12 Essential Characteristics of a Good Friend

Updated on September 1, 2019
fer-nie profile image

Fernando is a millennial university student who writes real articles for real people.

They’re there for you. They bring you lunch. They even scratch your back.

Everyone loves a good friend. But what makes a good friend?

Friends Reuniting
Friends Reuniting

1. Your Friend is Always There for You

Let’s be honest, good friends are awesome. Life isn’t the same without them. Coffee isn’t the same without them.

No matter what, friends are there for each other. Even on a bad day. Even to dumpster dive. You can depend on them.

2. Your Friend Cares

  • Your friends have issues. But they are still there for you.
  • Friends don’t let you give up without a fight. If you can’t fight any longer, they fight for you!
  • Friends get you out of holes. They help you up. If this sounds like someone you know, that’s a true friend!
  • Good friends make a high-quality life. You’re a team.

I have met a lot of people. They came into my life at different times. They were interesting. They taught me a lot. I became friends with them.

I learned to be there for them. Treat them well, and they’ll be your ally. That’s the beauty of friendship.

When I was at my lows, these friends were there for me. Better yet, they brought their own shovels to dig me out.

3. Friends struggle together. No matter the cause, within reason.

I’ve had friends that didn’t care about me. It happens. You can’t force these people to care about you. But you can still care for them in their times of need. This converts into friendships.

In the end, regardless of how it works, a good friend is always there for you.

You can never go wrong with a caring friend. Time is precious, and a friend that prioritizes you over other things is generous.

4. Your Friend is Unconditional

Being unconditional means having no expectations. Unconditional people result in complete happiness – most of the time.

  • You’re not expected to be a certain way.
  • They generally don’t care what you do, within reason.
  • They don’t mind you drunk. They’re your friend. They understand.
  • They will stand by your side no matter what.
  • They will care about you.

5. Good Friends Don’t Expect Repayment

Good friends don’t expect friends to pay back. They’re simply investing in the friendship.

  • They know you’re worth it. With that said, they have no short-term expectations.
  • It’s obvious this person values you. You’re both there for each other.
  • Make your appreciation for this kind of person known. Give back sometime.

6. Your Friend Offers You Food to Eat When You Don't Have Money

Shit happens. You couldn’t afford lunch but you were invited out to eat. A good friend helps. They know you’ll pay them back.

When you go over to your friend’s house, there are snacks. If there are no snacks, your friend at least gives you water and still tries to find a way to feed you. Your friend cares about your well-being.

When your friend pays for your food, you know this person is a true friend. After all, your friend trusts you. You are trustworthy to this person.

7. Good friends help their friends.

  • They help take care of each other in dire times, and one of the most delicious of occasions is when they pay for your food.
    • Just don’t forget to pay this person back as soon as possible – or return the favor.
    • They help in therapy. When you’re having relationship issues, they come to the rescue to help you snap out of it!

8. Your Friend Listens to You

Some people talk all day. Others talk sparingly. I have a few friends that never stop talking about video games. I listen. I’m not big on video games but I can recall 80% of what they’ve told me.

Good friends:

  • listen attentively.
  • Like listening to you.
  • Remember what you’ve said.

Whichever your topic of interest, your good friend will listen.

9. Open-Minded Friends

They like trying new things. Even if they’re bad at something, they try.

  • These friends improve your quality of life.
  • Open-minded friends like a challenge.
  • They climb over obstacles.
  • They love to try new things.

10. Honest Friends

Honest friends are invaluable. After all, it’s better you hear it from them than from an employer or a lover!

  • A true friend isn’t trying to harm you. They’re trying to help you.
  • A true friend doesn’t let you make the same mistake twice. They know how much it could cost you.
  • They’ll guide you to the right path in order to correct your ‘smelly mistakes’. Even if it means being honest with you.

11. A Good Friend Recommends

A true friend wants to get you into the right hand or guide you to the right path. A good friend may recommend:

  • Deodorant
  • Nail Salon
  • Barber or Cosmetologist
  • Self-improvements to make on yourself
  • Fun activities

You can benefit from having a good friend. Friends help beat on your craft. They help you become a better you. They prep you for events such as:

  • Job Interviews or Internships
  • Your Next Date
  • Weddings
  • Commencements
  • Other Events

12. Friends, No Matter What

With the right friends, it’s everlasting. Even if the terrains change, the wind blows you away, you change, they change, our lives change, or even circumstances of life change – they’re still there for you. But remember: You’re in a mutually beneficial friendship – meaning, you’re there for them as well!

Your friend is your friend.

They bring warmth. They light your candles when it’s dark. When times are rough, they help you. It isn’t so lonely anymore

When hungry, they’ll eat with you. Whether it’s 2 AM or everyone is asleep, they’ll join you.

You both embark on late-night adventures. Late-night munchies. You’re both prepared to feel sick afterward. And that’s okay because at least we’ll all feel sick together.

Friends Laughing
Friends Laughing

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Ferny Vise


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      • profile image


        11 months ago

        Yes I'm going to do that he needs to understand that the friendship is over that I will never be his friend again I thought I was clear when I told him that I couldn't ever be his friend again he knows that as long as he's dating his girlfriend I've got nothing to say to him

      • fer-nie profile imageAUTHOR

        Ferny Vise 

        12 months ago from San Francisco, CA


        Sounds like a bad situation. Have you made it known that you want nothing to do with him?

        You should have a clear and concise conversation with him about how you feel. Perhaps he'll decide to finally leave you alone.

        Sometimes all it takes is a confrontation.

        Hope all is well,


      • profile image


        13 months ago

        I can't believe all the things Dominic is putting me through it's kinda giving me a panic attack I just hope all this that's going on won't affect the friendship with Roger it's making me approach the situation with caution live learned to be more careful about everything it's not that I'm afraid of him he's just acting super weird right now almost like he tried to guilt trip me into being his friend again

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        I will absolutely make an email and let you know the address I do have new information about Dominic he talked to me yesterday and he told me he wants to be friends again but I'm just not sure if things will get any better I haven't seen his girlfriend there for about a week but I'm still watching the situation from afar where he can't hurt me anymore I can't believe I actually saw him in person I get worried he could actually start stalking me for real he has listened in on phone conversations and looked at me he tried talking to me a few other times he wanted to know how I was doing of all things wow he's getting desperate

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        Yes unfortunately friendship does shift when someone is in a serious relationship but it shouldn't be that way I think he might be trying to get the friendship back but he should have thought about that before he started using excuses like but she's my girlfriend a friend should be close to someone but Dominic proved to not be a very good friend to me especially given the circumstances luckily he's not the only guy in the world he shouldn't probably be stalking me maybe he's having a hard time accepting that the friendship is over maybe he might feel like he might collapse crying but he needs to get his priorities straight you seem like a very nice guy and I'm glad I'm able to talk to you this way especially since tonight's been hard missing my dad it's track season and he'd usually be at my swim meets and track meets

      • fer-nie profile imageAUTHOR

        Ferny Vise 

        13 months ago from San Francisco, CA

        Hey Lauren, sorry I haven't gotten back to you!

        I'm going to dive a little deeper than I normally would in any comment and hopefully you read this at some point.

        It saddens me to hear your former friend couldn't keep his commitments. Part of being a decent human being is keeping your promises. If you can't keep your promises, don't make them -- hence, "can't make a promise."

        He gave you his word that he would be there. In an emotional level, that's a big deal. I completely understand why you decided to stay away from him. After all, he did not have his priorities straight. Unfortunately, it sounds like he couldn't keep his priorities straightened out. Or, the friendship between you two wasn't a priority anymore.

        When I was growing up, friends were more important than girls. Of course, when you get into a relationship the priorities shift all of the itme. But, it's nothing spectacular to end up going ghost on your friends.

        It's severely disheartening when someone forgets about us. Or, in particular, it feels horrible feeling lied to. My personal opinion is he somehow got so caught up in the act of the relationship that the friendship you two had was tossed to the side. Which, in turn, leads back to my comments above. He shouldn't have made emotional promises to you if he wasn't going to go on with them!

        As for him stalking you: sounds like it. Sounds like he completely forgot about his friend in the past and now is trying to come back to associate with you. You're a memory for him, and it's hard to forget about you. I'm sure both of you have many memories, as friends. With that said, I'm curious if he's not emotionally ready to accept the fact that you want nothing to do with him.

        This is essentially a case of taking for granted. Sad part is, he took you for granted and now you're no where to be found. I'm sure he follows you around because, deep down inside, he knows the friendship can still be worked out.

        In short: yes, he's a little stalker-ish and should stop being so inclined to find out more about what you're doing or what's going on if it isn't coming out of your own mouth (big difference in perspective).

        I'll keep you in my prayers. An awkward situation, emotionally. And I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I recently lost my grandmother a few years back. Though I can't accurately comprehend how you must feel, I know the anxiety all too well.

        Hope you're doing well,


      • profile image


        14 months ago

        Thank you that means a lot the worst part is he didn't understand that my anxiety acts up when I'm home already be because my dad died six years ago he basically told me his girlfriend is more important to him then his friends so I showed him I'm better off now I've never seen any other cars at his house then his family's and his girlfriend it's almost like he doesn't have anymore friends it's a sad story but he's in a serious relationship and I really think he could learn a lesson from it

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        Thank you it's really weird after the friendship ended he started doing things he really shouldn't be doing like listening in on my phone conversations with my friends and my brothers he gives me weird looks almost like he's angry or upset that I ended the friendship with him and I'm doing well maybe better then he is he tried to talk to me three times when I was running outside he also drove really close to where I was running one time he looked like he was staring at me from the side of his eyes oh and he showed up at the gym I go like three times this past winter I'm not sure what to make of any of this I really wish he could be more like you it got to the point where I was scared of this guy luckily my best friend Kendra was there to keep me from talking to him again it's a good thing too because she and my friend Kim think he's acting stalker like

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        Awe thank you your a sweet guy after I ended the friendship with Dominic he did start acting really weird like listening in on phone conversations and he looked at me in a weird way like I owed him a friendship when I don't owe him anything he drove close to where I was running when I was running outside and he tried to talk to me and showed up at my gym so there's a possibility he's a weirdo

      • fer-nie profile imageAUTHOR

        Ferny Vise 

        15 months ago from San Francisco, CA

        Hey Lauren,

        Sorry to hear all of that. I wish I could reach out to people like you more often. If you need someone to talk to I'm always an email away.


      • profile image


        22 months ago

        Well this article is what I needed to read a guy that I considered a good friend really wasn't a good friend at all he put his girlfriend first all the time which means he wasn't always there for me he left town when I felt like throwing up and he said he would try to comfort me when I had bad anxiety I told him I couldn't be away from him without feeling my anxiety act up it's like he changed so much he's even letting his girlfriend control how he wears his hair he's just not the guy I knew so finally I said enough is enough so I ended the friendship

      • profile image


        22 months ago

        Yeah there's no reason to not be friends with anyone unless they don't treat you right like my former friend Dominic he only cared about his girlfriend and his actions didn't match his words he was in a serious relationship and still is but I'm not around him anymore to see him dating her he put his girlfriend before his friends every time and I ended the friendship with him because he said he would be there for me but he wasn't there when I was having anxiety he left town when I felt like throwing up I'm sorry if this is too much for you I just really need a friend right now

      • fer-nie profile imageAUTHOR

        Ferny Vise 

        2 years ago from San Francisco, CA

        There shouldn't be a reason why you can't be friends with anybody. I used to be in a band class in my middle school and high school years and I gotta say, the more the merrier. It all gets pretty sticky and lit with a best friend, though, because now your friends want to control your life and feel like they're the best you've ever had. Or I don't know. But in my experience, just do whatever the hell you want. There's nothing wrong with being best friends with anyone. He just has some personal issues, aka jealousy.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        I'm best friends with a guy in my band class and my former best friend doesn't want me to be hanging out with Ethan Lulich. He's my best friend and carver my former best friend got jealous.

      • fer-nie profile imageAUTHOR

        Ferny Vise 

        2 years ago from San Francisco, CA

        Ouch, I'm sorry to hear that Emilea.

        Are you referring to a drug addiction?

      • Emilea Andrews profile image

        Emilea Andrews 

        2 years ago from UK

        some people fail to see they have good friends, i have one who fell apart from his addiction, we were there but he couldnt help himself


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