The older I get, the more I’ve come to value my friends. But more than anything, I’ve started to understand what a healthy, good friendship actually looks like. It’s definitely not like high school where quantity rather than quality seemed to be more important. Having several groups of friends or tons of people to call up on a Friday night is no longer the priority—surrounding myself with people who genuinely care about me is. And of course, I want to provide the same kind of friendship in return.
But what really makes a friendship healthy? After giving the topic some serious thought over the last few years, here are five traits I think sum up a healthy friendship and why each one of them is necessary to keep that friendship thriving.
1. Equal communication
Being in a friendship where you feel like you’re the only one who cares or the person always trying to set up plans just to be canceled on yet again starts to wear on a person after a while. In my experience, communication is the foundation of any relationship—friendly and romantic. Without both people contributing equally on this front, resentment is bound to creep in, which only breeds negativity.
As I get older and start to view all relationships a little bit differently, I’ve realized how important it is to surround myself with mature people. Not only do mature folks tend to have a broader perspective and more understanding, but their behavior gives me something to look up to. Because unfortunately we all kind of become the people we hang out with in some way or another and learning how to handle tough situations in a mature and eloquent way is definitely a habit I want to build on in my life.
3. Common interests
After college, I started to see the people I spent the most time with, I didn’t have very many common interests with. The only thing holding us together was the fact that we’d known each since we were kids. And after a while, that just isn’t quite enough to maintain and grow a friendship. Spending time with people who share similar hobbies and interests can make all the difference when gauging the health of your friendships. In fact, I have found that when I started meeting people with the same interests as me, the rest of the things on this list came very easily.
4. Supportive attitudes
Being supportive of someone you’re friends with goes hand-in-hand with maturity. For example, if they achieve a goal you’re also working toward or if they’re making more money at their job than you. These are times when it’s very easy to let jealousy slip in and dictate our attitudes—even towards those we love. In a truly healthy friendship, I believe these are the moments to feel inspired by our friends. After all, what are friends for if not to inspire us?
Last, but certainly not least, trustworthiness. This one should go without saying, but it can be a tough thing to accept when someone you thought was a friend has betrayed you. We all need people to confide in and if you show this kindness to others, you’ll likely receive it in return.