Creating and Maintaining Accountability Among Friends

You did what you said you would never do; or you neglected to do what you planned to do. You slap your forehead and sigh, “I messed up again.”

Accountability between friends lessens the chances for those misdeeds and the regrets which result from them.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. . . Three are even better.

— Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 12 (NLT)
Photo by Peter Swain
Photo by Peter Swain | Source

Accountability requires friends to share their struggles, their failures and their plans for success; not to surrender control of their lives, but to be empowered in taking control.

It does not take away individual responsibility; it creates a system in which friends give and receive individual support.

Accountability can result in maximum benefits for friends whose goals may not be popular with the other people around them. Take the following groups for example.

  • friends committed to a moral lifestyle;
  • friends trying to follow through with their plans for regular exercise, writing a book, starting a business;
  • friends struggling to overcome bad habits like untidiness, procrastination, gluttony;
  • friends involved in a voluntary service project.

Accountability between these and similar groups of friends will provide community support enough to help them resist community pressure. Here are six suggestions which can help to make it work.

Select An Accountability Circle

You do not need all the people you call friends in your accountability circle. Choose two or three (not many more) who meet the following requirements:

  • Respect you for who you are
  • Have similar beliefs in the area(s) in which you need support
  • Seem trustworthy and confidential
  • Share long-term interest in a supportive friendship

These are the friends who share your passion for what interests you. You enjoy your conversations with them.

Chat Regularly

Photo by Peter Griffin
Photo by Peter Griffin | Source

Accountability between friends requires constant, regular communication. Thanks to the possibilities of social media, this is not difficult to achieve even if friends are separated by long distances.

You need to chat (by phone, text, e-mail, e-chat etc.) at least daily, to make sure that each person is following the plan. It is easy for someone to detour from the agenda because he or she is tired, upset, confused or even excited over some good news. Contact with another friend helps the distracted person to reset. It also decreases the chances for misdeed and neglect as mentioned above.

It is also recommended that friends meet, if possible. Friends who spend time together become a meaningful part of each other’s lives.1

Be Open and Honest

"Openness is volunteering the truth; honesty is answering truthfully."2

The discussion to be accountable should include the need for friends to be open concerning the matters in which they need support. To get to the right solution, friends need to know the situation as accurately as possible.

The discussion should also include permission to ask tough questions and the right to receive honest answers, which reveal—not cover up—pertinent information. The conversation is not only for accountability to the rest of the group; the person answering the question needs to hear himself voicing the truth.

It is important for friends to be trustworthy, so that no one is afraid to be vulnerable. The whole purpose of accountability is to deal with weaknesses so they become strengths.

Refuse to Judge

If one friend reveals that he got himself into trouble, it is not the duty of the other friends to judge him, worse yet to condemn him. Statements like the following are inappropriate:

  • You’re only reaping what you sowed.
  • You brought that on yourself; you should have seen it coming.
  • I’m disappointed; you’re not as smart as you think.

Even though those statements may be true, they put distance between the one needing help, and those being asked to help. Accountability between friends requires a family-like atmosphere filled with love and forgiveness. Opinions can be replaced with kind thoughts like:

  • You’re only human; we all make mistakes.
  • Let’s see what we can do to help.

It may be discouraging when a friend disappoints you, but these are situations which test the friendship. Besides, it is true; we all make mistakes—and we all need the support of friends.

Offer and Accept Guidance

In everyday conversations, friends offer and accept advice in matters like what is appropriate to wear, what seminar to attend, what foods are best to avoid. Accountability between friends requires that each one has some wisdom to offer.

However, matters may arise which seem too complicated for just a friendly group talk. Here are some ways to help:

  • Share personal stories—your struggle and what worked for you; have other friends share. Allow the friend seeking help to make his or her own decision.
  • Suggest a book, or video sermon, or movie which deals with similar problems and solutions.
  • Recommend counseling or attendance to a support group.
  • Offer support for whatever decision the friend makes.

Again, trust is important. It helps to offer and accept suggestions when you know that the friends have each other’s interest at heart.

Pray for Each Other

Friends who help friends shoulder their responsibilities will find reason to pray for each other. They all have the same needs in the interest of their friendship: wisdom in interpersonal skills, capacity to love and forgive, humility of spirit.

“If ever love reaches its best and purest, it ought to be when we are standing before God.3” When one friend enters the throne room of God, he takes the others and requests the same blessings and successes for all.

Friends with whom you share accountability become a great asset to your success. At your moment of weakness, they become your strength. You also learn to be strong for them, and eventually all become stronger.


1. Gannon Ph.D., Michelle, Do You Make Time for Friends (1/17/2011)

2. Belenen, The Difference between Openness and Honesty, Live Journal, (2/09/2006)

3. Miller, J. R., The Hidden Life Grace Gems (1895)

More by this Author


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very good advise here MsDora, and a fine hub. real friends are so important and you need to be able to trust each other be non-judgemental, pray for each other and support them in difficult times etc. Voted up.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Msdora this is a good hub... the chatting regular is good sound advice the entire hub is worth the read bless you

Purpose Embraced profile image

Purpose Embraced 3 years ago from Jamaica

Thanks MsDora for a great article on friendship. I'm reminded of the friendship between David and Jonathan in the Bible. In face of Saul's plot to kill David, his life was spare because of true friendship.

It's really a great idea for friends to pray for each other.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

If friends are trustworthy they are worth having in your life. It is better to share you life with someone who is not going to broadcast your stories to a gossip room. Great hub and well pointed out

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Awesome article, MsDora. I think it is so important to hold each other accountable, as what are friends for! If I were about to go and do something stupid that would wind up harming me or my family, I should would appreciate my friends telling me that is a stupid idea before I did it and talk some sense into me.

Up and more and sharing.

Have a great week,

Faith Reaper

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jodah,thank you for your support. Glad you like the article.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, thank you for your kind comment. I love chatting too.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Purpose Embraced, you cite the example of a very great friendship. Thank you.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, thank you for your input. There is no real friendship without trust.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, that's the idea. Friends encourage as well as reprove. Accountability gives permission to do that.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Interesting subject and great suggestions on your part. This should be required reading for everyone. Well done, Dora!

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Wonderful Dora, just wonderful. I have never seen a problem or an illness that was not in some measure relieved by friends.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, you're very kind. Thank you.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, I love your statement. I wish it were a part of my article.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Great tips. I particularly like your recommendation to choose your friendships wisely. I have heard that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It sure makes you think.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, thanks for that information. I certainly have to think that through.

drmiddlebrook profile image

drmiddlebrook 2 years ago from Texas, USA

Another fine Hub MsDora. You inspire me to write! Friendship is one of my favorite topics. It's such an important part of life, and knowing how to be a friend, as well as how to have a friend, is very important. Most of my truest friendships have happened without any real effort on my part. I find that if I have to work "too hard" at it, something's usually not quite right. For me, when it's a good friendship "fit," it just works out because both parties are sincere, and both realize it's a good fit in terms of having the right things in common for friendship to flourish and thrive.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Accountability: A big one for me and the Nursing And Midwifery Council in England And Wales, and I'm sure a big one before our Friend upstairs.

Some more lovely virtues: openness, prayer ....

Continue ... much love.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Awesome hub! We do all need at least one person in our life who we can trust to hold us accountable for our actions. I really believe there have been times in my life if my friends wouldn't have mentioned my errors and gently corrected me, I may have ended up being a very nasty person. Those same friends are still with me and we still help guide each other.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you Doc. I can never read too much about friendship. looking forward to your articles on the subject.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Manatita, good to hear from you. All the best with whatever is going with you and Council. Thanks for your love.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, thank God for accountability between friends! I can relate to friends correcting me. Thanks for your input.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

I am a nurse, my sweet. They are my professional body. Nothing's wrong.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Still, all the best, Manatita!

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

This sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'm wondering if I have a friend who would be willing to go through this with me, that I am really close to. My friends are very different individuals, and adding to the problem is that I would not want to be accountable to a friend. But it's a nice idea, Ms. Dora. Some churches have this accountability thing, but I don't think I'd fit there, either. Maybe God will help me find the right accountability friend someday in the future.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mona (I hope it's all right to use your name), you may have family members who fit that role, or perhaps you do well without it. Yea, people are different. Thank you for sharing.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Yes, Dora surely we are all smart enough by now to not cast the first stone and wrong is wrong. Friends mean so much more that understand that. Important message. ^

Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 years ago

Hello MsDora.

What a fortunate audience to grab this compass article for a lifestyle- a free gift from you, living in real-ideal world. Sigh. Even having God in midst of it. HalleluYAH. . . Just slightly above another kind of "real world" by 'grand old lady' apparently in which " better two people than one," - one is already missing. Very similar my life's experience , more often alone with my Jesus. . . When and where creating Accountability Between Friends is simply uneven territory. How did we survived ?- the only choice left is practicing compatibility constantly being led by the ever-present Holy Spirit , the God Almighty.

Voted useful, awesome ,interesting.

Peace with us.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, thank you for your input. The older we get, the more we understand the value of friendship.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Michael, thanks for your kind comment and your input on the importance of accountability. Sure, the presence of God's Holy Spirit is always available to help.

mts1098 profile image

mts1098 2 years ago from InsideTheManCave

this is a great checklist to measure friendship and I agree with all the points especially when you have these friends and both parties share the same checklist even though the lists were never discussed among the circles. great article...voted awesome...cheers

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, mts. I appreciate your feedback.

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi MsDora, this was great. I like praying for each other. It's good to pray with each other as well. True friendship is such a beautiful thing. No one should ever take advantage of a friend. I thank God for my friendships. Friendship is one of the most valuable relationships that a person can have. Thank you for bringing us such a meaningful hub today.

titi6601 profile image

titi6601 2 years ago

Good friends are hard to find. It also takes effort to keep the friendship going.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, thank you for mentioning praying 'with' each other as well as praying 'for' each other. Good point!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Titi, your statements make a good summary for the article. Thank you very much.

epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Important message here. Accountability between friends is so important. If you can't trust your friends, who can you trust? I enjoyed this hub.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

EP, thank you for your happy comment. I appreciate you.

denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

I haven't had a friend that I have communicated with daily since I was in high school! Other than my husband, there is no one. I suppose if something happened to my husband, there would really be a hole in my life! We have moved around enough, that I really don't have any close friends. It would take some effort to make that change!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, talking everyday is suggested for a friend with whom you share accountability. Your husband probably fills that gap now, so don't worry ahead. Thank you for your input.

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

Great hub. Accountability is a necessary ingredient for growth. But for many of us it draws us way out of our comfort zones. Still, we need it!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ron, thank you for sharing your very important observation.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Accountability partners can be vital to successfully accomplishing goals and/or tasks, so this hub offers some helpful insight. This may be why fitness club memberships are so popular. People instinctively know that accountability is useful! This hub also caused me to think about how the Bible's general wisdom benefits all of society, not just Christians. As iron sharpens iron, we gain wisdom for working, living, and even playing when we rub shoulders with those who are disciplined, determined, and faithful to their duties. Thanks for the chance to consider these thoughts today.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

RTalloni, that verse about iron sharpening iron came to my mind while preparing the article. Your observations are very helpful. Thank you.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

This is wonderful advice for remaining friends. Voted up and shared.

truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

This is a very useful article on how to be a good friend. Many people don't know how to be a good friend. Voted up and useful.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ologsinquito, good friends are worth keeping. Glad you appreciate the advice.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Marie, thank you for your comment. Hope we can be good HP friends.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I like how your advice on relationships is always sprinkled with kindness. God bless you!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ologsinquito, thank you for making that observation. God bless you, too.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)961 Followers
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    MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor shares tips for smooth relationships with friends and encounters with strangers.

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