Signs Of Healthy Friendships

Friends Who Are In a Good Place

Every once in a while it's helpful to see if your friendship is as healthy as it can be. You might get used to a friendship over time to the point where you don't see the areas for improvement. And since great friendships are priceless, you should always surround yourself with the kind of people who will lift your spirits, make you laugh, and remind you that you are loved.

Is your friendship as healthy as it can be? Here are traits that strong friendships share.

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Good Friends Are Real and Honest With Each Other

Two couples having a drink & chatting
Photodisc//Getty Images

Friends make you feel comfortable with yourself, so you don't need to act like something you're not. Your friends know your shortcomings and love you anyway. You are perhaps the "best version" of yourself when you're with your friend.

Compare this to a toxic relationship, where you don't feel like you can be yourself or where you feel the need to compete with a friend. With an unhealthy friendship, you know instinctively that something is "off" even when you're not quite sure what it is. 

A healthy friendship includes plenty of gentle honesty and not people being fake just to get your approval or avoid an argument. In a positive friendship, your pal won't lie to you, but they won't try and hurt your feelings either. As a result, you'll know where you stand with your friend and won't be afraid to share your true opinions.

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Good friends know how to argue in a way that doesn't derail their friendship. Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

One of the biggest misconceptions about good friends is that they never fight. But let's face it, everyone fights. Arguing isn't unhealthy. In fact, voicing your opinions freely will cause you to disagree from time to time and that's okay. 

Great friends want their relationship to be solid, which means they aren't afraid to talk through disagreements. They argue with the intent of coming to a compromise in their friendship, which may mean that they agree to disagree sometimes. As a result of honest communication, healthy friendships won't let underlying tension or negativity linger very long. They address issues, forgive, and move on. More »

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Healthy Friendships Mean You Can Be Friends With Someone Else, Too

There are some things friends should never bond over.
There are some things friends should never bond over. Layland Masuda/Getty Images

Even if you have the best BFF imaginable, it doesn't hurt to expand your social circle. That's why great friends will nurture your relationship yet still encourage you to meet people and try new things without them.

A healthy friendship means that sometimes the two of you spend time apart, and that's okay. Because your friend helps you be a strong version of yourself, you feel free to establish your own identity. This means sometimes you'll spend time with your best friend and other times you'll be on your own doing other things. 

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They Trust Each Other

Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have kept their friendship strong for three decades. Jemal Countess/Getty Images

A healthy friendship has a large degree of trust. Just look at a friendship like the one between Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King. Gayle could probably share a lot of details about Oprah but she doesn't because the trust level between the two is high.

Trust means that you feel comfortable sharing your feelings or the details of your life because you know your friend won't gossip behind your back or throw it back in your face.

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There Is a Healthy Respect of Boundaries

Friends Who Are Opposites
Setting boundaries is a healthy thing in friendships. Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Healthy friendships "feel" right to both parties involved. This means that one person isn't longing for more time together, acting clingy, or feeling ignored. Good friends know where the boundaries are that will make them both feel comfortable and safe. 

Sometimes these boundaries are openly discussed and other times it's just a natural extension of the friendship. A friendship like this may take some time to develop until there is a balance that works so both people can settle in to the relationship.

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There Is a Lot of Nurturing in a Healthy Friendship

Female Friends Enjoying an Afternoon
Nurturing a friendship means that you give it the proper attention. Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images

Any relationship worth having takes work, but that doesn't mean it has to be difficult. Spending time on the friendship in a variety of ways (cards, time together, phone calls, Facebook) can help keep it a priority for both individuals involved. While good friends don't need to spend time together constantly, they do think of each other regularly and take time to nurture their relationship.