Hello, this is a short my Take on five qualities I believe every good friend should have. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but provides a good flavour of the best qualities to have. Try to reflect on whether these qualities apply to you, and ways you can be a better friend in someone's life. Spread the joy :)
So here we go:
No matter the circumstances, a good friend is always honest in anything that they say. Honesty is perhaps the most important quality a good friend has, because in order to build a trusting relationship between two individuals, there needs to be open lines of honest communication. There should never be a fear that you will be stabbed in the back at a later time because your friend chose to withhold information. Any friendship (or even relationship) is built on a foundation of trust, and the minute dishonesty rears its ugly head, is the minute that foundation of trust starts to wane. Try and think about always being honest when you reflect on your own friendships.
Naturally, as social beings, we long for happiness and interactions with other people, as unhappiness can be a truly lonely place. When we're sad, we look for friends that are upbeat and happy to try and forget about what it is that is making us upset. And the best friends are those in your life that check in when you're sad, and try whatever it takes to make you happy again. Friends that brim with happiness make everyone's life a little bit better, and I feel this truly rubs off. A positive outlook on life can help erase the sadness and provide something worth looking forward to again. I truly believe that no matter what walk of life you live, always try and pay it forward. Try to help bring sunshine to someone's else's life.
Compassion, like empathy, requires an individual to be able to step into someone's shoes and experience what they are experiencing. It requires an individual to be able to "feel for" the other individual, and in this way relate to how they are feeling. It motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves. To be compassionate, a good friend needs to be moved by suffering, in such a way that they will do anything to prevent it from happening, and should it happen, alleviate it. It is a key cog in the manifestation of altruism, a genuine interest and keenness to help another individual in their time of need. Friends that display compassion are in many cases also patient, wise, kind, and perseverant. Reflect on the last time a friend was in need, and what you did to help them. Did you display compassion?
A good friend displays unwavering loyalty. Through the thick and the thin, that good friend will always be there for you, and never leave you hanging in your time of need. They won't leave you when a more interesting person comes along, because frankly they don't care about that, they care about maintaining the friendship. If they move far away from your town, they still remain true to the friendship and make efforts to check in from time to time. When times get rough, this good friend will work to help resolve the issue plaguing the friendship, rather than let it continue to smother and fizzle out. Unwavering loyalty ultimately helps drive compassion and honesty. Has there ever come a time when you weren't loyal to your friend? Think about what ways you can be loyal moving forward.
In today's world, it's sometimes easy to pass judgement on the way someone looks or acts, and this is usually without even knowing who that person is. A good friend is non-judgemental. When you have certain beliefs, cultures, expectations, or values, a good friend respects these, and helps support the decisions you make related to these. They never try to inject their own beliefs into your life to try and skew the way you think, rather, they provide their opinions to highlight your own beliefs. To be non-judgemental, a person needs to first be understanding, and if they find themselves passing judgment, they stop and think. Take a step into someone's shoes, and try to understand their perspective and backstory, because everyone is unique and has a story to tell. Next, comes acceptance, a genuine acceptance of who someone is without trying to change them. A good friend is able to do all of these steps. They are able to stop themselves when they feel they're being judgmental, they understand someone and accept them for who they are, and only then can they love someone without trying to change them.
So that brings a close to my Take. I encourage everyone to reflect on their own friendships, and think about some ways that you can be a better friend for someone. Thank you for reading :)