Eight Significant Factors of Having Good Friends
1. Friends Worthy of a Lifetime Friendship
Do you spend time with people who you consider your friends but you always feel a lack of something? Maybe you are feeling that they are on a different wavelength. Better yet, you know that your interests and capabilities are totally different than theirs.
Nevertheless, you spend time with them anyway. After all, they are good people and you care for them. In addition, you think that they care for you too.
However, the reality is that you are too much more intelligent than they are. Somehow you befriended them anyway.
The fact of the matter is that you have much more meaningful interests and desires. You think of things and you understand things much better than they do. And the few times that you try to explain anything to them about something important, you find the effort totally in vein.
Maybe it's time to sit yourself down and give some thought to your life. Think about the people you have been letting into your life. Are they actually offering value in return, or are you just throwing time away getting together all the time?
What about those few friends who you once had that really mattered? The friends who had the same vision as you had about the world. The friends you remember that you were able to talk with about extremely interesting and fulfilling topics.
What happened to those people? Maybe they were friends you had in college, but you didn't stay in touch. Maybe they were acquaintances you had in a prior employment, and you let them go when you left.
You may never have built those acquaintances into friendships. However, now that you think about it, those are the kinds of people that would have made a difference in your life.
Try to find them and make a connection again. Life is short. It's never too late. They may feel the same as you.
2. True Friends Will Always Steer You Right
I have learned many positive things from friends who steered me in the right direction with difficult decisions. I didn't always have all the answers, and good friends were always there to teach me something new that helped improve some aspect of my life.
You can tell when you have a true friend who wants to be helpful. Some friends just tell you what you want to hear so they'll be liked. Those are not true friends. They are just thinking of themselves and don't care about your success. They are more afraid that they will lose you as a friend for telling you something that you don't want to hear. Is that what you want?
As we get older we make more mature and well-rounded, carefully considered, decisions. Sometimes we even need to reconsider friendships that we come to realize are not genuine.
I've moved on from friends who I noticed were continually making their lives worse. We're not getting any younger. Why stay friends with those who are going in the wrong direction? I want positive influence.
Do your friends positively influence you? (Answer yes if at least one).
3. Good Friends Will Always Lift Your Spirits
If you find yourself struggling to be happy when you’re with a friend who produces negative energy, ask yourself why you feel the need to spend time with that person. You may realize that they are holding you back.
Life's too short to spend it with people who don’t inspire you. You’ll feel better when you include relationships that lift your spirits and give you reasons to be your best.
4. True Friendships are Worth Nurturing
Sometimes we don’t always give any thought to how others are treating us. Some people have toxic behaviors. It might be best to move on from these people. However, we need to reflect on the positive attitudes of those who are genuinely good friends. Are they really toxic or are they just functioning on a different level?
Good friendships are worth nurturing. As time goes by, and we get older, we begin to realize what a genuine friend is and how they affect us.
Think twice when you are disappointed in someone. Consider the good qualities he or she has and compare that to what you really want in a friendship relationship.
5. A Helpful Friend Will Give Constructive Criticism
... Rather than just tell you what you want to hear.
Some people are confused about what makes a good friend. I have noticed that some people I know seek friends who are not interested in their success. They couldn’t care less. All they care about is being liked.
Have you ever asked a friend for advice and the answer they gave you is one that your they knew you wanted to hear? I really don’t consider that helpful when I'm looking for constructive criticism.
A real friend would be willing to take chances upsetting one with the answer if it means guiding them in a more positive direction.
Sometimes we don’t want to hear what is the best thing for us. However, if we want to be successful with any particular endeavor then we need that kind of strong guidance. I call that Tough Love.
People become successful by accepting constructive criticism, but some people don't like to accept useful guidance when it goes against their way of thinking.
Here's an example:
This is from a situation I once experienced while trying to help a friend make the right decision.
This friend asked me what she should do about being confronted with two conflicting paths to take in her life. One thing was the right one for her, and she knew it. The other was something that would eventually cause trouble and pain, but it was something she really wanted.
She was torn between the two decisions. She knew that the second thing was wrong, but it was tempting.
I realized that she understood the outcome of both choices and that she already had the answer, so I told her to do what she felt was right.
Her desire for the tempting choice was causing her stress. She put a lot of effort into asking all sorts of people for their opinion. She told me that three other friends told her to go with the tempting choice since it was so enticing.
I had to explain to her that they probably are not true friends since they were just telling her what she wanted to hear. On the other hand, they may have found it intriguing if only they had the opportunity. Those types of friends would not care if it were a bad thing to do. I wouldn't be surprised that if her "friends" had to make the decision for themselves, they would select the better and safer path to follow.
I continued to explain to her that she might have been seeking friends who sided with her, despite the fact that it was not in her best interest.
One may not like the answers, but true friends will guide their friends in a positive way by providing constructive criticism. It may not be what they want to hear, and it may even hurt at times. This tough love works for those who truly seek the truth.
6. Friends Who Respect You Will Seek Your Advice
Most people who seek advice from friends really want to improve their lives. They just want to know the answers that will guide them with whatever it is that they are having a problem with.
People with destructive tendencies usually never look for methods of improvement. When they seek advice they are really just looking for someone to confirm their behavior.
When we are the one offering helpful advice, it may be frustrating when a friend who has destructive tendencies doesn't listen. There are some who are simply not worth fighting for, so we also need to know when to back away from trying to help.
It’s nice to be able to help a friend, but some people don’t accept help. They take it as criticism and refuse to recognize the valuable options that are being presented to them.
Some people are aware of their flaws and want to find solutions. These are people who want to listen and want to learn. They want to be successful. When one of these types of friends asks me for advice, I love to help. They truly want help and they make good use of it. I can see that they appreciate my help.
7. Good Friends Will Appreciate Your Values
It’s best to know in your heart what you want in life, how you want your future to be, and how you want to treat people and be treated. Conduct your affairs with these thoughts in mind.
For example, I like to let people know that they can trust when I say something is going to happen, it does. Once I make a commitment to do something or to meet someone somewhere, I don’t let anything get in the way. I only make promises when I know I can keep them, and I expect to be treated the same way.
Some people think I’m too rigid when someone else wants me to change plans. But if those changes negatively affect other people, I feel I’m doing the right thing.
8. The Influence of Friends Can Be Life-Changing
I have found that I learn a thing or two when a friend comes to me for advice and I think of a solution for them. Some of my greatest achievments came from ideas invisioned by helping others. It works both ways. Those who are influential in someone's life are good to keep around.
If you are fortunate enough to have a few friends who are not afraid to be honest with you, then consider them worthy of a lifetime friendship.
If you feel comfortable giving valued constructive criticism, then you will be helping your friends too. Those who appreciate where you're coming from will value your friendship.
We are all in this life together and our success or failure is largely related to our interactions with the people in our lives. Choose your friends wisely and value the influential ones. As the saying goes, “It’s all about who you know.”
Who had the most positive influence on your life?
© 2012 Glenn Stok