There are many ways to define true friendship. A true friend could be someone who is steadfast and loyal. They can be someone with whom we can fully confide in and trust. Yet others consider neighbors, colleagues and good-time people as friends. We even have expending the concept of friend to include strangers and associates on social media “friend lists.” But what does it mean to be a true soul friend?
In the 1980’s Lillian Rubin, a sociologist and psychologist, conducted a study to determine whether two people would reciprocally identify each other as a “best friend” or not. She requested 132 individuals to write down the name of another participant who they identified as their best friend. Shockingly only 18 pairs mutually identified each other as best friends! 84 out of the 132 individuals did not mention the person who originally submitted their name as their best friend. This study shows our perceptions of “friendship” to be misguided and people can even struggle to identify a mutually close relationship.
Friendships can serve as one of the purest forms of love between humans since it (rarely) involves an exchange of sexual or monetary gifts. Instead it centers around the joy and gratification of profound connection with another. This bond is also highlighted in the true friendship a human can experience with an animal, which is one of unconditional love. When it comes to building fulfilling friendship with a human there are a few tools you can employ.
The list below is merely a starting point for you to recognize and reinforce your connection with a true soul friend:
- Your conversations have limitless opportunities
True soul friends never have to worry about hitting a raw nerve or being anything but authentic. Whenever you both talk you feel liberated, invigorated and renewed.
- Criticism is meant to inspire growth
This friend is someone who actively helps you be your best self. They have no desire to see you suffer or endure any pain. Instead, they want you to grow and be empowered. This leads them to be more transparent and forthcoming with feedback for ways you can improve your life. If you hear them critique you, you never worry about any bitterness, pretense or passive-aggression. You both trust your friendship can endure any obstacle and you both will always have each other’s backs.
- They meant you feel “seen”
True soul friends possess the ability to truly listen to what you are saying and reflect your experience back to you. This means you feel that truly understand your situation, thoughts, emotions, and concerns. Because you both have an equal opportunity to speak and share you both feel like each other treasures your very essence.
- Unwavering trust
Anytime you confide to your true soul friend you know they will lock your secrets into a vault. They honor your privacy and confidence. Neither of you would ever use any insight to advance a personal agenda and you trust each other unequivocally.
- Boundaries are honored
Neither of you will act in a manner that is pushy, clingy or malicious. You both respect each other’s needs and concerns.
- Forgiveness comes easily
Souls friends understand individuals are flawed (themselves included). Therefore, they are quick to give people the benefit of the doubt. Instead of allowing any bitterness or resentment to fester, they foster open, honest and vulnerable dialogue to creating meaningful and lasting solutions.
- They sing your praises
There is no bigger cheerleader in your life than your true soul friend! Even in your darkest moments, they remind you of your value, talents and potential.
- Steadfast loyalty
Through good times, and bad times, they are on your side forevermore. This is the meaning of true friendship. They are quick to celebrate your successes and give your unconditional support during times of trial. Not matter what is happening in your life your true soul friends is your first call, most loyal confidant and biggest supporter.