Do you know what’s wild? The way grown adults treat their friends. Correction: *how toxic grown adults treat their friends*. The horror stories I’ve heard about some people acting like middle schools over the pettiest drama are insane, which leads me to talk about my friends and what makes a good friend.
I’m not one to brag. (That’s a lie, I’ll brag and trash talk all day long if you let me.) But I have the best friends ever. There’s a reason I haven’t made new friends since high school. They are two exceptions, but that’s a story for another day. Also, making friends as an adult is hard, and no one prepared me for it. But what makes my friends so great? Let me tell you.
I’m not just talking about having a friend stick up for you when you aren’t around like all of those high school sitcom situations that happen on TV. The loyalty in my friend group is a ride-or-die kind of friend group. The type of loyalty that if some boy broke my 16-year-old sister’s heart, they would all help me jump the kid. (Not that we actually would, but if I asked, there would be no hesitation.)
I moved away two months after my mom asked my dad for a divorce. I’m currently still working through the guilt I feel for leaving my mom and sister and such an important time, but that’s why I have a therapist. But this is also why I love my friends so much. After my mom filed for divorce, my dad kind of went off the rails and stopped picking up my sister from school for a while, so one of my friends, Mur, helped my mom out by picking up my sister a few times. My other friend, Ruchin, helped my mom around the house after my dad was out. He helped change the locks and a bunch of other projects scattered around the house.
My friends are real ones, and I love them. We all joke that my mom has adopted all of my friends, and they all compete over who the favorite is. They bring new girlfriends over to meet my mom like she’s their parent.
Accountability is by far the most important trait of friendship. At least to me, it is. I can’t call you my friend if we can call each other out on whack behavior. No one is perfect, and there is no reason to try to be, but we can all be better. There is a big difference. And no one will try to make you better than a good friend. Instead, they will call you out on stupid stuff you are doing even when you don’t want to hear it.
One of the things I love about my friends and me is that no one gets mad when we call each other out and hold each other accountable. No friendships end because someone is telling you something you might not want to hear. It’s out of love and respect. And while it’s happening to you, it might suck, but in the end, communication is healthy.
Pettiness comes in different levels. Most of us are capable of some small amounts of pettiness. It’s only human nature. But when every action is petty, every phrase has another meaning, and some level of petty fuels every moment, it gets old and annoying, fast. If something is bothering you or bothering you, be an adult and talk to me about it. If I pissed you, speak to me so I can correct my behavior. We aren’t in middle school anymore; we are adults now, so it’s time to start acting like it.
Control and Jealousy
I am an independent person who has lived on his own for years at this point. I do not need a friend who is going to try and control aspects of my life. So you want to hang out with me and just me because you don’t like my other friends? Or are you jealous of my other friends? Tough luck. I can understand if you don’t like big loud groups. My friends can be overwhelming at times, especially when we are all together, but you don’t get to dictate who I hang out with and when. I’m not thirteen, and you are not my mother.
Having great friends you can lean on and rely on can make life feel easier. Do you know what it’s like to have a hard day and have people there to lift you in ways that will help you get through it after getting to know you? It’s comforting. I love my friends, and they love me, and we tell each other that we love each other all the time. So I hope you surround yourself with the best people. You deserve it. To find your ride or dies.
And if you want to read up more on what makes a good friend, read Psychology Today’s article on The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends.