True best friends don't just come knocking on your door every day. They are a once-in-a-lifetime find you need to hold on to tightly. You may have a bunch of good friends, but a forever friend is totally different. You can tell the difference because your bestie feels more like family, and they can pretty much read your mind. There are more than a few words that
describe best friends that prove that you're the forever type.
You’ll know right away once you've locked down your BFF, because the minute they walk into your life, it's like something instantly clicks. You finally find that missing puzzle piece that makes you feel complete. But having besties isn’t just a fun bonus that you could do without — in fact, they’re actually super important for having a fulfilling life. Psychologist and friendship expert
Dr. Marisa Franco, Ph.D., tells Elite Daily that friends help us to express the fullness and richness of who we are. “I think one of the really important roles of friendship is how it expands our sense of identity,” she says. “If we just have our focus be on our romantic partner, then only a certain side of us is being expressed all the time, and so we really need an entire community to surface all the different sides of ourselves.” Needless to say, our best friends make a huge impact on our lives.
When you meet that forever friend, you have someone to tell all of your secrets to, who's down for any spontaneous adventure, has a similar (if not the same) sense of humor, and just gets you like no one else does. That's why they're so special. You also completely understand these 13 adjectives whenever your BFF is around, which proves your friendship is the real deal. You may not get all these qualities in each of your friendships, but your bestie checks off all the boxes (and then some). That is why they qualify for that "forever" piece of best friends forever.
You want a best friend who is loyal to a T — someone who will always be there for you when you need them through text, FaceTime, or even when you're having the worst day and just need someone to share a pint of your favorite ice cream with.
“To be in a relationship with someone, you almost have to be able to predict their reactions, otherwise how could you be vulnerable if you’re always fearing whether they would shame you?” Franco says. “So, it’s the sense of trust and regularity that brings you to take risks in relationships, because you’re confident that if you do, you’ll be held. And if you do, you’ll still be loved.” Your bestie loyally sticks by your side through it all. They would never let you go through anything alone, and they will always have your back, no matter what.
Franco explains that in a healthy relationship, “What happens is [that] we include the other person in our sense of ourselves. So, if they are hurt, we feel hurt, and the closer we are to someone, the more this happens,” she says. “I feel the drive to be loyal to you because it almost feels like being loyal to myself.”
Having identity affirmation in a friendship relates to how you and your bestie support each other’s values. Franco tells Elite Daily that identity affirmation is the idea that we’d affirm a friend based on who they are and what their personal goals and values are. “We don’t try to impose the ways we want to live our lives onto our friends,” she says. It’s recognizing your friend’s goals and values and using them as a lens to understand and support them. This also means you’ve created a safe space for your friend where they feel like they can express their inner values freely.
You and your bestie may have completely different personalities. However, your relationship works well because you have a mutual understanding of one another. You sympathize and always try to
relate to what the other one is going through. Even if you have different opinions about some things, you can still understand and respect each other’s perspectives.
This, Franco says, is related to the aforementioned idea of identity affirmation. “Someone who is very high in identity affirmation,” says Franco, “would be able to acknowledge that even if this isn’t what I want for
my life, this is what my friend wants for their life, and I can only judge them by their own values.” If your bestie says they want to make a spontaneous decision (like quitting their job, getting engaged, or traveling somewhere new), you can be there for them even if it’s not something you would personally do. Your differences are what make your friendship stronger.
Having mutuality in a friendship means you’re each seeking to meet your own needs as well as each other’s, but not at the expense of yourself or your friend. It’s about having balance. Mutuality means figuring out a way for friends to accommodate both people's needs and “creatively assess which should take priority in a given moment,” explains Franco.
If you have a birthday party, you probably expect your bestie to be there. Any reason for them to cancel (aka a
“them” need) would be compared to your need, which is to have your BFF present at your bash. Say their excuse is something like “I’m tired.” According to Franco, “That would be unacceptable to me because my need was for you to show up for me, [and in this situation] my need takes priority. It’s more important and significant.” But let’s say your bestie had to cancel because of an unexpected family emergency. Franco says, “That is different because now your need is a lot more significant too.”
Friends with mutuality would respond differently based on what the need is, rather than having an all-or-nothing, no-excuses attitude. This means continually asking yourselves, “How do we balance both our needs?’” Franco tells Elite Daily.
Making friends is about showing people that you love and value them. That’s why the people who are best at making friends are also the best at showing those in their lives that they matter, according to Franco. “Those are the type of people that people want to be friends with, someone who makes them feel really safe,” she says. Your friends make you feel all warm inside and help you build confidence.
“There’s this theory called Risk Regulation Theory,” Franco tells Elite Daily, “which basically argues that we’re all looking to regulate or decrease our risk of rejection, and so we move in our relationships to the degree that we feel that we won’t be rejected. So, if someone affirms us and shows us affection, it tells us we can move forward in this relationship and we won’t be rejected.” Basically, the more you
hype up and share the love with your best buddy, the deeper your friendship can grow.
You want a BFF who you feel comfortable venting to. “Part of really intimate relationships is like, ‘I need to be vulnerable with you,’” explains Franco. “And I’m not going to be vulnerable with you if I feel like you’re going to judge me.” Vulnerability, as she puts it, isn’t just about you and your comfort with
being vulnerable — it’s also about how you evaluate your environment and the people in it. “If you don’t think the other person is non-judgmental, you’re not going to access that depth of the relationship,” Franco tells Elite Daily.
When you're spilling your secrets to your friend, you want it to be a judgment-free zone. Your bestie loves you no matter what, and that's why they would never dare give you a look after you admit to who you're crushing on or how you really feel about your job.
Honesty is so important in any relationship. You want to feel comfortable telling your BFF anything and everything, from your latest fling to your biggest fears. Honesty is also essential whenever there’s a problem in the relationship. If you can’t tell your ride-or-die what’s bothering you, the issue will only fester and grow.
“It’s really important to be honest, specifically because our relationships are not meant for us to feel perfect all the time,” Franco tells Elite Daily. “They’re meant to help us grow. And the only way that we’re going to access that is if there’s a degree of honesty in the relationship. If there’s no honesty, then the person is not giving us feedback that is going to help us grow as a person, and we’re not able to access the full benefits of the relationship,” she says. Since you trust each other so much, there is no topic that's ever off the table.
Supportiveness is one of the
keys to a healthy friendship. “You need to feel like that person is going to show up in a time of need,” Franco says. “It’s sort of an expectation when you get close to someone that they’re going to be willing to do that. Asking for what you need, giving and receiving, that’s another way to create intimacy in your relationships.”
You and your bestie are each other's number one fans. You are always pushing them to go for their dreams, and they are right there cheering you on as well. You need a best friend who will not only support every decision you make, but be willing to help you along the way.
The best hangs with your BFF are when you're not doing anything at all. “I’ve heard friendship defined as someone you feel ease around,” notes Franco. “If you’re hanging out with someone and you call them a friend, but you feel on guard, on eggshells, or not quite accepted, then by that definition, [they] wouldn’t actually be a friend,” she tells Elite Daily, “because I think we need that ease to express who we truly are. Ease coincides with authenticity — if we have ease, there will be more authenticity.”
You know you have a true friend when you are both so comfortable with each other that you could be sitting at home, watching Netflix, not even talking, and still having the best time ever.
You bestie is always down for the adventure. If you want to hop in the car and
take a spontaneous road trip, you don't have to ask them twice if they want to come with. And if you want to spend an afternoon taking surf lessons at the beach, you know your bestie's probably game to give it a try, too.
There’s this idea in psychology that people always need to feel a sense of expansion, according to Franco. “The way that we really access that is through the people around us,” she tells Elite Daily. “Having those new experiences is a way for us to continue to expand our sense of self, which is fulfilling a powerful human need.”
Best friends share the same or similar senses of humor. You always think your best friend is the funniest person in the room. Everyone else may not get the joke they dropped, but you're laughing so hard that you're pretty much crying.
Franco tells Elite Daily that it all goes back to feeling a sense of ease and authenticity in the relationship. “Friendship is all about authenticity, because how can you connect with someone if you don’t know mutually who each other really is?” she says. And what is more authentic than busting out laughing together at something only the two of you would get? Collecting inside jokes like it’s a full time job is all but a rite-of-passage for two BFFs.
A best friend who's the forever type is someone who is caring. They love you like family, and the feeling is mutual. All you want is for your bestie to be happy, and you'll do anything to make that happen — including ordering takeout and watching
their fave rom-com with them when they're having a rough day.
“It’s the idea that I’m willing to go out of my way to help you and fulfill your needs,” Franco says, “and if you think about it, that way it goes alongside generosity.” Caring and generosity are both part of the recipe for a strong friendship. “If you’re able to show care, show generosity, show that you’re willing to adjust to meet other people’s needs, you build trust, and that’s really a great way to deepen your relationships,” offers Franco.
Your best friend is not only supportive, but they push you to go after your dreams. They inspire you to be a better person just by being their fabulous self and cheering you on to reach for the stars.
This comes back to the identity affirmation idea. “If a friend is recognizing your values and what your goals are and is supporting you in reaching the goals you personally have, rather than the goals that they have, then that makes us feel so seen,” explains Franco. “The foundation of a healthy relationship is the sense that we want each other’s success,” she adds. Together, you always have the feeling you can take on the world.
Experts: Dr. Marisa Franco, P.h.D. , psychologist and friendship expert