The saying is that you become most like the five people you spend the majority of your time with, which means real and lifelong friendships are some of the most valuable relationships you can make.

Friendships are not only valuable to who you become, but they enhance your emotional and mental state of mind…

When your day has gone completely sour, they offer a shoulder to cry on.

When you messed up and just can’t figure out how to fix it, a true friend is always there to offer that breakthrough piece of advice that you needed to hear.

Some friends are only in your life for a season, while others make it a forever deal.

So, how do you determine which friends are going to be lifelong?

The ones that you will be playing bingo with when your old and gray will most likely display these common characteristics of a real and lifelong friendship

They always forgive you and love you unconditionally.

Even in those moments where you don’t or won’t ask forgiveness, they are still there to offer it to you. Sometimes, the best thing a friend can do is simply forgive you because they love you unconditionally and know you need it.

Oftentimes, we unintentionally hurt those we love and as stubborn as human nature is it can be hard to ask for forgiveness. But, a friend is always willing to forgive, forget and move on to save the friendship.

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They support you relentlessly.

An important characteristic of a true and lasting friend is one who is willing to drop anything to help during your time of need.

A friend who supports you relentlessly is the one who will cancel their plans just to have a night in with you after a break-up. Or one who is there to help pick up the pieces after you lose your job.

It is always good to have someone you trust in your corner rooting for you.

They have things in common with you.

All lifelong friends should have at least one thing in common.

The things you have in common are most likely the pure foundation of your friendship …

You share the same favorite band, favorite food, or maybe even you share the same love for your career choice.

Whatever that common ground is, nourish it and spend time enjoying your common interests together.

Distance doesn’t matter.

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It could be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, but even being a world apart would not dampen your relationship.

Hang on to those friendships where when you hang out after a long time you can easily pick right back up where you left off – those are the real ones.

Thanks to modern technology, maintaining a long-distance friendship is easier than ever with the ability to communicate via text, Skype, or other video chat software.

They bring out the best in you.

If you discover that you love yourself, even more, when you are around that friend, they are a keeper. A lifelong friend will make you a stronger, happier, and healthier you.

True friends help each other become the absolute best person they can be and never ask them to compromise their beliefs or convictions.

They know how to empathize together.

Every friendship handles battles differently. It could be as simple as a pat on the back or just knowing when to be an active listener.

But, lifelong friendships not only support each other when they need it, they know exactly how to support each other when they need it.

You can always share a good laugh together.

One of the best things about friendship is the good times you share. All the laughs and inside jokes shared are irreplaceable.

One way to show your friend some appreciation, and to keep the good laughs going would be to give them a gift – such as a shirt or a handbag – with a personalized clothing sticker on it that contains an inside joke the two of you share.

You keep the air clear between you.

Just like with any relationship, honesty is key. True friends always keep the air clean – if something hurts their feelings, rather than going and gossiping about their friend, they simply discuss the issue with them so that common ground can be reached.

You can openly discuss difficult issues.

Honesty can be hard. Oftentimes, it is much easier to just beat around the bush and avoid the truth out of fear that it will hurt the other person’s feelings or make them mad.

But, a true lifelong friend is willing to share when they think the friendship is suffering or when they think something is getting in the way.

Relationships take maintenance, and openly discussing the difficult issues is key to keeping the air clean between you.

They bask in your joys.

Through the trials and tribulations to the joys and celebrations, they are always there. They pick you up during the trials and bask in your joys during the victories.

As a real, lifelong friend you should both share the joys of each other’s successes. Complement each other on a job well done and be proud of each other.

Don’t ever let the ugly green monster, jealousy, kick in.

To have a great friend is also to be a great friend. You have to be willing to give in order to receive. Take note of these traits and apply them to the list of qualities you would like to find in a friend, but also add them to the list of qualities you yourself should provide as a friend.

A lifelong friendship is more valuable than gold – it offers you relentless support, love, and forgiveness. You will be sharing laughter, tears, and memories for years to come with a real and lifelong friend – no matter the distance.

When you find a true, real, lifelong friend that displays these characteristics, grab them tight, hold onto that friendship and nurture it for a lifetime.

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