Building Friendships: Four Qualities of a Kind Friend
There are myriad qualities to look for in a kind friend, but these can often be concentrated into four specific qualities: trustworthiness, supportiveness, acceptance and proactive listening. Each of these qualities implies other aspects of a kind friend
Any reciprocal friendship has trust as a core quality. True friends can be trusted to have your best interests in mind. They understand you, and you can run ideas by them to get their honest opinion without worrying that they’ll reveal your secrets. Trustworthy friends demonstrate a remarkable level of loyalty even when you feel as though the whole world has turned its back on you.
Your trustworthy friend won’t lie to protect your feelings. That makes things more fun when you connect with honesty. You quickly develop the habit of standing up for yourself because of the influence of their honesty. When you trust another person implicitly, their compliments mean more, and their criticisms serve as a valuable way to gauge your personal behavior and make necessary changes.
Supportiveness doesn’t necessarily mean honesty in every situation because support is a different quality. You can support someone wholeheartedly even when you feel they are making a mistake. Good friends support each other through good times and bad times with personal loyalty. It’s important to feel that you’re not alone even if your friends oppose what you’re doing.
Good friends never judge you for being different or having a different outlook on life. They support you and accept the person you’re trying to become when others tell you something’s impossible, dangerous or out of your league.
Good friends accept you as you are and don’t try to change you. They might encourage you to try new things, but they accept your decision when you don’t attempt new things or find them unacceptable for any reason.
Good friends respect your decisions about how you prefer to live -- even when they consider your decisions weird, out of the mainstream and even dangerous. However, the friend’s honesty requires sharing what she knows about possible behavioral risks. Friends actually respect your uniqueness on some level even if they don’t understand your motivation.
4. Proactive Listening
Proactive listening isn’t the same as nodding your head at predefined intervals and making periodic noises of agreement. It’s surprising how often people really don’t listen to each other, but your good friends listen actively, make relevant suggestions and ask for clarification when they don’t understand part of what you’re trying to say.
Active listening shows respect for the other person. You’ve probably experienced situations where someone anxiously interrupted you to make their own points, but that’s an exceptional circumstance when done by a kind friend. Active listening requires listening to the other person without interrupting them. Listening is a sure-fire way to strengthen a friendship and maintain it over a long-term period.
Friendship Qualities for Lasting Relationships
The most important friendship qualities of healthy, long-lasting relationships include:
- Mutual respect
- Ability to show your vulnerable side
- Brutal honesty
- Total trust
- Respect of the other’s boundaries
- Commitment to the relationship
Friendship Tips for Maintaining a Long Distance Friendship
Friendship tips for maintaining a long-term relationship include the following recommendations:
- Stay in touch by phone, email, snail mail and social media.
- Remain open to new ideas.
- Embrace changes in your relationship, which must occur over time.
- Make new friendship-affirming habits.
- Don’t ignore conflicts but talk them out to resolve them.
- Work hard to maintain a long distance friendship.
Becoming a Kind Friend
Unfortunately, all the good qualities of friendship are wasted if you don’t reciprocate. Nobody will continue a friendship unless the person gets something from a friendship with you. Maybe the best friend you ever had lacked something you felt was important, so you took the relationship for granted. Eventually, those relationships fade away over time because one person isn’t getting what she or he needs.
Frankly, the qualities you look for in a friend can vary based on your preferences, past experiences and desire to find something more than your usual friendships supply. Perhaps that something is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re a kind friend. According to surprising information published at WebMD, friendship has a basis in real-world experiences.
Developing and maintaining friendships gives you a psychological sense of belonging, relieves feeling of stress and helps you weather rough times. Scientifically speaking, friendship helps you cope with life, avoid relying on stimulants like alcohol and drugs and relieves the physical symptoms of stress and loneliness like high blood pressure, overeating and unhealthy pursuits of all types. If you want friendships, consider the following ways of showing that you can be a good friend:
- Listen actively to understand what people are really saying.
- Seek quality friendship instead of dozens of “air-kissing” relationships without depth.
- Respect your friends and their boundaries to avoid unnecessarily hurtful topics.
- Periodically buy cute gifts for friends for no special reason.
- Provide the gift of your time to those you want to genuinely cultivate in lieu of cute gifts.
- Reciprocate by listening to your friends, comforting them in times of need, seeking ways to make things better for them and cheer them up when they’re feeling badly.
- Cultivate friendships to build a community of like-minded friends instead of relying solely on one or two “best friends” because things can happen that end even a lifelong friendship.
- Provide reliable and trustworthy actions and information while keeping secrets confidential.
Recognize that your friends rank among your most valuable treasures, and show them that you value their friendship deeply. Problems often arise between friends based on misunderstandings or very real differences. You should always listen to make sure you understand your friend’s point-of-view. If you find the differences too great to accept, let the friendship go with tact and grace. Both of you might work through your differences and grow as people.
Friends often grow apart because of geographical distance or no longer fitting together because of new interests. If you really respect a friend, you support their decisions even if they cause distance between you. You might reconnect in the future, and letting a good friend go might enable the person to have a better or more complete life.