In this day and age, it can be a task to find friends that are genuinely supportive.

Too often you'll come across people that become bitter at the thought of someone else's success. And even if they don't fall into that camp, many friends are just too engrossed in their own lives to give a damn about yours.

We're all guilty of being poor friends on occasion, but how can you tell the difference between a truly supportive pal and a friend that's really more of an acquaintance? Well, here are a few things encouraging friends do.

1. They remain interested in your life.

We live in a busy world. Most of us are so caught up with our own goals and struggles, it's difficult to make time for anyone else's. But a supportive friend will find the time to ask how you are.

And unlike random people you pass in the halls, they'll actually want to hear the answer.

Supportive friends want to hear about your current projects, your recent developments and even your pitfalls. They're interested in you because they love you.

2. When you need a cheerleader, they break out the pom poms.

Supportive friends don't merely ask about your life. They engage with it. You're looking for a job? They're willing to help in whatever way they can. You just received some great news? They're cheering on the sidelines.

There are people in this world that will try to prevent you from going after what you want in life. Your friends should never, ever be those people. If they're in your squad, they'd better be shouting at you to run toward what you want, not away from it.

3. They celebrate your successes.

And I don't mean they join in on a night of drinking solely because everyone else is going. No, genuine friends treat your successes like their own. They cheer you on throughout the entire journey, and they're nearly as ecstatic as you are when you reach your destination.

Your friends should be thrilled when you succeed. That's love.

4. They pull you up after your failures.

It's wonderful to have friends that smile when you're smiling, but genuine friends stick around when you're being a miserable you-know-what, too. If they're truly keepers, they'll be around for the rainy days.

Had a long and draining week? They're bringing over the bottle of wine. Stuck in a depressing or difficult situation? They're around to get you through it.

5. They push you to do better.

You know those friends that bring you to the gym and force you to exceed your goals? The ones you curse beneath your breath because they insist you go the extra mile?

Those friends are looking out for you, and you want to keep them around.

Acquaintances don't care whether you achieve the things you set out to. They aren't focused on you. And if we're being honest, some of them would even revel in seeing you fail.

Supportive friends make sure you live your best life, even when they have to drag you kicking and screaming to the finish line.

6. They defend you when necessary.

True friends will be the first ones to stand up and tell anyone spewing nonsense about you to shut it. They don't fear the backlash or try to avoid the confrontation. They have your back.

And if anyone wants to treat you unfairly, they'll have to go through them first.

7. When you're wrong, they let you know.

Supportive friends may defend you against the naysayers, but they won't stick up for you when you're being a jerk. In fact, the best of friends will be the first to call you out on that nonsense. They know you're above that, and they'll tell you to your face.

So when you're being the bully, don't expect them to support you or keep quiet.

8. They don't skimp on the compliments.

There are two types of people: the ones that put others down to make themselves feel superior and the ones who lift others up, aware that there's enough room at the top for everyone. You'll want to find yourself some friends that fall into that second category.

So if you have friends who feel the need to harp on your negative qualities, ditch them.

Real pals should make you feel loved and appreciated, at least most of the time.

9. They aren't afraid of giving honest advice.

Real friends don't tell you what you want to hear. They hit you with the painful truth because it's what you need to hear.

Honesty is an important quality in any relationship. So if your friends love you enough to tell you hard truths, thank them for it.