1. They talk about ideas. People who have been broken recover by changing the way they think. When they get together, they share what they know, what they’ve learned, and what they’ve found helpful.
2. They help one another by offering what helped them.
3. They have more common ground than just proximity. They have overlapping life experiences, and are able to connect over something that’s more genuine than just happening to grow up in the same town or go to the same school.
4. They find solace simply in knowing someone else understands them. They find yet another member of their tribe, and even just knowing that someone else “gets them” in the way so few other people have is enough to form a lifelong friendship.
5. They know how to be good friends, usually because they also know what it’s like to have their feelings mindlessly hurt and disregarded – and they’d never want anybody else to experience that.
6. They know who they are, and if they don’t know who they are, they are discovering who they are, something that goes even more beautifully when you have someone to talk about it with.
7. They’ll tell you like it is. Broken people know the importance of incredible honesty, and how not “wanting to hurt feelings” in the short term ends up hurting many more in the long run.
8. They can relate at their most vulnerable. This is the definition of real intimacy – platonic and not.
9. They tend to have similar if not the same worldviews. People who have had no choice but to look inward to solve their problems begin to adopt ideas about life that are oddly similar to one another, if you really get to talk to them about it.
10. They’re conscientious of how they make others feel. They’ll care about making sure you feel comfortable and loved, rather than tossing anybody else’s emotions aside in pursuit of their most immediate gratification.
11. They’ll stick with you through tough times – if not help you through them. When things get hard, they aren’t going to be looking for the exit sign. They see this not as a fundamental flaw that renders you unsuitable for friendship, but as a part of life that everybody goes through at some point or another.
12. They appreciate what they have while they have it. They’re big on the art of gratitude, and know how to make their loved ones feel validated as wanted parts of their lives.