How to find true friends?

True friends.

Jenny and Sue are having an animated conversation.

Smiles flash, eyes brighten—everything in their manner reveals intense interest in what the other person has to say.

Though of different backgrounds, they obviously have a lot in common and have much respect for each other.

Elsewhere, Eric and Dennis are working together on a project, one of many over the years.

They are relaxed, and laughter comes easily.

As the conversation flows into serious subjects, they candidly exchange opinions.

They respect each other. Like Jenny and Sue, Eric and Dennis are true friends.

These descriptions may warm your heart, making you think about your own friends.

On the other hand, they may make you yearn for such friendships.

You too can have them!

Why we need true friends?

Healthy friendships are essential to our mental and physical well-being.

Some researchers say that loneliness is a hunger, a natural indicator that we need companionship.

In any event, just as food lessens or removes hunger, the right kind of friendships can diminish loneliness or even make it vanish.

Furthermore, having good friends who value us is not an unattainable luxury.

Hence, genuine friends should be able to ask each other for help when it is needed.

But friendship means more than just having someone to turn to or being a companion in work or play.

Good friends bring out the best in one another.

As a piece of iron can be used to sharpen a blade made of the same metal, one friend may succeed in sharpening the intellectual and mental state of another.

If disappointments depress us, a friend’s sympathetic look and encouragement can be very uplifting.

Friendship is associated with love, familiarity, confidentiality, and companionship.

Friendships may involve neighbors, workmates, and so forth.

Some also count certain relatives among their closest friends.

For many today, however, true friends are difficult to find and to keep.

Why is this so?

Why is it hard to find true friends?

Typical  today we live in an unfriendly world.

So-called friends can be many when all goes well. 

But when misfortune strikes, they disappear.

True friends are usually hard to find.

There are also barriers to friendships.

These conditions have brought with them an unprecedented plague of loneliness. 

All the blame for this cannot be laid upon each lonely individual.

In some parts of the world, challenges to lasting friendships include such things as people moving more frequently, families breaking up, impersonal and dangerous cities, and a noticeable decrease in free time.

A modern-day city dweller may come in contact with more people in a week than an 18th-century villager saw in a year or even a lifetime!

Yet, relationships today are often superficial.

Many immerse themselves in constant socializing and attempts to have a good time.

Thorns briefly make a bright and noisy fire, but it does not have enough substance to keep us warm. 

We must admit, though, that empty merrymaking with badly chosen associates is like using thorns to keep us warm.

Noisy and laughing companions may distract us momentarily, but they will not eliminate all loneliness and satisfy our need for true friends.

All of us need a few intimate friends who truly care about us, whose friendships give us joy, strength, and peace

Finding and cultivating true friendships

Are you looking for true friends?

You may not have to look far.

Some among your own regular contacts could be your friends, and they may need your friendship.

However, do not fret if every attempt to make a friend does not result in a deep bond.

It usually takes time to develop a friendship, and not every relationship will be equally deep.

True friendship grows out of love because love draws people.

Yet some have difficulty making friends.

How can a person overcome this?

Be a good listener.

Encourage others to talk about themselves.;

When strangers meet, perhaps at a social gathering, who are the ones that make friends?

Not the big talkers but those who take a warm interest in others, drawing them out and really listening to them.

Remembering names and interesting facts about new acquaintances can also help to develop friendships.

In Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication, Kim Giffin and Bobby R. Patton recommend self-disclosure and genuineness: 

For someone to be important to you,” they say, “you must know something about him/her that matters to you . . . [Be] open and frank at all times . . . Your responses to the other person must be sincere.” 

Sadly, apparent friends sometimes cause each other pain.

Harmful gossip, a betrayed confidence, lack of appreciation—these are among the things that are very painful when they originate with someone whom you considered to be a true friend.

What can be done in such situations?

Set a good example.

Do everything you can to avoid causing needless pain.

In some places it is popular for friends to make fun of one another’s foibles.

But harsh treatment or trickery will not draw friends closer together, even if they are supposedly “having fun.

Work hard to maintain friendships.

Misunderstandings sometimes arise when friends expect too much of each other.

A friend who is sick or is preoccupied because of a grave problem will probably not be able to show as much warmth as usual.

At such times, then, try to be understanding and supportive.

Resolve problems quickly and kindly.

Do so privately if possible.

Make sure your friend knows that you want to maintain a good relationship.

Sincere friends forgive each other.

Will you be that kind of friend—one sticking closer than a brother or sister?

True friends are not only honest but also considerate, never imposing on each other or being overly possessive.

They understand each other, can sense the other person’s view of things, and can thus show empathy.

As the relationship grows, they open their hearts to each other, becoming not only true friends but also close friends.

Summary guideline on finding a true friend

1. Be selective about those with whom you associate.

2. Take a warm interest in others, and be a good listener.

3. Do things together—shared experiences strengthen friendship.

4. Be frank, open, and sincere at all times.

5. Show empathy and compassion when others are in trouble.

6. When friends make mistakes or upset you, be ready to forgive

7. When friends are slandered or unfairly criticized, be loyal and defend them


It is easy to take a false step when acquiring friends.

But do not be discouraged.

There are still millions of fine, friendly people in the world.