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Advice Friendship

These Friendship Green Flags Prove That Your Bestie is the Best

Send this to your best friend.

Between the rise of the red flag meme and a heightened focus on being aware of the signs of toxic friendships, most of us pretty much know to watch out for in a friend. But we need to talk about green flags in friendship, too. Let’s spread some positivity and appreciation for our non-problematic besties!

Friendship green flags are the signs that you’ve found yourself a keeper. These are the positive attributes and qualities to look out for in a pal. Whereas a red flag is a warning sign that reads “danger ahead,” a green flag says “proceed with abundance.”

So how can you know if you’ve made a friend for life? Here are the green flags to observe.
Green Flags in Friendship - four girls walking

10 Green Flags to Look For in a Healthy Friendship

1. They respect your boundaries.

A codependent friend disregards boundaries and maybe even makes you feel bad for having them. But a good friend understands your need to set certain limitations around your relationship. You don’t feel weird saying you can’t hang out, spending time with your other friends, or asserting your opinions.

Boundaries are key in healthy friendships. If your friends encourage you to set them and respect yours, that’s a green flag.
Green Flags in Friendship - friends laughing together

2. They want you to be happy.

When you tell your friend about a big achievement or milestone in your life, you can tell their happiness for you is genuine. They don’t act jealous when you get a boyfriend or make a new friend at work, and they can’t wait to pop the bubbly when you land a promotion.

Not only are they happy for you, but they want to talk about these life changes with you. They ask you questions, and allow you the space to do some humble bragging. Because what else are friends for?
Green Flags in Friendship - friends celebrating with confetti

3. You walk away feeling positive and uplifted.

The best friends bring out the best in you. With toxic friends, you might spend an entire hangout hearing them talk badly about another one of your friends. And that doesn’t make anyone feel good.

It’s a green flag if you leave your friend’s presence with a smile on your face and eagerness to see them again ASAP.
Green Flags in Friendship - woman smiling and texting

4. It’s not one-sided.

In a one-sided friendship, one member is doing all the work: setting plans, carrying the emotional load, being a cheerleader. Meanwhile, the other friend is just taking, taking, taking. In a healthy friendship dynamic, the effort goes both ways.

You reach out to each other equally, conversations go back and forth, and neither of the members feel used. That’s a friendship that’s greener than the grass. (Whichever kind is legal in your state.)
Green Flags in Friendship - friends chatting outside

5. You feel accepted.

It’s a green flag if you feel totally free to be your quirky, silly self around them. There’s no expectation that you have to be “cool” or pretend to be anyone you’re not. Not that you’re not cool.

Your friend is nonjudgmental and provides advice without criticizing your choices. Unless you’re making really terrible choices. In that case, see point eight.
Green Flags in Friendship - happy group

6. They are trustworthy.

You trust this friend with your dirtiest, darkest secrets, because they’ve proven their trustworthiness.

It’s a red flag if you feel like you can’t have serious conversations with them because you know they’ll go blab to Susan, Mary, and Sally as soon as you turn your back.
Green Flags in Friendship - women hugging

7. You’re excited to share things with them.

To take the last green flag a step further, not only do you trust your friend, but they’re also the first person you call to talk about exciting life updates. Why? Because you know they’ll react with appropriate levels of excitement!

Even if the news is sad or upsetting, like a breakup or the death of a loved one, this friend is still the one you turn to. You feel supported and loved and know they’ll always be a shoulder to cry on. Or to party with.
Green Flags in Friendship - woman on phone smiling

8. They are honest with you.

Friendship isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, you and your bestie might disagree or argue about something. And that’s okay – arguing isn’t a red flag in and of itself. The key is a person’s ability to argue nicely, and to be honest.

Sometimes, tough love is necessary. A green flag in friendship is when you and your friend feel close enough and respected enough to tell it like it is. Compassionately, of course.
Green Flags in Friendship - friend being comforting

9. They actually listen to you.

And here’s how you can tell: they remember things about you. Last time you hung out, you told your friend about your upcoming trip to Cancun. The next time you see each other, they ask you if you packed yet.

Real friends listen actively, ask questions, and show a genuine interest in your life.
Green Flags in Friendship - friends chatting on couch

10. You talk about your goals.

Have you ever heard this Eleanor Roosevelt quote? She said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” It was her classy, intelligent way of saying, “gossiping is petty and lame.”

And listen – we all love talking about the new season of Love is Blind and gossiping from time to time. But if you and your bestie also talk about your goals and dreams and careers, you’re looking at a green flag.

By Laura Davis

Laura was born at the beach in New Jersey, but she'd be the first to tell you her childhood was nothing like Jersey Shore. Sadly. When she's not writing, you can find her reading on her beloved Kindle, listening to true crime podcasts, or looking up adoptable cats.

Outside of her 9-5 as a writer, Laura is the owner of Looks by Laura, an online thrifted clothing boutique. She's the co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast and lifestyle website about navigating that challenging space between adolescence and adulthood. And she makes a mean eggplant parm.

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