Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Regardless of who you are or where you're at in life, I will always encourage you to build and strengthen your support systems.
My adult clients will often push back against this idea and state that they don’t have time or even know how to find quality friends.
I have noticed that many adults often forget how important it is to surround yourself with quality, like-minded individuals.
As the old saying goes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Well, if you are spending time with only one person OR you are spending time with the wrong people, you won’t grow or reach your full potential.
Finding and maintaining great, solid friendships can also be challenging because we aren’t sure what the qualities will attract the right people!
If we don't know the qualities of a good friend, we cannot be a good friend ourselves.
In this article, I will tell you the five MOST IMPORTANT traits that will help you attract quality friends!
Importance of Having Quality Friends
Why is having quality friends still important even as an adult? Similar to your teenage years, your friends can drastically influence who you are and the values that you hold.
Your personality, even as an adult, continues to shift and alter. If you don’t have like-minded people around you, you could be sliding downward rather than improving.
Additionally, if you have friends who don’t have similar values, such as a similar faith or moral values, you could see your values shifting and altering without your acknowledgment or approval.
Now, how do you go about attracting the quality friends?
Here are the FIVE qualities of a good friend that I recommend clients use in order to accomplish this.
Qualities of a Good Friend #1 - Trustworthiness
One of the most important qualities in a good friendship is trust. Without trust, it’s very difficult to begin building a solid foundation with another person.
Qualities similar to trust include honesty and dependability. The most solid friendships are those that are built on each person being honest with the other and knowing that if you really needed someone, your friend would be there for you.
One of the most common reasons friendships start to diminish is due to canceled plans.
Many of my clients tell me that they make plans with potential friends but then cancel because they just “don’t feel like going.”
Even though some of us may be more introverted than others (myself included), you should NEVER cancel plans unless it’s an emergency.
Canceling plans lets the other person believe that they were not worth seeing and spending time with. Similarly, being dependable is a very important quality of good friendships.
People are always looking for someone who “has their back.”
Qualities of a Good Friend #2 - Empathy
The second most important quality in friendships is empathy. Empathy and sympathy are commonly mixed-up.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings with someone. Sympathy is just feeling compassion or sorrow for someone’s situation.
Empathy is a step above sympathy and it allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Showing empathy lets the other person know that you understand what he or she is going through.
Oftentimes in relationships, we share personal information, struggles, and challenges in hopes that someone will understand our viewpoints.
When someone shares this information, the other person should empathize with their situation and make statements such as, “That would bother me too,” or “I would have thought the same thing” rather than judgmental remarks or giving advice.
Qualities of a Good Friend #3 - Interest & Curiosity
Another quality that people look for in relationships is curiosity and genuine interest in the other person’s life.
Friendships often weaken because one person will typically only reach out to the other when they need support, advice, or comfort rather than calling and checking on the other person.
I recommend scheduling a weekly time to text or call a friend and ask him or her how they are doing or what is new with them.
If you only talk about your life, the relationship can start to feel one-sided and the other person may lose interest in the friendship.
Qualities of a Good Friend #4 - Being Supportive
Being supportive of another person is the third quality of a good friend that I recommend clients show.
A key piece to this is understanding that being supportive is NOT the same as agreeing with someone.
For example, you can have friends that follow a specific diet and workout routine. You don’t have to agree with their diet but you should be supportive of their decisions.
This characteristic is more important now than ever due to the diverse political and religious standpoints that are occurring in society.
Many people don’t believe that they can be friends with someone who voted for a different political party.
However, some of the best friendships are those where friends can share their values and beliefs but they are respectful when doing so.
Qualities of a Good Friend #5 - Things in Common
Now, even if you and your friends have some differences within your relationships, you should also have some things in common.
Many people meet friends at places like their local gym, church, volunteer opportunities, and team sports.
Finding one or two similar interests usually helps people kick a friendship off and gives them activities to do together.
Summing Up: What Makes Quality Friends?
As we age, it is still important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are caring and compassionate.
In order be a good friend and also attract good friends, we need first need to understand the qualities that make a good friend.
In this article I discussed the best 5 qualities of a good friend:
Interest & Curiosity
Things in Common
Do your best to show these traits to the people in your life, and make sure the people you surround yourself with are doing the same!