Have you ever wondered if the friendships you have are genuine? A true friend isn’t just someone who says yes to every coffee catch up, or the one who sends you cupcakes on every birthday. According to psychiatrist Robert Rowney, there are certain habits that genuine friends possess, which make them more like family. Linda Prescott reveals these in 6 Signs That You Have A Genuine Friendship.

#1 They Make an Effort to Be in Your Life.

Sometimes life can get in the way and we might end up being more unavailable. But unlike regular friends, genuine friends actually don’t let life interrupt the relationship. In fact, they will make the effort to make you part of their lives. It could be a phone call, a drop in or even a dinner if it’s been a long while. Genuine friends make each other a priority, they make an effort to stay in your life.
Try this: If you have a good friend and treasure the relationship, try penciling in a dinner or even a nice lunch so you can catch up and strengthen the bond you already have.

#2 They Really Listen.

You know those people who always turn the topic back to themselves no matter how many times you tried to have a conversation? Well, unfortunately, they might not be your true friends because conversations with real friends aren’t one-sided. According to listening expert Paul Sacco, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, the basic key to a balanced conversation is actively paying attention to the other person. You can only have a genuine friendship if you can listen to each other, because listening validates each other’s feelings.

#3 They Call Your BS.

Look, no one is perfect. We all have flaws. But real friends not only see your good side, they can also help you spot your flaws and point them out mindfully so you can be accountable. Although they call you out, but it’s not in away that puts you down or insults you. It’s a gentle honesty, that helps you see things about yourself that you could improve. A real friendship is also not the same as superficial friendships where they won’t say anything that may upset you, even if you’re in the wrong. A genuine friend is someone you can trust to be real with you when others might not be.

#4 They Don’t Stress Us Out.

If every time you bump into someone, you’re stressed out, that’s not a good sign. A genuine friend doesn’t stress you out. In fact, it’s the complete opposite, their presence alone can calm us down. A visiting psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Bella DePaulo, notes that a friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member. So imagine what a genuine friendship can do!

#5 They Have Your Back.

Close friends will always break the bad news to you even when it’s something you would rather not hear. Say for example, your friend accidentally spotted your partner getting romantic with someone that’s not you…they will tell you. Or if your child behaved significantly bad while you were not present, they will tell you, because the intention is to support you. Whilst acquaintances turn their heads away when unpleasant things happen, genuine friends always step up and take the initiative. According to certified psychiatrist Robert Rowney, “Honesty isn’t always an easy thing, but it’s important to your bond. Swallowing that pill and being the best friend you can by being open with them always works out better.”

#6 They Practice Forgiveness.

No matter how tight a friendship is, how close you are, we can all make bad judgement calls, but the difference between a so-so relationship and a genuine one is forgiveness. Author and producer of Project Happiness Randy Taran says that genuine friendships know how to weather the storm. “When conflicts come up, real friends have the courage to reach out directly, rather than gossiping and letting irritations grow. Real friends understand, and because they understand, they are capable of forgiving.”

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