Most of us count our friends among the most important relationships in our lives. And with good reason.
Friendships are the balm that can soothe a sore heart. They can turn a horrible situation into a hysterical one in five seconds flat.
Friends are the ones who show up at our doorstep unannounced at midnight when we’ve been through a break-up. And they ALWAYS bring the ice-cream.
Are all friends equally amazing?
Are there some universal traits that make someone an incredible friend?
Here are 10 things that all fabulous friends do which make them an irreplaceable co-star in your life story.
1) They truly listen
Not everyone can listen intently to our life dramas. Or hear the same story over and over again without shutting off.
Good friends will be available to talk in your times of need as well as the joyful parts. Just their presence in the room or on the end of the phone makes you feel seen and heard.
They won’t interrupt with a side quest story that has nothing to do with your issue — they’ll be right there with you.
But an incredible friend will not only deeply listen to you; they’ll offer wisdom and advice.
And, they won’t be offended if you don’t take it!
If you’ve got a friend who is always one phone call away, ready to pick you up off the floor and listen with a caring ear, then celebrate that friendship.
2) They celebrate your wins
It’s not just footballers who need cheerleaders!
We could all do with people who create a song and dance about us and encourage us to go for bigger and better things.
A sure sign of an incredible friend is someone who is there to shout your victories from the rooftops.
Their support is unwavering and they’ll big you up for the grand and small achievements in life.
If you just got through a tough day at work, they are there to celebrate you. When you fall in love they are beaming at the sidelines. You get a promotion and they are throwing you a party.
These kinds of friends will always be there with a hug and a high-five when you need it.
3) They are there in the tough times
Life gets hard. For everyone.
A good friend knows this and will be by your side when the going gets tough.
They’ll know when you need a shoulder to cry on, a big hug, or a day trip out to distract you from your troubles. They are the ones who make sure we never feel alone.
We can’t be sparkles and sunshine at all times and good friends will embrace the days when you feel a little cloudy. In fact, they’ll be right there holding an umbrella so you both stay dry in the storms of life.
4) They’re honest
One of the most amazing qualities of truly great friendships is the ability to be truthful no matter what.
It means they’ll tell you when you look fabulous AND when you don’t. They’ll let you know they saw your ex out on a date, even though they know it’s going to be painful to hear.
Amazing friends will always make the effort to tell you the truth even when it isn’t easy. And they do it because they love you and want to support your growth.
Having someone in your life that you trust to offer constructive feedback is essential. Their honesty and critique always comes from love and the desire to enhance your journey through life.
5) They support your personal development
Speaking of growth, good friends will always be there to champion your self-development.
They’ll encourage you to pursue what’s in your heart. Help you find mentors. Send you inspiring podcasts.
And, they’ll always believe in you, even when you are full of self-doubt and your dreams feel impossible.
An incredible friend will be the one to send the perfect meme, at the perfect time. You know the one that gets you out of a funk and back into your flow?
Those are the friends that want to see you grow.
6) They have a knack for making you laugh
Alongside that sometimes painful growth and expansion, an incredible friend will always find a way to make you chuckle.
Good friends know that laughter truly is the best medicine. And it can be served in so many ways.
Giggles over the cute guy at the bar.
Belly laughs at memories of disaster dates.
Falling off the chair sideways because of the way they gave you “that look”. You know the one.
Sometimes just a glance from your best friends can set you off into a fit of giggles for no apparent reason. They just know how to tickle you. Without even saying a word.
Good friends have a magical ability to help you see the funny side of the most boring or calamitous situations.
Maybe you don’t need to dwell on the bad thing. Maybe you need to laugh it out.
7) They make you feel safe
While a good friend will always laugh with you, they’ll never laugh AT you. You won’t have to worry about looking foolish in front of a trusted friend. They’ll often be right there with you acting all ridiculous.
Whether you need to say something deeply concerning, or run through a harebrained idea — a truly great friend will make you feel safe to say whatever is it.
They’ll also encourage you to be authentic, even if showing up as your quirky self feels a bit scary. With them, you’ll feel like you are wrapped up in a padded quilt.
Even if you fall down, it will be a soft landing.
8) They can keep your secrets
Trustworthiness is one of the most important qualities of a truly great friendship.
Can they keep it to themselves that you stuffed a meal in your handbag that one time? Or that you forgot to wear underwear for THAT interview?
You’ll be able to tell them things you’d tell no other, trusting that there won’t be any judgment. Or betrayal.
An incredible friend is like a vault. Whatever you lock in there isn’t getting out. And only the two of you have the combination.
Respect and privacy are the cornerstones of a relationship. Make sure your secrets are safe and that you keep theirs under lock and key, too.
9) They stay connected
Once you’ve established a strong bond, you’ll know they are an incredible friend when you see them make an effort to stay in touch.
Time and distance don’t mean a thing to a truly great friend.
Even if you don’t see them regularly because life gets busy. Or if they move to another city — expect to get video calls, messages and voice notes regularly.
Deeply connected friendships will always find a way to bridge the gaps of time and space between you. And, when you do finally hang out, it will feel like you saw each other only yesterday.
10) They bring out the best in you
Whether you see them every day or only a few times a year an incredible friend will always try to bring out your best bits.
These are the kinds of friends who have an uncanny ability to inspire you. To positively influence you into bringing your best self out into the open.
When you are with these kinds of friends, your natural uniqueness will shine through effortlessly. You’ll probably feel funnier, more intelligent and definitely more confident around a true friend.
When you shine, they shine.
And when you are both radiating warmth, great things happen. New friendships and connections blossom. You and your amazing friend seem to effortlessly glide through life, side-by-side through thick and thin.
All these qualities, rolled up into one awesome human being are what makes these kinds of folks so utterly precious.