The saying ‘a good friend is hard to find’ doesn’t seem true when we are surrounded by good friends. But during seasons of life where our friendships feel hollow or nonexistent, the saying feels especially painful and true.
I had to grow and change to become the kind of person that could find and keep good friends. I am always learning what makes a good friend and am fortunate to have good friends in my life that help me grow and become a better person.
The proverb, ‘to make a good friend, be a good friend’ has been a reality for me. I am able to be a good friend, when I view friendships through the love and freedom I have as an accepted, beloved child of God instead of through the lens of my personal needs.
Why is it Important to Have Friends?
It is indisputable that friends serve a vital role in our lives. We crave fellowship with people who love and admire us just the way we are and want to spend time with us. Friends offer mutual esteem, affection, and respect.
Why is it important to have friends? Many studies have shown that our life is much richer and joyful when we walk beside a friend.
“Some people have an easier time establishing and maintaining friendships than others. And some of us long for closer friendships or try to figure out why an existing or promising relationship fizzled out. In these cases, we may jump first to judge a friend’s behavior, rather than our own. Perhaps we forget that relationships rely on mutual interactions.”
Jesus came into the world to be our friend and demonstrate how our human relationships can work. Jesus had friends and spoke of their importance in His life. When we embrace our identity in Christ, we are able to live more like Jesus and become better friends.
Another reason why it is important to have friends is when we meet someone and a connection is formed, it is affirming and we feel loved and accepted. Forming deep connections, where we can laugh, build trust, share ideas and secrets, is an invigorating part of life.
What Qualities Make a Good Friend?
What qualities make a good friend? There are many character qualities that good friends demonstrate to each other. I believe factors such as personality, chemistry, and availability draw people together, but that is just the starting point of friendships.
When these 6 qualities exist between good friends, they are the glue that is vital in friendships whether they are friends for a lifetime or a season.
When we understand what makes a good friend and we develop loyalty, dependability, generosity, and forgiveness in ourselves, it is easier to attract others who exhibit these qualities that make a good friend.
Qualities of a Good Friend: Loyalty
The first quality of what makes a good friend is loyalty. When we are loyal, we support each other and are committed. Sometimes it is big acts of loyalty and other times it is the small acts that speak volumes about how loyal someone is; loyalty is truly measured in the trenches when no one is watching.
After we were finished negotiating for our new home, my husband called. “Hey, I think I want that mirror in the bedroom.” “Oh no, I said, “we just signed off on the deal.” “Ask Donna if she can ask the sellers anyway.” I dreaded calling my longtime friend and realtor.
She had done a great job house hunting for us and working with the sellers. She could have easily responded, “oh no, that deal is done, we can’t do that”; but when I asked her to jump back in, she said without hesitation, “of course I will help you. You are my friend and I am here beside you until the job is done”.
Good friends are loyal even when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable. Donna stood by us, and of course, we got the mirror!
Qualities of a Good Friend: Supportive
The second quality of what makes a good friend is when we are supported through the highs and lows of life. When we are supportive, we provide encouragement, emotional guidance, and physical help. Being supportive is loyalty in action. We may not always want to jump in, but because we value someone, we do it anyway.
When we moved to another state, I was apprehensive but excited. After a few weeks, I unpacked the last box and put my baby down for a nap. As I sat down the phone rang. My friend Teeny’s voice was just what I needed to hear.
As she asked me how I was doing, an avalanche of tears poured out and I could barely speak. “I don’t know anyone here:what have we done!” She gently encouraged me on the phone until I calmed down. 2 days later she jumped on a plane and was standing outside my door.
Good friends are supportive! Despite what she had on her calendar she rescheduled her plans to support a friend who needed some TLC. This is another important trait of what makes a good friend.
Qualities of a Good Friend: Dependable
The third quality of what makes a good friend is dependability. Good friends are dependable which means they are trustworthy, reliable, and can be counted on to stand beside you. Being trustworthy is a critical, stand-alone trait, but between good friends keeping confidences without dependability isn’t usually enough for a friendship to flourish.
After being in labor for hours, the Doctor told us our baby would have to be delivered via C-section. I was very disappointed but wanted what was best for our baby. As I was whisked away, the atmosphere changed from a sense of warm community to all business. My baby was born healthy and happy.
Weeks later as we watched a video of what I had missed, I was comforted by a small voice in the background. As the doctor answered numerous questions and spoke to our friends and family about the baby, my sister in law, Michelle, can be heard (off camera) quietly asking, “but how is Mary doing? Is she ok?”
Good friends are dependable even when we are not expecting it! Something about Michelle remembering me in a moment of celebration is a sweet memory and an example of what makes a good friend. Michelle acted as my advocate and stood for me without anyone asking or watching.
Qualities of a Good Friend: Generous
The fourth quality of what makes a good friend is generosity; showing a readiness to give to others. Deep generosity is expressed not from a place of abundance but from a heart filled with gratitude and appreciation.
As we tried to get in touch with friends and family, we were struggling to stay hopeful. We had just learned our home had been destroyed in a hurricane and we had no place to live. I miraculously reached my friend Heidi and she invited us to stay with her. When we arrived at her home, she took us in as family and helped us get back on our feet.
We then moved closer to home and stayed with my friend Laurie (& another friend Cheryl, helped us too!). She embraced us and helped us move back toward restoration. It was not convenient for either of these families to instantly take in a family of 5, but they did. Without the generosity of these 2 friends this tragedy would have been unbearable.
Good friends are generous! Good friends give to others for no other reason than we love and appreciate them.
Qualities of a Good Friend: Fun
The fifth quality of what makes a good friend is the ability to have fun together. We are all created uniquely, so our sense of humor and what fun looks like is different for different people. But finding others to enjoy spending time with and laughing together is life-giving.
After the devastating losses we experienced during Hurricane Katrina, several friends and I decided to book a girls’ Christian cruise to Mexico. It promised to be a few days to have fun and enjoy life. We didn’t realize until we got on the ship that the trip wasn’t exactly as we had read in the brochure. We decided to approach the trip with a sense of humor and just have fun.
We met new people, sang karaoke (quite badly) & laughed often. Kristi, Ann, Stacey and I were even featured in the next year’s brochure for the cruise.(which we did not take again!) The cruise was not as we expected, but since good friends are fun and share life’s joy, we still enjoy talking about our crazy vacation.
Good friends are fun because joy and laughter are an important part of life. Having fun together is also when we can be our truest selves in an accepting space. Finding friends we enjoy doing life with is truly a great treasure. As it says in Proverbs, “a cheerful heart is good medicine”.
Qualities of a Good Friend: Forgiving
The sixth quality of what makes a good friend is forgiveness. In many ways, this is the most important quality. Without a steady stream of forgiveness, the other traits will not matter. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand; to experience great love requires great forgiveness.
There are several people I admire that exhibit a spirit of overwhelming forgiveness. One is my friend Stacey who is very forgiving toward family and friends despite adversity. She demonstrates that good friends are forgiving even in painful situations.
But the greatest example of good friends are forgiving is our friend Jesus who died to demonstrate His level of forgiveness for us.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Because of the grace and forgiveness that Jesus shows us every day, we can strive to be forgiving people. When I let those who have hurt me off the hook, I truly understand that forgiveness is at the core of what makes a good friend.
Forgiveness is a choice that may take our feelings time to catch up with, but there is great freedom and joy in the decision to forgive.
Bible Verses about Friendship
If you are looking for a good friend or want to deepen a friendship, here are some Bible verses about friendship. These Bible verses along with praying for a good friend can help you focus on things that can help you understand what makes a good friend.
- “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NLT
- “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 NLT
- How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1 NLT
- This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13 NLT
- “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
- Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
- Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 1 Peter 4:8-9 NLT
- “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Matthew 18:21-22 NLT
What makes a Good Friend?
You can work on demonstrating these 6 qualities of what makes a good friend to those around you and it should serve as a friend boomerang.
Ultimately what makes a good friend is being a good friend. Don’t be tempted to give up too easily; it is worth persevering for the reward of a good friend.
I recently asked some friends for feedback on what makes a good friend. The responses included all of the above, but a few others:
Yvette said (Be Real),
“I embrace friends that go beyond “weather talk” (because that is easy). Tackling difficult conversations is the sign of real, solid friendship.”
Bonnie & Jennifer said (Be Accepting),
“Accepts me where I am”
Laura & Susie said (Be Authentic),
“Authenticity; I can’t tell you about my hurts and struggles if you don’t share your own. Willing to journey the path of heart transformation with me in a real, honest & authentic way.
I enjoyed highlighting some of the people who have demonstrated what makes a good friend. I wish I could list everyone who has been a good friend by loving and supporting me along the way; I remember your kindness and one day you may appear in one of my stories!
What qualities do you find important in your good friends? Would love to hear from you!