5 Signs of a Good Friend

So lately,  I've been doing a lot of thinking about friendships. I've been trying to help my teen daughter deal with friend issues. During one of our many discussions I was telling her it would get better as she gets older. But, is that really true or do we just learn how to navigate friendships better? 

I always assumed as women got older they became more mature in their friendships. I say this because I grew up with (and still have) great role models. My mom has the closest group of girlfriends. I have never once in my almost 44 years seen her have "girlfriend issues."  She's taken trips with all of them, sometimes those trips were altogether and sometimes it would just be with one or two at time. I never recall my mom ever feeling jealous or any of her other friends feeling jealous or left out. I just don't ever recall them being petty with each other. As a matter of fact, all I've ever seen is them being loyal, supportive, loving and truly happy for each other. 

Surely as women we haven't changed that much over the years? But, I'm beginning to think that just may be the case. We've somehow let our insecurities and jealousies spill out and on to our own daughters. I'm sure I am just as guilty. 

Don't get me wrong, I am blessed beyond measure with my true friends. But, even at my age, the pettiness and pot stirring still exists. I've been hurt along the way and learned a lot about myself. I've come out stronger because of failed friendships. Have you? I've also learned who really cares and is there for you when the times get tough or when things just don't run smoothly. I don't feel like I expect more than I'm willing to give. I've also come to a place in life that I don't have time, nor the desire, to give to those who like drama or who aren't loyal. 

So, what does it mean to be a good friend? I've tried to narrow it down to just five key factors. I know there are many other things that factor in to having great friendships, but I feel if you have these five, you truly have a great foundation for lifelong friendships. 

  1. Honesty - No one likes confrontation. I think we all would like to think we will always agree with our closest friends, but come on, we know that just can't always be the case. We should be able to share honesty with a gentleness that is appreciated and not like an attack. You should feel your friends truly have your back and will be straightforward in a way that helps you instead of hurts you. 
  2. Respectful - A respectful friend is not only respectful to your face but just as much so behind your back. 
  3. Dependable - We all get busy with our families and life in general. A true friend makes their friends a priority. I would hate for one of my friends to ever feel I was not dependable. Doesn't it feel good when someone has made you a priority? And, doesn't it cut pretty deep when a friend doesn't follow through or chooses someone or something else before you? Sure it does. 
  4. Supportive - I could write a lot on this one. Why is it that a lot of women can't be happy when someone has more than them or has more success or more (fill in the blank).... I'll tell you why. It's jealousy that runs deep. When women are insecure it's hard for them to be truly happy for other women, If you have a friend who is supportive, you have a great treasure. Nourish that friendship daily. Being supportive doesn't just mean during the good times - it means being supportive ALL THE TIME. Remember, it is better to give than to receive. If you are giving in hopes of getting something in return then you aren't really giving freely - you're giving with conditions. Support your friends and truly be happy for them. If you can't do that, let them go. They don't need that kind of friendship. 
  5. Love - This, you would think, would be a given. However, I've learned over the years it is not necessarily so. Have you ever had a friend tell you to your face they love you and yet you know deep in your heart it just isn't so? Their actions don't line up with what they are saying? I hope you've not experienced that, but it's highly likely you have or will at some point. Ladies, show LOVE to your friends. Find what their love language is (just like in marriage) and show them love. If your friend's spirit is lifted by getting a card in the mail, mail them a card. If they feel loved when you make a special date with them to go shopping, go shopping. If they are your friend, surely you know what would truly make them feel loved. Step out of your comfort zone and show them and tell them they are important and appreciated. 

What else would you add? What do you find important in a good friend? My hope is that after reading this you will reflect on what kind of friend you are - or maybe you just need to use this as a guideline for what to look for in potential friends. May you be blessed with the treasure that true friendships bring. 

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~Mrs. Albright
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