Four Factors That Makes A Good Friend?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Like most people, you probably agree that good friends are important. You may also recognize that there is more to being a friend than simply clicking links on a computer screen or a smartphone. What do you look for in a friend? How can you be a good friend? What does it take to forge a lasting friendship?

Consider the following four guiding principles, and note how the Bible’s practical advice can help you to be the kind of person others would want as a friend.

 1. Show That You Really Care
True friendship involves commitment. In other words, a good friend feels a responsibility toward you, and he really cares about you. Of course, such commitment is two-way, and it requires hard work and sacrifice on both sides. But the rewards are worth the effort. Ask yourself, ‘Am I willing to give of myself, my time, and my resources for my friend?’ Remember, to have a good friend, you first need to be a good friend.

Irene: “Like cultivating a beautiful garden, building a friendship requires a lot of time and care. Start by wanting to be a good friend yourself. Be generous in showing affection and personal interest. And be willing to sacrifice your time when you are needed.”
Luis Alfonso: “Modern-day society encourages egotism rather than altruism. So it means a lot when someone takes a sincere interest in you without necessarily expecting anything in return.”
“Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them. Practice giving, and people will give to you.” (Luke 6:31, 38) Here Jesus recommends true unselfishness and generosity. Such generosity nurtures good friendships. If you expend yourself in behalf of your friends without expecting anything in return, they will naturally feel drawn to you.

2. Be a Good Communicator
A true friendship cannot flourish without regular communication. So talk together about the interests you share. Listen to what your friend has to say, and respect his opinions. Whenever possible, commend and encourage him. At times, a friend may need advice or even correction, and that may not always be easy to give. However, a loyal friend will have the courage to point out a serious fault and offer tactful guidance.

Juan: “A true friend should be able to express his opinions freely but not get upset if you don’t agree.”
Eunice: “What I value most are friends who are willing to spend time with me and listen to me, especially when I have problems.”
Silvina: “True friends will tell you the truth—even if they know it will hurt—because they have your best interests at heart.”
“Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19) Good friends always appreciate a listening ear. Monopolizing the conversation, however, conveys the message that we feel our opinions are more important than theirs. So be attentive when a friend wishes to share his innermost thoughts and concerns. And do not get offended if he is honest with you. “The wounds inflicted by a friend are faithful,” says Proverbs 27:6.

 3. Have Realistic Expectations
The closer we get to a friend, the more likely we are to see his flaws. Our friends are not perfect, but neither are we. Therefore, we should never expect or demand perfection from the people we befriend. Rather, it is good to cherish their virtues and to make allowances for their mistakes.

Samuel: “We often have higher expectations of others than we have of ourselves. If we recognize our own mistakes and our own need for forgiveness, then we’re more willing to forgive others.”
Daniel: “Accept the fact that your friends will make mistakes. When problems arise, we do well to resolve them quickly and try hard to forget.”
A woman asking another woman for forgiveness
Are you willing to forgive?—Colossians 3:13, 14

“We all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle also his whole body.” (James 3:2) Recognizing this simple truth can help us to be understanding toward our friends. That, in turn, will allow us to overlook minor faults and shortcomings that may irritate us. The Bible says: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. . . . But besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:13, 14.

 4. Widen Your Circle of Friends
True, we need to be selective about the people we befriend. But that does not mean narrowing our choice of friends to those of a certain age or upbringing. Taking an interest in people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and nationalities can truly enrich our lives.

Unai: “Making friends with only those who are your age and have the same tastes as you is like wearing clothing in your favorite color all the time. No matter how much you like that color, at some point you may end up getting bored with it.”
Funke: “Widening my circle of friends has given me the opportunity to mature as a person. I’ve learned to get along with people of all ages and backgrounds, and that has made me more outgoing and adaptable. And my friends really appreciate that.”
Friends of all ages and backgrounds at a social gathering
Are you reaching out to people of all kinds?—2 Corinthians 6:13

“So in response—I speak as to my children—you too open your hearts wide.” (2 Corinthians 6:13) The Bible encourages us to reach out to people of all kinds. This inclusive, impartial view of friendship can add variety to your life, as well as endear you to others.


1.  Take the initiative. When it comes to finding a true friend, you can't afford to be lazy. A real friend won't just magically materialize on your doorstep, so you need to be willing to put some work in. Take matters into your own hands and start socializing.
Stop waiting for other people to do the work for you. Call people up and ask if you can hang out with them, or organize an event yourself.
Don't worry about seeming desperate or needy. Focus on you and your goal. If it all works out in the end, then who cares?

2. Meet new people. You won't make friends by sitting at home alone every night. You need to be proactive, so force yourself out of the house and meet as many people as possible. It might be intimidating at first, but it'll be worth it in the end.
One of the easiest ways to meet people is through friends you already have. Tag along to a party or social event and get your friend to make the introductions.

Meet people through hobbies or classes. Friends are generally people that you share a common interest with, so the people you meet through hobbies or classes are excellent potential friend material.

Meet people through work. You might have a work colleague who you feel a connection with, but you've never hung out socially. Now is the time.
Meet people online. Sometimes there's a stigma attached to meeting people online, but it can be a genuinely great way to meet people. Blogging, social networking and posting on online forums are all perfectly viable ways of socializing.

Don't be oversensitive. Meeting people for the first time can be tough. They may seem disinterested or unwilling to make an effort. Or else you might hit it off instantly, but you never hear from them again. Don't be disheartened. Finding a true friend takes time.

4. Don't be picky. Keep an open mind about who you hang out with. When you're trying to make friends, being picky is not a good strategy. Your initial goal is to meet as many people as possible, so talk to everybody and keep an open mind.
Even if you meet someone who looks or seems like someone you'd have nothing in common with, talk to them and give them a chance.
You're not going to know a true friend at first sight - you'll have to get to know them first - so consider every possibility!

5 Be persistent. Even if your first attempt at putting yourself out there isn't as successful as you had hoped, don't despair! People can take a little while to warm up, so the second or third time meeting someone might go a lot better than the first.
If you invite someone to hang out, don't be upset if they can't make it. Chances are they have a genuine excuse, it's not because they don't like you. Give it a week or two, then ask again.

Be patient. It takes time to really get to know someone, especially when you're looking for true friendship. If you continue to put yourself out there and make an effort to hang out with as many people as possible, eventually you'll find someone you genuinely connect with.
Be realistic about how much time it'll take to really get to know someone. Sure, you might hit it off and feel like you've known someone for ten years rather than ten minutes, but usually it'll take much longer, depending on how often you hang out.
In the right situations, you can make new friends very quickly - like when you start college, move to a new city, or join a sports teams.

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