11 Qualities Of A Good Friend & The Types Of "Friends" To Avoid (2023)



February 22, 2021

By Lia Miller, M.A., MPA, MSW

mbg Contributor

(Video) 5 Types Of People You Should Stop Being Friends With

Lia Miller, M.A., MPA, MSW, is a freelance writer, foreign service officer, and clinically trained social worker. She has a master's degree in Public Administration and a master's degree in International Relations, both from Syracuse University, and a third master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University.

February 22, 2021

One of the most important and formative types of relationships you will experience in a lifetime is friendship. Friends are people you can share intimacies and experiences with, and you are an important part of each other's lives. They give you a sense of belonging and security knowing you are loved and cherished by the people you most care for.

The beauty of friendship is that you get to choose your friends, unlike with family. But anyone who's ever had a negative experience with someone they thought was a friend can probably attest to the fact that it isn't always easy to spot true friendship. So we spoke with mental health experts Chaute Thompson, LMHC, and Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, Rh.D., CHt, about what exactly makes someone a good friend and some tips on how to be a good friend yourself.


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What makes a good friend?


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Of all the traits a good friend could have, honesty is certainly among the most important. An honest friend is someone who can and will tell you the truth instead of lying to you to keep you happy or placate you. A good friend will tell you the truth even if it's hard, Cristerna says, because they love you.


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Being nonjudgmental

A nonjudgmental friend makes you feel confident in and loved for who you are and not someone who instills self-doubt or insecurity in you. Nonjudgmental friends listen to you and do their best to see things from your point of view.


True friends accept you even when your lives move in different directions. True friends understand that your choices are yours and accept those decisions because they know that what's right for them isn't necessarily right for you.


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Trustlets us feel safe withfriends—safe to be vulnerable and to share our plans, our true selves, and our lives. A trustworthy friend keeps your secrets, keeps their promises, and is dependable.


Many longtime friends point to the fact that when they haven't been in touch for a while and finally reconnect, it is as if no time has passed. In other words, friends shouldn't require all of your attention all of the time and understand when life gets busy.


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Tips for how to be a good friend:


Prioritize making time for each other.

Free time is sacred because we don't have much of it. At the same time, friendships grow through shared experiences and quality time together. The mark of a good friend is someone who makes time for you and makes spending time with you a priority. A good friend will also look for opportunities to maximize the time you have together by seeking fun and unique experiences that strengthen and maintain your bond.


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Open up and allow each other to be vulnerable.

A good friend is someone genuine, someone with whom you can be yourself and they can be themselves around you, Cristerna explains. A good friend allows you to be vulnerable with them and vice versa, meaning you can expose your emotions and circumstances with each other and trust one another to listen, be supportive, and have each other's best interests at heart.

"Being able to have fun and share special memories are the result of having a trusting relationship that feels safe," Cristerna adds. "For example, all of my friends and I have an understanding that we support one another in every way (yes, evenridiculousways!), unless the level of ridiculousness is too much or would create a situation where we feeluncomfortable."


Pay attention to the little things.

"A good friend is able to read between the lines of what's being said because they pay attention, and they know your heart," Thompson says. "For example, if I ask, 'How are you doing?' to a close friend and the response is 'OK,' I know immediately that she is not OK. A good friend pays attention to the details because you care to take the time to understand the heart of your friend."


Be willing to challenge each other.

A good friend pushes you to grow, will let you know when you are on the wrong path, and will "challenge you when you need to be challenged," says Thompson. And this is "all done in love and with respect." In this way, you can grow together and support each other along the way.

"In a personal story, I wasangry with someone, and one of my good friends stopped me midway through my rant and said,'Jinnie, you know you're wrong. I am always with you, but on this one, I can't ride with ya. Stop and thinkabout the role you played in this.' That moment stays with me to this day because she loved me enough to tell me to knock it off, and it camefrom a place of love. I was able to receive itbecause of that," Cristerna explains. "That's what friends do."


But be open-minded.

(Video) Friends - Friendships - What is a quality friendship and why are friendships important?

To be a good friend, you have to be open-minded, says Thompson. Being open-minded allows your friend to be their true selves, especially when they are making decisions. By remaining open-minded and not inserting your own biases into your friend's decision-making, you demonstrate that you are understanding and supportive.

"Good friends support us, give us space to be ourselves and make mistakes, and they respect boundaries," Cristerna adds.


Look out for them.

"A good friend is a courageous friend who will stand up and do the right thing when no one is looking and even if it doesn't benefit them. This may not be the type of definition most people have about courage, but trust me—it takes a lot of courage to do this," Cristerna says.

For example, you might find yourself in situations where other people aren't treating your friend well or where you know your friend may be put in a sticky situation. As much as possible, a good friend is willing to stick their neck out on behalf of their friends, whether that means shutting down gossip about them, making sure they get home safe after a night out, or something else.

What about bad friends?

Here are some signs of an unhealthy friendship, according to Thompson:

  • You feel drained whenever you talk to them.
  • The friendship is one-sided, meaning every time you talk to them or try to share with them, somehow the conversation turns around and goes back to them.
  • They aren't making time to listen to you or allow space for your contributions to the conversation.
  • Your time or boundaries are not being respected.
  • They don't respect your feelings.
  • You often feel belittled by them.
  • You feel overly reliant on each other, a hallmark of codependent friendship.

Friendship entails reciprocity and respect, Cristerna adds. Without these two qualities, the relationship will be limited and fizzle over time. When you are in what feels like a toxic friendship or codependent friendship, it is best to determine what is the healthiest way for you to end the friendship.

In communicating the need to end the friendship, you want to ensure that you own the decision and be clear about how the relationship does and doesn't work for you. This is not the time to blame, however—in fact, this is a time to forgive and ask for forgiveness with grace and ease. Ending a friendship is already hard enough. Cristerna recommends trying to be compassionate, so if you cross paths again (and you usually do), you can say hello and catch up in a comfortable and natural way.

The bottom line.

A true friendship is defined by knowing someone has your back, no matter what. A good friend will watch out for you and ensure you are safe, feel supported, and are loved. A good friend will never purposely lead you into making decisions or taking actions that aren't good for you. Atrue friendwill always have your best interests at heart.

Here's more on how to deepen adult friendships and how to create a lasting friendship.


Which type of friends to avoid? ›

Florence Isaacs, author of Toxic Friends/True Friends, explains to WebMD that a toxic friendship is unsupportive, draining, unrewarding, stifling, unsatisfying, and often unequal. Isaacs goes on to say that toxic friends stress you out, use you, are unreliable, are overly demanding, and don't give anything back.

What should a good friend avoid to maintain? ›

Ans: To maintain consistency in friendship, a good friend should avoid pride, jealousy or rivalry of any kind.

What are the 7 types of friends? ›

Here are 7 types of friends that everyone should have for a happy and fulfilling life.
  • The Crazy Friend. The crazy friend is the person who constantly pushes you out of your comfort zone. ...
  • The Honest Friend. ...
  • The Long-Term Friend. ...
  • The Gossipy Friend. ...
  • The Work Friend. ...
  • The Loyal Friend. ...
  • The Friend You Admire.

What kind of friend is toxic? ›

In a toxic friendship, you never feel that support or compassion. You feel minimized when they brush off your problems or ignored outright if they never respond to your messages or requests for help. In short, they aren't there for you when you need a friend most.

What are 3 signs of a toxic friendship? ›

Toxic friendship signs
  • They disrespect your boundaries. ...
  • They always need something from you. ...
  • They don't take accountability. ...
  • They may weaponize their struggles. ...
  • They make you feel guilty for spending time with other people. ...
  • They dismiss your values. ...
  • They ignore your efforts to be a good friend to them.
Oct 12, 2022

What are the six secrets of strong friendships? ›

Though every bond evolves in its own way, I have come to believe that there are six forces that help form friendships and maintain them through the years: accumulation, attention, intention, ritual, imagination, and grace.

What are healthy and unhealthy friendships? ›

Healthy friendships are based on mutual respect. In unhealthy friendships, people ridicule one another, gossip or spread rumors, or act mean to one another. Healthy friendships allow each other to grow and change. Unhealthy friendships are threatened when one person grows or changes.

How do you know if you should stop being friends with someone? ›

4 Signs You Might Want To End A Friendship
  1. You spend more time trying to please them than yourself. ...
  2. They don't respect your boundaries. ...
  3. You can't connect with them. ...
  4. It feels exhausting to spend time with them. ...
  5. Moving Forward. ...
  6. Other Helpful Articles.
Jul 14, 2022

What are the 8 types of friends? ›

Here's an overview of the eight friend types Rast defines:
  • The Builder. ...
  • The Champion. ...
  • The Collaborator. ...
  • The Companion. ...
  • The Connector. ...
  • The Energizer. ...
  • The Mind Opener. ...
  • The Navigator.
May 8, 2019

What are the 10 types of friends? ›

10 Types of Friends We All Have
  • The Work Friend. This person probably knows the most about you. ...
  • The Friend You Met in Kindergarten. This is no doubt one of your besties. ...
  • The High School Friend. ...
  • The Long Distance Friend. ...
  • The Gay Friend. ...
  • The Neighbor Friend. ...
  • The Friend Through Marriage Friend. ...
  • The Sister-in-law Friend.
May 20, 2015

What are the 3 C's in friendship? ›

A different way of categorizing friendship is by applying “The Three C's”. There are three basic types of people with whom you interact: Constituents, Comrades, and Confidants.

What is Gaslighting in friendship? ›

“Gaslighting in a friendship or any other relationship is a process of making someone feel bad about themselves and guilty for being crazy. It frequently involves the abuser keeping control.

What are the signs of selfish friends? ›

The Selfish Friend

This friend may only make plans when it is beneficial to them — or only when they are feeling lonely and bored. They may also seek constant attention or ask for unreasonable favors. Otherwise, they are unavailable or unreliable when you need them most.

What is a leech friend? ›

The Leech. This type of friend always needs you and expects you to drop everything when they call. While it is important to be a supportive friend, with this type of friend, you have to set boundaries. If you do not, after a while, this type of friend will drain your energy and your time.

What is the most annoying type of friend? ›

15 Kinds Of Annoying Friends We All Have
  1. The one who acts like your mother. ...
  2. The one who checks your cell phone. ...
  3. The one who always cribs. ...
  4. The moody one. ...
  5. The one who never takes a bath. ...
  6. The one who always acts like a kid. ...
  7. The one who has to talk about his/her Ex. ...
  8. The one who tags you on random photos.
Aug 12, 2014

What are the 4 types of friends? ›

Friendship is categorized into four types: acquaintance, friend, close friend and best friend. Over time, an increase in mutual respect and the degree of reciprocity builds up and strengthens friendship.

When should you stop being friends? ›

Healthy friendships offer support and affirmation. If your friend doesn't respect your feelings, it's an unhealthy relationship. Feeling anxious or negative in your friendship is a sign that it may be best to end it.

What are the types of true friends? ›

Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, friends do everything they can to make sure you stay safe. They don't care who is trying to harm you; they will defend you anytime, anywhere. If they can help you, they'll do it without reservation or reward.


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