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What Makes a Good Friend: The Art of Honing Your Friendship Skills

We all pride ourselves on our friendship skills, but do you really know what makes a good friend deep down? You might be surprised!

What Makes a Good Friend

Everyone needs friendship in their lives. A good friend will carry you through the hard times and be by your side throughout it all. Most of us think we’re the best friend possible, but do you really know what makes a good friend?

Friendship is extremely important to me. I don’t actually have a huge squad, but I’ve always gone down the quality over quantity route. I can probably count my true friends on one hand. But I only have one friend who I know would be there for me through absolutely everything life could ever throw at me. Don’t be sad, I’m lucky to have her!

For many people, the same story rings true. If you want to welcome more friends into your life and ensure that you’re the best you can be for the ones you already have, know what makes a good friend in the first place.

Of course, you’re probably already thinking of a few no-brainer entries on that list. Some of them you might not actually think of first hand. For example, a true friend isn’t afraid to be honest with you at all times, whether you like their opinion or not. Sometimes tough love is a true pillar of friendship.

[Read: Good friends are like stars – 18 ways to build lasting friendships]

What makes a good friend? 9 signs to lookout for

To help you figure out what makes a good friend to better your own friendship skills, let’s check out nine aspects of true friendship. How many can you tick off from the get-go?

#1 The ability to make you laugh, no matter how you feel. A true friend is someone who puts a smile on your face to take your mind from any heartache or negativity you might be feeling. Of course, they also know exactly what to say or do to raise that smile. They know you inside out.

It takes compassion and empathy to recognize when a friend is in need, and it takes strength of character to be able to hold them up and make them smile. Is this something you do on a regular basis? If not, work out their sense of humor hotspots, and use them wisely, when required. [Read: How to be a good friend by following the BFF code]

#2 Selflessness when you need them the most. What makes a good friend different from all the rest lies in their ability to be there for you when required. Of course, this doesn’t mean they should always drop absolutely everything to be at your doorstep whenever you have a bad day, but it does mean that when you really need them in the hard times, they’re there for you, whether in person or on the end of a phone.

How many times in the recent past have you been selfless with your friends in need? Most of us find it easy to have too much on our own plates. Sometimes a friend in need is someone you need to be there for above all else.

#3 They do their best to understand you. We’re all different. For instance, my friend is a very different personality to me. She is extremely strong and can walk away from people and situations at the drop of a hat. She is able to turn her emotions on and off. I, on the other hand, cannot do any of those things. Despite that, I do my best to understand her and love her for her differences.

If we were all the same, life would be very boring indeed. By allowing ourselves to see different character traits and accept and appreciate them, we learn to become better friends. [Read: 17 bad friends you should unfriend from your life]

#4 They love to help you celebrate your successes. A friend who will be by your side through good and bad is a true godsend. Of course, we all highlight the fact a true friend is there when things aren’t going well, but what about when things are wonderful?

Most people disappear at these times, either through jealousy or because they simply don’t care. It’s sad, but true. On the other hand, what makes a good friend is the ability to genuinely want to celebrate your successes with you. They take just as much joy in you succeeding, as you do!

#5 The ability to really listen. We all think we’re good listeners. Most of us aren’t. If you find yourself drifting off when someone is explaining something to you, thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner, or something else entirely, you’re probably part of the majority. What makes a good friend is really about the ability to listen, not only to words, but also to the things not being said.

They will be able to read your body language and put together what you’re saying with the things they’re noticing. As a result, they know how you’re really feeling. They’ll offer advice and guidance based on that.

Take the time to notice the body language of the person speaking to you, their tone, and speed of voice, and put it all together. By doing this, you can be there for someone who needs you, even if they don’t admit that they do. [Read: How you can stop being a selfish person]

#6 They have your back, whether you’re there or not. Let’s be honest, we live in rather bitchy times. There aren’t many friends who will have your back whether you’re with them or not. If they hear someone talking badly about you when you’re not around, would they go over and back you up? Probably not.

What makes a good friend quite literally amazing is the ability to stick up for you through thick and thin. You’re their lobster, to quote a Friends episode, but in a strictly friendship-based way. This is a friend you should keep in your life no matter what.

#7 Loyalty in the face of adversity. Humans are selfish. We all are, me included. That means that sometimes we find it hard to put the best interests of others before our own. Of course, sometimes you should put your own interests first, but not always. A friend who is loyal to you and sticks by you is precious. What about being loyal in the face of adversity?

Would they put their own needs before yours all the time? This is something to think about, and something for you to explore in terms of what you would do for your own friends.

#8 Valuing the friendship above all else. What makes a good friend? Understanding the value of friendship from the get-go. How important is friendship in your life? Do you lean on it and cherish it, or do you simply assume it will be there regardless of what life throws at you? A true friend is someone who values your friendship and understands the importance you bring to their life.

Examine how you feel about the friendships in your life. Do you feel you could live without them? If so, maybe they’re not as special as you think they are, or maybe it’s your take on what friendship is, which needs a slight adjustment. [Read: The real art of true and meaningful relationships]

#9 Honesty, whether you want to hear it or not. A true friend will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. This is tough love, something we all need on occasion.

Maybe you have a burning crush on someone, but your friend is warning you off. You might wonder if they’re trying to rain on your parade? If your friend then sits you down and tells you that this person doesn’t like you that way and they know it for a fact, they’re doing it because they care.

They’re attempting to stop you from making a fool of yourself or putting yourself in an embarrassing situation. You might not like it, but it’s for your own good. Your friend knows this.

[Read: The 15 qualities that set a good friend apart]

What makes a good friend isn’t all about squads and the ability to look great on a joint selfie. It’s about valuing what friendship is at its very core: loyalty, compassion, empathy, and honesty.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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