Nine Tips to Help You Choose Good Friends

Although we tend to believe that friendship is the product of chance, there are certain actions we can take to consciously choose our friends.
Nine Tips to Help You Choose Good Friends
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Friendship is one of the most important interpersonal relationships, but it’s also the one in which you can experience the most disappointments. For example, sometimes, after years of a friendship, a friend might fail you or, suddenly, you realize that they’re toxic.

Today, thanks to technology, making friends is much easier, or so you might think. That said, a survey conducted by Time magazine revealed that many people don’t have close friendships. Perhaps the reason is that we don’t really know how to choose our friends.

Do you find yourself moaning because you can’t find yourself any real friends? If so, perhaps it’s time to learn how to choose good friends. Take a look at the following tips.

Friends talking about social working memory

1. Talk about your common interests

The first tip for choosing your friends concerns talking about your common interests. Although, when you first meet someone, you may feel you like them, you should also have a conversation to find out if you share certain hobbies or pastimes.

This is important because you need to be able to make plans with friends if you want to get to know them better and strengthen your relationship. However, if you have nothing in common, there won’t be anything you can do with them. So, talking about your common interests will allow you to find like-minded people with whom to share your free time.

2. Make sure they don’t only like you when they need you

You should identify if your friends come to you because they want to make plans, share their time, and carry out joint activities with you, or if they only look for you when they need something. There’s a really easy way to detect the latter as, when they want to meet with you, it’ll always involve you doing something for them.

If this situation continues over time, you’ll begin to feel bad. In fact, you’ll realize that you’re the one always making suggestions to meet for coffee or chat. Also, you’ll find that they often won’t be available for you when you need to talk or vent your feelings.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

-Walter Winchell-

3. Check how they treat others

Although someone may treat you well, this doesn’t mean that they share your values or that they’re the kind of person you want to be friends with. Therefore, you must check how they treat other people. Other friends or even relatives.

Imagine for a minute that you have a friend you feel really comfortable with. They share your opinions and you can discuss anything and everything with them. However, one day, with their partner or one of their parents, they show a part of their personality that’s completely opposite to the side you recognize.

Bad behavior from friends shouldn’t be tolerated, even if it’s not directed toward you.

4. Can you talk to them about controversial topics?

You might choose the subject of politics to test this particular point. In fact, you must select the most sensitive topics and find out how your friends react to them. Some might consider certain subjects to be taboo while others may think that their opinion is the only one that matters.

Tackling controversial topics will help you gauge how tolerant your friends are. Although you may not have the same opinion on a certain topic, it’s important that you both listen and respect each other.

“Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel.”

-William Shakespeare-

Friends talking in a coffee shop

5. Make sure they respect you and treat you well

Although this point seems obvious, in reality, building a safe and caring environment is something that needs to be worked on every day. Not all people tolerate the needs of others or are able to respect the limits placed on them (or that they set themselves).

Therefore, it’s essential, right from the start, to be open with the way you are and what you need. Obviously,  friendships should never be neglected, but this fact must be respected by both parties.

6. They should be an improvement on your previous friendships

Throughout your life, you’ve met different people. Some you may have fallen out with while others might’ve simply drifted away. Like everything in life, when it comes to friendship, you must learn from your mistakes and better understand what’s expected and what isn’t. When you’re choosing new friends, you should always take this point into account.

Being aware of these factors will also help you not to fall into the old toxic dynamics that you’ve managed to free yourself from.

7. Look for them in different places

To find good friendships, it’s important that you look in different locations. If you do this, you won’t limit yourself to always searching in the same kinds of places and thus finding the same types of psychological profiles.

This not only means you’ll have more people to choose from, but your mind will be more open and attentive when it comes to analyzing what you like and what you don’t like in others. Indeed, meeting different kinds of people can only enrich your life.

8. Don’t be afraid of loneliness

Although this advice might seem contradictory, it’s important when it comes to including people in your life. If you find yourself making friends with someone for the sole reason of having company, you’ll end up letting anyone into your life. This will increase the chance that your friendships will go wrong.

Not having a desperate need of someone else in your life will give you the calm and patience to meet new people and decide if you want to move toward friendship with them. Enjoy your solitude, make it yours, and only let it go when you want to.

9. Don’t get obsessed with finding the perfect friend

If you’re obsessed with finding a perfect friend, you’ll be constantly searching and you’ll end up feeling you don’t fit in with anyone, as this study explains. You must learn how to choose better friends, but not become inflexible.

Your goal should be to choose those people who really make a contribution to your life. Furthermore, you should review those old friendships. In fact, ask yourself if they’re adding anything positive to your life or not.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.