Marks of a Good Friend
by Steph Beth Nickel
Who’s your BFF? Who do you love spending time with? Who can you call in the middle of the night when you need them?
I’ve found that good friends, genuine friends, are marked by several characteristics. Let’s consider five of these traits.
Good friends listen.
Sometimes we need advice. And it’s great when we have wise, insightful friends who will “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
However, there are other times, we simply need someone who will listen—just listen.
My husband of over 35 years is an active listener. He doesn’t just stay quiet and pretend to listen. He is my sounding board when I need to pour out my heart. It’s such a blessing to have friends like this—whether or not they’re also family members.
Good friends share from their heart.
Another mark of genuine friendship is trust and authenticity. When our friends trust us enough to share from their heart, it’s a good indicator that our friendship is solid.
While there may be many people we refer to as friend who don’t open up to us, it’s a privilege when they do.
Sometimes they’ll want our advice. Sometimes they’ll need us to listen. We have to resist the temptation to turn the conversation back to our own situation when our friends pour out their heart.
Good friends cheer us on.
Are you beginning a new adventure? A new challenge? A new battle?
Our very best friends are there to cheer us on when this is the case. They may be able to relate to our situation; they may not. Still, they’re rooting for us. They’re in our corner. We can depend on them and call on them whenever we need a boost.
Good friends facilitate growth.
While true friends are good listeners, open up to us, and cheer us on, they also challenge us to grow. They don’t so much demand growth but facilitate it.
Good friends have a way of making us want to become better people. They bring out the best in us. And they forgive us when we’re less than our best—even when we’re at our worst.
We want to become better people when this kind of person is in our life.
Good friends address hurts.
Do our real friends hurt us? Do we hurt them? Yes and yes.
Sometimes we hurt one another unintentionally. At other times, for whatever reason, we may be intentionally hurtful.
Our very best friends will address the issue. It may be hard for us to hear. It’s likely even harder for them to bring up. However, friendships that endure the test of time are often marked by openness and honesty.
When we get close to someone, when we open up to them, we risk being hurt, but it’s worth it.
I am privileged to have many such friends and I’m thankful for each and every one of them.
Now, that we’ve considered some traits of genuine friends, let’s take an honest look at ourselves. Are we this kind of friend? What steps can we take to become even better friends than we are today? Are we willing to do the hard work, the work that reaps rich rewards?
When we get close to someone, when we open up to them, we risk being hurt, but it’s worth it. (click to tweet)
Good friends listen. They share from their heart. They cheer us on. Good friends facilitate growth and address hurts. (click to tweet)
Steph Beth Nickel is a communicator who seeks to Nurture and Inspire in her many eclectic endeavours: editing, writing, podcasting, etc. Steph coauthored Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph and Deb are working on a follow-up, tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph is also a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio. You can connect with her on Facebook or via email.