I am not the most social person. Add on responsibilities of life and soon, I find myself lost in an abyss of isolation. Over the years, I have been challenged in this by a good friend who helps me see the value of living in community. Previously, I had friends who never had the guts to be honest with me. If they did, they often came across as aggressive with only their interests in mind rather than a mutual interest in the friendship. The difference between a good friend and a not-so-good friend is the mutual growth that takes place when you’re in each other’s lives.
But how do you know if the friends you have are helping you become a better version of yourself? How can you be sure you’re being a good friend to others? To evaluate yourself and your friendships, it is important to know these seven marks of a good friend.
1. They challenge your negative thinking.
Not only do good friends listen, but they also are willing to risk upsetting you to help you think differently, including more positively. After listening to you vent, a good friend might help you see a situation from another perspective or challenge you to see the good in unfavorable circumstances.
2. They value honesty.
Good friends will not just tell you what you want to hear. A good friend isn’t afraid to disagree with you or confront you about tension. There is an end goal of reconciliation because they value having you in their lives.
3. They celebrate your successes.
In a culture where the comparison bug is rampant, it can be hard to surround yourself with people who are genuinely happy when others receive promotions, gifts, or any open door to success. Celebrating others and even helping others reach success is a prominent mark of a healthy and secure person.
Celebrating others and even helping others reach success is a prominent mark of a healthy and secure person.
4. They value boundaries.
Boundaries may have a bad connotation for some people, but they are an important ingredient for healthy friendships. A good friend not only has their own boundaries but respects yours, too.
5. They shut down gossip.
A good friend will not speak ill of people who aren’t around. If friends are gossiping about others, I guarantee that they speak about you to others, too. Not only will a good friend avoid speaking ill of others, but they also will shut you down when you gossip.
6. They are peacemakers.
A good friend will seek peace in all their relationships. They do not harbor bitterness but rather extend and receive forgiveness with humility.
7. They accept that you’re not always perfect.
While a list like this one can help you evaluate your friendships, it is important to note that none of us excel in all of these traits. Good friends are able to extend grace. They assume the best intentions in others and are also aware of their own shortcomings.
What important values and character traits do you bring into your friendships?