10 Traits That Make Or Break a Friendship

Relationships

In our teenage years, friendships are a huge part of our lives, since we confide in our friends instead of our parents and spend more time with them. Friends are also quite influential during our youth because most seek approval from others and want to fit in, which are two primary reasons that encourage us to choose our friends quite carefully and maintain healthy friendships. In this article, we explore traits we want our friendships to have and traits we wouldn't want.

Important Traits Needed In Friendship:

1. Trust

Trust has different meanings for different people and, having a clear understanding of what it means can help you build trust in those around you. Some associate trust with the words dependability, reliability, and honesty. Trust is a vital component needed in friendship.

So think of trust as a building block for the foundation of a house. Without that block, the entire house could collapse, and, in this case, the house represents friendship. At the beginning of a friendship, there are varied ways to build trust. One of those ways is being reliable: don't ghost your friends. Call them regularly, answer their texts and be there for them. Having a friendship without trust is like driving a car without turning on the ignition. It won't get you anywhere.

2. Loyalty

Loyalty is consistency. It is standing by people through their losses and wins. It makes the bond between people stronger, strengthens, and builds relationships. So we have established that trust is a foundational building block. Another one of those foundational blocks is loyalty. We would not like to live in a house with a shaky foundation, knowing it could collapse any minute? So we should ensure that the blocks used to build the foundation are firm. You and your friend should have unwavering trust and loyalty in one another because, without trust and loyalty, there is no friendship. There should also be an understanding that your allegiance to your friend shouldn’t compromise who you are as a person and your morals.

3. Honesty

In all friendships, honesty is a must-have. Honesty is one of the ways people judge you for who you are. It encourages bonding and establishes loyalty. I have been in a friendship where we weren't honest with each other, which now, looking back, amongst other factors, led to us no longer being friends.

In friendships, you should feel comfortable enough to express your opinions and feelings honestly, which is how the next point comes into play.

4. Respect

I define respect as accepting people as they are, not trying to change or mold them into a depiction of who you want them to be. It means considering your friend's beliefs and opinions, even if you don't necessarily agree with them. Respect holds a lot of value in friendships because it means you acknowledge and accept that person as they are. It builds trust and creates a sense of safety, which encourages honesty.

A few ways to help determine whether there is respect in your friendship is to ask the following questions:

  • Do we feel safe and comfortable around one another?
  • When in an argument, do you yell at each other, or do you listen?
  • Are we free to be ourselves around each other?
  • Do we control each other's choices?

5. Communication

Most of us knew those two friends in primary school who stuck to each other like glue. They were always together, shared lunches, had friendship bracelets and matching outfits on civvies day. We all thought their friendship would last till the end of time, but they didn't make it past their first year of high school. Why? There are various answers to that question, but the most common one is lack of communication, which is caused by several things, such as changes in common interests. You no longer like the same things. Therefore, you no longer have anything to talk about, which leads to dry short conversations and eventually no conversations at all.

In friendships, you and your friends should be able to talk to one another. Your conversations could vary from deep topics such as your fear of failure to light ones such as why you think Jeremy and Anna were one of the best couples in The Vampire Diaries.

Now onto the traits that we wouldn’t want to find in a friendship.

Traits we wouldn't want to find in friendships:

1. Jealousy

When jealousy is present in a friendship, there is bound to be some negativity because a person’s jealousy can lead to them doing horrible things and could cost them their friends.

Everyone gets jealous sometimes, which is okay, but it becomes destructive when you cannot see past your jealousy, and it ends up clouding your decision-making. It may also lead to the destruction of friendships because when people are jealous, they become competitive and lose sight of their love and care for one another.

Now imagine being friends with someone you are jealous of. You will dedicate most of your time to constantly trying to one-up the person. Let’s say your friend auditioned for a role in the school play. You will audition as well, despite not having an interest in the dramatic arts. Why? Simply because you cannot handle your friend being better than you.

A few signs that your friends might be jealous of you are: 1) They greet your good news with negativity. 2) They are always trying to one-up or outshine you. 3) They find it hard to celebrate your achievements.

2. Judgement

When in any relationship type, especially friendships, people should be free to be themselves. When a friend is constantly judging their friends' by their choices, they aren't a good friend since they make their other friends feel insecure and doubtful of themselves.

When there's judgment in a friendship, you or your friend could constantly feel afraid, to be honest, since you've always been judged or have judged. Please don't confuse daily judgment where your friend doesn't have your best interests at heart with an occasional opinion your friend provides that's for your benefit.

Always remember friendships should be a safe environment.

3. Over possessiveness

Being over-possessive of people can stem from fear of losing that person or from a person's insecurities. Contrary to the belief that this only occurs in relationships, it can also happen in friendships.

Some people might confuse being over possessive with being protective. Being over-possessive is feeling as if you 'own' that person. Signs of an over-possessive friend might include them: constantly spamming your phone when you are out with other friends, restricting you from having other friends (they might even try emotionally blackmailing you into having them as your only friend), and being very clingy.

Being protective is simply looking out for your friends and wanting the best for them. Signs of a protective friend include: When you go out with other friends, they don't blow your phone up with texts every minute but send a text or two to check on you, and they let you be an independent person.

4. Competition

Don't get me wrong, a little competition is healthy, but a lot of competition can be disastrous. An occasional friendly game can be good for friends. It helps motivate people, pushes them to reach their maximum potential, creates memories, and provides entertainment. Although when you base a friendship on trying to be better than your friend, it isn't healthy for either of your self-esteem. A friend that is constantly losing will often feel deflated and sad. If the friend who is winning all the time is the one suggesting constant competition, they might find pleasure or satisfaction in your failures. You also can't help but feel ashamed when someone who's supposed to support you takes pleasure in your shortcomings.

Take note of how you feel after spending time with a friend. If you constantly feel inferior and frustrated, it might be time to break up with this person. I recommend reading this insightful article on why friendship shouldn't be competitive.

https://medium.com/swlh/friendship-shouldnt-be-a-competitive-sport-1e0422e1cf7c

5. One Sideness

It feels like you are in a friendship with yourself, and your friend does not put in as much effort as you do, and they do not value you as much as you do them. In a one-sided friendship: the communication, organizing hang-outs, and efforts all fall on one person. This person only comes to you when they need something. Sometimes this can be caused by a lack of communication. You can try talking to your friend about how you feel (this is where honesty comes in.) If the situation does not improve or you see no effort, you are probably in a one-sided friendship.

Here are a few signs that indicate you are in a one-sided friendship:

  • They don't open up. You are the one who is always vulnerable and constantly baring your soul, but they do not reciprocate.
  • They cannot be counted on because they regularly cancel plans and do not come to many events.
  • Their behavior follows a regular pattern. For instance, you invite them somewhere, they don't show up and apologize. Rinse and repeat. Yes, agreed, sometimes one person relies a bit more heavily upon others due to circumstances, but that is friendship. Although when they fail to somehow reciprocate, especially in your times of need, they might not have your best interests at heart.
  • Rinse and repeat. Yes agreed, sometimes one person relies a bit more heavily on others due to circumstances, but that is friendship. Although when they fail to somehow reciprocate, especially in your times of need, they might not have your best interests at heart.

Friends are a person's support system, and everyone deserves a solid support system. Friends add color to life and help you discover who you are! Friends offer comfort, laughs, love, and so much more! Friends are our chosen family. I hope you enjoyed this article!

Boitumelo Maenetja

Boitumelo enjoys learning new things and doing things outside of her comfort zone. Boitumelo spends most of her time with friends and family. Her hobbies include reading, swimming and writing