5 Helpful Tips How to Make Good Friends and Keep Them

I love to talk and make friends. How about you?

We have to be intentional with our relationships and work on how to make good friends and keep them.

In this article, you will find tips on making good friends and keeping the friends you have.

After an exciting day of kindergarten, my son jumped into my arms and said, “Momma, I made a good friend today!”

As an overjoyed parent, I wondered if he understood how to make good friends and how he determined that his new friend was good.

Good friendships are supportive connections that involve mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect along with a willingness to help out in times of need.

That sounds like a fancy definition but my son seemed to figure out the secret of how to make a good friend.

When enjoying special time with a good friend it is easy to understand why making and keeping friends is important.

In the gospel of John, Jesus declares the ultimate good friend test,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

And laying down His life is exactly what Jesus did for us, giving us an amazing model of friendship.

2 girls talking-how to make good friends

How to Be a Good Friend

To make good friends, we have to learn how to be a good friend. We make many friends in a lifetime for different reasons or seasons, but to make good friends and keep them, takes effort.

The first step on our journey to be a good friend is to be whole and complete alone and to understand our identity and purpose.

It is hard to make good friends when your quest for love and belonging threatens to overwhelm a potential friend.

An identity rooted in Christ quenches our deepest craving for connection primarily through our relationship with Jesus. We are then able to function healthily in other relationships.

Paul J. Meyer created a wheel of life that is widely used to help people assess balance in life. Examining important areas in our lives such as finances, career, leisure, family and friends, spirituality, and health, helps determine which areas are weak or out of balance.

It has been hard for me to maintain healthy relationships if I didn’t invest in personal growth.

A strong identity in Christ is where you start. From a place of confidence in God’s love for you, you can address the areas of your life that need attention and transformation.

Good friends are very important, but never fill the hole in our souls. They cannot complete or fulfill you. That is God’s job. Relationships complement and affirm your ongoing growth. If your expectations are unfair you will struggle to learn how to be a good friend and will drive others away.

Balance is an ongoing exercise but if you are intentional and on purpose, you will be more available and understand how to be a good friend.

The Importance of Good Friends

We live in a culture where many of us suffer from the loss of the quality and quantity of friendships.

But our desire for friends will never diminish. It is how we are wired to be connected to others. The importance of good friends cannot be overstated.

Even Jesus had good friends He depended on, traveled with, and enjoyed.

Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to getaway. “

Mark 3:7 MSG

Good friends enhance our sense of happiness and overall well-being. Studies have shown that strong friendships improve our health and longevity. Conversely, it has been shown that loneliness and lack of friends are linked to an increase in disease and higher mortality rates.

For children, research has shown that in the sequence of emotional development friendships come after parental bonding.  In the period between the end of childhood and the onset of adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of a child. They can often be more intense than relationships later in life.

Although we know friendships are important in our lives, most of us did not get trained on how to be a good friend. 

Much like motherhood, there are not many formal classes on friendship even though it is one of the most essential ingredients of a joy-filled, content life.

Positive Effects of Friendship

The positive effects of friendship are endless. It is worth investing in how to make good friends because it makes life better. Here are some of the life-changing benefits good friends offer:

  • Ignite Joy and Laughter

“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, and live a little bit better.” Unknown

“It’s funny you meet these people and they make you laugh and they give you hope and they make you realize that there is so much more to life and when you’re with them you forget how empty you were before.” Unknown

  • Give and Restore Hope

“Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.” Anna Taylor

  • Share Burdens

“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” Misty Copeland

  • Supportive to Mind, Body, and Soul

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

“Anyone can show up when you’re happy. But the ones who stay by your side when your heart falls apart, they are your true friends.” Unknown

  • Help us Grow

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart” Elizabeth Foley

ladies laughing-how to make good friends

What Qualities Make a Good Friend?

Strong friendships are not based on location, interests, or time spent together, although these factors contribute to a good friendship.

What qualities make a good friend? mutual love, respect, value, and a heart connection. Good friends are rare and treasures to be cherished.

There are numerous qualities that I look for when making a good friend.

Here are twelve important qualities to work on and look for that may help direct your efforts on how to make a good friend.

12 Qualities that Make a Good Friend:

  1. Good friends value their friends for who they are, shortcomings included! When we value someone we appreciate their worth, importance, and usefulness despite their quirks or mistakes.
  2. Good friends forgive often. When we forgive we let our friends off the hook for offenses whether they realize they have offended.
  3. Good friends have healthy expectations. Expectations are silent friend-killers when left unmanaged. Carefully evaluate and manage what your expectations are from good friends.
  4. Good friends show love and self-control. To love is to sacrifice and control what we want for the sake of the other person and the health of the friendship. We manage our emotions and put love first.
  5. Good friends are honest. When we are dishonest or lie to a good friend we tear the fabric or foundation of the friendship. Trust must be established for a friendship to thrive and survive.
  6. Good friends are purposeful. I am a big fan of having fun and enjoying friends. But a friendship reaches a new level when it shares a purpose. The Bible says in Matthew 18, “When two or more are gathered God is in our midst”. There is great bonding being purposeful for God with a friend.
  7. Good friends are generous. It is hard to be a good friend if we are takers. Generosity should become a reflex as we grow in our relationship with Christ which positively impacts all of our relationships. ,
  8. Good friends listen well. This is a hard one for many people. To listen well does not mean to listen enough so that we can turn the conversation back to ourselves. Listening is a skill that requires great effort and self-control. But when we listen well it shows others how much we truly value what they are saying.
  9. Good friends are loyal. The superglue of a good friend is loyalty. Loyalty shows a dedication to loving and protecting our friends even if they don’t remain in our lives. We should strive to protect someone’s secrets and character even if we are hurt. When a friendship ends, loyalty should keep us from reducing them to the equivalent of our hurt and loss.
  10. Good friends are encouraging and supportive. When we encourage and support our good friends it requires words and actions. Sometimes it is easier for us to compliment our friends to others instead of directly to them. When we support someone we help them carry the weight of their joys and of their burdens.
  11. Good friends are available. It is hard to learn how to make good friends if we don’t invest our time and effort into it. Once we have a good friend we must realize it is a gift and dedicate our resources to its growth.
  12. Good friends are kind. Someone kind is selfless, merciful, compassionate, and friendly. Kindness to all people should grow as our faith grows. Kindness to our friends should come naturally and often because we love and value them a little more. It means we don’t take those we love for granted.

These 12 qualities of a good friend seem like a high calling which they are.

But when someone is loved and cherished it is worth trying to exhibit these 12 qualities which pave the way and teach us how to make good friends.

ladies hugging-how to make good friends

How to Make Good Friends and Keep Them

How do we maintain friendships and build bridges over time?  It takes intentionality and work.

You may journey with a friend for a season or a lifetime, but regardless of the length of time, a good friend makes a big impact and holds a special place in our hearts.

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words”

C.S. Lewis

5 Tips on How to Make Good Friends and Keep Them

I have the privilege of being an observer as my daughters, Avery and Laurel, navigate the waters of friendship.

They fight the same urges that many of us “grown-ups” fight.  Who is my best friend this week?  Do I have any good friends? Why is learning how to make good friends so difficult?

It is ok to have one best friend but it is hard to consistently live up to the expectations associated with being a best friend.

“Best friend” assumes we are exclusive and there is not much room for anyone else in our small circle.  How does this line up with our faith?

Did Jesus have one BFF? Or did He have many people who brought different things to His life?  Jesus wasn’t the only friend of his disciples; they enjoyed their friendship with each other.

I think it is partly human nature and partly chemistry with another person that tempts us to focus on one person to meet our relational needs.

But realistically only one person can fill that hole in us, Jesus.

Tip 1 Take the Time to Know Good Friends

Take time to know your good friends. This is important as we form new relationships and ones we’ve been in for years.

Do you understand their personalities, what is important to them, positives and negatives? Where do your values line up with theirs?

Tip 2 Evaluate Expectations

Evaluate the expectations you place on your good friends. Expectations can stem from unmet needs in our lives.

If you evaluate people on how well they meet your expectations, you will always feel let down by others. You will be that “sensitive” person that everyone is afraid to hurt.

Tip 3 Have More than One Good Friend

Don’t pressure one good friend to meet all of your friendship needs. Most of us can benefit from more than one friend.

The number of friends we have looks different based on our personality, but it is hard for one best friend to fulfill and sustain all of our friendship needs.

Tip 4 Understand your Role

Understand your role in a friendship. We will fall into each of the roles during different seasons and with different people.

If we understand the role we play in our relationships, it will help us manage expectations.

Mentor- In some relationships, you serve as a mentor or teacher.  It may be one major facet of the relationship or many.

Sister- This is a relationship where there is equal give and take.  Many healthy relationships will fall into this category.

Student- This is a role where you are guided.  I try to be a student and find people who have walked before me in particular situations.

Tip 5 Mutual Affection

Demonstrate mutual affection. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that a necessary condition of friendship is that friends care about each other and demonstrate mutual caring.

For some reason at times, we can be drawn to unattainable people; people who do not value us. Before investing too much time and love into a relationship we must assess if the friendship is equitable.

3 ladies-how to make good friends

How Many Good Friends Do I Need?

How many friends we need depends on our personality, stage of life, demographics, and availability.

Some of us seem to spend a lot of time learning how to make good friends and can’t seem to figure it out.

Others may feel content with one or two good friends and are not motivated to form new friendships.

Here are three friend groups to help you understand and evaluate how many good friends you need.

3 Types of Friends

Big Network of Friends

A group where you feel a connection with the people and people are pursuing a common goal. Although these relationships are more surface-level and not as intimate, close friendships can sprout from within this group.

In Bible times this would be the church or the Jewish synagogue.  Today it could be your church, school, mom’s groups, big families, office staff, or social media groups.  With our kids, it could be their school, church group, or sports clubs.

This group is not where we spill the beans.  This group serves a valid purpose but not deep intimacy.

Why?  Because a big group does not understand you and value you as friends in smaller groups do.  Things can be misunderstood and hurt feelings can follow.

Core Group of Friends

With this core group of friends, we experience shared meals, activities, and playdates; usually no more than 20 people.  This is a group where you can express yourself more freely.  We can discuss opinions, dreams, thoughts, and simple problems.

With your kids, this is a Girl Scout troop, a small club at school (chess, art, missions), or a neighborhood group that hangs out.

Jesus had a core group of friends as recorded in the gospels of the Last Supper,

“Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.   And he said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

Luke 22:14-15

Even Jesus was eager to sit down with his closest friends in one of his darkest hours.

Small Cluster of Friends 

This is a group of 2-5 people whom you completely trust and with whom you can pour your heart out.  These people may not be the same throughout your lifetime, but there is intimacy and acceptance that is extremely valuable.

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.”

Mark 14:32-33.

Jesus’ closest friends were not perfect.  Our close friends will have faults too, just as we all do.

Good friends show each other lots of grace and work hard to understand each other. There is deep trust and mutual respect.  We share our insecurities, fears, struggles, and mistakes.

My daughters often model for me how to make good friends. For a season, our family fostered two young girls. This addition interrupted my daughter’s world, but they embraced their new friends with zeal. They had to learn to open their hearts and their possessions.

Watching them adapt inspires me on how our human spirits can grow and change and how love can blossom and change us forever.

How to make good friends is a journey laced with sacrifice, forgiveness and most importantly love.


Mary Rooney Armand

Mary is the creator and writer for the faith-based blog ButterflyLiving.org. Her writing is featured on multiple websites and she is the author of the book, “Identity, Understanding, and Accepting Who I Am in Christ”  and Life Changing Stories, a devotional collection, available on Amazon.

Mary Rooney Armand

Mary Rooney Armand is an Author, Speaker, and Creator of the faith-based blog ButterflyLiving.org. She helps others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their relationships. Her work is featured on multiple websites including Women of Noble Character, Pray with Confidence, and The Brave Women Series. Mary is the author of, “Identity, Understanding, and Accepting Who I Am in Christ” and, “Life Changing Stories” a collaboration with 34 authors sharing stories of God’s faithfulness. Besides writing, Mary leads small groups and speaks at retreats. She directed Kids Hope USA, a mentoring program for children, worked in marketing and sales, and has led mission trips to Honduras. Mary is a life coach with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and an MBA. She and her wonderful husband Cory live in New Orleans and are the parents of four children, a new daughter-in-law, and two dogs! Connect with Mary on Instagram or Facebook.

No Comments

  1. Boumediene Merah on June 22, 2021 at 7:59 am

    If the source is good everythings follow.
    PB: Heart is the souce.

  2. Michele Morin on June 22, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Oh, that Lewis quote!
    May we trust for grace to be this kind of friend

    • Mary Rooney Armand on June 23, 2021 at 5:56 pm

      Michele, I love so many of CS Lewis’ quotes! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. […] Although we were not part of that long-ago mission, we can be excited about the tribe we are assigned to today. We can also be assured that Jesus calls us to our own mission and still walks beside us in the spirit. We just need to find our people. […]

  4. Angie D Gobert on June 27, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Great writing and such truth! Thank you for your time, for sharing your gift, for stepping out in faith again and again and again, and for continuously caring! You are a blessing and your work is beautiful! Many hugs and Shalom AnG – Got it in my email – Yay!

    • Mary Rooney Armand on June 28, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks for your ongoing encouragement and support! So glad the email went through. Love you my friend!!

  5. Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog on June 28, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I’ve struggled with this area ever since I married. I really appreciate the reminder that friendship is also a heart thing. Although, my friends and I haven’t been able to see or talk to each other in a long time, I know we’ll pick up right where we left off next time we do. And I am so fortunate to have that kind of relationship with my mom.

    • Mary Rooney Armand on June 28, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      Ashley, I am thankful my words were helpful to you. Friendship can be so difficult but is so worth it. How wonderful that you share a special bond and friendship with your mom; that is a unique treasure!

  6. Mandy Farmer on June 28, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Your neighbor at Grace and & Truth! pinned this one andscheduled for my facebook page

    • Mary Rooney Armand on June 28, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing! I truly appreciate it!

  7. Lisa notes on July 1, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I’m SO grateful for my little group of lifetime friends that I’ve stayed connected with since childhood. We’ve been through a lot together, but by the grace of God we’re all still best friends. It’s not always been easy (we’re all very different!) but it’s been worth it. Glad you linked this post at Grace & Truth!

    • Mary Rooney Armand on July 3, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Lisa, Thank you for stopping by! How wonderful to have such great friends…you must be a good friend to them!

  8. […] When I feel disillusioned, I turn to what Jesus said as He walked through the trials of His life. He faced pain to the point of death but never changed His purpose and His love for others. […]

  9. […] also was reminded of something a friend had asked me a few years back that deeply impacted me – “What would it look like for you to […]

  10. […] transitions are some of the most challenging times to cope with change. When we are blessed with good friends and family it is hard to lose a connection due to conflict, distance, differences, or […]

  11. […] we are growing spiritually and are deeply connected to God’s voice through the Bible, prayer, and wise friends, we are spiritually healthy and can more easily restore broken […]

  12. […] Often the heartache we experience in relationships highlights lies we are believing, whether it’s about ourselves or our Creator. Allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what’s untrue ushers in a necessary unraveling that transforms our hearts and helps us see ourselves and others through the lens of the Cross. […]

  13. […] Often the heartache we experience in relationships highlights lies we are believing, whether it’s about ourselves or our Creator. Allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what’s untrue ushers in a necessary unraveling that transforms our hearts and helps us see ourselves and others through the lens of the Cross. […]

  14. […] are limitless, interesting topics to discuss that do not involve gossip. Friendships are built on trust and can last a lifetime when we demonstrate unconditional love, forgive often, […]

  15. […] it is tempting to insert our opinions even when we are not asked. With our spouse, children, and close friends it is particularly difficult to consult without […]

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