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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UTD chapter.

Creating friendships can be very difficult for many people. This task can be challenging to fulfill on a satisfactory or exceptional level. The process of letting people in and out of our lives is entirely controlled by us. Nobody plans on being separated from a friend or loved one; it just happens. But, there are ways to avoid being around certain people who drain your energy. It is important not to ignore these red flags and to keep an eye out for them from early on in the friendship.

There are many essential things to remember before letting people into your small circle called your “chosen family.” Number one is to always prioritize quality over quantity. It may be tempting to have large friend groups that do not benefit you in any way but for the gimmick. A few posts here and there on social media, and receiving comments from people you have little to no introduction to, is nothing more than an adrenaline rush that lasts for a couple of minutes and goes away. All of these points assume that you are a good person and a good friend. If you are not, check yourself first. With that being said, here are nine things to remember when making friends.

1. They understand that prioritizing yourself is growth and they appreciate you for it. Something major or alarming can come up in your friend’s life, and it is obvious that as a good friend, it is your responsibility to be there for them. However, prioritizing yourself should be your number one concern. A good friend is someone who respects you for prioritizing personal growth and does not make you feel like a horrible person for being good to yourself.

2. They genuinely believe in you and your potential. Good friends truly believe in you. They do not have to help you or solve your problems while you are working towards a goal. They just should not use “reality” as an excuse to bring you down. Good friends let you dream big and fill your heart with the confidence you not only need but also deserve to get to where you have to be.

3. They fact-check with you before making a judgment. Social networking plays a prominent role in our lives, and people talk about you continuously, whether you know it or not. Friends should be able to tell if a rumor about you is valid or not. They must always fact-check with you before making any assumptions or passing any judgments.

4. They do not make you feel as though you must hide any part of yourself. As members of the human race, people can be peculiar at times. They can be different from you in many ways, but the thing that ties your bond together is your values and emotional wavelength. They make all parts of you seen and heard. They are never embarrassed to be in your life or have you in theirs. They are proud.

5. They never deny the way you feel. When you tell someone who supposedly knows you extremely well about your feelings, they should never deny how you feel. This is especially important to observe if you have disputes with them. If you tell your friends how you feel because of something they have done, they have no right to deny your feelings and say they didn’t make you feel a certain way when you know they did. As a good friend, they should communicate their feelings clearly and understand your side. They should listen first and then speak, keeping in mind that your feelings are valid.

6. They do not want to steal your spotlight. A good friend never acts selfishly and attempts to steal your spotlight. They are only ever happy for you and let you celebrate and be there for you while you are celebrating. They never make your problems about themselves or try to one-up you every time you go through something. They always let you speak and listen to you before their turn.

7. They respect your place in their lives. We meet new people every day, but nobody is the same as someone else. We all have something different to our personalities that draws people to us. We can be very similar to someone, but the way we individually make people feel is ultimately irreplaceable. A true friend recognizes this extraordinary quality in you. In other words, they do not break old ties to form new ones.

8. They respect and appreciate your vulnerability. Being vulnerable is one of the most courageous things one can do, and it takes a lot of trust in someone enough to tell them how you feel. A real friend will never use your vulnerabilities as a way to not be your friend. They do not have to save you or fix everything; they listen to you and understand you. They let you take your time to learn and figure out your own life.

9. They never play with your insecurities. A real friend would never use your insecurities to make jokes about you or just be humorous in general. This is easily observable. When you hang out with your friends, you should always feel uplifted or inspired. Only good thoughts about yourself should cross your mind, and you should always feel content. Even after leaving them and going about your day, you should still feel loved by your friends and worthy of being in their lives and this world.

My name is Veera Gollapalli. I am a writer who mainly focuses on topics relating to the South Asian community, among many other social issues. I am a student at UT Dallas pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. I am a proud native Telugu speaker and strive to learn how to read and write Telugu better. I started writing a very long time ago and have loved it forever. It is the best medium to communicate anything through, as it can be the easiest to understand most times. I strive to bring together communities and make sure that the divisions the world has endured to date will be stopped. The future for me is filled with even more writing and film directing in Hollywood and Tollywood. Besides writing, I love traveling, cooking, singing, and making jewelry. I am very passionate about mental health, especially within the South Asian community. I am also deeply passionate about achieving equity amongst marginalized communities. I care very much about helping youth pursue the arts professionally and not be stuck in a cycle of a day job they do not enjoy.