be their rescuer?
10. You are headed in the same direction.
Where are you going in your life?
Do you what to be a good parent and this friend wants to stay young and party? Are you serious about your career, relationship or recovery? Does this other person respect your values and support them or are they always trying to get you to go along with them in things that do not align with your goals?
11. Friends are happy when you succeed.
Does this person get happy for you when you succeed? Or are they jealous and undermine you? True friends revel in their friend’s accomplishments and offer you recognition for what you do well.
Take a look at these characteristics of real true friends. If the ones you have measure up, be thankful. If your friendships are less than they should be work on improving those friendships. But some people you have been calling friends may not belong on that list. Sometimes there are people in our life we need to let go of.
Consider taking an inventory of your friendships today and decide what you need to do to be rich in friendships.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.