Some people find it easier to form and maintain good friendships than others. And some of us yearn for closer friendships or try to figure out why a previous or promising relationship ended. In these kinds of situations, we might want to judge a friend’s behavior instead of our own. We may forget that relationships are built on mutual interactions. It is critical to examine our role in the dynamics of a friendship. Although only our behavior can be changed, certain personal characteristics must be developed to make healthy, long-lasting friendships.
How many of your friends do you regard as good friends? When referring to a close friend, the word “good” is sometimes used. But we’re talking about the word “good,” which denotes a good friend or the polar opposite of a bad friend. Your parents and teachers have most likely stressed the importance of making good friends as you grow older. But what exactly constitutes a good friend?
The definition of a good friend differs from person to person; however, there are certain traits, characteristics, and qualities that most people would agree define a good friend. Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that make a friend “good.”
Qualities or Traits of Good Friends
These characteristics are divided into three broad categories, each of which represents an important aspect of relational behavior. If you find yourself disagreeing with many of the statements, you may find it difficult to form meaningful, long-lasting friendships.
Each trait’s influence on relationships is described below, organized by the realm of behavioral expectations into which it falls:
Traits of Integrity
These characteristics are associated with core values shared by most cultures: trustworthiness, honesty, dependability, loyalty, and, as an interrelated quality, the ability to trust others.
- In any interpersonal relationship, trustworthiness is frequently the “make or break” factor. Any breach, no matter how minor it appears to be, can devastate a relationship. While each of these components is important in successful relationships, honesty and dependability have been identified as the most important in the realm of friendships.
- Honesty necessitates that we speak openly from the heart and with objectivity.
- Friends can rely on you to be there when you say you will, to do what you say you will; and to be willing to stand up for friends, especially when they can’t stand up for themselves. If you are just as likely to let friends down as you are to come through for them. The relationship often becomes superficial; less engaging, and even resentful, if it does not end entirely.
- Loyalty is valued early in all of our relationships, beginning with our first friendships. We require friends who will not reveal our secrets, gossip about us, or allow others to criticize us.
- Being able to trust another person necessitates being at ease with vulnerability. If you have difficulty sharing your true self with a friend, it is unlikely that your friend will readily agree to do so for you.
Traits of Caring
These characteristics include empathy, the ability to refrain from passing judgment, effective listening skills; and the ability to provide support in both good and bad times. Personal insight, self-discipline, and unconditional positive regard for our friends are required for these traits also.
- Empathy is the ability to understand what a friend is going through to recognize how he or she is feeling and to interact and respond appropriately.
- The ability to be nonjudgmental reflects our comfort with accepting a friend’s choices; no matter how different they may be from our own.
- Good listening skills require to communicate intimate thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This sharing is a gradual process of give and take that grows in depth over time.
- Being supportive of others in their times of need is a defining characteristic of a good friend. However, being supportive of others in their good times is also important. If you have difficulty celebrating another person’s good fortune and feel envious or even bitter; it may also limit the depth of your friendships.
Traits of Congeniality
This category includes self-assurance, the ability to see the humor in life, and is enjoyable to be around. This personality trait has also been linked to overall well-being and happiness in life.
- Self-assurance is a desirable trait in any friend, and it may even be contagious. When we are in the company of self-assured people, our own confidence tends to rise.
- Friends who are enjoyable to be around are preferable to those who walk around with a dark cloud over their heads. The former enjoy life, take proactive approaches to challenges, and keep negative experiences in perspective.
- People who can see the humor in life help us deal with the curveballs (or spitballs) that life throws at us. We all benefit from friends who can remind us not to take life too seriously.
Tips on How to Be a Good Friend
1. Make time for each other a priority.
We value free time because we don’t have much of it. Simultaneously, friendships develop through shared experiences and quality time spent together. A good friend is someone who makes time for you and prioritizes spending time with you. A good friend will also look for ways to make the most of the time you have together by seeking out fun and unique experiences that will strengthen and sustain your bond.
2. Be open and vulnerable with one another.
A good friend is someone genuine, with whom you can be yourself and they can be themselves around you, according to Cristerna. A good friend allows you to be vulnerable with them and vice versa, which means you can expose your emotions and circumstances to each other and trust each other to listen, be supportive, and have your best interests at heart.
“The ability to have fun and share special memories is the result of having a trusting and safe relationship,” Cristerna adds. “For example, all of my friends and I have agreed that we will support one another in any way we can (yes, even ridiculous ways!).” Unless the level of ridiculousness is excessive or creates an uncomfortable situation.”
3. Pay attention to the details.
“Good friends can read between the lines!” because they pay attention and know what’s on your mind,” Thompson says. “For example, if I ask a close friend, ‘How are you doing?’ and the response is ‘OK.’ I can tell she’s in trouble right away. Good friends pay attention to the details because you care about getting to know your friend’s heart.”
4. Be willing to put each other on the spot.
Good friends will push you to grow, will tell you when you’re on the wrong track, and will “challenge – you when you need to be challenged,” according to Thompson. And it’s all done “with love and respect.” You can grow together and support each other along the way this way.
“In a personal story, I was angry with someone, and one of my good friends interrupted me mid-rant and said, ‘Jinnie, you know you’re wrong.’ I’m always with you, but I won’t be able to ride with you on this one. ‘Take a moment to reflect on your role in this.’ That moment has stayed with me to this day because she loved me enough to tell me to stop, and it came from a place of love. Because of that, I was able to receive it,” Cristerna explains. “Friends do things like that.”
5. However, keep an open mind.
Thompson believes that to be a good friend, one must be open-minded. Being open-minded allows your friend to be their authentic selves, which is especially important when making decisions. You demonstrate understanding and support by remaining open-minded and not inserting your own biases into your friend’s decision-making.
“Good friends encourage us, allow us to be ourselves and make mistakes, and they respect our boundaries,” Cristerna adds.
6. Keep an eye out for them.
“A good friend is a brave friend who will stand up and do the right thing even if no one is looking and even if it doesn’t benefit them.” “This may not be the typical definition of courage, but believe me when I say it takes a lot of courage to do this,” Cristerna says.
For example, you may find yourself in situations where other people are not treating your friend well or where your friend has been placed in a difficult situation. A good friend is willing to go to bat for their friends as much as possible. Whether that means putting a stop to gossip about them, ensuring they arrive home safely after a night out, or something else.
Signs of unhealthy Friends?
According to Thompson, the following are some signs of an unhealthy friendship:
- When you talk to them, you feel drained.
- The friendship is one-sided, meaning every time you talk to them or try to share with them, somehow the conversation turns around and goes back to them.
- They aren’t taking the time to listen to you or give you space to contribute to the conversation.
- They don’t respect your feelings.
- You often feel belittled by them.
- They frequently make you feel small.
- You are overly reliant on each other, which is a sign of a codependent friendship.
Friendship entails reciprocity and respect, according to Cristerna. When you are in what appears to be a toxic or codependent friendship, it is best to determine the healthiest way to end the friendship.
Importance of Good Friends
Friendships can improve your life in a variety of ways. Good friends teach you about yourself and push you to be a better person. Also, they motivate you to persevere when times are tough and rejoice with you when you achieve your goals.
Friends, on the other hand, do more than just provide a shoulder to cry on; they also have a positive impact on your health. According to some studies, friendships are just as important to your health as eating right and exercising.
So, how do friendships help you feel better?
1. Friends Are Beneficial to Your Physical Health
Healthy relationships, it turns out, contribute to good physical health. Having a close circle of friends can lower your risk of developing health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Having strong social ties can also help to reduce feelings of loneliness, which can have a negative impact on your longevity, according to research. According to a 2010 study, people who have strong relationships have half the risk of dying prematurely from any cause.
2. Healthy Behaviors Are Encouraged by Friends
One possible explanation for these health benefits is that friendships can assist you in making lifestyle changes that have a direct impact on your well-being. Friends, for example, can assist you in setting and maintaining goals to eat healthier and exercise more.
Furthermore, when people participate in a weight loss or exercise program with a friend, they are more motivated and likely to stick to it. When you have a friend by your side, it is much easier to get out and stay active.
3. Friends Provide Emotional Support
If you are going through a difficult time, having a friend to assist you can make the transition easier. Happiness is also contagious among friends, according to research. One study of high school students discovered that depressed students were twice as likely to recover if they had happy friends. Similarly, children were half as likely to develop depression if their friends were in a “good mood.”
4. Friends Aid in Confidence Building
Everyone experiences self-doubt and insecurities from time to time. However, having friends who support you is important in developing your self-esteem, or how much you appreciate and love yourself.
When you’re feeling unsure, supportive friends can help you feel more confident by offering praise and reassurance. They’ll highlight how incredible you are and how much you have to offer others.
5. Friends Assist You in Dealing with Stress
Everyone experiences stressful events. If you know you can rely on others, you may be less likely to perceive a difficult time as stressful.
Spending time with friends can also aid in stress reduction. “Social connections help relieve levels of stress, which can harm the heart’s arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system,” according to Harvard Medical School.
6. Your friends encourage you to do your best.
Good friends can also have a positive impact. You are more likely to develop those values if you make friends with people who are generous with their time, help others, ambitious, or family-oriented.
Great friends can shape you into the best version of yourself. They also see and appreciate you for who you truly are. They motivate and push you to be the person you want to be—your “ideal self.”
Where to Begin in Making New Friends
We tend to make friends with people we see regularly: people we go to school with, work with, or live near. So, as you begin your search for potential friends, consider the places you frequent.
- Making new friends. When looking for new people, try to be open to new experiences. Not everything you try will be a success, but you can always learn from your mistakes and hopefully have some fun.
- Attend a class or join a club to meet people who share your interests, such as a book club, dinner club, or sports team.
- Get in touch with your alumni association. Many colleges have active alumni associations that meet on a regular basis. You’ve already shared your college experience, so bringing it up makes for an easy conversation starter.
- Go for a dog walk. Dog owners frequently pause to chat while their dogs sniff or play with one another. If owning a dog isn’t for you, consider volunteering to walk dogs from a shelter or a local rescue group.
- Go to art gallery openings, book readings, lectures, music recitals, and other community events where you can meet people who share your interests. Check your local library or newspaper for upcoming events.
- Act as if you’re new to the area. Even if you’ve lived in the same place your entire life, take the time to revisit your local attractions. Newcomers to any town or city tend to go to these places first, and they are often eager to meet new people and form friendships.
- Show your support for your team. Going to a bar by yourself can be intimidating, but if you support a sports team, find out where other fans watch the games.
Be a better friend to yourself if you want to improve your friendships.
Making a new friend is only the start of the journey. Friendships take time to develop and even longer to deepen, so you must nurture your new connection.
- Be the kind of friend you’d like to have. Be dependable, considerate, and willing to share yourself and your time.
- Try to Be an attentive listener. Be ready to listen to and support friends in the same way that you want them to listen to and support you.
- Give your friend some breathing room. Don’t be overly clingy or needy. Everyone requires space to be alone or to spend time with others.
- Don’t overburden yourself with rules and expectations. Allow your friendship to develop naturally instead. Because you are both unique individuals, your friendship will most likely not develop as you anticipate.
- Be tolerant. Nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. No friendship develops smoothly, so when there is a stumbling block, try to find a way to overcome it and move on. It will frequently strengthen your bond.
Gifts for Good Friends
The best gifts for friends are those that make them smile by addressing an interest – a hobby or a taste preference. Choosing the perfect gift is especially important now that our connections have been tested, necessitating new modes of communication and redefining what “hanging out” means.
Some friendships may not have withstood the weight of the global pandemic, protests, and the election, but those that did deserve to be celebrated and perhaps rewarded with a gift or two. Only you know your friends well enough to select a gift that is appropriate for them, but we can get you started with some suggestions.
1. For Your Friend Who’s a Wannabe Baker this gift might help
Dessert Person – Recipes and Tips for Baking Confidently: This year, we re-learned how to cook in our kitchens. But, rather than baking bread and making soup, this book focuses on the one thing we all love: dessert. Claire Saffitz’s beautiful book takes you through over 100 of the most luscious, decadent desserts you’ll want to make right away.
2. For Your Friend Who Loves Beer, you can gift them
GrowlerWerks Keep it Carbonated Growler: Here’s a fun option for your beer-obsessed friends (who probably won’t like the fancy six-pack you choose anyway): A stylish double-walled, vacuum-insulated, powder-coated stainless steel growler that will keep their favorite microbrew cold until the last drop.
3. For All Your Friends In The Group Chat
Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment: I don’t usually exchange large gifts with most of my friends, but when I see the ladies in my group chat, I like to give them a small gift. Sugar’s tinted lip treatment, which feels luxurious when applied and falls somewhere between a lip balm and a lipstick, will be the must-have item this year.
4. For The Friends With a Perpetually Cracked Phone Screen
Phone Loops Phone Strap: A Phone Loop may appear to be an unusual present, but a friend of mine gives them to everyone he knows. saying that there is no better gift than the protection of your smartphone It’s a band that secures virtually any smartphone model — you pass your hand through it, making it nearly impossible to drop and break your phone.
5. For Your Friends Who Has Everything
New York Brunch from Goldbelly: Here’s a gift you might want to purchase for yourself as much as anyone else on your list: The New York Brunch package from legendary LES appetizing shop Russ & Daughters. It comes with a dozen bagels, cream cheese, chocolate babka, Gaspe Nova smoked salmon, coffee, and a branded mug; all shipped straight to your recipient’s door. (Sure beats battling cranky, pre-coffee Manhattanites for elbow room during the two-hour wait for a table at Russ & Daughters café.)
6. For Your Carbohydrate Addicts Friends
Silicone Bread Maker by Lekue: Do you know anyone who enjoys baking bread? This silicone cloche simplifies the process of making delicious rustic bread. Everything happens in this gadget: you mix, knead, proof, and bake everything in one easy-to-clean silicone container.
7. For Your Pie-Obsessed Friends
The Pie Book: If you have any bakers or pie lovers on your list, The Book on Pie is a must-have. Erin McDowell, the New York Times’s resident pie queen, wrote the piece, which featured striking imagery by photographer Mark Weinberg. This is the type of cookbook that’s as much fun to look through as it is to cook from.
8. For Friends Who Enjoy Fresh Herbs (And Candles)
Scented Candle Modern Sprout Glow & Grow: This lovely ceramic “glow & grow” kit from lovely gardening brand Modern Sprout is reasonably priced. You can get your friends a fresh-scented soy blend candle that doubles as a herb, wildflower, or aloe grow kit once the wick has burned to the bottom for $35.
9. Disney+ Gift Subscription for Your Disney-Obsessed Friends
Give Baby Yoda as a present: You can give someone a full year of Disney+ for just $70, which unlocks thousands of hours of classic and vintage Disney content, Marvel, Star Wars, and more.
10. For Your Fashionably Dressed Friends
Mejuri Crescent Midi Hoops: In this day and age, when staying in is the new going out, one thing is certain: a little ear candy goes a long way on a zoom call, even if you’re wearing pajamas on the bottom. These Mejuri beauties add a little glitz to an otherwise understated look, and they’re versatile enough to go with anything.
11. For Your Sensitive Friend
Aaron Probyn Double Framed Marble Tabletop: A framed photo of you and your pal is the most thoughtful gift. Even without the photo, this gold and marble double frame would be a nice addition to their home decor.
12. For a Long-Distance Friend
Give Sunshine “Sunshine Box”: Give Sunshine creates curated gift boxes that you can send to friends near and far. A succulent, hand-poured soy candle, two chocolate chip cookies, tea with honey – sticks, and a personalized note card are included in the Sunshine Box. You can also select from a variety of optional add-ons such as essential oils, gummy candies, and coffee.
13. For Chess-Loving Friends
Wooden Chess Set Amerous: Amerous’ wooden chess set is ideal for play or display, especially with its magnetic board and pieces. It folds easily for transport and storage, and it has a felt-lined compartment for storing pieces while folded. I can’t think of many better ways to pass the time than a tricky game of chess between friends—watch them unwrap it, then proceed to dismantle their strategy.
14. For the Jewelry-Obsessed Friend
Ninfa Yin Yang Heart Hoops: These sweet yin yang heart earrings are an adorable choice for friends who fill in the blanks and fill your heart; the Ilana to your Abbi, the Arabella to your Terry.
15. For The Friend Who Loves Game Night
This tabletop card game from the creators of the acerbic webcomic Cyanide & Happiness allows you to create your funny three-panel comic based on cards you draw. It’s not suitable for children, and the best part about giving it to friends is that they’ll invite you over so you can play it as well.
16. For The Friends With A Green Thumb (Or Wannabe Green Thumb)
Parlor Palm Plant: Plants are great gifts for friends because they grow with the recipient; while hopefully making their space feel a little more beautiful and personal. This palm is a good entry-level plant as it doesn’t need much attention and can adapt to a wide range of light sources.
17. For The Friends Who Loves To Host
SPLASH The Sampler Pack: SPLASH creates healthier alternatives to traditional cocktail (or mocktail) mixers that are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. They’re great for drinking at home, entertaining at home, virtual happy hours, and those with dietary restrictions. Full-sized (750 mL) bottles of Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Mojito, and Moscow Mule are included in the Sampler Pack.
18. For the Sweet-Toothed Friend
Tony’s Chocolatey Bundles: Tony’s Chocolonely bars are some of our favorites, and this milk chocolate bundle includes some of our favorites: honey almond nougat, caramel sea salt, raspberry popping candy, and more.
19. For Your Introverted Friend
EMU Australia Mayberry Slippers: These plush slippers from EMU Australia make shuffling around the house a slightly more glamorous affair with their stylish crisscross design and a resplendent puff of faux fur in neutral and multi-colored shades.
20. For the Puzzle-Obsessed Friend (And Champagne)
Champagne 500-Piece Piecework Puzzle Problems: Piecework, a company founded by two women who discovered the joy of doing puzzles during a weekend escape from their over-scheduled lives, created these design-forward puzzles. They are made of 100 percent recycled paper and are attractive enough to frame and hang once completed.
21. For The Friend Who Loves Wine
Premium Stainless Steel Wine Glasses: This set’s four large, 18-ounce stainless steel wine tumblers are unbreakable and tip-resistant, making them ideal for entertaining. They’re also beautiful, and they come with a guide to throwing a backyard party.
22. For The Friends Who Loves Music
Courant AirPods Leather Case: With this Italian leather case with handcrafted stitching by Courant, you can help your music-loving friend upgrade his or her AirPods. It’s compatible with wireless charging cases and looks good, so it’s a win-win situation.
23. For Your Beer Drinking Friend
FS Objects Crown 2 Bottle Opener: These weighty bottle openers are made of solid brass and are simple yet stunning. They have rounded heads and faceted handles that are comfortable to hold and long-lasting.
24. For Friends Who Take Their Skincare Seriously
Forever Eye Mask by Dieux Skin: You can’t scroll Instagram these days without coming across a Dieux ‘Forever’ eye mask selfie. These recently released, reusable patches help you get the most out of your existing products by keeping gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for maximum absorption.
25. For Your Tech-Obsessed Friends
TimePorter for Apple Watch by Twelve South: This capsule serves as both an Apple Watch case and a charging stand. The inner compartment accommodates a charging cable, USB charger, extra watchband, and other items, while the magnetic charging disc fits snugly into the lid for quick and easy battery re-charging. The TimePorter works with all Apple Watch models.
26. For Your Craft Cocktail Addict Friend
Herb & Lou Infused Cocktail Cubes: These cocktail cubes are brilliant. Each is infused with all of the complex flavors of a fancy drink; however, all you have to do is open a cube and douse it with your preferred alcohol (or seltzer, for a tasty non-alcoholic version).
27. For The Candle-Obsessed Friend
Diptique Holiday Three-Piece Set: Diptyque will not disappoint even if you know nothing about candles. The fancy French brand is the epitome of “something special,” with its unparalleled scents and fine packaging, and its limited-edition holiday collections are no exception.
28. For Coffee-Obsessed Friends
Bundle of Verve Camp Coffee: This stylish kit from Santa Cruz, CA coffee roaster Verve includes everything needed to brew a great cup of pour-over coffee anywhere. Simply pour in some water.
29. For Your Sneakerhead Companions
Adidas’ Archive: You probably won’t know the “right” sneakers to buy your sneakerhead friend unless you know sneakers—like, really know sneakers. Taschen’s Adidas Archive, which contains photographs of over 350 pairs of shoes from throughout history, is a better bet.
30. For the Cooking-Obsessed Friend
Five Two ‘Ultimate’ Apron: Give the cook in the crew this deft cotton apron with an adjustable design and clever features like built-in pot holders and a conversion chart tucked in one of the chest pockets.
31. For the Travel-Obsessed Friend
Mudcloth Inspired Throw Blanket: This mudcloth inspired throw blanket packs a big graphic punch for a low price. The one-of-a-kind piece is made of organic cotton and has a hand-painted black design as well as handmade tassels.
A true friendship is defined by the knowledge that someone will always have your back, no matter what. A good friend will keep an eye on you and make sure you are safe, supported, and loved. A good friend will never purposefully lead you to make bad decisions or take bad actions. A true friend will always look out for your best interests.