The only way to have a friend is to be one.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
What makes a true friend? Here are a dozen traits, coupled with insightful quotations on the values of friendship.
You may wish to see how you measure up, before you begin rating your friends.
Do you love your friend just the way he or she is? Are you embarrassed by your friend, when others are around? Does your friend’s appearance make you squirm, if he or she appears in public in an odd hairstyle or outfit? If more popular people invite you to an event, are you willing to leave your friend behind? Which friends are most important to you? What makes a BFF (best friend forever)? Why?
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” (Walter Winchell)
Do you let your closest friends see who you really are? Do you talk and act the same way with each of your friends? Are you the same person at home, at school, at work, and everywhere else? Do you keep personal secrets or hidden habits from your friends? Do you have a best friend, or BFF? Does this person know who you really are?
“The best mirror is an old friend.” (George Herbert)
Friendships take time. Are you willing to make the effort to spend time with your friends? Are you available when they need you? If a friend calls you in the middle of the night, will you answer your phone?
“Friends show their love in times of trouble…” (Euripedes)
Do you feel sad when your friend is hurting? Can you count your friend’s needs before your own at times? Are you willing to do whatever you can to help your friend when he or she needs it?
“A sympathetic friend can be quite as dear as a brother.” (Homer)
Are you a good listener? Someone has said, “Everyone hears what you say, but a real friend actually listens to you.” While a friend is speaking, do you rehearse your response in your mind, or do you quietly absorb what he or she is saying? If your friend shares a concern or problem, do you quickly offer advice, or do you express understanding and sensitivity for how he or she must feel about the situation?
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.” (Old Swedish proverb)
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
If your friend does something that hurts you, are you willing to accept an apology? Do you continue to rehash what happened afterwards, or are you eager to reunite with your friend and move on? Can you let the past be the past?
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” (Abraham Lincoln)
When you meet a new person for the first time, do you wait for him or her to speak up, or are you willing to take the first step towards friendship? If a pal does not call you for several days, do you sit and stew, or do you attempt to contact your friend on your own?
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
What do you and your friends do, when you get together? Do you share hobbies or interests with your friends? What makes you laugh, when you are together? Do you and your friends have private jokes or funny shared memories? Does life seem somehow lighter when you are together?
“There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom.” (William Penn)
Do you tell the truth? Can you see through the phony baloney, if others try to con you? Telling the truth is one way of demonstrating your respect for a friend or even a colleague. Are you willing to find positive ways to tell your friend the facts, even if the facts are negative? If you really love your friend, you will look for gentle means of helping him or her improve and grow.
“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” (Proverbs 24:26)
Can your friends rely on you to support them, even when you are angry with them? If you hear people bad-mouthing your friend, will you join the backbiting, or stick up for your pal? True friends are loyal and dependable. Can your friends depend on you?
“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” (Aristotle)
What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? When you are in a group of friends or acquaintances, do you speak up about interesting topics?
“A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ” (Author unknown)
Can you keep a secret? If a friend or companion tells you something personal, can you be trusted with that information, or will you post in online and text others with the news immediately?
“A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17)
The Value of True Friends
Friendship has many levels. You may have many acquaintances, several familiar folks, and even a fair number of social friends. However, throughout your entire human life, if you have even a handful of true life-long friends, then you are extremely fortunate! If, in the course of your entire lifetime, you enjoy the privilege of having one or two best friends (BFFs), you may consider yourself bountifully blessed.
Choose your friends and comrades carefully, and spend as much time as you can with the very best ones you have. Your friends will influence you towards greatness or destruction. Also, whether you like it or not, people will measure you by the friends you keep.
“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.” (Old Japanese proverb)