We have had many friend growing up, seesh, I know I have.

We begin our life journey with school. From K-12 grade we play and fight with children who become either future best friends, childhood friends or ex-friends.

The real world is not discovered until you mature and bloom into an adult. This can happen early on, or in your late 20s. I know personally, I have a group of friends that I grew up with that I do not speak to but a few that I keep in touch with.

I learned that true friends stay when you are at worst. You know they are true friends when they are still there after your break down, a break-up or divorce, after losing a job and even after a tragedy. In that difficult moment, when you really need someone, a true friend is there to support you.

But along the way you ask yourself “how do you know whether a friend is a “true friend” or a “genuine person”?

Here is what I discovered:

 

1. True friends push us to be ourselves

A few years ago I struggled with insecurity. It was one of the worst  experiences to deal with. I was insecure about my career, which led me to be insecure about my future.

I felt so blind. All I could see was the negativity I allowed myself to believe. It wasn’t until I did what any friend would do, I confided in two friends. One of them I consider one of my best friends forever.

She taught me how to be patient. She spoke positive and kindness to me, especially when I was so brutal to myself. She took her time and sat down making plans with me, on how to reach my goals.

And let me tell you, those goals came true. They came to pass in my career. It was a hard season, but I got through it because of her strength and encouragement.

True friends lift you up when you are down or not in a great mood. I had a friend that I grew up from fourth grade to my freshman year of high school. I moved from my hometown to Los Angeles when my father relocated for his job, at the age of 15. I lost connection with my best friend until I went digging in an old address book for her contact information. Funny to think how back then you had to have an address book.

In that old middle school address book,  I found my friend’s name, home address and landline. I gave her a ring and her grandmother picked up and since then we were inseparable. We remained best friends and I visited her up north as often as I could.

One summer we had a fallout. I was struggling with some personal issues. That was the moment when I needed a “true friend” to lift me up and push me to be my best because I was trying.

True friends help you feel goof about yourself and help boost your self esteem, especially in times where you are in distress.

 

2. True friends listen

Have you ever needed a friend to just listen to what you are going through? Some days I find myself in the need of a friend who can help me get through a rough time. A special friend who will genuinely listen, and who can offer guidance and encouragement.

Having a true friend comes with great communication skills. Great communication skills consist of your friend listening and sometimes that means not saying anything, just having a shoulder to cry.

 

3. True friends keep us in check

No one is perfect. You can not have a perfect friend because we all have flaws. But a good friend helps keep us in check and calls us out when we are in the wrong. Real friends respectfully let you know when you are out of line. Or when we might make a mistake, like, that drunk text to your ex. Ha. Ha. Ha.

 

4. True friends are always there for you emotionally, if not physically

Whether you are in need of a friend to telephone, or a quick catch up when your schedules match up, true friends are always there for you with their full attention.

I remember an old college friend that was ALWAYS the life of the party. We would text all day and see each other often, as we had many classes together. Then one day I broke up with my boyfriend and was super emotional and needed a friend. That was the moment when I needed someone the most. Not to bash on him, or to tell me how much he sucked, but to be there for me.

So I did what any friend did, and asked if she could meet up. She made some lame excuse up and the rest is history.

Now, do not get me wrong, not all friends can be there for you right when you need them the most, but friends that go out of their way just to have your full attention, now those are true and genuine friends.

 

5. True friends stand up for you when other pick on you

Friends do not let friends get picked on, no matter what shape or size the person be. Ever! True friends always stand up for you. Whether it is a guy being a total jerk at the bar, your friends stand their ground and defend you like a real woman.

Or in other instances running into an old friend…

Acquaintance: “Did you hear your best friend Mary and her husband are separating?”

Friend: “Honey, has your mother never taught you to spread nasty rumors?”

…. BAMMMM!

 

6. True friends are honest

Honesty, one of the most important fundamental qualities a true friend could have. No one wants to be lied to, but even if you are not being lied to, a friend will always be honest when asked for an opinion… Like Fashion, for example!

I had an old colleague I worked with and she asked me for my opinion, as a fashion stylist, on an outfit she was planning on wearing to a party. She showed me the outfit and I was NOT keen on it. I did not scold her for her bold and unfashionable taste, but instead gave her another option.

Friends look to each other for honest answers, even if their ego can be busted. With a respectful and grace, always be honest with your friends.

 

7. True friends makes you want to be a better human

A true friend helps you become a better human by influencing you in a positive way.

“A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else” Len Wein.

Be sure to always surround yourself with friends that are always caring for your future, self image and your well being.

So in conclusion, a true friend will love you, cherish you, look up to you and want the best for you. If you have friends that do not go above and beyond for you, as you would for them, then you might want to reconsider who you allow in your life and how much power they have over you.