Friendships are an essential element to a healthy life.
My closest and dearest confidants are people I can call on a moment’s notice, the ones I wish I could have in my back pocket each day pushing me, cheering me on, encouraging me to go for my dreams.
When I think back over my life and reflect on the friendships I’ve created, nurtured and held close to my heart, it becomes apparent that all these wonderful women (and a few men) have several things in common.
Besides their love of me and my love of them, they have certain habits they engage in that make them rise to the top of the friendship scale.
You get out of a friendship what you put in, and so if you want to consciously become a great friend and attract great friends to yourself, you’ll want to master these ten habits of great friends.
10 Habits of Great Friends
1. Can Forgive
I’ve seen more friendships die away due to one party not being able or willing to forgive the other for a mistake.
Listen up folks – we are all human.
Our humanness makes us likely to do or say things that might cause harm or pain to someone we love. But when we recognize our shortcomings as a human being and take responsibility for our actions, we show that we are willing to do what it takes to repair the damage our actions caused to the relationships.
It takes real strength and courage to admit when we are wrong. And so, if the relationship is important to you, realize that people make mistakes, but people can also forgive.
2. Are Great Communicators
Communication is a two-way street. It requires someone to talk and someone to listen, ask questions and seek out more information.
A great friend knows how to do this.
They don’t need to talk endlessly about themselves. They want to know what’s going on with you and are interested in your story.
3. Lets You Be Vulnerable
In this day and age of social media, we are inundated with superficial friendships and cheap imitations.
Communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to spend endless hours chatting with people through text messages that result in disconnected and typically shallow relationships.
And the sad news: we’re ok with that. Which begs the question, why?
Well, being superficial means you never have to be vulnerable, and vulnerability is the key to personal growth and happiness.
As Brene Brown, the authority on Vulnerability and the author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead states, “Vulnerability is the glue that holds intimate relationships together.”
Our best friends allow us, almost encourage us, to be vulnerable. We get to be real with them, and that’s what makes the friendship so special and sacred.
4. Is There For You When You Need Them
When my mother died, it became apparent who my real friends were.
I know lots of people mainly because I started a women’s networking group several years ago. When my mom passed, I had hundreds of people post to my Facebook page their sympathies. And even though I appreciated them, only a handful of women bothered to pick up the phone or show up at my door.
That’s how you know the difference between an acquaintance and a real friend.
In my moments of grief, I realized who valued my friendship and who didn’t, and it won’t soon be forgotten.
5. Is Non-Judgemental
Mistakes are inevitable but being able to share your shortcomings with a friend and know they will not judge you or think badly of you is a key habit great friends possess.
We all do things that we wish we hadn’t.
Maybe you yelled at the kids, kissed a coworker who is married, or didn’t pay for a pack of gum at the store.
Having a friend who you can share the error of your ways without judgment helps you to resolve the natural internal conflict that exists when we do things that are less than stellar.
Being able to work through that process with someone who won’t judge is priceless.
6. Is Honest With You
I don’t need smoke blown up my skirt when I need to problem solve or need help correcting my behavior.
What I do need is a loving and honest assessment from an outsider.
When I was struggling with the stress of caring for my mother, I would sometimes become impatient and short with her. My friend Terrie was able to point this out in a way that didn’t make me feel defensive but helped me to see I needed to manage the stress in a better way.
Everyone deserves a friend like who helps you grow as a person. Because it’s said out of love and concern, it further strengthens the bond between the two of you.
7. Is Loyal
When someone is trash talking you, isn’t it great to know your friend has your back?
Being a loyal friend in the day of disposable friendships goes a long way. Those who’ve mastered this habit have friends for life.
My ex-best friend from high school severely lacked in this department. When I got divorced, she stopped talking to me and refused to work out the issues. My marriage wasn’t a good fit for either of us, but my friend decided I had ruined her plans of traveling when we got older and decided to instead support my ex.
Although tough at the time, in hindsight, she lacked so many of these habits that it was a blessing in disguise. Over the years, I’ve seen her circle of friends change more times than you change your underwear.
8. Is Dependable
Need a ride to the airport? Need help painting a new piece of furniture? Need a night out with the hubs?
Having someone, you can depend on when you need it the most is a significant characteristic of a good friend. We all have times in our life when we need someone we can count on. If you can’t count on your best friend then who can you rely on?
9. Stays In Touch
One of my dear friends moved to Cape Cod many years ago.
In the beginning, we would get together two times a year. I would travel to her home, and we would have a “girls” weekend. Then it started to become less frequent. As the demands of caring for sick parents took over my life, I saw her less but tried to call her frequently to catch up. I would call and leave messages, but they wouldn’t be returned. I eventually stopped calling altogether.
It takes two people to make a relationship work. When it’s one sided or the other person doesn’t reciprocate it’s time to move on and find another friend who is willing to participate fully in the relationship.
10. Has Fun Together
Good friends don’t focus exclusively on problems. They let their hair down and have fun too
Good friends can let go to enjoy good times spent together knowing that they are genuinely accepted and that they will be there for one another when tough times come. Fun is a powerful tool in relieving stress.
Maybe you’re evaluating your friend’s list or want to become a better friend. Either way, these ten habits will help you in both ways.
You’ll know instantly who are your closest and dearest friends and how you can show up for your friends too.