8 essential traits of a good friend
In our social-media age, it can be easy to substitute deep connection for shallow interaction. One look at Instagram Stories and we can find out what our friends have been up to in the last 24 hours. While the instant nature of Instagram may make us feel like we’re ‘in the know’ with a lot of people, if we don’t have healthy friendships with a few, we’re going to wind up feeling lonely and dissatisfied.
Of course, no friendship is picture perfect. We each have our quirks and flaws. But we can cultivate friendships that are encouraging, fun, supportive, and meaningful. In my late teens and early 20s, I struggled a lot with finding my place amongst my friends. I wanted to be friends with everyone but that’s just not realistic (and it’s not meaningful either). What I’ve come to realise is that it’s definitely not about the number of close friends I have but the depth and quality of my friendships with a few great people. So how do you know if your friendships are healthy? Let’s take a look at 8 essential traits of a good friend.
1. Cheer each other on
Healthy friends aren’t threatened by your success - they know their identity and are secure in it. While they may not have the same dreams and goals as you, they don’t hesitate to encourage you in yours and cheer you on.
2. Speak the truth with love
Healthy friends aren’t passive friends. Healthy friends show up and speak the truth that you need to hear with love. Ephesians 4:15 says “...speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Speaking the truth in love and receiving that truth is a sign of maturity - it’s something that helps us all grow. Healthy friends share the truth with love because they care about you and want to see you grow.
3. Quick to forgive
Healthy friends aren’t afraid to share something that’s upset them. But they don’t dwell on things for long and definitely don’t make you pay for your mistakes. Healthy friends forgive quickly and don’t carry a list of wrongdoings into the future.
If someone continually hurts you or makes you pay for your mistakes by seeking revenge, pay attention to this. Maybe this person shouldn’t be in your inner circle. Forgive this person but be intentional with friends who can recognise their mistakes, forgive quickly, and move forward with maturity. And make sure you’re this friend to others too.
4. Encourage each other’s faith
I love what Proverbs 27:17 says: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Healthy friends encourage each other to know Jesus and the bible. They share about what God is doing in their lives, what they’re learning and point each other toward God’s purposes for their lives.
5. Show up in the good times and the bad times
This one speaks for itself. A great friend won’t just be there to enjoy the good times but they’ll be by your side in your darkest of days. No matter how uncomfortable or difficult it may be, a good friend shows up in the hard times to provide much needed support and a shoulder to cry on.
6. Are trustworthy
We’ve all experienced the feeling of betrayal when we find out someone’s spilled the beans on our deepest darkest secrets to another person. It hurts. Healthy friends value the fact that you’ve confided in them and treat you with respect by honouring your word. A healthy friend would never use your private information against you or to hurt you in any way. Instead, healthy friends provide a safe space for you to spill your heart out and know that your word is safe with them.
I’m sure you’ve had the experience of being deep in conversation with someone only to have them talk over the top of you and completely disregard what you’ve just said. It hurts. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I do this to my husband sometimes. He recently started to tell me: “When you talk over the top of me, it makes me feel like you don’t care.” Eek! This is something I’m working on. If you’re anything like me, learn to pause, take a breath and listen. A good friend listens because it makes the other person feel valued and seen.
8. Have fun
What’s friendship without a whole lot of fun? I love that my friends and I can go from being serious to the silliest versions of ourselves all in the same hour. I am so grateful for the support, encouragement and kindness of my friends over the years, but in the same instance I treasure the fun and ridiculous moments we’ve had together too.
Do you have healthy friendships in your life? My hope is that you would invest in healthy friendships because the people you surround yourself with have a huge impact on the direction of your life. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17.
Wondering what else to do with your besties other than sip lattes at your favourite coffee shop?
I'm sharing my all-time favourite things to do with my friends. The best thing is, none of these activities will break the bank.