12 Attributes of True Friendship You Need to Know
- May Patterson Writer and Teacher
- 2019 4 Jun
One of our husbands named our friend group the “Fab Five,” and even though that was 25 years ago, our families still use that name.
Maybe you have a quirky name for your friend group too, like the “Queen Bees” or the “Yaya’s.” Or possibly, your group doesn’t have a name at all. In any case, close friends play a very important role in our lives.
They are the faithful ones who cry with us at funerals, dance beside us at weddings, and love us in the in-between. Our true friends know what makes us laugh. They know what breaks our hearts, and they know what our weaknesses are. Yet, they choose to love us anyway.
Our “Fab 5” friend group started when our kids were little. We volunteered for PTA together. Some of our kids played on the same baseball teams and some were in the same carpool. But the thing that truly brought us together was sharing our common faith in Christ. Growing and serving the Lord side-by-side knit our hearts together forever. And I’m so grateful for the bond we share.
When we get together, we laugh a lot. Sometimes, we cry. And sometimes, we do a little of both.
If you have a close group of friends, then you understand—there’s just no substitute. If you don’t, I hope these 12 attributes of true friendship will help you find a group and become the best friend that you can be.
1. True friends aren’t high-maintenance.
They give more than they take, are easy to be around, and bring joy to your life. A demanding, high-maintenance friendship will not last very long.
2. True friends are good cheerleaders—their support makes you feel like you can do anything.
When I was writing my first book, the "Fab 5" cheered me on through writer’s block and nitpicky editors. They helped host my book launch party and prayed me through my book tour. And, because they love me, they listened sweetly as I talked about writing (and other boring subjects).
3. True friends don’t pressure or guilt each other. They practice mutual respect.
Recently, I witnessed a true “bridezilla” in our town pressure friends to come to her wedding showers. She sent angry texts and made frustrating remarks to those who couldn’t make it. Her disrespectful attempt to control her friends only turned them away.
4. True friends aren’t perfect.
Sooner or later, your friends will say or do something that hurts you. Expect it. Since we all make mistakes, be quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. If you have an issue with a friend, love them enough to approach them humbly and talk it out instead of walking away without saying a word.
5. True friends are trustworthy; they don’t go around telling other people your secrets.
In high school, I had a friend who just couldn’t resist spreading the latest gossip—which sometimes included things I had told her in confidence. After she divulged several of my secrets (and thoroughly embarrassed me), we parted ways. From this, I learned that a friendship without trust isn’t a friendship at all.
6. True friends are a treasure; thank God for them regularly.
True friends don’t come into your life very often. When they do, thank God for them on a regular basis. This will remind you that your friends aren’t simply people you hang around with—they are a blessing sent from God. As your appreciation for your friends grows, your relationships will grow too.
7. True friends always tell you the good and gently tell you the bad, even when it’s not easy.
A true friendship can bear up (and even thrive) under the weight of honesty. I’ve learned that when my friends tell me the hard truth instead of what I want to hear, it means they genuinely love me.
8. True friends have other friends too, and that’s okay.
One of my “Fab 5” friends seems to know everyone in town. She is a part of several close friend groups like ours, and I’m happy she is. Why? Because friends are best shared. Trying to limit your friends to just your group can drive them away.
9. True friends try to be the best friends they can be, even though that looks different for each friendship.
Some of my friends call me daily; others prefer to text sporadically. Some love to travel together; some love to get together when we’re at home. Each one relates differently, and that’s okay. Our friendships are as unique as our friends are.
10. True friends love and serve each other’s children; this honors the friendship.
Because my sweet friends love me, they also love my children. They help me to be a better mother. They pray for my kids and have prayed for them for years. Their example taught me that true friends love who you love and help you do what you do.
11. True friends don’t just say they’ll pray for each other; they actually do it.
One of my friends is a special prayer warrior. When my father-in-law died, she prayed over the phone with me. When my daughter got married, she prayed over the wedding “to do” list. She even came to the hospital to pray over me before surgery. A friend who prays for you is a friend, indeed.
12. True friends don’t compare or compete. They understand that their lives are supposed to look different.
One of my friends is a computer programmer. Several are marathon runners (definitely not me). One loves fashion; another is a social butterfly. We all have unique interests and talents. Our children and families look pretty different too. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The worst thing I could do to my friends is try to remake them in my own image.
While God created friendship to meet our social needs, He also designed it for a greater purpose. He weaves friends together like a fabric to provide strength and stability for our lives. He often sends love and encouragement through our friends just when we need it most.
The Bible encourages friendship: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
If you’re in need of friends right now, ask God to help you live out His plan for friendship:
- Be friendly and reach out to others.
- Show genuine kindness.
- Be thoughtful.
- Get involved with people.
Pray that God will bless you with true friends. And when He does, remember these attributes of true friendship.
May Patterson has been writing and teaching Bible study classes for years. Last year, she released her first book “Seeking a Familiar Face” and this year, she released its companion Bible study. May trained in small group dynamics for over 10 years with Bible Study Fellowship, serving as a leader for four years. She has written for various magazines including Focus on the Family, Upper Room Magazine and iBelieve, and is a sought-after public speaker. May is married to her dear friend, Mike, and they have three grown children. She loves to tell stories, laugh, and talk about the adventure of seeking God. Read more from May by visiting: http://www.maypatterson.com.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/seb_ra