7 Things to Look For in an Amazing Friendship

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I have several friends who I’m proud to say that together we have an amazing friendship. I met them when I was still growing and trying to figure out who I was and they really guided me on the right path.

They’re the friends who are incredibly different from everyone else I’ve ever come across and most likely more so than those I will eventually meet as well.

The ones I can sit with at a coffee shop and just talk about philosophy or passion. The ones with the heavenly bond, match made in Heaven. The ones I can be as crazy as I want and they’d still be there to smile with me because they’re the ones who taught me how to be happy. Where would I be today without them?

Most have those special people in their lives who seem to bring the out the best in them. These types of people are near and dear to you and they make you want to commit 100% to your friendship, even those that are platonic and non-discriminatory of gender.

Maybe you’re looking for these friendships or seeking out more than the ones you already have.

Here are several ways to identify these amazing friendships so you can cherish them.

1. You are always learning from their friendship and vice-versa

You are learning from them in so many subtle ways that it’s mind blowing once you take a moment to step back and look. They improve you as a person, they give you valuable advice, and they provide honest feedback that makes you become the person you want to be. You also learn how to be yourself around them.

This relationship works both ways; the truly amazing friendship are two-sided in which you reciprocate and provide value to your friend. Just as they are your teacher, you are theirs.

2. You empathize on a whole different level

Empathy is very important and it is necessary to maintain a solid framework for a working relationship (even platonic ones.) However, in this special sort of relationship, it’s just not just empathy that you feel but there is a whole new level of emotional investment on your part.

You desperately wish for them to succeed in everything they do. It hurts you when they’re sad and you just want them to keep moving forward. It’s good to have these feelings for all of your friends and family, but this relationship is more. You invest in them without expecting anything in return.

3. You look to emulate them

Everything they do amazes you. It seems like they have this magnetic force among them when you are spending time together which just puts you in your most content mindset.

There are things they do or say, or perhaps even how they act that makes you wonder if it is possible for you to follow in their footsteps. You notice subtle features no one else does and run it through your head for whether or not it suits you because you want to be just like them.

4. You care more about their opinion than anyone else’s

Being sure not to completely idolize and only focus on this person, you still seek his or her insight first before consulting anyone else. If you’ve got their golden stamp of approval, you feel confident in your choices and will jump with both feet in.

You don’t doubt their advice and openly question it expecting a good explanation.

5. You are proud to be seen with them

Similar to dating the perfect physically attractive person, you are proud to walk around wherever with them. There is almost a social status attached to them in your mind and you want the world to see it. You aren’t ashamed of their presence and you’d gladly introduce them to a group of friends you already know, if you were ever to run into them by chance.

This almost ties in with wanting to emulate them because perhaps you find them to be well dressed, which you want to be perceived as being well put together too.

There are definitely people who have a certain charm about them that is only enhanced by the way they present themselves physically. Take no shame in admiration of their physical appearance, because they are just as proud to be seen with you as you are with them.

6. They raise you up as you are at your lowest

It is almost as if it is their power and their power alone to bring you up from the depths of dreadful despair. They know exactly how you work and can draw from their own memory of times when you’ve had it worse. Without missing a beat, they rush to your aid as soon as it is needed.

It’s as if they are the light at the end of a dark path that you want to reach for; however, they are already headed your way to pull you up. It’s as if they’re The Doctor and there’s the TARDIS materializing to take you away from your darkest fears.

7. You love them

Yes, even in the most platonic and non-romantically involved way, you love them with all your heart and you feel the love in return. For men, they call it “bromance”, as for other people, it is simply a loving friendship that gives and receives. It is as simple as that.

Hopefully after reading this, some of you may realize how fortunate you are if you have something like this.

As for those who have yet to experience such a joy, please use this as a guide to find those who are just waiting to better your life. Perhaps there is a friendship you are in that is just waiting to blossom into a beautiful dream.  No shame in actively seeking an amazing friendship, the best kind of friendship.

Check out How to Be a Good Friend (And Signs to Avoid Being a Bad One)

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. After landing his dream job with Empire Flippers, he dropped out of college and began living a location independent lifestyle (still always drawn to coffee shops though.) Don't worry, he still publishes every Monday and hasn't missed a single week since starting this site in January 2013.

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24 responses to 7 Things to Look For in an Amazing Friendship

  1. What a marvelous site and post, Vincent. My wife is the only person in my life right now that meets all 7 criteria. And I do know how extremely fortunate I am to have her. I am having fun and more success than I imagined, however, in finding extraordinary people online that are consistently exceeding my expectations. Looking forward to more of you thought-provoking posts!

    • Hi, CJ! Thanks for the kind words. It’s a great thing to be able to connect with people who share similar interests and values even if it is through online. There’s not many people who are into the self-improvement theme in my life so it’s usually through this blog that I can communicate these ideas. In fact, not very many people in my real life know about this site. I’m happy for your happiness and success and hope that it only increases as you go along. :) Thanks for stopping by, CJ.

  2. Wow, Vincent. I am so glad you stopped over and now here I am enjoying your writing. Delightful! I have to agree with your family on your About Me page – you do have a way with words. It is so pleasant to read and sprinkled throughout with great reflections and humor which is so refreshing these days.

    I love your point in number one – that you are always learning from them. There are a few people in my life who I am excited to see because of this reason. I love hearing of the books they’re reading, the observations they’re making, and being introduced to new ways of thinking and being.

    We recently opened ourselves up to the blogging world. Before September 2012, I had no idea how to get to a blog that my friend hadn’t sent me directly! Now I am enjoying this community of people who are really supporting each other in an effort to make this world a better place.

    • Hello, Tammy! I’m delighted that you enjoy my writing! I’ve had doubts before about whether or not I’m doing a good job, but there have been doors opening for me that prove I’m on the right track at least. I try my best to add my own voice into the writing and bleed honesty, so I think that is what makes it work. :)

      Learning, learning, learning. That is always the most important thing and great friends always have something to teach. I find that these teachers are the friends who are most interesting simply because there is always a conversation to be had. I love being challenged and what better way than by being introduced to new ways of thinking?

      That’s exciting, isn’t it? I started very recently myself! It’s like you go from one day being completely clueless of the inner workings of an online community into a sort of “guru” where you’d be able to explain it to a kid if you wanted to. It’s a wonderful experience and I think if you’re persistent about it then it only gets better as you go along. Thanks, Tammy!

  3. Relationships are so important to have. I have been blessed to have people in my life through both the good and difficult seasons of life. I have found true relationships/friendships are people who lift and support us. Great post man!

    • Thanks, Dan! Having great friends through difficult seasons are just as important as during the good ones. You want to be able to celebrate with the right people because they are the ones that motivate to to achieve even greater things.

  4. That is a beautiful post on friendship. As I grow older, my number of TRUE friends dwindles, but the QUALITY has increased several-fold. My time with friends is truly something that I treasure. What a great topic, Vincent. Thank you.

  5. I fully agree with your definition of friendship. While reading your post, I recollected lots of situations in which my friends saved me from boredom, terrible mistakes or even from myself. An amazing and very inspiring share

  6. Vincent, I just stumbled upon a thread on Oprah’s site asking, “When Did You Realize She Was Your Best Friend”?

    I wrote this and am now sharing it here:

    I was using “Google” just now using a variety of key phrases: “the realization of friendship” and the “serendipity of friendship” hours after spending time with my best friend.

    We met as coworkers and associated as such. We never spent anytime together, alone, just getting to know one another. She was, however, the closest friend, in my mind, I had in this town – where I was new, and she wasn’t. Although, she was just a coworker, and in my mind, temporal and an acquaintance at best.

    Then, something happened. She, along with her husband, decided to move away. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the car, driving home from the going away party, crying uncontrollably and swimming in heartache. I spent weeks internalizing and analyzing this visceral response and praying to God to shed some light on it. At random moments throughout the day, I had little, mini-epiphanies. Nearly every instance I needed protection, advice, counsel, a laugh, or genuine friendship – she popped up in my head as I looked back.

    So, one Thursday in July 2012, I sat down to write a letter. My thought was I loved this person in the most loyal and genuine way and was welling with gratitude our journeys gave us a chance to meet. I pursued the friendship with an elevated serendipitous importance and with the understanding I may not hear anything at all. I was wrong and the response gave me the greatest affirmation of what I knew to be true: she would be my best friend.

    Since then, our friendship has turned into a life-fulfilling relationship of the most amazing kind.

    It’s one where empathy exceeds my own expectations, and it’s mutual, and the desire and want to celebrate quality time is known. I want her to succeed, be happy, and experience joy and am joyful alongside her when she does, and equally frustrated and down when the opposite is true. There’s a mutual fondness where we both have stated the other inspires us to be a better person. It really doesn’t get better than that.

    • Hi Anne, thank you for thinking of me and this article when you came across that thread.

      Sometimes we don’t realize certain friendships are so important to us until after they’re gone. I know that feeling as well, but it’s something that really goes along with that whole cliche of “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

      Bob Reynolds, in another article discussion, mentioned his realization that he was sad to be leaving his friends, but in that moment of sadness found that if he were not sad then that would be rather depressing. That feeling of sadness shows that what you had was great and worth cherishing.

      I’m very glad you realized the value of that relationship and actively pursued it to make it grow even as she moved away. It’s amazing that you wrote a heartfelt letter directly to her just to express your love; that is beautiful.

      Your last points sound a lot like point number two. Not only do you truly value every second with your best friend, but you want her to be happy and successful without any expectations of your own mutual benefit. The feeling of her happiness is enough for you and that is wonderful.

      It really doesn’t get better than that. Thank you for sharing, Anne and I am still looking forward to that new article of yours!

  7. Truth be told, all items you list are echoed at some point in some form. As I read your writing, I knew exactly who I thought for each category. It, coincidentally, parallels a sermon at my Church a few weeks ago. The Pastor asked us to close our eyes and think of our closest and most loyal friend. He said that most of us are pained to think of one, and if we could, we were lucky. If we could think of two, we were blessed. While I may have only focused on number 1,2 and 7 in the aforementioned comment, 3-6 are also quite true. In fact, a lot of it started out out of number 3 and evolved into an overall mutuality.

    The, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” factor definitely plays here. It wasn’t until the awareness of absence that I knew how significant a role this friendship played in my life.

    Sometimes, we cannot fully move forward in our lives until we allow ourselves to look back and see how we started to move on to begin with. Maybe, just maybe, as I discovered with my teary-eyed clarity, that friend you pursued was actually pursuing you.

  8. Wow, Vincent, thank you for this post! I’ve just discovered your blog. I’m at a period when I’m improving my social life and learning to have high standards when it comes to friends and people in my life. I’ve been reading quite a bit on this and thought I kinda “got the theory”, but these ideas put in a nutshell what great friendship is and I love it. I’m gonna print it so I can read it more times. Thanks!

  9. This is definitely a concise list. And like you I am proud to say I have people in my life who fit your list. Have you thought about writing an article about making friends? Having awesome friends is one thing, but finding them is whole other story.

    • I’ve thought about it and it’s a topic that takes a lot of work because it relies on so many different factors (as most things do.) We’ve touched upon the topic in a few guest posts such as Chris Grimm’s Friendship Equation. I’ll keep the idea in mind to dedicate an entire article to creating friendships though.

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