True Friendship

True Friends

All of us need friends. But what is a friend, and how do you know when you have found one? With a true friend you feel:

AppreciatedListened toTrusted
Approved ofLovedUnderstood

In Friendship

  • You accept rather than judge.
  • You express your feelings and encourage them to do likewise.
  • You take responsibility for your feelings and never lay guilt trips on them for how you feel.
  • You show empathy, compassion, and understanding for their feelings.
  • You are sensitive to their feelings and needs, but you do not drain yourself by feeling responsible for meeting them. You recognize that each person is responsible for their own feelings, so your friends do not become burdensome to you.
  • You do not blame them or attack them, so they do not need to feel defensive or to counterattack.
  • You do not advise them or tell them what to do, since you know that this will foster dependency, rob them of the chance to grow, and possibly create resentment later on.
  • You are honest with them, even when what you have to say is unpleasant for them, because (a) You respect them enough to honor them with the truth, (b) You want them to grow through awareness, and (c) You trust them enough to manage their own responses.
  • When you express concerns you express them as statements of your feelings, not of their character.

A true friend is someone who helps you reach your highest potential, someone who helps you be the best you can be and in turn you are able to encourage them in their growth and potential.

~Adapted from Steve Hein

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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