How many friends do you have? There’s no need to count! But just give it some thought. You probably have more friends than you realize. You have friends at school. You have friends in your neighborhood. You probably would call your family members your friends. You may even have friends at church and on sports teams, too!
How many of your friends would you consider good friends? Sometimes people use the word “good” to indicate someone is a close friend. But we’re talking about the word “good” that indicates someone is a quality friend — or the opposite of a bad friend.
Parents and teachers have probably stressed to you the importance of making good friends as you grow up. Surrounding yourself with good friends makes life more complete and enjoyable. But what exactly makes a good friend?
The definition of a good friend varies from person to person, but there are certain traits, characteristics, and qualities that most people would agree make someone a good friend. Let’s look at a few of those things that make a friend “good.”
When you ask people what makes a good friend, you’ll often get answers that boil down to one quality: presence. A good friend is there for you when you need them. Whether it’s helping you through the grief of losing a loved one or being by your side when you’re sick, good friends are present in good times and bad.
You don’t have to be experiencing a trial to need a good friend. Sometimes being present for a friend simply means listening when they need to talk, helping out with homework, or even assisting in the search for a missing cell phone.
One of the keys to being present for a friend is action. People can say all sorts of things, but as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Someone may say they’ll be there for you when you need them, but when difficulties arise, a good friend will actually be there to help.
Another important quality of a good friend is loyalty. We all experience times when we’re not the most popular person to be around. Perhaps we’ve done something wrong or we’re in a bad mood. Good friends are loyal and accept you for who you are during the good and bad times.
Good friends are also honest — honest enough to tell you when you’re not being a good friend yourself. Some people only want to surround themselves with people who will tell them what they want to hear. Good friends will tell you what you need to hear, even if you don’t want to hear it.
Along with good friends who are present, loyal, and honest, most people want friends who are trustworthy. If you can’t count on a person, it’s hard to consider them a good friend. Mutual trust between friends is a building block of a solid friendship that could last a lifetime.
Another one of those solid building blocks of lasting friendships is communication. Do you have a friend who finishes your sentences when you speak? Perhaps the two of you are on the same wavelength to such an extent that you seem to know what the other is thinking without needing to say anything. That kind of close bond is hard to come by and is a clear mark of a good friend.
There are many more qualities of good friends that we could discuss. Some qualities are more important to some people than they are to others. Each person must set his or her own criteria for what it means to be a good friend. And that means you, too, must possess those qualities in your interactions with your friends.
Be who you are, and seek out friends who allow you to be who you are and not someone else. Encourage one another and respect each other’s boundaries. Always seek the good in others and be respectful in your interactions. You never know when the good friend you make today might be a friend for life!
Try It Out
- We hope you enjoyed learning about what it means to be a good friend today. Take your learning to a new level by exploring one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:
- Make a new friend today! You can never have too many friends, so take the time to get to know someone new today. It could be a fellow student in your school who you’ve never talked to before. Or it could be someone who just moved in down the street from your house. Or someone you meet at the library. It could be anyone! Have fun making a new friend today. You never know when a new friend will enrich your life in ways you never imagined!
- Do you have a best friend? A best friend doesn’t have to be better than everyone else. Perhaps you’re just closer to a certain person because you have similar interests or spend the most time with him. Some people even have several best friends. Talk with a family member about their best friends. How many best friends do they have? How long have they been friends? Where did they meet their best friends? Have they always had the same best friends? Have fun learning about friends that can last a lifetime!
- Are you a good friend? We hope so! It’s always possible to be a better friend, though. Today, think about the things that you do that make you a good friend. Consider the qualities that you look for in your friends. Do you exhibit those same qualities? Be honest with yourself and make a list of at least three things you could do to be an even better friend. Put those three things into practice in the coming days. Do you notice a difference in how your friends treat you? Did they notice the changes you made? Have fun being the best friend you can be!