What joy there is in having a good friend! Someone whom you can trust, have fun with, safely share thoughts, depend on, and just enjoy their company. To have and enjoy such a friend or friends in our lives, we need to know how to be a good friend. Perhaps we need to seriously consider the elements that combine to make and keep a good friend.
We are not meant to live without the support and encouragement that good friends can add to our lives. True, it is a bit of a risk to allow someone to know us enough to be a close friend. However, the rewards are great.
Consider what you would want in a friend and then how you can be that friend.
“Treat others as you would want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31
10 Ways to Be a Best Friend
- Know yourself, accept who you are, and determine if that potential friend is likely to accept you and interact in an uplifting and supportive fashion that might benefit both of you. If the person is overly needy, chances are you will always feel drained and used. A close friend needs to be the giver of support at certain times, but also find encouragement from the other when needed. It cannot be a healthy situation if one person is always the needy one.
- Be congenial – easy to be with. Not demanding of time or insisting on a constant connection. Each person has an individual life. Possessiveness drives people away. We do need to be available when there is a need or a planned activity. A bit of wisdom is needed to propel the waters, and it varies with the individual. No one wants to be suffocated. Learn sensitivity to others needs.
- Inclusive – A good friend acts the same with you on all occasions. If you feel excluded at a social event when a friend ignores you to be with others, step away. Being inclusive of you while in a crowd, acknowledging you to other friends, making you feel accepted – these speak as to who your friend is.
- A good friend identifies with you as a friend around others, making introductions yet not necessarily drawing you into that group. Most people have several sets of friends: take care to not push them to choose. Arrange times for being with that friend alone at another time, thereby developing a deeper friendship rather than inciting conflict or hurt.
- A good friend is respectful of another’s time. We need to accept that there are others in people’s lives, in our friends’ lives, who must take first place at certain times. Learning to balance time and understand commitments will enhance a friendship, rather than make the other person fear that a 100% commitment is required. “Value others above self.” Phil 2:3
Family, work, and other commitments may take first place. This should not diminish a true friendship. We live in a busy world. Do not put pressure on a friend to meet your every whim for getting together.
You may have a very wonderful and worthy friend that you only see infrequently; however, the time together is rich and rewarding. Protect that friendship by avoiding making that person feel guilty. With today’s technology, a running text can be a great connection, be it a prayer request, a word of encouragement, or just to say hi.
Avail yourself of connections that do not interrupt work or inconvenience another. Take the high road.
- Be a dependable and trustworthy friend.
Be a respecter of personal information whether it is a problem or a confidence that has been shared with you. Never share that with another “close friend.” A real friend must feel completely safe in sharing, knowing that you will not be judgmental, nor will you inform another so-called “trusted friend.” * This type of friendship is “pure gold.” Protect and cherish that friendship. Be that kind of a friend.
- A friend must not be “possessive” of another, causing that friend to feel stifled. Best friends do not have to share every thought. One friend may fit into one area of your life; another friend is a perfect match for another area of your life. Do not try to make your friend become another you.
- A good friend brings to the relationship another set of eyes and ears, another mind to assess the situation, another way of addressing an issue – combined, and serving as a catalyst, promoting growth and enjoyment of life for both.
- Be truthful and honest. Each of you may not have the same perspective or enjoy the same depth of spiritual understanding. Learn to lovingly defend your beliefs without pushing the other person away. Do not pretend to be someone else in order to gain more “information” from another. Be careful how you handle someone’s deepest feelings, fears, and dreams. Learn to disagree without condemning.
The object of a friendship is to produce two better individuals. One supports and enhances the other.
- Learn to listen. A friendship needs to be a two-way connection. On occasion, each person may have demanding issues that consume the time together. But it should not always be one-sided. Do not allow anyone to consume all your time, energy, and emotional strength. Pull away. Protect yourself or you will always feel used, and the relationship will deteriorate. You are not responsible for everyone who comes your way. They may need a therapist.
A healthy friendship balances and benefits both parties.
- A good friend is not to be sought after only when life is problematic. Beware if you are only called when a problem or a great need is involved. Watch for those who only have drama in their lives. You may want to back away rather than have all your available time consumed by a drama queen. This will benefit neither of you. That individual may need a trained counsellor or therapist.
- An added blessing is having a friend who is open to sharing and understanding your spiritual life. Sharing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for each other is not only comforting but also results in spiritual growth for both individuals. That friend understands your faith, because he knows your Savior. Adding God to the friendship makes it strong and comforting. Sharing deep joys, praying for each other, and laughing in the freedom of confessed sin, combine to make a strong and lasting friendship that deserves our best effort and care. “A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
How Can I Be a True Friend?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you filled with joy?
- Do you always have an encouraging word to share?
- Are you ready to make fun plans?
- Are you a good listener who can lead a conversation to positive steps rather than stay in the same muddy waters?
- Are you encouraging, complimenting another on even small achievements?
- Are you able to share praise?
- Can you sometimes listen without feeling the need of giving advice?
- Can you honestly say that you do not just shallowly hang onto a friend to be able to “use” that person?
- Are you wanting to grow as a person?
- Would you want to be your friend?
- Are you dependable?
- Are you truly a confidant?
- Are you truly interested in the betterment of the other person?
- Can you be “bothered” by a friend in need?
- Are you seriously not jealous of everything a friend has, including other friends?
Ask yourself these questions. Be intent on being a good friend. Do not make promises you cannot keep. But grow in wisdom and love into a person that is able to be a friend to others.
Yes, love yourself, know yourself, forgive yourself and improve yourself.
Grow in your relationship with Jesus (How to have a relationship with God – see the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU VIDEO below.).
Become a person you like to be with and you will become a great potential friend. We all need friends!