Having close friends is essential in order to live a stable, yet fulfilling life. Even if you don't have a bunch of them, there is something so special about having someone that you can confide in and tell everything to.

However, I am finding lately that there are dangers in close friendships. Dangers that involve loving an individual so much, that you simply cannot tell them the truth. There is a huge difference in a friend that is always on your side vs. a friend who is always by your side. Let me explain:

Friends who are always on your side:

Although these people mean well and their intentions are gold, they aren't going to challenge you to grow as a person. No matter what situation you are in, even if you are wrong, they will still say you are right. If you are about to make a really bad decision, they remain silent. They are content to watch you fail.

Although they may not intentionally mean to be acting this way, this is the reality of most friendships. I found myself being this friend a lot. Watching my friends do stupid things in romantic relationships or staying silent when I could tell my friend really hurt someone. I had to watch a friend go through a hell of a situation in order for me to realize that I needed to say something.

I used to want to surround myself with people like this. It's easy. They make you feel really good and empowered. But these people are the most dangerous because they aren't real friends. Friends don't allow friends to fail. Period. End of story.

Friends who are always by your side:

These are the friends you want in your life. These individuals will push you to be the best possible version of yourself. They will tell you when you are wrong or when you are about to make a terrible decision. These friends will give you fresh perspectives on situations when you might be looking at it through narrow lenses. Friends like these are hard to come by. So when you find these friends, hold them close, and love them for wanting to see you succeed.

I find myself not being this type of friend sometimes, and that is really a shame. Because by not being this type of friend, I am actually hurting people. I am contributing to the failure of them not reaching their true potential. The ability to own up to your own mistakes when someone else points them out is growth, and we all need this.

Once I realized the difference between the two of these, I started to pick my friends very differently. I actually saw myself grow because my friends were willing to call me out on my crap. It wasn't always fun, and I would get mad at them in the process most of the time, but it was worth it.

So what kind of friend do you want to be? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? Are you going to be the friend that remains silent and watches your friends fall? Be the friend that you would want to have. Say the hard things. Point them in the right direction. More importantly, lets all surround ourselves with friends who are going to allow us to grow as people.