Friendships have all kinds of starting points: preschool classmates, co-workers, gym mates, neighbors and even online buddies. But what makes a friendship stick over the long haul is less varied. Looking back on your most tried and true relationships, there are probably some very important and familiar elements that come to mind… elements that bound you together through thick and thin. These are the signs of a true friendship.

There are some characteristics that only great friends have. You probably have some of these, yourself! Keep an eye out for these signs and you can rest assured that your companion is one of the good guys.

1. Sharing similar interests – and respecting the ones that differ.

“Nothing brings people together like …” if you and your bestie can finish that sentence the same way, you know your friendship is pretty solid. Sharing common interests is very important for building any kind of relationship. What might be even more important is when a friend acknowledges and respects your interests they don’t share. It’s not healthy to be around someone who puts down your hobby or makes nasty remarks about your unique pursuits in life. A good friend is cool with whatever floats your boat.

2. Telling it like it is.

Friends are supposed to be supportive, yes. But being supportive isn’t all about praise; sometimes it requires some tough love. A good friend will share their concerns with you (in a respectful way, of course) if they see you going down the wrong path. Having the outside perspective of someone who cares about you—and, more importantly, listening to it—will allow us to make more informed decisions and to reflect on how our actions affect others.

3. Celebrating your milestones.

Who’s the first person you would call if you received a big promotion? If you said your BFF, it’s probably because they’d be just as excited as you are to hear the news! Sharing happiness and pride over your biggest lifetime milestones is something that a good friend does without having to ask.

4. Being understanding when no one else will.

The world can be a cruel place. Sometimes others’ actions are intentional and other times they are borne of ignorance and an unwillingness to learn about someone else’s unique perspective. A good friend will try to suspend their prejudices to become a more informed and well-rounded person—especially when it comes to people close to them. A good friend should do their best to support you if you are having a traumatic stress reaction, figuring out how to define your own gender identity or trying to navigate the world as a member of an oppressed group.

5. Being okay with doing nothing at all.

Even though you share common interests, sometimes the best times spent with our buddies is completely unplanned. A good friend is someone who will lounge around with you watching YouTube, taking a detour to walk in the park or just talking about “stuff” all afternoon. Just being in each other’s company is comfortable enough. A good friend will enjoy just being in your presence.

Source: Care2 by Katie M.