It's intimidating to write about friendship, let alone how to be a good friend.
But there are not enough people talking about this.
I want to create conversation and spark ideas of how you can care for the people who are important in your life.
I'm not sure if I am a good friend or not. I don't know if my friends would feel I am, but I sure hope so.
I've been thinking about writing about this for the last six months. It's a topic that touches all of us, that I feel is so important. I asked the question a few days ago on social media, and heard from nearly 100 of you on what makes a good friend. It was super interesting to see all your responses.
Here are my top few ways we can be a good friend:
1. A good friend is "there"
You can't build a friendship around intentions. Ultimately, you've got to get together. Sometimes good friendships trail off for lack of face-time. Our shared experiences become a thing of the past, and while we are thankful for those memories, there is nothing new to build on today.
A good friend cares enough about the relationship to get back to you whether it's a phone call, text, facebook message or tweet. They check-in, and they honestly want to continue to be a part of your life.
Sometimes they just spontaneously want to be with you - they stop by without planning it in the calendar, and they eat from your fridge without asking.
We can't call someone a close friend if we never show them we want to (and like to) be with them.
2. A good friend sees the best in you
I'm not sure there is much better kindling for the friendship fire than mutual admiration and respect. We like people who like us. If only one side of the two person coin in friendship seems to really like the other, then it is just a "fan" relationship.
It's great to admire people, but for a friendship to be formed and to maintain, both people have to think highly of the other, and hold each other in good regard.
This goes so far beyond your job title, your opportunities and your income. The truest friend rushes in when everyone else rushes out. They like you for you.
The best kind of friend doesn't box you in, or hold you down - they see the best in you, and call it out of you.
3. A good friend is a giver
Good friends are in the friendship for more than just themselves. They know the pleasure in being a giver, rather than a taker.
This means they don't just do the talking. They ask questions, they take time to listen, and they truly care about your life, your feelings and who you are as a person.
It also means they don't expect you to always agree with them, or think like them. They honor your opinions and allow for your imperfections.
They aren't constantly negative about their own life or yours. They do their best to be an encourager, and dream alongside of you.
4. A good friend gives grace
Because we are human, and humanity is messy, good friends don't expect each other to be anywhere near perfect.
Henry Ward Beecher once said: "Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends." Good friends consistently forgive and forget and continue on loving you, flaws and all.
Good friends also allow for seaons of friendship in which time and circumstance causes the friendship to become more distant. They don't hold high expectations over the heads of past friends. They are simply grateful for the gift of friendship when it is there, and hopeful for more gifts of time down the road.
A good friend questions their own virtue. They know they too have made a fair share of mistakes and caused an equal amount of hurt feelings without realizing it, so they don't act like they are better at friendship than their friends.
5. A good friend includes you
Cliques are the enemy of good friends. A good friend includes you in their gatherings, and invites you to stuff.
A good friend is sensitive about how they post on social media. They may post a pic of friends without you, but they don't overdo it, and they always weigh if it's worth it - they are sensitive to not make other friends feel left out.