Hey, Psych2Goers! Before we get started, this is a disclaimer that this article is meant for entertainment and educational purposes only. It is not meant to mock, shame, or make fun of anyone. Similarly, if someone doesn’t show these signs, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re not good for you. This list is for general guidance only, not an all-encompassing description, so please consider your personal situation and information before making any big decisions.
Have you ever had a toxic friend? If so, you know all about how much other people can affect you. They can lift you up to unimaginable heights or send you crashing down with a few backhanded remarks. However, it can be quite difficult to tell whether someone is good or bad for you. There are so many different signs a person may be harmful to you that it can become too confusing to really tell. You may be tempted to attribute their unhealthy behavior to various excuses such as an off week or unintentional implication. So, instead of focusing on the negatives, try asking yourself whether someone is good for you. That way, you can focus less on the person themselves and more on how they affect you and the relationship itself! If this sounds helpful and interesting, keep reading for 8 signs someone is good for you!
1. They ask questions and truly listen
When having a conversation with someone, has it ever felt as if they were just waiting for you to finish talking? Many self-centered and impatient people don’t truly listen to what you’re saying; instead, they respond with short remarks until they can shift the conversation to something else. For example, they may use phrases like, “That’s cool, but you have to hear what happened to me!” or, “That’s nothing compared to my day!” This type of one-sided conversation can become quite exhausting and leave you feeling unimportant and ignored. On the other hand, someone who is good for your mental health will truly listen to what you’re saying and engage in the conversation by asking questions, offering advice, or emphasizing with you. (Robertson, K. Active listening: More Than Just Paying Attention. 2005) So, are you excited to talk to this person about your day or is it something you avoid? If they actively listen to you, congratulations they’re probably good for your mental health!
2. They’re vulnerable with you
Have they opened up about their childhood or embarrassing moments to you? When someone trusts and wants to get closer to you, they’ll be a lot more vulnerable. This is a good sign because it means they’re invested in you and want a deeper, longer-term connection. Their friendship and willingness to be vulnerable can bring out the best in you too, so if this describes one of your friends, they’re probably good for you!
3. They respect your boundaries
Has someone ever pushed you too far or too fast? How did it feel? People who do this tend to be bold and confident. They may forget that not everyone is like them and try to get others too far out of their comfort zone. These people aren’t necessarily bad for you; however, you should try to talk to them about it. Try to ensure that they like you for who you are and that if you aren’t comfortable with something, they’ll respect your boundaries. Someone who is good for your mental health will treat you with consideration and empathy, so know your worth and don’t settle for anything else!
4. They have a good character
Sounds obvious, right? However, some people may need to be reminded of seemingly simple signs. It’s similar to looking for an object that’s right in front of your face. Sometimes, all it takes is pointing something out to notice it! So, if they’re honest, admit to their mistakes, and follow through with what they say, chances are they’re a good person and good for your mental health! However, if they make excuses for their mistakes, get aggressive and defensive, or constantly break their word, they may be harmful to your mental health. A general tip is to ask yourself whether you’re genuinely proud to be someone’s friend, and if the answer is yes, they likely have a great character!
5. They manage their emotions effectively
Has talking to someone ever felt like riding a roller coaster? One moment they’re laughing and having a good time then the next they’re angry and defensive? People without a good grasp on their emotions tend to be impulsive, rash, and in extreme cases, violent. While they may have valid reasons or a moving backstory behind lacking emotional control, it could still be harmful to you. (Jordan, P. & Troth, A. Managing Emotions During Team Problem Solving: Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution. 2004) The bottom line is that it isn’t your job to “fix” them, so if they constantly leave you drained and upset, it may be time to refer them to professional help. You should try to remember that you have limits and needs too, and there is no shame or guilt in prioritizing them.
6. They’re comfortable alone
When going out, do they constantly need at least a few friends? This habit may suggest that they’re codependent, which could become a larger problem. They may start to latch onto you and depend on you for too much. On the other hand, someone who is comfortable alone is likely more confident and independent, which are two traits that can lead to a lot of personal growth in everyone around them. (Brackett, M. A., Mayer, J. D., & Warner, R. M. Emotional Intelligence and its Relation to Everyday Behavior .2003, September 12) In the end, not being comfortable alone doesn’t automatically mean someone is bad for you; instead, it just means you should ensure they aren’t taking more than you have to give.
7. They know when and how to accept help
Do you know someone who absolutely refuses help when offered? People with such strong independence may also have large amounts of pride. Their ego could be preventing them from seeking help, even if they need it. People like this could be self-destructive and irritable, which could harm your mental health. For example, you could be so focused on trying to offer support without them knowing that you forget about your own responsibilities and aspirations. On the other hand, healthy, well-balanced people know when and how to accept help, which is one of the best traits in a person. It promotes a positive mindset and leads to much less stress and frustration for you. So, try to remember that accepting help is one of the biggest signs someone is well-balanced and good for your mental health!
At the end of the day, whether someone is good for you or not greatly depends on your personal situation. There is no one list that contains every sign, so you have to think for yourself too! Do you feel happy, safe, supported, and valid around them? Are you looking forward to your next conversation? Asking yourself questions like these in combination with this article can be a big help in deciding!
Did this article help you figure out whether someone was good for you? If so, which signs? Do you have any others to add? Feel free to comment down below your story, thoughts, or suggestions!
- Robertson, K. (2005). Active listening: More Than Just Paying Attention. Australian Family Physician. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.366629010280498
- Jordan, P. & Troth, A. (2004) Managing Emotions During Team Problem Solving: Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution, Human Performance, 10.1207/s15327043hup1702_4
- Brackett, M. A., Mayer, J. D., & Warner, R. M. (2003, September 12). Emotional Intelligence and its Relation to Everyday Behavior. Personality and Individual Differences. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886903002368.