How to Find out Who Your Real Friends Are

Two Parts:Testing Your FriendshipMaking Good Friends

You might have a bunch of people to say hello to in the hallway, a bunch of Facebook contacts, and a full schedule of social commitments, but do you feel really connected to those "friends"? How can you know for sure? If you want to learn to put your friendships to the test and make better friends, you can learn what to look for.

Part 1
Testing Your Friendship

  1. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 1
    Ask a friend for help. If you need help, is your friend there for you? Or does your friend make excuses, disappearing when it becomes convenient? Real friends will show up if you need a helping hand, and will show up to celebrate with you afterward.
    • Moving furniture, rides to the airport, helping you with homework. These are all signs of good friends.
    • It's also important that you not make too many demands of your friends. If you're in constant need of help, it might be difficult for people to get close enough to you, to consider yourself a friend.
  2. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 2
    Change plans on your friend. If you're good friends with someone, you'll be friends with them, regardless of what your plans are. Hanging out should be enough of a reason to have a good time, and being together should be its own reward. How does your friend react if you decide to change plans? If you were planning on heading out for the night, see if your friend wouldn't rather stay home and watch a movie, just having a quiet night.
    • A "no" here doesn't automatically mean that your friend isn't your friend, but the way they react can tell you a lot. Does your friend react as if that's the lamest idea ever? Bad sign. Does your friend legitimately want to go to that movie, and doesn't understand why you want to be a homebody? That's different.
  3. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 3
    Open up to a friend and talk about something personal. School friends or acquaintances aren't interested in helping you get through tough times. They're just interested in having friends who are convenient and easy, fun on Friday nights. That's not to say that there's not a place for these kinds of friends, but if you're wondering who your true, good friends are, you need to open up and see how they react.
    • Tell your friend how you're feeling about a date, or about a situation with your family that's stressing you out. Don't expect answers, but if you don't get a sympathetic ear, or if your friend seems annoyed, that's not a great sign.
    • This is different than gossip. Lots of people like to gossip. That doesn't make them good friends.
  4. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 4
    Invite your friend to hang out with your family. While it's possible to have good friends that don't necessarily mesh with your parents and your siblings, if your friend gets along well with your family, that's a good sign. If your friend enjoys hanging out at your house, and your family enjoys having your friend around, it's a sign that your friend feels comfortable around you, and you can take what they're saying at face value.
    • Invite a friend over for dinner with your family for an easy and quick way of testing the situation. Make sure to ask your parents first, to make sure it's ok.
  5. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 5
    Watch for signs of "using." Just got a car in high school, and now you're suddenly "friends" with lots of people who didn't give you he time of day before? Often, people will act friendly when they want to get something from you. It's usually best to avoid these types of relationships. Users will flatter you and try to make you feel good with their attention, but won't ever be willing to hang out with you when the circumstances aren't right.
    • If you've got a friend using you for your car, or your Xbox, or your pool, ask them to hang out at another time, or say your car's in the shop. If they cancel? Bad sign.
  6. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 6
    Watch for signs of jealousy. Sometimes, friendships can suffer from jealousy, especially if the two members are at different points currently. If you and your good friend both made the volleyball team, for example, but you made varsity and your friend didn't, your friendship can start to suffer. But good friends can learn to look past an initial jealousy and put the friendship at the front. Signs of jealousy include:
    • Your friend never celebrates your accomplishments, or criticizes instead of congratulates
    • Your friend becomes more distant
    • You sense a "negative" energy
    • Your friend disappears you when you're struggling and need help
  7. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 7
    Watch for signs of two-facedness. Anyone who bad-mouths you to other people isn't a friend. If you're getting mixed messages from someone, or if you're picking up that someone is talking about you differently to your face than to other people, that's not a friend.
    • Talk to your other friends, if you're curious how you're spoken about in private. Good friends will let you know the truth.[1]
    • If anyone bad-mouths you to your face, that's obviously not a friend. Joking around with someone is one thing, but if somebody puts you down and doesn't recognize that it's hurting your feelings, that's not someone who has your friendship in mind.
  8. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 8
    Confront someone you think is playing you. If you suspect a friend might be jealous, or two-faced, or using you for something, but can't quite figure it out, sit them down and have a one-on-one talk when you're feeling calm and ask them, point blank, "Are we friends?"
    • While it might sound like a weird question, and the person will likely be taken aback, you can follow up with what you've been noticing. "I've noticed that you only want to hang out when you can use my pool, and that you're talking trash about me to other people when I'm not around. That doesn't seem like a friend. What's going on?"
    • Let people explain themselves. If you don't like what you hear, or if they try to defend behavior that indefensible, that person is not your friend.

Part 2
Making Good Friends

  1. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 9
    Listen to your gut. All friends and all friendships are different. A lot of how you're feeling about your friends will be a knee-jerk, gut-decision. If you feel like someone really cares about you, and you feel confident that they're a friend, it's probably because they are. If you even have to wonder, it's probably a sign that they're not.
    • Ask yourself the test questions, even if you're not sure of the answers, and go with your gut: Would your friend pick you up from the airport at midnight, if you needed it? Would your friend sit through a boring Sunday dinner with your grandparents, just to be a good friend and hang out afterwards? Would your friend be able to celebrate with you, if you won something and she didn't?
  2. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 10
    Keep friends who support you. Friends should be around to help hold you up and celebrate the good times with you, and to help get you through the bad times. Anyone who doesn't support you emotionally isn't a friend. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Compliment you sincerely
    • Talk favorably about you to others
    • Seem genuinely excited when you succeed
    • Empathize with you, when you're having a tough time
  3. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 11
    Keep friends who accept you for who you are. Friendship shouldn't be based on superficial or external things. If someone wants to be your friend because of your car, because of your pool, or because you're the "cool" kid in school, they're not your friend. Friends need to support you for who you are as a person. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Don't pressure you to do things you don't want to do
    • Don't judge you for opening up
    • Don't embarrass you, and aren't embarrassed by you
    • Act the same way around you as around other people
    • Don't make demands of you
  4. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 12
    Keep friends who stand up to you when you're wrong. Friendships aren't all laughs. Good friends are willing to have your best interest in mind, especially if you're the one making the mistake.[2] This can get tricky, because you want friends who will accept you, but also friends who know when you're slipping, and are willing to help you out. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Politely disagree with you
    • Don't attack you personally
    • Have your best interest at heart
    • Know what you want and what you need
  5. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 13
    Keep friends who listen. If your friend always seems distracted when you're together, or like they'd rather be elsewhere, hanging out with other people, that's not a great sign. This can happen to old friends, who you might have known for a long time. But sometimes, something can suddenly change, and the relationship isn't what it once was. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Stay in touch, even if you're both changing
    • Make your friendship a priority
    • Want to hear about the details of your life
    • Remember past conversations you've had
  6. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 14
    Keep friends who are pleasurable to be around. Friendships aren't always rosy, but they shouldn't have to feel like work. If you dread the idea of hanging out with someone, or if they seem to resent having to hang out with you, it's probably not a functional friendship anymore. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Are easy to hang out with
    • Make you feel relaxed
    • Don't add to your stress
    • Don't cause "drama"
  7. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 15
    Keep friends who are forgiving. Unless you're being a real jerk, if you mess up, your friends should forgive you when you apologize sincerely. Friends should be willing to look past what might be minor shortcomings and slip-ups, if they really know you and have your best interest at heart. Someone is your friend if they:
    • Accept your apologies
    • Forgive your failures
    • Don't expect you to be someone you're not
    • Don't dig up dirt from the past
  8. Image titled Find out Who Your Real Friends Are Step 16
    Be a good friend. If you want to attract good friends, make sure you're being a good friend in turn. It's not enough to expect that all your friends are going to surround you and support you and listen when you have to talk, if you're not going to bother returning the kindness and the generosity that friendship requires. Go back up through this list and do the same things for your friends that you expect of them, and you can be confident that your friends are real, true, and lasting.


  • Some friends may actually have something planned after school everyday. One friend may have a major swim competition and has to go to swim meets everyday that week so the best thing to do is check with their parents or siblings.
  • Keep someone who will always stand up for you. If you are in a fight and you were outnumbered 17-1, keep someone who would fight with you. That may sound extreme but even in a smaller scale situation it would be good.


  • If you dump a friend make sure they are really fakes, if it turns out they were a real friend then you could miss out on a good friendship.

Article Info

Categories: Friendship Problems