We know that we hear a lot about romantic relationships – after all, they have a big impact on our wellbeing and life satisfaction. That said, our platonic friendships – whether this is work friends, a group of friends from school or college, or that one best friend and confidante – are also important – since this is where we get a lot of our support and trusted advice – no matter what is going on in our personal life.
That said, even these platonic relationships can be tricky at times – as our lives change, and the dynamics shift between friends, some friendships may not survive the upheaval. We’re very fortunate if we have friends that allow us to be authentic and honest – and that accept that we’ll change through our lives, as will they. Here are five signs that your friendship is the real deal, and likely to last the distance:
- They show up when it matters – we’ve all heard of fair-weather friends – the ones who are only around when things are going well. Friends who show up in the bad times too – when you might not be the most fun, or when you need practical help (e.g. if you’re sick, moving, or going through a tough break-up) – are the real deal – and can put aside their own needs temporarily to show you support.
- They’re dependable – Friends who are somewhat flaky or who cancel at the last minute can pose a challenge – after all, the message they are sending is that perhaps your time is less important than theirs. Of course, everyone goes through tough patches in their lives, and sometimes we do need to cancel or reschedule things with friends – but if this is a regular pattern, it may be a sign that they are not high on your priority list – even if they expect reliability from you.
- They’re not threatened by your success – We’ve all heard of the ‘frenemy’ right – the friend who you may also have a rivalry with, or who you don’t necessarily trust. Some friendships can be soured by one (or both people) not adjusting well to changes in the dynamic – whether this is if one person experiences success at work or takes steps towards happiness in their personal life. It’s normal to be a bit envious when others have a win – but if you sense that this is moving towards bitterness and one-upmanship, it might be time for a direct conversation.
- They keep your secrets – We love gossip as much as the next person – but if a friend has a tendency to share personal information about you, or talk about your behind your back, this may not be a great sign. They may struggle with over-sharing – which is their issue – but if you don’t feel like you can trust your friend in this way, it is going to be a challenge going forwards.
- You feel good being around them – One of the best measures of a friendship is how it makes you feel. Even though we all have off days (or months), where we’re a bit flat or stressed, you should generally feel good spending time with your friends. If you leave your catchup feeling stressed, anxious or drained – this might be a sign that not all is well with the friendship. Whether this is that it is one sided (i.e., you playing therapist while they talk about their issue), or that there is competitiveness or jealousy – see if you can reflect on this and name it once and for all – so you can move forwards in a better space.
As we know, our friendships can have as much impact on our health, wellbeing and life satisfaction as our romantic relationships – even if they are less of a focus at times. Relationship skills are worth cultivating and learning – after all, showing up for those around us is important, and friendships and social support can make a huge difference to our stress levels and happiness in life. Relish has a huge library of resources on how to improve relationships through communication and self-awareness – and right now you can access a 7-day free trial where you can speak with a Relationship Coach for personalised advice. It makes a lot of sense to invest time into your relationships – whatever they look like – so try Relish today!