11 signs you’re a great friend (even if you don’t always realize it)

We’ve all been there, wondering if we’re actually a good friend to the people we love.

If you’re asking this question, chances are, you’re a better friend than you think.

Good friends are always evaluating their friendships (and their own behaviors) to ensure everyone’s getting something from the relationship.

But, just as easy as it is to be a bad friend without realizing it, you can also be an amazing friend without knowing it.

Let’s take a look at these 11 signs you’re a great friend!

1) You know what they’re up to (and not just from social media!)

True friends are interested in what’s going on in each other’s lives. Thinking about your friends right now, do you know what they’ve been up to recently, outside of what you see on social media?

For example, are they looking for a new job? Thinking about selling their house? Considering re-downloading dating apps for the millionth time?

If you don’t know what’s going on in your friends’ lives, it may be because you’re not asking them enough (which is a sign of a bad friend).

But if you know what your friends are up to, it means you ask about them and, as such, you’re a better friend than you think.

2) They tell you secrets

If someone doesn’t like you, they won’t tell you things. It’s as simple as that.

Bad friends aren’t trustworthy. So if your friends don’t confide in you about their dating troubles, relationship drama, or family issues, they’re either super private or you’re not a great friend.

But if your friend shares secrets with you, it means they trust you, and you’re a good friend for making them feel safe with you.

3) You keep their secrets!

On the topic of secrets, knowing them is pointless if you can’t keep them!

Having your friend open up to you is one thing. But keeping schtum is a completely different story.

If you keep things to yourself after meeting with your friend (and don’t gossip about them behind their back!), congratulations. You’re a great friend.

4) You message first (and it feels equal)

No one likes being the friend who always messages first.

Everyone gets busy sometimes. But if you message first relatively often, give yourself some credit, because you’re a better friend than you think.

Just be careful that you’re not always messaging first. A good friendship will feel equal. So if your friend never messages first, this could be a bad sign.

Either they don’t like you as much as you think (ouch!), or they just aren’t showing up for you like you’re showing up for them.

5) You listen as much as you talk

Think back to the last few times you met your friend.

Did you do all the talking? Or did you frequently cut them off when they were speaking?

It’s normal to talk about your issues in a friendship. So don’t beat yourself up if you had a bad week and all you talked about was yourself the last time you met.

But if your friend can’t get a word in edgeways every time you meet, this is a bad sign.

Good friends listen just as much as they talk. If the conversations flow nicely, with both people inputting, don’t worry. You’re a great friend.

6) You laugh when you’re together

an exceptional friend 2 11 signs you're a great friend (even if you don't always realize it)

You know how the saying goes, “Friends that laugh together, stay together” (or is that couples?). Either way, laughter is key to a good friendship.

According to social psychologist, Sara Algoe, in a study on the effects of laughter as a social glue, people that laugh together feel more positive and satisfied with the relationship.

Just be careful you’re not broaching into one-sided-laughter-territory. i.e., laughter at your friend’s expense, when they aren’t laughing with you.

Sara Algoe refers to the best kind of laughter as being “shared laughter”. So if you have that with your friend, it’s probably a pretty good friendship.

7) You show up on time (at least most of the time!)

Now this is an important one. Tardiness can be a deal breaker in certain friendships.

I once had a friend who was 45 minutes late to our dinner plans, with no reason other than they were “running late”. And the worst part? They had the afternoon off work.

Did this day alone make them a bad friend? No, it didn’t. But since they never showed up on time to our plans, our friendship eventually fizzled out.

According to Study Finds, 39% of Americans think it’s socially unacceptable to be late. Most people also feel upset with their friends after five periods of lateness.

Unless you’re the most organized person ever, everyone runs late on occasion. Running behind once or twice (and apologizing profusely for it) doesn’t make you a bad friend.

But good friends respect their friends’ time, and they always make an effort to show up. So if you’re normally on time, you’re a better friend than you think.

8) You feel genuine excitement for them (and let go of jealousy)

Jealousy is a normal part of life. According to VeryWellMind, it’s normal to feel some sort of jealousy in all your relationships.

But problems occur when healthy jealousy turns unhealthy.

Let’s take two of my friends, for example. When I told one friend I was going traveling for six months, she couldn’t be happier for me. We chatted excitedly and she told me how jealous she was.

Was this a problem? No way!

But when I told another friend, she cried and said I was leaving her behind. That she didn’t want me to go because she couldn’t go.

She had a similar reaction when I told her I got a new job, was buying a new house, got a new boyfriend, etc, etc.

Looking back, I know the first friend was genuinely happy for me despite her envy. The second friend? Definitely not.

So which friend are you more like? Do you feel genuine happiness for your friends despite your own envy? If so, you’re a great friend. If not, you know the drill.

9) You don’t “one-up” them when they share big news

Yes, good friends talk about things. Yes, they share good news with each other.

But no one likes that friend who always tries to “one-up” their good news.

You know the kind of people. You get a new job, but they get a better one. Something good happened in your life, but something even better happened in theirs.

Good friends are excited about their friend’s news. They also don’t immediately bring up their own successes every time good news is shared!

10) You’re understanding when they can’t make plans

How do you react when your friend can’t make your party? Do you get annoyed with them and shoot off a blunt reply?

Or do you say, “No worries, maybe next time!”.

The older you get, the less free time you have for friends. It’s just a fact (according to a study on the life cycle of humans).

But good friends are understanding with each other and don’t get annoyed when friends can’t make events.

11) You pay them back (without them asking and asking!)

Owing or being owed money has a huge impact on the strength of a friendship.

According to a friends again study by the Bank of America, two in five Americans would end a friendship if someone didn’t pay them back.

No one likes a friend indebted to them. But if you pay your friends back without them having to ask (especially more than once), you’re a great friend.

Are you a good friend?

A good friend is supportive, kind, respectful, and there for you when you need them.

If you’re late a handful of times, or go through busy periods where you don’t message as much as you should, cut yourself some slack.

True friendships don’t crumble over these kinds of things.

But if you check in with your friends regularly, pay them back promptly, and feel genuine happiness when they share big news, give yourself a pat on the back.

Because you have nothing to worry about. You’re a better friend than you think!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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