A wise man (Confucius? Plato? Homer Simpson?) once said, “a good friend will help you move; a great friend will help you move a body.” There’s a lot to unpack in that statement, but putting aside any notions of potential criminal activity, there’s an underlying theme: everyone needs friends. In fact, if you want to bring science into it, several studies show that people who form deep friendships can better manage stress, and have stronger immune systems and longer life spans.
Of course, cultivating deep, long-lasting friendships isn’t always easy. Just like anything worthwhile, it takes work. That way, whether it’s lifting your spirits or lifting that *ahem* other thing, you’ve got someone who’s got your back. Here are nine signs of a deep and long-lasting friendship.
1. You’re able to show your true self.
Real and lasting friendships require authenticity. It is difficult to form connections if you put walls up around you. By being vulnerable and be genuine, you invite others to do the same.
2. It’s easy to stick to your words.
Being unreliable and not keeping promises wears out a friend’s trust. But that’s not a problem for you in this friendship. Long-lasting friendships require trust. You nourish that trust is by staying true to your words and promises.
3. You’ve got trust and loyalty.
Every relationship will go through challenges. During rough patches, you exhaust all efforts to remain faithful to your friendship. You never talk behind your friend’s back and always keep your shared secrets safe.
4. You embrace differences.
One of the requirements for keeping long-lasting friendships is acceptance. You acknowledge and respect your friend’s values, preferences, and opinions and by doing so, you encourage authenticity, openness, and recognition for who they are.
5. You set aside time to go on ‘dates’.
While technology has offered ways to virtually connect with friends anytime, nothing beats meeting friends in the real world. In your friendship, you find time to go on ‘dates’ when it is convenient for all parties.
6. Being thoughtful and considerate comes easily.
It is natural to think and feel for your friend. You like to do something nice or offer help, especially during trying times. Through your actions, you want to show them how much you appreciate their friendship.
7. You’re flexible and allow varying intensities of friendship.
There is life outside of friendships. You avoid using the guilt card to keep your friends close and understand that people have different priorities—and friends should not have to compete with these priorities.
8. You are your friend’s mirror.
You and your friend enrich each other’s lives by shining a spotlight on each of your great qualities and by offering constructive feedback, when appropriate. It is good to have someone around you who sees your strengths but are not afraid to point out your areas for improvement. Honesty is essential for long-lasting friendships.
9. You are a source of positive energy.
Everybody wants to be around fun and upbeat. You bring that cheerful, can-do attitude to the table. In truth, fun and happy memories are great foundations for long-lasting friendships.
Long-lasting friendships don’t just happen over time—meaningful connections require time and effort. When you have a friend you trust and can show your authentic self to—plus all the other characteristics mentioned here—it’s a friendship that lasts a lifetime.