10 Essential Skills to Look for in a Friend

Skills that people who make great friends have.

Posted Apr 24, 2013

If you're looking to make a great friend, look for these skills.

1. Do they recognize when you're not looking for advice?

Can your friend recognize when you don't want problem solving help and provide support by acknowledging your feelings instead e.g., acknowledge your feelings of disappointment about not getting a job you'd applied for.

2. Do they initiate activities?

One of the ways we benefit from relationships (romantic or friendships) is that relationships expand our interests.

Some people are terrible at planning and initiating activities - they'll say yes when you invite them to do something but they won't plan things themselves. Often difficulty in this area is due to someone's wiring rather than disinterest - planning and initiating just aren't cognitive strengths for them.

3. Do they avoid "You've got a headache, I've got a brain tumor."

When you've got something going on, do they let you have your moment or do they always try to one up you in the drama stakes?

4. Do they help you view yourself positively?

Do they help you realize you have positive qualities that you don't give yourself credit for? e.g., they help you realize you're funnier than you think you are.

5. Do they keep your confidences?

When you ask your friend to keep something confidential, do they respect that or do they blab to other friends?

6. Do they show up places when they say they're going to?

When you make plans, does your friend follow through? Or, do they bail on plans at the last minute?

7. Can they say difficult things tactfully?

If they need to broach a sensitive subject or give you some honest feedback, do they do it tactfully? 

8. Do they remember when you have something important happening?

For example, do they remember you had an audition today and call or email to see how it went?

9. Do they maintain an interest in you even when they've got things going on in their own life?

For example, if they're planning their wedding or have a new boyfriend, do they still show an interest in the things happening in your life? 

10. Can they make you laugh?

Are they able to inject a sense of fun into situations?

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