Everyone wants to have a good friend but in order to have one, you have to be one. We all look for a friend who can understand our situation and be a strong support system in times of our need. However, a friend should also be there to have fun with us when we are happy. At times, we end up expecting much more than we are willing to give and it’s not because we don’t want to give something to our friends (be it time or attention), it’s just that we don’t understand what our friends expect from us.
Sometimes, due to our lack of understanding, we end up making wrong choices when it comes to making a friend. To make things easier, I have made a list of 14 qualities that make a good friend so that you know what to look for in a friend as well as what is expected out of you as a good friend:
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Photograph by: Marcel Rainer
Honesty is the very basis of a strong friendship. Unless there is transparency and honesty between two people, a friendship cannot survive. This is one quality that separates a good friend from a bad one. Honesty inspires trust so if there isn’t any honesty, there won’t be any trust.
The ability to empathize
A friend is not a temporary object in one’s life but a lifelong treasure so the quality of being able to empathize is another must have in a friend. Life goes through constant ups and downs so it’s very important to be surrounded by people who can understand your situation all the time as much as you understand theirs.
Trust in friendship comes gradually with honesty. It is not something that develops out of the blue. Everyone wants a friend they can trust and confide in because that’s what friendship is for. Trust can make or break a friendship so learn to win people’s trust and learn to trust people but don’t do either of the two blindly.
Any kind of a relationship requires love to last. By love, I don’t mean the male-female love equation but the kind of love and appreciation a friend feels for another. It’s the kind of love one human being feels for another that holds a friendship together.
The ability to be a source of support
We all look for support from our friends when we are down and upset. We also look for support from them when we are in any kind of a problem. A good friend should be able to be that source of strength and support.
The willingness to keep a friend happy
Happiness only increases when people share it and a good friend should try to do everything in his power to keep his friends happy, even if he has to stretch himself. The desire to make his friends happy separates a good friend from a bad one.
A good friend should be able to give time and attention to his friends. We all look for attention from people who are close to us and a good friend definitely falls in that category.
Patience is a sweet virtue and people who are patient are always winners in the long run. This quality is required to be a supportive friend during difficult situations. A good friend should do his duty and then wait for everything to fall into place. Haste always makes waste.
Friends need to be realistic in their expectations and their actions. Unreal expectations lead to constant fights and quarrels because try as they might, no one can live up to their friend’s expectations all the time. In order to be a strong support system, practicality is one quality every good friend should have.
Friends should accept each other for what they are. A friend should not try to change you and vice versa. Unless a friend is willing to accept your friendship and you for what you are, he is not a good friend.
Every relationship requires a certain amount of sacrifice, even friendship. Sacrifice is nothing but the ability to prioritize things on the basis of needs. A good friend will let go of something small in order to help his friend to achieve something big.
The desire to help
The desire to help is an unmistakable quality in a good friend. Everyone wants help but very few people help others without having a selfish motive. A good friend never weighs his benefits before helping someone. That is something we should all strive for.
Respect should be earned, not asked for. People get respected because of what they do and how they do it. A good friend should understand this basic fundamental and work towards earning respect from his friend while respecting him at the same time.
The ability to be a good listener
A good friend has to be a good listener. He should able to communicate clearly and openly. A good listener makes a good conversationalist so if you talk more than you listen, you will find it difficult to be a good friend. Listening is necessary for empathizing and understanding. So, if both the people talk, then no one will listen and things will only get complicated.