As we age, we realize the truth of the saying “Quality over Quantity” when it comes to friendship!
While researching how many “real friends” most people have, the number that made up the “friends for life” category was consistently 1-3 people.
For most people, it is relatively easy to meet people that you really like, but would not consider hanging out one-on-one with.
These people could be defined as ” social media friends” or “group get-together friends”. There is nothing wrong with these types of friendships.
However, close & loyal friendships are a rare gift from God.
Proverbs 18:14 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
The friend that “sticks closer than a brother” (or sister) is someone who is with us through thick and thin – supporting us through difficult times, being honest when we allow destructive behavior in our life, and cheering us on.
To find these friends is difficult. However, to find them, you have to BE ONE!
Below are 7 traits of great friends – how to find one and how to be one.
1.) They are 100% trustworthy – a “safe place” to be honest & vulnerable
Great friends don’t share your vulnerabilities and honest conversations with anyone else.
If you share something about yourself with a friend, that stays between you. If a friend shares your confidences with other people, they are proving themselves not to be trustworthy.
Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
If someone breaks your confidence, you need to find a way to forgive them. As humans, we all make mistakes.
However, if this person has a bad habit of being untrustworthy, you may need to keep keep a healthy distance. (Stay cordial, not close.)
Be that person who is loyal and trustworthy. And when you find someone with these qualities, hold on tight! You are a blessed person to have one friend like this.
2.) They are not jealous – competing with you in an unhealthy way
Jealousy is a tricky thing! It can slowly seep into a friendship, without anyone really noticing.
As time passes, you and your friend’s lives will take different directions.
One person’s life may have more “personal success” and “monetary gain” than the other.
This difference in success can become a source of envy and jealousy, creating a toxic atmosphere in your relationship.
It will be subtle at first, but over time it can completely define and slowly destroy the friendship you once had.
Proverbs 14:30 “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
I Timothy 6: 6-9 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment… But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Be the friend that applauds and supports your friend’s successes.
If you feel jealous feelings filling your heart, nip it in the bud! These feelings are natural – everyone feels them at some point in life.
But you must find a way to be truly contented with the life God has given you, while being happy for your friends who God has blessed in different ways.
Find a contented friend who is excited for your success and you are blessed beyond measure!
Related Article: 5 Tips to Overcome Jealousy as a Christian Woman
3.) Time and distance doesn’t change your relationship
Life gets busy for everyone. Priorities shift, people change, and time moves quickly.
Before you know it, a week, month, or year has passed since you spoke! (Some years are busier than others.)
(In today’s society, your relationship is made up of “likes” and “comments” on social media.)
This doesn’t mean you are no longer great friends. It means that you are both busy.
But you know that you are always there for each other! You’re just a phone call or text away.
When you meet up or see each other, it’s just like old times. There are no hurt feelings or offense taken because you haven’t spoken.
There’s just an understanding that even though life is busy and you don’t always stay in touch, your love for each other hasn’t changed.
4.) They Work to Stay Connected and Keep the Friendship Relevant
(This point may sound opposite from #3, but they are both connected.)
Time changes people.
If you have a great friend who you met in highschool or college, and 10+ years has gone by, you are both very different people now!
That’s OK and completely normal. But it is so easy to allow time to grow you apart.
Most close friends have similar life values – religious, political, lifestyle choices, etc. (A similar sense of humor helps too!)
But the things that make up conversation often change: food, music, decor, clothes, points of view, priorities, health, children, marriage etc.
Even when life gets busy, try to keep in touch!
When you let long gaps of time go by between conversations, it may feel like your “close friend” has changed beyond recognition and doesn’t feel so close anymore.
This isn’t necessarily true! It’s still the same person, but you forgot to work on the relationship.
Friendships take work and an investment of time and energy. If there is someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, pick up your phone and text/call them.
Throughout the week/month, send them pictures of things you like and ask their opinion about certain topics. It takes work to keep your relationship up-t0-date, so put in the time! It’s worth it!
5.) They are honest with you – even if it hurts
Proverbs 27:5-6 “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Honest feedback, correction, and constructive criticism should always be done from a heart of love.
When a friend tells you something that personally hurts you, it is easy to get defensive and deeply offended.
In these difficult moments, breath and remain calm. Focus on LISTENING instead of defending yourself.
If you know this friend to be loyal and supportive, you should be able to recognize that their advice is coming from a place of genuine concern for you.
Proverbs 10:17 “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.”
On the other hand, if you are the person dishing out the heartfelt criticism, make sure you are doing it with the right intentions!
Jealousy, pride, and an overly-critical spirit should not be the driving force behind the correction of a friend. This will certainly destroy your friendship.
Be selective and wise when choosing what to “constructively criticize” your friend for.
Sometimes, you have to let them go their own way and stumble around. In these times, be there to pick them up and help them get back on track.
Other times, you need to wave the red flag and alert them to their destructive behavior or unwise choices.
Example: If they have gone out on a date with someone you don’t like, give them the time and space to figure the person out for themselves. However, if they are engaged to someone who you know is a liar and cheater, you need to talk to them about it.
You aren’t their conscience and you shouldn’t be their #1 critic. However, you are there to be honest with them (even if it’s just telling them they have a piece of pepper in their teeth). 🙂
6.) They are reliable and a person of their word
When it comes to close friendships, it is easy to get comfortable and unknowingly become lazy and unreliable.
For instance, cancelling plans last minute or forgetting to fulfill a commitment shouldn’t be a regular occurrence in your friendships.
Even if this person is your closest friend or family member, they may start to distrust you or stop counting on your for things. This can (and probably will) deteriorate the closeness of your bond.
Ecclesiastes 5:5 “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
You may think, “We are too close to allow something this petty to ruin our relationship.” But it happens all the time!
If you don’t have time for the weekly Bible study at your friend’s house, be honest with them!
If you have planned to meet up or do something together, try to keep your word (even if you are tired or “not feeling it” that day). Just do it!
Say “No” when you can’t do something, say “Yes” when you can, and say “I don’t want to” when you don’t want to. Being honest is refreshing.
Stop cancelling, postponing, being late, disregarding, or not fulfilling your promises.
It takes effort, but it will strengthen your relationship and built trust.
Related Article: 9 Types of Toxic People the Bible Warns About
7.) They are loyal and compassionate
Loyalty is shown in many ways.
One of the most prominent ways it is shown by defending the honor of a friend when other’s are spreading rumors or gossiping about her.
Shutting down a hurtful conversation can be done with a simple sentence like the following: “Carrie is one of my closest friends. I have known her for quite some time. If you knew her like I do, you would know that she wasn’t the kind of person to…”
They don’t distrust you simply because someone else has another story. They come directly to you for the facts, instead of talking behind your back.
And when the time comes that you truly are going through a difficult time, they are there for you – whether the predicament is your fault or not.
They silently sit by you and hold your hand while you cry tears of heartbreak or regret. They stay with you and take care of you for a while after the death of a loved one. And sometimes they have to encourage you to forgive yourself for making a big mistake or doing something foolish.
They don’t make you feel guilty, leave you to fend for yourself, point fingers, stir up drama, or make excuses for certain behaviors.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
When you find a friend with loyal and compassionate character qualities, they are special!
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- 5 Tips on How Not to Be a Negative Person
- How Do You Deal With Difficult People?
- 5 Tips to Overcome Jealousy as a Christian Woman
The key to finding a good friend is to be a good friend!
There are obviously dozens of traits of great friends, but above are 7 of the most important ones.
If you are searching for a good friend, pray for God to bring them into your life. God can do so much more for you than anything or anyone.
May you find wonderful friends in life and may you bless someone else with your whole-hearted, loyal friendship.