November 15, 2013 - submitted by Lina, Lithuania

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #144
How do you know if a friend is true? I mean, without all that "you'll know who is your friend when you're in trouble" thing, I don't face any big problems in my life at this time. There must be a way to find out!!! Thanks.


The Oracle replies:

I'm glad you don't have any current worries to put your friendships to the test but I think there's a lot of truth in finding out who you're real friends are in times of crisis. A true friend is there for you no matter what.
I will add this: I have many good friends but I'm aware that the levels of friendship are different. Some are similar to me, some are opposite to me. Some are needy and it's my job to be there for them. Some have problems but they turn to me for fun and distraction. Some are troubled and want my advice or a shoulder to cry on. Whether they want laughs or support or just someone to hang out with, I am there for them in whatever way they need - as they are for me.
I'm confident that I can work out my needs from my friends too. Sometimes I have been disappointed when a friend has let me down or not displayed the loyalty I feel is mutually bound but I think with age came the knowledge of what, if any, expectations to have. I no longer expect "too much" from other people.
Different people can offer different things in their role of friend. I wonder if it's worth asking what you get from & offer to yours.
The fundamental thing I want and possibly need is trust. I know I have some people who aren't great secret keepers so I don't tell them any. I also have friends who I can & do confide in. It's getting to know your friends as people and then working out what you both bring to the relationship that works for each of you.
I've probably made it sound very complicated but I think it's something that hopefully will come instinctively to you.
For now, don't worry, just spend time with people you like and have common interests with.
Over to you.

I think what proves a true friend is whether they stick around you in the roughest of times (even if there aren't many 1) you're very lucky :) 2) everyone experiences negative points in their lives, it can't be avoided). Also, they won't do anything without your permission/concern. There's this girl I really like, the problem was, she liked one of my best friends! But, because he was a 'true friend' he did nothing and let her go. From then on I saw him as such a good friend and I'd trust him with anything. So a 'true friend' in my opinion is someone who would never do anything to hurt your feelings and someone you can trust with absolutely anything. When you really think about it, there are very few people who fit this description perfectly.
Hope this helps. Kind regards and good luck. Joe.


I must admit it is a bit hard to know when a friend is true, but thanks to all the bad and good experiences I have had in my life I can give you a list:
1. Not any true friend tries to change you: Do not misunderstand me, they can give you advices and suggestions, but never conditions to establish or maintain a friendship, at least, not conditions that you're not willing to do, like changing your personality or something of the kind.
2. Not any true friend judges or abuses you: Here is were the word "bullying" makes its appearance, which is too sad considering there is people that still think it means physical abuse only and ignore the fact that it can start with a simple insult.
3. A true friend do not exactly fix your problems but does worry and tries to give you and advice, supporting you or at least getting you a smile.
This might not be the largest list ever and I am sure there are more ways to identify a true friendship, but I hope these 3 things will help you in a future. MDLA.

I think a "true friend" which can have you so confident to tell your secrets, without fear you play, even if not always with you, but he did not criticize you, hurt, harm or betray, gave you no heart damage. Stefany.

For me, a true friend is someone who you can always talk to during positive or negative times in your life. They not only talk but they listen. I think most people forget about the importance of listening. A friend who listens to you probably is really sincere and a true friend. It shows that the they are not self-centered since they do really care about. A true friend will accept you the way you are and try not to shape you to be someone else. When you hang around with your friends and you feel happy and safe, those are usually you're true friends. Hope it helps. Anonymous.

I would say that a true friend is someone who is there for you in the good and the bad. Someone who is willing to make time for you to spend time together and do fun things. Someone who won't make you feel bad but instead always finds a way to make you feel happy and good about yourself. Someone who will always be truthful and won't judge you and instead accept you the way you are. I think a true friend helps you grow as a person. They listen to what you have to say and offer the most best advice they can give. A true friend will be supportive. Sometimes it can be hard to spot a true friend but if someone is always there for you, then that would be a good sign. Sheyla.

I suppose you’re asking this because you’re having doubts about a friendship, but I don’t know if you’re questioning your friendship towards a person or theirs towards you. Anyway, here’s my experience as a woman in her thirties. Like love, friendship is a feeling and per se cannot really be explain rationally. So trust your feelings! A true friend brings you something special. They make you feel good. You like their company and care for them. You like them for what they are, flaws included. You don’t pretend in their company, you’re just yourself. You show honesty and respect. You’ll do anything for them. You’re affected by what happens to them, be it good or bad. If you don’t see each other for a while - even years, you’ll talk again as if you met yesterday. Seeing a friendship grow with time is a wonderful feeling. And even if you lose some good friends on the way - some with much regret, what matters is that what you shared at the time was real and sincere.
For me, a true friendship takes to open up and confide in each other, because it’s how you really get to know somebody. But for others, it's just about having loads of fun together. There are no rules, only a feeling of sharing. May your friendship last a lifetime or a few years, it’s a connection you’ll carry in your heart forever. So cherish it!
Love from France, Helene.

How you recognize a real friend, a real friend is somebody who is there for you no matter what, not only for problems but also for joy. I have to say that you really know who you're friends are in hard times a real friend is somebody who don't need any words, he/she knows what you mean by only look at each other. "A real friend is like a star, you not always see them but they are always there by you're side" greets from Marianne.

If someone were to ask me this when I was younger, I wouldn't have known what to say. But within the past two years, my life has been quite crazy, and within all of that craziness, I've learned what a true friend is. You see, through all of the craziness and sadness I've felt, there was someone who was always there to help me get back onto my feet. I constantly asked myself why she would constantly put up with whatever I was going through, and the answer was much simpler than I thought it was. She was a friend, and a friend is someone who is there for you, no matter the circumstance.
Best wishes! Bradley H.

There's a few ways you can tell a real friend from a fake. One way is to think about how supportive they are of you, whether they encourage you to do well and keep you from doing bad, or do the rather make fun of you when you fail? Do they stick up for you when someone is being disrespectful to you? A true friend defiantly should stick up for you. Do they make time to hang out with you? Do they want to hang out with you? Is it an even relationship, to they care about you as much as much as you care about them? Do they make promises and stick to them? And I know this may sound harsh, but is there a reason your friend is your friend? By that I mean, do they just use you do get a lift to school? Free notes in class? Are you second best or there for when they’re bored? Do they use you as a way to get popular? Maybe you’re stronger than them and you offer them protection? Some of the answers to these questions might not be to clear, the aren't always. When it comes down to it, only you can decide whether you want to be friends with that person or not. Don’t lose friendship with someone just because everyone tells you they’re “uncool”, don't change to fit in society, keep true to yourself and make sure your friends are true to you. Grace.

I think that a true friend helps you when you need help, cries with you when you wanna cry, and laughs with you when you wanna laugh. A true friend will never disappoint you, will never forget you, will never let you go. A true friend makes what others can't make, a true friend you'll find just one time in life, and you must enjoy it! With love from Brazil, Thuane.

What do you expect from your friends? What would you do to be someone’s true friend?
For sure we want to know even in good times who are the friends to count on, before it comes to hard times and we have to realize there might be no friends at all. Don’t worry, this worst case won’t happen to you.
Certainly it will be easier to find out over a long time than quickly. To test your friend, to set any kind of traps only would disturb your friendship, a good friend would trust. You can only expect to get back what you put in, a friendship is a dynamic interplay. Still there’s no need to be thoughtless or noncritical, friends could handle that. I can’t know what would be important to you - a true friend of mine wouldn’t want to change me, though being there or help if I am going through any changes. Decide where to set your own values. Best wishes. L.Q.


Thanks to all those who replied to this week’s question. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.