In my most recent post “5 ways to be there for a friend/ sister/ loved one who has been through something terrible” I discussed ways you could be a more sensitive, patient and empathetic support system for those you care about, which got me thinking. As you get older you really value a small but close selection of friends and loved ones around you that you can trust and confide in. As you invest time in yourself and learn more about you as a person you are able to identify what you need from a friend and what a good friend really is. Many of us may have had toxic friends, friends that let us down or hurt us irreparably and even friends we thought were friends but ended up not really being friends at all (make sense?)
So lets dive into my list of what I think makes a good friend a keeper. Traits such as being loyal, honourable, kind and respectful should be a given within all healthy and safe relationships. This list goes a little deeper into what being a good friend means and how to be one! Remember you can add to/ take away from this list to cater to what you need from a friend. But Remember your expectations of a good friend should be realistic but should also be a reflection of what you are willing to invest in your friendship/ relationship.
1. They are brutally honest!
An honest friend is a good friend. They can save you from a lot of stupid mistakes, and they help you stay grounded and true to yourself. They are honest but don’t judge you, they are not mean and they know you well enough to do it tactfully. They wont tell you your makeup is on point if its not, if you’ve messed up they wont hold back and when you have asked for advice they will give it to you straight. But that is love. You will always know where you stand with them and there wont be any elephants in the room that you have to tiptoe around!
2. They remind you of your strength and Power.
Or they pick you up when you are weak. A good friend sees your strength in character even when you feel lost and broken, They are that little reminder that helps you pull yourself together just when you need it (after they lend you their non-judgemental shoulder to sob all over). They see the best in you in all circumstances which motivates you to do better and never give up!
3. They support you in your adventures
They will be your cheerleaders whenever you embark on something nerve-racking and risky. Whether its a new job, a new relationship, having a baby, getting married, travelling, getting up and moving across the country. Whatever adventure you set off on in every stage of your life they will celebrate your successes, support you and let you fully enjoy the experience without ever holding you back. A good friend is not green.
4. They’re happy when you succeed and believe in you.
This is essentially part B to the above point. A good friend will always want you to do well in all areas of your life because seeing you happy and succeed will make them happy too. They know your potential and see how much you have to offer; they truly believe in you! So when something you truly deserve does work out for you they will have their party shoes at the ready to go out and celebrate!
5. They lift you up with joy and laughter.
Sometimes you need to get it all out of your system and have a good moan/ rant with a understanding ear to listen to. But when it all gets a little too heavy and you feel down in the dumps a good friend will know just how to make light of the situation by showing you the other side of things. (This does not include serious conversations and does not mean they do not validate your feelings when something major has happened). They will remind you of the good in all bad situations and have a stock pile of “remember the time when…” just in case you really are in need of a good giggle!
6. They are a safety blanket of comfort.
A good friend has seen you at your best and absolutely rotten worst and they still love you for it! They keep all your embarrassing secrets in a sealed vault and you trust them wholeheartedly. They make time for you when you need them and are in touch with exactly what you need whether thats a hug, a good chat or a pint of ice cream and a spoon! You feel safe around them and seeing their face or hearing their voice Nogives you the reassurance that no matter how bad things may be they will be ok!
7. They respect your boundaries
A good friend will do things for you because they genuinely care about you. They don’t feel a sense of entitlement over your time or space. They allow you to grow, make mistakes and also be an individual without you feeling apologetic. A good friend will empower you to create healthy boundaries that are clear and will be respected so that you can have other friends and relationships without having to feel guilty or anxious.
8. They support you in your healing.
This is such an important aspect of a good friendship for me. A friend should never feel like they have to fix someone they care about, likewise you cant expect others to do the hard work for you when you have been through a hard time or something terrible. Healing is painful, hard and takes productive investment of time to get through it. A good friend supports your healing and gives you space to figure things out for yourself. They are there when you need them and give you space when you need it!
9. They bring out the best in you and remind you of your best bits!
Being around good role models, people that inspire you, love you as you are, support you and motivate you will undeniably bring out the best in you. It is so important to surround yourself with positive people and having good friends that you give back to is the key to being content. When you fall or fail they will encourage you to get back up and give it another try. They remind you of your good qualities and strengths and show you the best parts of you so you flourish and bloom. Ultimately the people you call your friends and choose to invest time and energy in willingly is a reflection of the type of person you are.
10. They allow you to be unapologetically you!
A good friend will love you as you are in all your glory! They will walk proudly next to you in your mismatched outfit and unruly hair. They can come over at any time of the day and not take a second glance at the overflowing laundry basket you have yet to tackle. They love your crazy laugh and strange sense of humour. They don’t care about your unshaved legs and will squeeze that pimple on your back with satisfaction and a toolkit your too scared to even ask about. You never have to explain your mood swings, or why you refuse to get out of your pyjamas. They let you be you just as you are and that in my opinion is a keeper!
Not all ‘friends’ are good friends, having one good friend is better than a thousand ‘followers’ on social media or ‘friends’ on Facebook. Your siblings could end up being your best friends. You might go through life thinking you might be friends with someone close to you forever only to later realise that things change and thats okay too. You really only need a handful of carefully selected people around you to get through the ups and downs of life and to share all the joy and love you have to offer. If you are yet to find them thats exciting too! Sometimes a single conversation can be the start of a beautiful friendship and the more you invest into it the better it gets! Sometimes new relationships, marriages, children can shift your time and priorities, just make sure you always take time out for the friends that are ‘keepers’ because they are there for life!
Comment below on what you think is a non-negotiable quality you look for in a good friend!