And they are not as obvious as you might think.

A quick chat with a good friend in a moment of despair and hopelessness may feel like drinking up a strong painkiller when suffering a migraine attack. It almost instantly makes all the pain go away so one can take a breath and keep going for a little while longer. At the same time, good friends are hardly as easy to come by as off-the-counter medicine. People we have in our lives may harbor the best intentions and still end up following their own self-serving agenda when dealing with our struggles. Which is only natural to human beings. We often call these people friends but they’re not those we would phone up at 4 a.m. asking for help or share stuff with that we’re embarrassed to even admit to ourselves.

A good friend doesn’t lie to your face, they don’t betray you when you need them most, they don’t laugh at your dreams, they don’t steal from you, and they don’t belittle you. There are other — more subtle, perhaps — ways one can inadvertently hurt the other, though. What makes a real friend truly unique is that they would never do these three things:


No matter how well they know you as a person, a good friend is at all times aware of the following: Nobody knows the whole story behind your choices and decisions. Nobody.

Only you know yourself the most. Only you can judge your own life.

The bestest of friends accept you, love you, and respect you as you are. Even in your weakest moments. Even when you act irrationally. Even if it seems that you’ve gone completely insane.


When they don’t agree with your ideas or actions, they don’t try to impose their beliefs on you, they don’t manipulate you into accepting their truth, or even worse, they don’t change their opinion about you.

A good friend knows that while their point of view matters, it’s not the only one. They are open to constructive discussion and they are humble enough to embrace disagreement.


When you share your problems and sorrows, it’s very tempting for the other person to jump in with their well-meant advice on what you should do or consider doing in a certain situation. And yet, all you need most of the time is simply to be heard and understood.

A good friend is always ready to listen with an open heart and makes you feel comfortable, supported, and cared for. Without prejudice, without judgment, without uninvited interference. They know that when the time is right, the request for help will come and they will be more than willing to be there for you.

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