Linda Lewis Griffith

How to tell if your best friend really is your BFF

Linda Lewis Griffith
Linda Lewis Griffith jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

BFFs are those all-star friends who are as comfy as beat-up denims and as uplifting as a parasail in a stiff breeze. They read our thoughts with ESP ease. Even if we’ve been apart for decades, we reconnect like we’ve just had lunch.

While BFFs are the Holy Grail of friendships, they’re often elusive or difficult to develop. At the very least they take time to grow and mature.

Below are 11 qualities of A-plus friendships that will help cement current relationships or raise new ones to their highest level:

▪ Equal. Great friendships are inherently equal. Each partner infuses the same amount of time, energy, commitment and resources toward sustaining the bond. If one member is constantly doing all the heavy lifting, they feel used and eventually become resentful.

▪ Thoughtful. BFFs are forever thinking about what the other person would like. They buy each other small gifts. They send cheery texts. They’re eager to help each other in any way that they can.

▪ Shared interests. BFFs have lots in common. Perhaps they enjoy similar hobbies or have kids at the same elementary school. The shared activities put them in frequent contact and give them lots to discuss.

▪ Dependable. Best friends are committed to the relationship. You know they won’t abandon you when a new boyfriend arrives on the scene, or dump you when your life hits the skids. Of course, friendships are forever evolving, and people move or make changes in their lives. Still, BFFs are true blue and will be there when you need them.

▪ Safe. BFFs are emotional refuges. All defenses can be cast aside. They never resort to teasing or criticism. Even if they do make a suggestion or offer feedback, they do so with kindness and respect.

▪ Trustworthy. Best friends never spread gossip or say bad things about you behind your back. When you share your innermost feelings, you know they won’t be repeated to anyone else.

▪ Good listener. BFFs care about how you’re doing. They give you their full attention whenever you talk. They avoid interrupting or offering unwelcome advice.

▪ Easy to be around. Great friends are emotionally stable. They’re not difficult, cranky or excessively moody. Overly dramatic people are psychologically draining, like buckets with holes that can’t be patched. Sure, we all have challenges. Sometimes we’re needier than others. Still, BFFs make an effort to be pleasant, putting more into their relationships than they take out.

▪ Available. BFFs make time for their friends and relationships. They’re eager to chat over a steaming latte or play a round of golf. While everyone has commitments and a busy schedule, great friends say “You’re important” with their actions and their words.

▪ Supportive. BFFs are there when you need them. Moving to a new apartment? Their pickup is at your disposal. Going through a horrendous breakup? They have a shoulder waiting for your tears.

▪ Adoring. True friends think you’re terrific. They embrace you, warts and all. In their presence, you attain super hero status. And you gladly reflect all that power back toward them.

Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit lindalewisgriffith.com.

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