Characteristics of a Good Friend

The decision of who you will be friends with is an important one, because it helps to shape and form who you are as a person. There are several attributes which make up being a good friend. You can use this list to help you know what to look for in the friends with whom you associate. You can also use this list to think about the qualities that you would like to further develop within yourself to be a good friend to other people in your life.

  • A good friend is honest with you and tells you the truth, even if they don’t agree with you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they share every detail of their life with you, but they are usually straight-forward with you regarding their intentions. They let you know when something doesn’t seem right.
  • A good friend is interesting to you and should be fun to be around.
  • A good friend notices you, and the emotions that you have. They usually want to work things out if they realize that they have upset you.
  • A good friend usually has a sense for your emotions – whether you are happy, sad, excited, upset, etc.
  • A good friend forgives you if you have done something that has offended or hurt them. As always, remember to apologize first to receive forgiveness.
  • A true friend won’t try to change you. They will accept you for who you are.
  • A good friend will be happy that you have other friends and won’t try to take up all of your time.
  • A good friend is caring for you. Different people express care in different ways – some might offer a hug and others might tease you in a friendly way. If someone expresses interest in your life and is interested in what is going on, then it is very likely that they care about you.
  • A good friend is trustworthy. They will talk positively about you to others.
  • A good friend will celebrate the unique ways that you are different from them. 
  • A good friend says positive things to you, builds you up and makes you feel good about yourself.

Characteristics of a Bad Friend

  • They talk badly about you behind your back or share your secrets with others.
  • They try to steal your boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • They are “too similar” to you, copying your habits or personality.
  • They will try to pressure or guilt you into situations that make you feel uncomfortable or that you don’t want to do.
  • They will put you at risk of losing something that is important to you.
  • They judge you, say mean things to you, or bully you.
  • They take advantage of your generosity, taking a lot and not giving back in return.
  • They act one way with you to your face and a different way when you’re not there.
  • They don’t apologize or admit that they have made a mistake.
  • You cannot be yourself around them.

Sometimes a person that you are friends with is going through a difficult phase and can’t be there for you. Perhaps their parents are getting divorced, or they are getting ready for a move or are in a new relationship. It’s important to know the difference between a temporary phase where they are pre-occupied versus a longer-term phase where they may not be a good friend for you.

Sometimes it is necessary to end a friendship. Perhaps they are mistreating you, or perhaps your lives are just going in different directions. If you feel that you no longer want to be friends with someone, you can either choose to talk to them about how your lives seem to be going in different directions, or you can slowly reduce your interactions with them. If you slowly communicate with them less and less, it should send the message that you are less available for them, and perhaps they will understand.

Friendships are an important and exciting part of a well balanced life. Whether your friends are very similar to you, or very different from you, they help to enrich your life. Having quality friendships with people that you trust and can relate with is more important than the quantity of friends that you are linked with on social media. Your friends can help you make positive changes in your life, can challenge areas of your life that aren’t in your best interest, can help you adjust to change and can help make life more enjoyable.

Transition Designs is dedicated to helping people navigate change. We help our clients assess their situation, create a long term vision, and manage the in-between places.

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