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There is much conversation around romantic relationships, but only a little about friendships. We develop most of our understanding of navigating romantic relationships within our friendships. After years of hosting several community-based events in NYC for women, I realized that many women crave community but don’t know how to find it or nurture it. Through several poor and toxic friendships, I am excited to share with you what green flags to look for in friendships. These are things I’ve learned along the way.

1. True Support

As someone who has often been the supportive friend in friendships and acquaintances, I recognize how important having genuine support is as an indication of a healthy friendship. Friendships may start with both parties on the same level emotionally, physically, or financially, but as some journeys shift, true friends reveal themselves. I believe in reciprocity; it is not that we set an expectation that a friend is supposed to give when they don’t have to, but that sacrificial love and support in a friendship are indications of a good friend. A friend who understands you and where you are in life and is willing to support and encourage you indicates a green flag in a friendship. Support in friendships may look different with each friend. Some may only be able to support financially, some spiritually, and some emotionally. Knowing your needs as a friend and having open and safe lines of communication is vital to building support in your friendships.

Proverbs 17:17 ESV – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

2. Vulnerability and Authenticity

I can assume that most of you reading this have dealt with some level of trauma. Maybe the trauma of being hurt or neglected by a parent, the trauma of your needs not being met by a leader you trusted, or perhaps you were betrayed by someone you trusted. If you have ever experienced disappointment, perhaps you have built a wall around you to protect yourself from being hurt again. One clear green flag in a friendship is when you feel a sense of safety in a friend, a level of vulnerability that allows you to be your whole self. Now, we need to be aware that often, our trauma may cause us to believe a lie that we aren’t safe when, in reality, we are – this is something we should keep in mind when navigating friendships. People you feel have created a safe space for you to be your whole self, let down your guards, and allow yourself to rest around are a blaring green flag.

3. Healthy Communication

Effective communication is vital in every relationship, not just romantic ones. Personally, the most rewarding friendships are those where communication is open, clear, and transparent. In such friendships, individuals are free to express their needs and desires without worrying about being too demanding or burdensome. This creates a sense of safety and trust, which is essential for any healthy friendship. In addition, the ability to advocate for oneself and have one’s needs met is an important aspect of any friendship. Lastly, forgiveness and understanding are integral components of healthy communication in friendships and help to strengthen the bond between friends.

4. Growth in Friendships

We often hear that people outgrow friendships; chances are you have probably outgrown some of yours. But what about the friendships that grow with you? This is possible, and it happens! If friends aren’t growing on their own, chances are, they aren’t going to grow with you. Depending on what you place value on, this may be insignificant to you. However, if you are constantly evolving, you want to have friends around you who are also changing. I’ve found that healthy friendships consist of two people who are intentional about their growth journey. They can collectively grow together. This is a huge green flag.

5. Honesty and Integrity

Honesty and integrity in friendships should be an obvious green flag, but I had a friend who was a pathological liar. The dynamics of this friendship drove home the value of having honesty and integrity in a friend. According to Merriam-Webster, integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. You can trust a friend who is honest and has integrity. You can rely on someone who says what they mean and means what they say. You can trust a friend whose actions are consistent with their words. Honesty and integrity create safety in friendships that allow space for vulnerability and growth.

SEE ALSO: Can Men And Women Be Just Friends?

The Bible has a lot to say about friendships:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”

Learning how to choose, build, and nurture healthy friendships is not a skill often taught but instead learned through discerning what works and what doesn’t. Drawing from my own experiences with friends, both good and bad, I can attest that it IS possible to cultivate a healthy and safe community with friends.

Sade Solomon is a NYC-based social media personality and multi-hyphenate creator who boldly and fashionably ignites authentic and candid conversations on topics surrounding intercourse, singleness, and abstinence. After embarking on her journey of abstinence in 2013, Sade began openly sharing her life-changing commitment on various online platforms while enlightening and inspiring many through her journey. In her book, Ready, Set, Wait, Sade peels back the layers of truth about navigating singleness and abstinence as a single Christian woman. Her work and commentary have been featured by Good Morning America, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Black Love, and XO Necole.

5 Green Flags In Friendships  was originally published on