Everybody wants to have friends. Having friends raises our self-esteem, but not having friends can make us feel inferior. However, once you meet a potential friend, you want to be sure you can create a beneficial relationship. How do we distinguish a friend that helps us, from a friend that drags us down? Keep reading to find out.
See Also: Why Friends Make You More Productive
1. What Is A Friend?
A real friend is one who:
- Respects you - They should not ridicule you or talk behind your back. A friend will never intentionally hurt your or screw you over.
- Is concerned about your personal welfare - In an emergency type of situation, they feel obligated to help you out if they can.
- Has a common interest or chemistry – You share a common interest and enjoy each other’s company, as well as have mutual feelings about almost everything.
2. Maintaining a Friendship
Finding a friend is easy, keeping one is not. Not only must you find someone you “click with”, but also one who will treat you with respect. Hence, both of you should be fair to one another, or this relationship can end. As the saying goes, “A friend is made by many acts but lost by one.”
3. How a Friend Can Help You
A friend can help you in many ways because he/she can:
- Give you a sense of dignity – Knowing that this person is your friend makes you feel better about yourself.
- Supplement your interests/hobbies – If you both enjoy doing a particular thing, your friend can teach you things or lead you to resources on this subject. For example, if you both love gardening, you can exchange plant-growing tips, share a set of gardening tools, or go to gardening classes together.
- Provide social support – In times of loneliness, sadness, or depression, a friend understands your feelings and will try to cheer you up. When stressed out, they will reduce the tension you feel. Thus, you can share with them what’s bothering you, and they can empathize with your feelings.
- Help you reach your goals - Whatever you wish to accomplish, they can assist you and give you tips. So, if you want to lose 20 pounds, you both can work out together and create an ideal weight-loss diet.
- Help you in times of need - If you need help in everyday situations or emergencies, they are willing to provide it. They can be a designated driver at the bar or pick you up when you unexpectedly need a ride.
- Provide additional resources – For example, if you are unemployed, they can give you job leads, or if you are planning a vacation, they can suggest places to visit, etc.
4. How a Friend Can Drag You Down
Sometimes a friend can do more harm than good, even unintentionally. Even a good friend can:
- Steer you in the wrong direction - Although they mean well, they can give you misinformation, bad advice, or poor recommendations. As humans, we sometimes become biased or concoct inappropriate solutions to problems.
- Become a bad influence - Even good friends develop bad habits such as compulsive shopping, gambling, partying, gossiping, etc. If you spend a lot of time with them, you may find yourself doing the same.
- Become a burden – Often people become ill, develop mental or physical disorders, or form addictions. If you deeply care about this person, you’ll be willing to do anything to help them out, but if you’re not careful, they can put your life in turmoil.
Again, finding friends is easy. However, keeping them is like a delicate balancing act. If your friend is a loyal, caring, and fair person, they can certainly help you. However, if you’re not careful when dealing with this person, they can lead you towards trouble. Therefore, it is best to monitor your friendship and use good judgment at all times.
Do you have a friend that constantly keeps dragging you down? If so, how do you stop them from doing that? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.