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Friendship - How To Spot a Good Friend From a Bad Friend

Updated on January 3, 2014

Be A good Friend Yourself

Birds of a feather flock together and this is true of friends. Once one good friend is discovered others seem to be attracted. Good friends are vital at all stages of life to share in our triumphs and happiness, our disappointments and challenges.

Friends will sometimes disappoint us too and because we can never truly know others as well as they know themselves they might at times behave in ways that do not meet our expectations of them. We might also disappoint them with our own behavior and they might wonder if they truly know us. Being a good friend and forging strong relationships with others is the key to overcoming any problems that might arise when expectations in relationships fall short of the mark.

Supportive Friends

My friend did leave her husband for a short time but soon returned. I could not help but feel rather judgmental about the whole situation. I felt she had made a mistake in returning to him even though he had promised to seek help. She wasn't in any physical danger however I felt she was setting herself up to be hurt by him again. I had begun to see him in a different light since she told me about his behavior but really, was this any of my business? In my opinion she had made a bad decision but I felt irritated that she had returned to him. I decided that the best thing to do was to spend less time with her when he was around but she quickly picked up on this. She asked that if she could forgive him and learn to trust him again could I not try to do the same thing for the sake of our friendship.

Because we live in a less than perfect world it would be wrong of us to assume that others will never disappoint us. The truth is disappointment is a part of life, friendships and relationships.

Trusting Friends

When we feel comfortable with a friend we might tell them sensitive or secretive information about us or even about our partners. When we are in the grips of relationship problems we often turn to a close friend to lay bare our fears and failings sometimes this might include criticizing our partners or disclosing personal information about them. A friend of mine recently told me some sensitive information about her husband, she was very angry with him and told me she was leaving him and divorcing him. I could not blame her actually but both her and her husband have been friends of mine for some time and I could not believe what she was telling me as I thought they had a solid marriage. I was very sad for both of them and wrongly assumed that other friends of ours knew what was going on, however they didn't and I felt so awful that I had betrayed her trust in me. She told me later that she was disappointed in me for telling our other friends and perhaps should have mentioned to me to keep it quiet for the time being, however I knew it was really up to me to not indulge in gossip. This was a wake-up call to me. She had trusted me enough to tell a very personal problem to, and I had fallen short of the mark.

Good Friends Are Supportive


Treating Others The Way We Would Like To Be Treated

It is important to treat others the way we would like to be treated. When it comes to friendships it is easy to slip into the role of thinking we know best about our friends lives but this is a very wrong assumption. Being a good friend involves compassion and understanding and when we are struggling and reach out a hand for someone to hold we would like for that friend to reserve judgement, show they can be trusted, display compassion and be supportive. Unfortunately friendship is sometimes used as a weapon of manipulation and control to beat others up with until they conform to others idea of what a friend is. By standing beside a friend who needs support we are saying to them It is okay, none of us is perfect, you are doing the best you can and I am here if you need me.

Keeping Secrets

Whenever a friend discloses personal or sensitive information to you never, ever discuss it with another person, not even your partner and especially not other friends within the group. Never assume, as I did that others know. You might be the only one he or she has shared this information with.

Partners may have a habit (as mine does) of not listening fully to what you say. They might remember the guts of the conversation but then forget or just not hear you say"this is information that was shared in confidence to me, please don't tell anyone" This is not the same a keeping a secret from your partner because technically it doesn't involve you. Keeping a secret from your partner usually involves lying or hiding the truth about something you have done.

Trust therefore can only be built by leading by example and if you just can't help yourself and have to tell someone, you are indulging in gossip.

Extra Support

Extra support can be shown by being on the same page as our friends, not just in having common interests but when the friendship is tested as mine was I needed to get on the same page if I wanted to be a good friend. I was able to help my friend with what was important to her, her marriage. She was motivated to be there for her husband in his struggles and therefore help her marriage thrive. Our friendship was important to both of us and so for me to stay a good friend to her I needed to step up and give her a husband and their marriage another chance. I got onto the same page with both of them, stood beside them and barracked for them to be successful in achieving their goals.

Good Friends Are Those That....

  • Don't indulge in gossip
  • Don't Judge
  • Don't talk about themselves excessively
  • Don't make excuse when called on to help
  • Are not bossy
  • Are loyal
  • Trustworthy
  • Dependable
  • Supportive
  • Compassionate

Forming a network of quality friends means you will always have a strong safety net to support you when you are faced with life challenges. When people are with you and cheer you on, you will stand a better chance of succeeding.

Bad Friends Are Those That.....

  • Gossip.

They gossip about other people to you and most likely are gossiping about you to others. Don't fool yourself into thinking that they are being friendly toward you by telling you other peoples secrets and sensitive information.Give Bad Advice.

And lots of it. They tell you what you should do, how, and when, and check back with you to make sure you have followed their instructions. If you don't they might drop you like a hot potato and you might feel relieved, that is until they start a campaign against you of lies and innuendo. How dare you ignore their advice.

  • Judge Others.

They do this almost constantly about anything. "Doesn't she know that dress makes her look fat?" "Her boyfriend is way too hot for her" "Why doesn't he leave her she's such a bitch" or "I won't be her friend if she gets back with him"

  • Talk About Themselves A Lot.

Don't think I need to elaborate on that.

  • Make Excuses When You Ask For Help.

They always have something they need to do that just can't be put off, they never make themselves available to you when you need help or if they do commit to helping it's only because it suits them or else they just won't show up. You just can't depend on them.

  • Are Bossy.

They love to tell you what they would do if they were in your shoes and get angry when you don't agree with them. They believe their way is the only way and try to make you feel they won't like you unless you behave a particular way.

Making Mistakes

We have all made mistakes in thinking people are our friends when they turn out not to be. We feel foolish but just about everyone on the planet has done it at least once. The trick is to learn to tell them apart by observing how they treat others, not just how they treat you. Soon you will be able to tell them apart easily and steer clear of them. Remember that what you give you get back in return so brush up on what it takes to be a good friend and start showing the world how great you are.

You Can Count On Me


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    • Christine P Ann profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine P Ann 

      4 years ago from Australia

      That's so lovely, thank you for reading my hub :)

    • fathimathnisha profile image

      fathimath nisha b 

      4 years ago from india

      friends are most beautiful flowers in the garden of mind


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