5 ways to be a good friend

November 23, 2015

Friendships should come easily, you’d think, wouldn’t you?
Or maybe you wouldn’t.
Maybe you’ve had friends who’ve disappeared or who have left your life for one reason or another. I know I have.

When this happens, the first thing I do is run through a how-to-be-a-good-friend mental checklist. Have I been a good friend to them?

Here’s my how to be a good friend evaluation list:


Is this a one-sided relationship? Have they given me more than I have given them? Or have I given my share or more?


Have I made an effort to understand the entire person, including circumstances in his or her life that might affect them? Do I seek first to understand and then to be understood?


Everyone has beautiful qualities, have I appreciated those?


No one’s perfect. Have I flipped out over some little thing that’s really not important in the greater scheme of things? Or do I come from a place of forgiveness?


Is this a relationship guided by love?

And then, about them:

Once I’ve asked myself those questions, I ask one more: Do they know how to be a good friend? Because it’s not just about me. It’s also about them and how they approach a friendship.

Do they give as much as they take?

Do they make an effort to understand me?

Do they appreciate my heart?

Do they forgive me my transgressions (and yes, we all transgress from time to time.)

Is love the predominant factor in this friendship?

Because here’s the thing we don’t always consider: not everyone deserves our friendship.

That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But it isn’t, really.

If we’re spending your valuable time with someone, they should be additive to our life, a positive and affirming force.

And if they aren’t? Why are we wasting our precious time?

63 comments on “5 ways to be a good friend
  1. this is all so true Carol – friendships require investment from both parties. We deserve the type of friends we can love and share with and if that isn’t reciprocated then sometimes we have to move on – a hard but valid truth.

  2. Mardene Carr says:

    Good points we should all seek to be the kind of friend we would want to be

  3. Haralee says:

    This is a lovely post and so true. Sometimes we have to weed out and some times we have to up our game in being a good friend.

  4. What a great post! I was just thinking that I’ve got some really wonderful friends in my life right now – I’m a lucky person!!

  5. CARLA says:


  6. Great questions to ask. Particularly important to me is the energy–someone who’s too negative just drains my energy, positivity is vital.

  7. Such a great reminder on what to look for in a friend and also how to be a better one myself! 🙂

  8. I have gained and lost friends over the years. I believe it is a growth process, like snakes sheding their skin or trees losing their leaves. We do outgrow friendships over time. Not so much the casual friendships we develop on Facebook and in the workplace. I’m talking about that Special Friend with whom we share our worst fears. There will be times that those friendships will be strained to the breaking point and require a “divorce” or, at least a separation. As my mother always said, “If you have one true friend in life, consider yourself lucky.”

  9. Quin says:

    Wow, does this hit home for me?!? I’ve been asking myself whether or not it’s important to maintain a current “friendship” that I’ve been hanging onto for years. I think I have my answer. I just don’t know how to exit gracefully because of familial ties. Can you write a post about that?LOL!

  10. Quality over quantity, any day of the week!

  11. Yes, a good friend absolutely sweetens life, and I found out who my true friends were when my husband was critically ill.

  12. Some friends come and go. But, my very closest friends are here to stay. I’d do anything for them and I know they would for me too. So grateful!

  13. We need more of these thoughts, especially in these dark days.

  14. Great post, Carol. If we’re smart and fortunate we grow as we go through life. Sometimes we outgrow friends or they us. I’ve been on both sides and neither feels good, but when you search your soul you can learn from it.

  15. So true and not harsh at all. I have a friend with whom I had a falling out with that lasted almost 15 years. We have mended and have found an entirely new (and adult) appreciation for each other.

  16. Oh yes, these are the qualities of a good friend. I have a handful of friends whom I can really call my friends. I also do my best to be a good friend to them.

  17. I love that you wrote a post on this! Friendships are work just like all relationships. I have come to the point that I have started getting rid of friends who aren’t willing to put the same amount of work I am. There is nothing wrong if they don’t want to, it just isn’t what I am looking for in a friendship.

  18. tara pittman says:

    Friendship is work but so worth it. These are great points to consider.

  19. Andrea B. says:

    True in so many ways. I have friends that have stuck around, some that have resurfaced, and others who have gone and left – for good. Love these thoughts on what makes a friendship work.

  20. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I can definitely try harder sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. Sabrina Fox says:

    These are great tips! People seem to forget and take friends for granted but these are good grounding rules.

  22. Laurel Regan says:

    Very thoughtful points, and true. It’s good to do a little self-analysis when it comes to friendships. Thank you.

  23. Good friends are hard to find, so you have the cherish the ones you have. 🙂

  24. Those are all important criteria for friendship. I’ve gotten rid of people who have brought in more negative energy than positive. As I get older, I have no time for that.

  25. Kim Tackett says:

    I have a theory about friends of the road and friends of the heart….friends of the road show up at work, school, circumstances…they are important and valid. Friends of the heart, well, if we’re lucky, we have a handful of those at the end of our lives. The trick is, it’s hard to tell who is who…but then again, I don’t know if it matters.

  26. This is so important! So many people just don’t know how to be a good friend.

  27. I very much agree with your statement that not everyone deserves our friendship. Unfortunately, that includes family members — who can often make the very WORST of friends.

  28. Carol says:

    What a lovely post about friendship. It’s so hard sometimes to see a friendship dissolve, but it’s usually the right thing to do. Good friendships shouldn’t be difficult to start or maintain. Thanks for your post.

  29. Kimberly says:

    All great insights Carol, thank you. As we age, the criteria for friendship changes and quality definitely trumps quantity!
    Kimberly XO

  30. Clare Speer says:

    Such words of wisdom – I usually pride myself in being a pretty decent friend – and I am delighted to say I have a good amount of decent girlfriends – but had a pretty big falling out about 1/2 year ago with like one of my CLOSEST friends…. and it was all in the forgiving – and give and take – we are fine now – but some things can test true friendships. Great post – great reminder! And life is too short – I surely do not want to fight with my closest friends!

  31. Carolann says:

    All excellent questions. The worst of it for me is when a friendship takes more than it gives. Overall, there needs to be a balance and when there isn’t one, I know it’s time to move on!

  32. Lori says:

    you get what you give, for sure. May we all have many friendship blessings in our lives!

  33. Chanelle says:

    This is so true. Love it. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Sheryl says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Friends are a precious gift, and they must be treated as such – but that also goes both ways. I’ve had friends come and go…but it’s the one who stay that are the real thing.

  35. Ugh! I so needed to read this. I’m going through a tough time with some friendships right now.

  36. Roz Warren says:

    I’m lucky in that my sister is my best friend and she meets every one of those 5 criteria. And she’s known and loved me (with all my flaws) since I was two years old. How cool is that? I have other friends that are dear to me, but there’s nobody like my sister.

  37. Elizabeth O. says:

    Those are all needed, definitely! Learning how to listen is also another way to be a good friend.

  38. Melissa says:

    I love this. So beautiful. This is something I want to share with everyone! 🙂 Lovely

  39. Claudette says:

    Friendship is a two way street and if and when one lane gets blocked, and there is no way of clearing it, then we must consider other routes, no? Thanks for a beautiful post – in words and presentation. Namaste.

  40. Liz Mays says:

    One of the reasons I love my online friends is because it’s not overwhelming to me. Real-life friends can sometimes be so high maintenance and draining.

  41. Amazing tips! SO many people need to read this!!!! Good friends are hard to come by these days.


  42. michelle says:

    i was shaking my head in agreement while reading this

  43. Naina Paris says:

    I need my friends to be open minded. If they can spare a minute and listen to me without being judgemental……

  44. Lux says:

    I’m so grateful to have great friends that go above and beyond in being a friend.
    I aspire to be one as I believe it is a deliberate decision to be a good friend, or a good anything really. 🙂

  45. ana says:

    Your right the course of friendship is give and take and if one person is more invested in the other is that really a true friendship?

  46. friendship is a give and take situation, you have to give your heart and nurture the friendship you have

  47. Lexie Lane says:

    Yes, I agree! Love this advice, you cannot being happy if there is no one friend at your side.

  48. Becki S says:

    What a great and simple reminder, especially as we gear up for the holidays! Thanks for sharing.

  49. I have a friend that I keep at a distance because she is not a good friend. But we still care for each other so we haven’t ended things.

  50. Rocio Chavez says:

    Yes, so true. And I love that simple info graphic. To the point, but powerful.

  51. Cori says:

    So true! I’ve had to cut people from my life because the friendships were one sided and I couldn’t deal with being the only one who seemed to care.

  52. Travel Quest says:

    Nowadays it is hard to find a good true friend someone you can trust and lean on.

  53. I think forgiving and understanding are essential to any kind of relationship! This is a wonderful post 🙂

  54. Nicole Escat says:

    Wow, this is heartwarming. It is one thing to find a friend, but to find a best friend you can always turn to is another. So let us be a good friend as well to people around us 🙂

  55. Donnabeth says:

    I am very grateful for my friends and I always try my best to be a great friend. My favorite from your post is to love, always.

  56. Dave Matters says:

    This is a great post

    In my experience, the best way to be a good friend is to be yourself and love yourself first

    Then you can show love to the next person, you can’t give what you dont have

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