13 Qualities of a Good Friend
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Close, supportive friendships are beneficial. Numerous studies have demonstrated that people with high-quality friendships are happier, which is seen across cultures. While establishing friendships can play an important role in psychological well-being, it’s also important to consider the qualities of a good friend because low-quality friendships can be damaging.
Learn about the qualities of a good friend, so you can identify which relationships in your life are serving you and how to determine if someone will end up being a long-term friend.
See Related: Toxic Traits To Look Out For
1. They Are Trustworthy
As humans, we have a need to develop trusting relationships. This means that trustworthiness is a critical quality in friendships. You need to have confidence that your friend will support you and avoid placing you in harm’s way. For instance, a trustworthy friend can be counted on to defend your character, even when you aren’t around.
2. They Listen
Researchers have found that people often value support and fairness in their friendships. This means that having someone willing to listen to you is important. Knowing your friend will listen when you need to talk shows evidence of their level of support.
3. They Don’t Judge
A non-judgmental friend will accept you for who you are without passing
negative judgment if you make a mistake. The non-judgemental stance is a key component of what prominent psychotherapist Carl Rogers referred to as unconditional positive regard. He stated that this non-judgmental support is necessary for human flourishing, so choosing friends who don’t judge is important.
4. They Show up When Things Get Hard
Someone who only wants to be around you during happy times or when things are going well isn’t a true friend. A good friend will be available even during the bad times because they care about your well-being and want to help you through whatever challenges you face.
5. They Are Loyal
When people are asked what qualities they desire in friends, loyalty is one of the top responses. A loyal friend is around for the long term and won’t jump ship when things don’t go their way or get tough. When you choose loyal friends, you’ll have lifelong friends.
6. They Are Emotionally Available
Good friendships require a certain degree of emotional intimacy, meaning you can share aspects of your private lives. An emotionally available friend will be willing to discuss personal topics with you and share their thoughts and feelings.
7. They Accept You for You
A true friend won’t demand you change who you are to satisfy their demands. They will accept you as a unique individual, and while you may have interests in common, they will also give you the freedom to explore who you are and have separate interests.
8. They Respect You and Your Boundaries
Respect is an important part of any relationship, and boundaries play a central role in respect. When relationships have healthy boundaries, your friend does not try to smother you, take advantage of you or interfere with your rights. Instead, they respect you when you say no and allow you space when you need it. They won’t demand all your time and will recognize when you need to take care of your needs or tend to your family.
9. They Are Honest
Honesty is another top quality people value in friendships. An honest friend is someone you can count on telling the truth. They understand that deceiving you could hurt you and damage the relationship.
10. They Are Forgiving
No relationship is perfect, so being in a long-term friendship means you’ll make mistakes from time to time. The best friends will be forgiving because they recognize you are human and won’t always be perfect. Forgiveness allows you to repair your relationship and maintain it over time.
11. They Are Dependable
Being dependable is an important part of friendship and relates closely to the other qualities of a good friend, such as loyalty and trustworthiness. A reliable friend follows through with what they say they will do. You don’t have to worry about them constantly canceling plans at the last minute or failing to be there when you need them.
12. They Make You Feel Good About Yourself
Strong friendships should enhance your self-esteem, meaning you will feel good around true friends. You won’t feel they put you down or expect you to live up to certain standards.
13. They Make You Feel Comfortable
Good friends put you at ease. You feel comfortable expressing yourself around them and can truly be yourself. You can open up to these people without fear of judgment.
Qualities of a Bad Friend
The 13 qualities of a good friend describe what most people consider characteristics of a supportive friend. On the other hand, some characteristics may point toward a bad friend. This is someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart and may even take advantage of you for personal gain.
Some red flags that may point toward a less-than-ideal friend may include:
- The relationship seems one-sided: Maybe you’re always the one to be available to them when they’re having a bad day, but they never seem to be able to offer support to you when you need it.
- It feels forced: Perhaps you talk about getting together, but your friend always cancels on you, and you feel you have to force them to spend time with you.
- They don’t stand up for you: A true friend will defend you, even when you’re not around to witness it. It is a significant red flag if you hear that a friend is spreading rumors about you or making negative comments behind your back.
- You can’t count on them: A friend who repeatedly lets you down, either by not doing what they say they’re going to do, failing to provide support when needed or simply canceling plans, probably isn’t a high-quality friend.
- You feel anxious or upset around them: Sometimes, your gut can tell you when something is wrong. If you always feel tense or unhappy around a friend, this probably isn’t a good friend. You should feel at ease around true friends.
How To Find Good Friends
If you’re having trouble finding good friends, you can do things to meet new people. Think about what you like and consider ways to meet new friends related to your areas of interest. You’re more likely to connect with people when you have something in common.
You might be able to find new friends by volunteering for a cause that’s important to you because you’ll likely run into people who value similar things. You might also consider joining a club, sports team or class. These options allow you to meet new people with similar interests who might also be looking to make new friends.
Take Control Of Your Mental Health
- Demir, Meliksah, et al. “Friendship and Happiness Among Young Adults.” Friendship and Happiness, January 1, 2015. Accessed November 4, 2022.
- Wrzus, Cornelia, et al. “Friendships in Young and Middle Adulthood: Normative Patterns and Personality Differences.” Psychology of Friendship, 2015. Accessed November 4, 2022.
- Kirschenbaum, H., & Jourdan, A. “The Current Status of Carl Rogers and the Person-Centered Approach.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 2005. Accessed November 4, 2022.
- Wagner, Lisa. “Good Character Is What We Look for in a Friend: Character Strengths Are Positively Related to Peer Acceptance and Friendship Quality in Early Adolescents.” The Journal of Early Adolescence, 2019. Accessed November 4, 2022.