Great friendships are one of the most important things in life. You need friends around you to achieve your potentials, and I mean good friends. Friends could make or mar you, depends on the percentage of good and bad friends you have. This is because friends have a high level of influence on you, and it becomes important to be very choosy about your friends as the end result of the friends you have will tell upon who you become as a person. I don’t have to bore you with the common saying “Show me your friend…”, I will just let you know the kind of friends you should seek this year. And if you already have some them, make sure you keep them. For any friend who doesn’t tick any box, you are more than right if you let them go.
Here they are! Qualities of a great friend:
1. They are genuinely happy for you when things are going your way.
Before you cry “Captain Obvious,” consider the many “friendships” that appear friendly on the surface, but are filled with jealousy, passive-aggressive remarks, and an “I’ll step on you if it gets me higher” attitude. Anyone who plays that game is not a friend, but a manipulator.
A true friend gets excited — not jealous and angry — when something good happens. Great friends are teammates and celebrate each others’ success when they score! If someone in your life acts angry or distant when things seem to be going your way, they’re comparing themselves to you instead of genuinely being happy for you.
2. They’re there for you when you really need them.
Friends are supposed to be there for each other. We all know that. But what makes a friend go from good to great is when they explicitly tell you that they’re available when you need them. Modern life can be hectic, but a great friend makes time to offer advice or support when needed.
3. They’re honest, but supportive.
Friends are one of the very best external sources of information about yourself. They know you very well, but they’re not partially blinded by emotions like in a romantic relationship. This means they can see some of your rough edges that you might not realize.
A supportive-only friend is not a very good friend because, for example, they’d let their friends get into or stay in bad relationships — all because they put their desire to be “supportive” ahead of their desire to tell the truth. A great friend will be honest when there’s cause for concern but will find a way to be honest that is supportive, instead of destructive or harsh.
4. They respect your time and emotional energy.
Your time is valuable. Your emotional energy is valuable. Not-so-great friends often take the “I’m there for you” guarantee for granted, and load you up with all of their problems, all of the time. Problem-sharing is part of what friends are for, but it is absolutely possible to take it too far. Friends are not merely problem sponges for each other.
Being a great friend in this area simply means that you’re aware and concerned about how much of a burden you place on your friends, so that you don’t use them as a personal problem-absorber. If you’re not sure where that line is, just ask!
5. They communicate clearly.
I remember an argument I had with a friend a couple years ago. We resolved it not by eloquence, but with an ugly conversation. We both said clumsy things and let our emotions sway us, but we maintained the same goal: to resolve the situation. And we succeeded. I’ve found that clear communication is more about effort than skill.
There are techniques you can learn to communicate better, but the main one that will serve you well is to not give up communicating because it gets difficult. Many people will give up exactly when they must not give up!
Great friends communicate as clearly as they can, and if they don’t say it right the first time, they try again. They are dedicated to being on the same page as you. And even if they’re not very skilled at communicating, you’ll see their effort, which non-verbally communicates that they’re a great friend.
6. They connect with you.
The basis of friendship is connection with another person. You’ll share a common interest, perspective, worldview, or location. While this is the most superficial quality on this list, it’s still important, because if you can’t relate with a person on any level, it will hinder your ability to enjoy time together. You can become good friends with someone who you have nothing in common with, but probably not great friends.
7. They trust you.
Without trust, any relationship will rust (or worse, turn to dust). Trust is the most basic requirement for communication, because if you can’t believe what your friend is telling you, then what’s the point in talking or even having a friendship? Great friends trust each other.
When someone trusts you, it can create a powerful bond of friendship. If a friend doesn’t trust you, then they’ll have a tough time being anything else to you in this article because trust is foundational. Mutual trust is a must!
8. They motivate you.
Your friends should motivate and inspire you. Your circle should be well rounded and supportive. Keep it tight. Your friends should bring the best out of you. Quality over quantity, always.
Have a fabulous 2015.