While there are no rules when it comes to what constitutes a "perfect" friendship, that's likely not going to stop you from wondering if your friendship is normal or not. If you two act more like sisters than friends, or if your group shares way too much information, ya'll could be crossing some lines. But want to know what's cool? It's up to you to decide what's OK and what isn't.
When it comes to your friendships, you can basically do whatever you want — as long as you have the basics of a healthy friendship covered. "In a solid good friendship, you can be you," registered psychotherapist Victoria Donahue tells Bustle. "No personas or acts. You can say what's on your mind; you don't have to censor yourself and feel bad for being you. A true friend accepts you for who you truly are."
You also won't have to keep score. "The friendship has a give-and-take dynamic. Each person knows when to step up without the other having to ask," Donahue says. And, you'll have plenty of communication. "They know when to put their phone away and give you their undivided attention. Your friend gives you the space to talk and processes how you're doing and feeling. [And] you feel heard and validated."
With all that in mind, read on for a few experts' takes on what's normal in a friendship, and what crosses that aforementioned line.
If it feels like you and your friends are the weirdest ever, never fear. Here are some surprising things we all do with our besties that may seem strange, but are actually perfectly normal.
1. You Tell Each Other Everything
If you call each other to share what you had for lunch, or to wax poetic about something funny that happened at work, you're definitely not alone. "You want it to feel like your friend is there experiencing whatever it is with you," Donahue says. "In this case, no detail is too small."
2. Half Of Your Worldly Possessions Are At Their House
While other people might think it's weird that you raid each other's closets or borrow each other's underwear, this is yet another totally normal part of friendship. "Nothing is off limits to what you can borrow," says Donahue. "What's yours is mine. You might even forget who was the original owner of the pair of jeans or blush brush."
3. You Can Read Each Other's Minds
If it ever feels like you two are one hang out away from becoming the same person, you're probably right. And that's perfectly OK. "It's not uncommon to be in sync, such as thinking about your friend, then receiving a text that very moment," Donahue says. It just shows how much you care about each other.
4. Neither Of You Take A Side During A Conflict
You might think a best friend has to take your side through thick and thin. And while that'd be nice, it's not always true. "You can listen to your friend complain about their SO, support them and take their side, and still like or be friendly with their SO," relationship therapist Julienne B. Derichs, LCPC tells Bustle. "You may think you need to take sides but really it's OK to meet your friend wherever they are and give them love and support."
5. You'd Do Anything To Keep Their Secrets
If you've ever bent the truth for a friend in order to protect her secrets, you're also not alone. "You are protecting the relationship and the information that your friend gives you about their thoughts and feelings," Derichs says. "It's their information to dole out, not yours. And that's not weird; those are healthy boundaries."
6. You're Super Honest With Each Other
On more than one occasion, your friend has wanted to pop your pimple or pluck a stray hair. And that's always totally normal. "Basically you are grooming each other and that may seem weird but it's OK and actually a sign that you are paying attention to them," Derichs says. "Please remember though to be kind and sensitive. That is how good friends handle those things."
7. You Two Are Incredibly Affectionate
Other friends may think it's weird that you two hold hands or sit on each other's laps. But it's up to you to decide what feels right. "Some people view certain levels of affection in friends as odd, but this is largely based on their own level of comfort with affection," psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "There are best friends that hug, kiss, snuggle and nap together. While some might view this as odd, or unhealthy boundaries, these are perfectly normal shows of comfort and emotion for a person in your life that you love, and that you are this comfortable and close with. "
What's Not Normal...
When it comes to what's not normal in a friendship, it's really up to you and your friends to decide. Since there is no definition of a perfect friendship, Derichs tells me it's better to focus on what's "unhealthy" when figuring out if your relationship is OK. Here are some habits that might be crossing the line.
1. They Only Call When They Need Help
Of course it's OK for a friend to call if he or she needs help. But it's not so great if that's the only time they call, or if they're nowhere to be found when you have a problem. "If a person is not there when you are suffering or need support, he/she might not be a good friend," psychologist Kathryn Moore, PhD, of Providence Saint John's Child and Family Development Center, tells Bustle. "You can try reflecting on the situation after it happens, but if he/she is consistently only seeking you out when in crisis, it might not be the best friendship."
2. She Flakes On Plans All The Time
Flaking is so easy to do these days that it officially feels normal, but trust me — it's not something you have to put up with. "Sure things come up that keep people from following through on commitments, but if this happens consistently, then you might want to reconsider your friendship," says Moore. "You can either understand that this is the way the person is and might not show up when planned, or move on to find someone more dependable."
3. He Always Goes Out Without You
It can hurt to find out your friends went out without you. But that doesn't mean you should write them off, or immediately label your relationship toxic. You should, however, start reconsidering things if happens all the time. As Moore tells me, a friend who leaves you out might might be doing so purposefully to try to control you or hurt you. And that's obviously all sorts of toxic.
4. You Head Home Feeling Bad About Yourself
After hanging out with a friend, you should feel refreshed and happier than when you arrived. So take note if you leave feeling "off your center." As Derichs says, "Their personality might so big that there is 'no room at the table' for you to have your own thoughts, wants, or needs." If that's the case, their friendship might not be a good fit.
5. You Feel Judged And Criticized
Again, it's OK for friends to lovingly crack jokes. But that doesn't mean they should tear you down. "Criticisms and digs need to be nipped in the bud," Derichs says. "You want to be treated with respect and if your friend cannot do that, it's time to move on."
6. He Or She Doesn't Support Your Goals
Not every friendship can be that amazing, sister-like friendship that's full of undying love and support. But that doesn't mean they should hold you back, either. Moore tells me it's not normal if a friend tries to undermine your goals, or if she shows zero support when you're trying to better yourself.
7. They Lie And Gossip Behind Your Back
Everyone gossips occasionally, so don't ditch your friend if it happens once or twice. Do, however, hit that dusty trail if they can't seem to stop — especially if they are lying to you or about you. "These could be signs of an emotional abuser," Moore says. "If any of these happen and the person does not stop once you say it upsets you, then run, don't walk, away from him/her."
It can hurt to end a friendship, but it's often necessary if it means getting away from a toxic person. That said, so many "weird" parts of friendship are actually incredibly normal.
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