9 Things a True Friend Would Never Do

9 Things a True Friend Would Never Do to You

An acquaintance has a little something in common with you and merely enjoys your company for a short time.  A fair-weather friend flatters you when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.  A true friend, on the other hand, has your very best interests at heart and would NEVER…

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1.  Criticize you for being flawed.

As flawed as you might be, as out of place as you sometimes feel, and as lacking as you think you are, you don’t have to hide all the imperfect pieces of yourself from a true friend.  They see your flaws as features that make you interesting and beautiful.

The quality of the happiness between two people grows in direct proportion to their acceptance, and in inverse proportion to their intolerance and expectations.  True friends love and appreciate each other just the way they are.

2.  Walk away when times get tough.

True friendship and good character is all about how a person nurtures another person when they are vulnerable and can give very little in return.  Thus, it’s not who’s standing beside you during good times, but the ones who stick by you through tough times that are your true friends.

So take note of who remains in your life when times get tough, especially the people who sacrifice the resources they have in their life to help you improve yours when you need it most.  Seriously, when you come out the other side of a difficult period in your life, look around you.  The people still standing beside you are your true friends.

3.  Discourage you.

Unfortunately, some who seem like your friends will try to hold you back from your full potential.  It may be difficult, but don’t let these negative imposters bring you down.  Don’t ever let your so-called friends turn your sky into a ceiling.  Beware of friends who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small hearts and minds always do that.  The greatest hearts and minds – the people you should spend time around – make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Remember, encouraging things happen when you distance yourself from discouraging people.  Doing so doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  Hold a grudge over your head.

Some people will refuse to accept that you are no longer who you used to be – that you’ve made mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved beyond them.  They may not be able to stand the fact that you’re growing and moving on with your life, and so they will try to drag your past to catch up with you.  Do not help them by acknowledging their begrudging behavior.  Let go of their negativity, find peace, and liberate yourself!

A true friend never holds the unchangeable past against you; instead, they help your repair your present and future.  If someone relentlessly judges you by your past and holds it against you, you might have to take matters into your own hands, and repair your present and future by leaving them behind.

5.  Lie to you.

When you keep someone in your life who is a chronic liar, and you keep giving them new chances to be trusted, you have a lot in common with this person – you’re both lying and being unfriendly to YOU.

If you know someone who avoids the truth by telling you only what you want to hear, they do so for their own benefit, not yours.  They are not a true friend and they don’t deserve to be treated as such.

6.  Pretend like they have all the answers.

If you think about the people who have had the greatest positive effect on your life – the ones who truly made a difference – you will likely realize that they aren’t the ones that tried to give you all the answers or solve all your problems.  They’re the ones who sat silently with you when you needed a moment to think, who lent you a shoulder when you needed to cry, and who tolerated not having all the answers, but stood beside you anyway.

Don’t look for a friend who will solve all your problems; look for one who will face them with you.  (Read Tuesdays with Morrie.)

7.  Take from you without giving back.

You deserve to be with friends who make you smile – friends who don’t take you for granted – friends who won’t leave you hanging.  When you notice that a friend is always taking from you without giving back, you might need to distance yourself from them for a while.  If they care, they’ll notice.  If they don’t, you know where you stand.

You should want to give, but you shouldn’t be forced to always give more than you get.  If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, respect yourself enough to confront the situation.  This doesn’t mean you have to stop being friends with those who you feel are at fault, but you need to evaluate your friendships and realize where to draw the line when you give yourself to certain people.

8.  Bully you.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to your friends.  Sometimes bullying comes from the most unlikely places.  Be cognizant of how your friends treat you, and look out for the subtle jabs they throw.  When necessary, confront them or distance yourself from them – whatever it takes to give yourself the opportunity to grow into who you really are.

Life’s too short to be hanging around people who try to control and manipulate you.  Anyone who does so is not a true friend.  Gain your independence by taking off the shackles and freeing yourself from these bullies.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)

9.  Make you feel like you’re burdening them.

True friendship is never burdened with stressful promises and obligations.  What true friends do for each other should be done because they care and because they want to do them.  Period.

So don’t chase people.  They don’t need to be chased.  If someone is a true friend and wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever force yourself on someone who continuously overlooks your worth.


A true friend who understands your tears and troubles is far more valuable than a hundred friends who only show up for your smiles and joys.  Because a true friend accepts who you truly are, and also helps you become who you are capable of being.

Friendships like this require more than just finding the right person, they also require you to be the right person.  When someone believes in you enough to lift you up, try not to let them down.  True friendship is a sweet responsibility to be nurtured, not an opportunity to be exploited.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one thing a true friend would never do?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: JDConway


  1. TC says

    Wonderful article. I guess I could add that a true friend will never hurt your feelings intentionally.

    True friends are like true love — they are rare, so grasp them with your heart :-*)

  2. steve says

    I have had many different views on what makes friendship over the years. My take on this now as a 53 year old is this. 1. Never ask a friend to do or believe in something you don’t or wouldn’t do (expect the same from them)
    2. Never consider that you are better than them, better is a word that still requires definition that is agreed by all
    3. Don’t sell out your own values or ethics just to remain friends…it’s a sign that you may be too different, that’s ok…just move on
    4. Your friend in question should look to your feelings the same way you look to theirs…if they don’t, see answer to number 3.

  3. Chrissi says

    True friends can read between the lines of what you say, know that you need them more than usual & know exactly what to say to make you smile…

  4. ruth says

    A very good friendship dissolved due the stress of Hurricane Katrina. My friend just lost it and took all her anger out on me…Never let me help her-even after I had helped her during evacuation-Nothing I could do or say would help her. The pain this has caused me inside was/is still hard to accept.

    Our lives have moved on…but not once has this person ever tried to contact me or apologize for her anger. I know much of the anger was due to what the storm did to her but why me?

  5. Adrianne says

    I think a true friend will be brutally honest. They will listen and give their thoughts no matter how it makes you feel. You don’t want someone to always agree with you. You want someone that can be semi objective.

  6. Mary Ann R. says

    A true friend does not waiver. They stand with you through thick and thin, good times and bad times. They don’t begrudge your successes or hold over your head, your failures. They aren’t jealous when you have a happier, more interesting life when you work on it and they do not.

    A true friend is with you in the dirt, when things get ugly and they help pull you through it and are there to hug you and love you for exactly who you are. They don’t try to purposely make you feel bad so they can feel good. They hold you UP!!

    Until recently worked with someone for over 9 years I now call a frienemy. I am all too familiar with your talking points as I’ve experienced it all and then some. I’m thankful I no longer have to be around her. She’s not a nice person nor a happy person and through her friends, I discovered I she was ‘threatened by me’.

    The crazy thing is that I know she ultimately cares about me and she has been there for me at times but when she can’t look past her own misery to happy for someone else, it’s simply time to walk away and never look back. Momentary kindness doesn’t excuse years of being a jerk.

  7. Payton says

    A true friend doesn’t exclude you, or say “sorry we already wrote a lot so you can join. ”

    A true friend won’t not be friends with you because your not cool enough.

    A true friend tells you everything they need to get out and trust you to not do tell anyone else, and will also do the same to you.

    A true friend always forgives you no matter what.

    A true friend doesn’t doesn’t use you to do things they don’t want to do because it could get you in trouble.

  8. Pam says

    A friend doesn’t act like a drama queen or king. They don’t make it all about them all the time and little about you.

  9. Artchic6 says

    This article is completely synchronistic for me today!!
    I was just going to your site and considering sending a note to ask for advice on a friend who recently unfriended me in life and blocked me on facebook for her perception of a situation that’s not about her and is not at all accurate. I was going to ask advice on what to do. Well, you two must be magic because – Bam! – you’ve pretty much answered it with this article. I cannot possibly tell you how much I appreciate your words of wisdom and how they continually help me.

    My friend of only a few years now recently got offended about something a friend posted on facebook that had nothing to do with me or her and instead of addressing it with the person she was frustrated with, took it out on me (this is the tiniest of a nut shell version I can offer because the full story is not only long and totally confusing but also frankly baffling as well). She proclaimed out of the blue that we are no longer friends and I was shocked to say the least.

    This is someone who I’ve been there for from the beginning through all her hard times. We became friends really quickly, have a lot of mutual friends now and stupidly, this is going to complicate things. It’s going to affect her more than me because I’m not going to stop what I do if a social activity comes up and she’s there. It’s been her decision to make up a problem that literally doesn’t exist and call it a reason to not be friends. My God! You’d think I had f&*^d her husband or something. Not the case, and not even close.

    I’m hurt and am still baffled but there’s nothing I can do. I do tend to reach out and make peace regardless of the situation because I hate ongoing conflict. This time, the ball is squarely in her court and may stay that way. I refuse to apologize when she seems to be making up reasons to be mad at me. This actually has been an ongoing trend with her this year. This article helps me realize who my true true friends are on who I can always, without any doubt whatsoever count on – any day, any time for anything.

    I suppose I have to let it go or at least give her space. I’m afraid in the meantime what her version of the story is going to be when she mentions this ‘conflict’ to our mutual friends. She tends to overly exaggerate and it worries me that she’ll cause more issues.

    I’d love your feedback, if you are able to offer it. It would be much appreciated.

    • Angel says

      i can relate to you, Artchic6. I posted something that was meant to be a joke but my friend found it really offensive. I unintentionally posted a picture with a caption that she interpreted as an insult to bullied LGBT people. I never meant it, because I was also bullied before. We were bullied before, and i know that she knows that I would never ever post something that are against what we believed in. And so this post happened. I deleted it and apologized but she took it really seriously, and she unfriended me. Because of the damn post that i never thought would ruin the 3 years of our friendship. I understand if she got really hurt because she thought that I was referring to her but come one. She completely chose to forget everything that we’ve been through. She threw it away just like that. Maybe I’ll just give her space or something but it hurts., really. With just one click of the “unfriend” button, she threw everything away, including me.

      • Vernita says

        I am experiencing something similar.

        I recently lost my job as I was wrongfully dismissed

        One of my so called friends, had some other friends in the organisation who turned on me.

        She took their word as gospel and started blaming me for everything that happened (including me losing my job)

        Not only that, she contacted another mutual “friend” who happened to be my former manager, and told him her version of events and persuaded him to turn against me.

        Him being the pathetic coward that he is, is now refusing to be my referee despite being happy with my work

        All of these are “friendship” failures

  10. Jerri says

    When you notice somebody is using a person who is down on their luck to do odd jobs for very little money, maybe you should think about that. Especially if said person has plenty of money. Such people are users. They are not your friend, because given the chance, they will use you as well. If you notice they want your company, but don’t offer you any input as to how time together is spent, they are not your friend. Some people are selfish. That’s what they know.

    • Denise says

      That happened to me, with a CHRISTIAN woman!! She used her “unemployment” status to get everything she wants by making ME spend lots of money on HER, when SHE won’t get a job!! As sly as she is!!

  11. Jon says

    All the above is so true.
    I used to think I was a good judge of character but there are some people who will go that extra mile to be so horrible…
    I have learned a lot about so called friends since I became disabled from a sports injury…it is a hard lesson to learn but it has made me reach inside myself to acknowledge it was not my faults but theirs ! I will be much happier without those so called friends…and meet new ones with far better confidence and knowledge about people who mask their traits and behaviours for their personal gains…

  12. says

    A true friend would never force you to do something that you don’t want to. She/he would tell you what she/he thinks, but would respect your decisions.

  13. Pete says

    1. A true friend would never share your personal and private conversations with others.
    2. A true friend would never wrongfully accuse you of something you didn’t do.
    3. A true friend would never put your friendship in danger.
    4. A true friend would never be a 2-face.
    5. A true friend would never cause others to go against you.
    6. A true friend would accept you for who you are as a human being.
    7. A true friend would always help you if you needing a helping hand.
    8. A true friend will always make time for you no matter what.
    9. A true friend is someone who walks in your life when the rest of the world has walks out.

    • Denise says

      I know my mother is not a friend, BUT she did 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 with me! I’d say these people are either borderline personality-ordered or narcissists!

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