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Making friends is tough. It takes time, trust, and a little bit of luck (who knew that the girl you sat next to on your first day at university would still be your best friend, all these years later?), but the right friend can be life-changing.

In this video from School of Life, Alain de Botton shares six ways you can tell your friendship is the real deal.

1. They trust you

True friendship is about trusting one another. While acquaintances or work colleagues may hide their shortcomings from you, a friend confides in you.

“They show how much they trust us by confessing failings and sorrows which would open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond,” de Botton says.

A friend gives you the gift of vulnerability, which allows you to be vulnerable in return.

2. They like you for the real you

As humans, we are never perfect. Maybe you’re a bad a driver, or always show up 15 minutes late to weekend plans, or have a weird eating habit (really, who puts pineapple on pizza?). Whatever your thing is, a true friend likes you not despite it—but because that’s what makes you, you.

Whatever your thing is, a true friend likes you not despite it—but because that’s what makes you, you.

“They’re not judgemental – they don’t come down harshly and critically on our weaknesses,” de Botton says.

3. They allow space for your freak-outs

When you get flustered, frustrated and can’t keep it together, a friend is there for you.

“They don’t just flatter; they understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own ability to cope,” de Botton explains.

In hindsight, it’s probably not the end of the world that you locked yourself out of your house; but when you start sobbing about it over the phone, you can rely on your friend to calm you down and show up with a set of spare keys.

4. They’re a beacon during moments when you lose your way

On days or weeks when you’re not sure about anything in our life, the right friend listens.

As de Botton says: “We get agitated or defensive, and we don’t really know why. We find it tricky to pin down our goals. We might have some strong opinions, but it can be difficult to explain really why these ideas matter to us.”

You might not able to make sense of yourself, but your friend knows who you are and is there to support you.

You might not able to make sense of yourself, but your friend knows who you are and is there to support you.

5. They remind you what you’re capable of

Sometimes, your self-confidence crashes. You may doubt your ability to run the marathon you’ve been training for, or you may feel you’ll never get that job promotion, and don’t even want to apply.

When that happens, a friend is there with the tough love and support to push you to do what they know you’re capable of.

“They see the potential in what we’re saying when we can’t,” de Botton says.

6. They believe in you

The truth is, we’re often not very good friends to ourselves: we focus on our flaws, beat ourselves up for our mistakes, and grow anxious that we aren’t doing enough with our lives.

“We need a friend because we’re liable to be so very unfriendly towards ourselves,” de Botton explains.

Our friends trust us, like us, comfort us, understand us, and strengthen us, even—and especially—when we can’t do any of those things for ourselves. It is their belief in us that keeps us going, even when they aren’t right there to comfort us.

“They continue to inhabit our brain, even when we haven’t been in touch for a while, or when they are far away,” de Botton says. “They are always with us.”

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