The essence of friendship is about care and respect. It has nothing to do with money, attractiveness, or “the cool factor.” A true friend is there for you, no matter what, and having such a person in your life is a great gift. Here are ten tools to help you create better friendships.

Forgiveness is important because everyone makes mistakes. Rather than turning your back on a friend who has hurt you, talk about your pain. If this person is a real friend, he or she will apologize.

Reliability is a cornerstone of good friendship. Knowing that you can call on someone who will be there for you, and you know has your back, is empowering and a great comfort.

If you want to have a friend, learn to be a friend. Giving what you want to get is the best way to show someone how to be your friend. People generally like us because we like them.

Envy will kill a friendship, and so will jealousy. Your friend may have everything you think you want, but if you are green with envy, your friend will sense that something’s out of sync in your relationship.So count your blessings, which should include having a friend who inspires you to achieve your goals.

Negativity is the antithesis of friendship. No friendship is going to be perfect all of the time, but keep the bad vibes away; they can only undermine the good thing you’ve got going.

Deep discussions are a treasure of friendship. Having a friend who won’t judge you can make your life better. Letting out your feelings with a trusted ally is good therapy.

Sharing your feelings and being able to listen are important parts of any good relationship. For some reason, women seem to be better at this than men, so guys, let’s be better buddies to each other.

Happiness can come from knowing you have good people in your life. If you don’t have a family of your own, having your friends as family is a true privilege.

Independence is an important part of good friendships. Your friend, no matter how close he or she may be, can’t be there for you every minute; almost no one can. That would make for an unhealthy dependency; friendship needs to be a two-way street.

People from your past may be more than just someone you once knew. For several reasons, it’s easier to feel close to people you have known for a long time. There is trust there, as well as the knowledge of how someone behaves under a variety of situations. Old friends are reliable, and most of the time, they make us feel a little safer.

Friends have been my bedrock. It is true that some leave for various reasons, but if you are a good friend, others come in to take their place, and your world becomes a little sweeter. If you need a place to start, try Facebook—I’ll be your friend.

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