Be real. Connect with people whose friendship you value and see as sustainable long-term.
Be honest. A dishonest person has no chance of having true friends because it’s hard to rely or trust a person who doesn’t behave in a supportive, consistent or trustworthy way.
Be loyal. If your friend tells you something in confidence, keep that confidence and don’t talk about it to anyone else. Don’t let others say bad things about your friend. Until you’ve had a chance to hear your friend’s side of the story, treat comments that are not supportive as hearsay and rumors.
Be respectful. Good friends respect one another and show this by being openly and mutually supportive.
Share. Being selfless is an important part of being a good friend. Accommodate your friend’s wishes whenever you can provided this is done in a balanced way in your friendship. 6
Watch out for your friend. If you sense that your friend is getting into some sort of trouble over which they have little control, such as taking drugs, being promiscuous or getting too drunk at a party, help him or her to get away from the situation.
Pitch in for friends during times of crisis. If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there.
Give thoughtful advice when asked, but don’t insist that your friend does as you say. Don’t judge your friend, simply advise them when they reach out for advice or when they need to hear a little tough love to keep them out of dangerous situations where they might harm themselves or others. Tell your friend how you perceive their situation using factual information, and suggest what you might do in the same circumstances. Don’t be offended by your friend listening to your advice and then deciding to ignore it. 9
Listen. You don’t have to agree––just listen to what is being said. Make sure to stop talking for a moment and listen. Some people don’t really find it interesting listening to someone talk about your or their feelings 24/7. If you’re monopolizing every conversation with your feelings, your friend isn’t getting anything out of the relationship.
Step back and give your friend space. Understand if your friend wants to be alone or to hang out with other people. Allow it to happen. There’s no need to become clingy or needy. Friendship doesn’t require that you always have to be paired together.
Don’t be selfish. Grabbing, stealing, envying and/or begging are big nos in the rules of friendship. The friend will soon get tired of this and eventually move toward more selfless people who are willing to give the same as one gets, but a good friend will not demand it, yet one might mention being tired of it.
Be forgiving when things go wrong in your friendship. Hate the act, not the person. If your friend has done something wrong, don’t judge them too harshly. If you really are a good friend, you’ll never take anything against him/her. Everything can be talked about.
Live by the golden rule. Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated. Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want done to you.
Seek to deepen your friendship over time. The more you are with one another, the less you idealize each other and the more you accept one another for who you really are. This is what being a truly good friend is really about––caring deeply for each other.