After the launch of Facebook in 2004, the definition of a friend has slowly changed from a person with whom you share a bond of mutual affection into someone who passively likes a Facebook status or photo. According to a study done in 2016, only about 4 out of our hundreds of Facebook friends are “true” friends.
True friendships are essential to our social wellness and bring positive diversity into our lives. Friends come from different backgrounds and experiences and can speak into our lives in a way that our families may not. Friends are also voluntary; we choose whom we invite into our personal lives, which gives us extreme freedom and mutual relationships.
But this begs the question: what makes someone a true friend?
3 Characteristics of a True Friend
The first, and somewhat obvious, characteristic of a true friend is compatibility. We have similarities with our friends and share common interests. As C.S. Lewis explains, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’” Eventually shared similarities and interests create an avenue for the next two characteristics to grow and take root in a friendship.
Some say a true friendship is tested when life goes array. What happens when you experience hardships, like losing a parent or depression creeping into your life? A true friend would continue to be with you in that hardship and offer support when needed. Commitment also involves mutual trust and loyalty to one another.
Finally, a deep care and love for one another defines a true friendship. Compassion can reveal itself in many forms, like making time to be with your friend, giving him or her a thoughtful gift or simply listening to your friend’s woes and wins. Compassion involves sacrifice and empathy.
Everyone needs true friends in their lives, can you think of someone you would call a true friend?