This topic stemmed from a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine. We were discussing what it means to truly be a great friend. We examined the people in our lives and what position we would consider them to be in. It was immediately apparent that many of these individuals were considered acquaintances more than actual friends. People often mistake acquaintances for friends, which can be detrimental and harmful to a person if they are not careful. I want to break down these two definitions before continuing. An acquaintance is someone you “know” because you share one or more commonalities in your lives—but you have no emotional connection to one another. These can be people you know through friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. A friend is someone you’ve developed an emotional bond with and share a sense of connection with.  There is an unspoken agreement to share time and a part of your lives with each other. Here are a few qualities my friend and I believe make up a great friend:

Open communication– This strengthens the bond in friendships. It acts as a way of expressing grievances and helps restore friendships by solving conflicts and misunderstandings on either end.

Honesty– This helps us ultimately feel safe in our friendships. Being able to be vulnerable and share our true selves and our lives is essential. An honest friend will tell you the truth no matter how hard it may be. They will keep your secrets, stick to their promises, and is dependable.

No judgment– A nonjudgmental friend makes you feel confident and loved for who you are. This allows you to make mistakes and not feel condemned. Nonjudgmental friends listen to you and do their best to see things from your point of view.

Acceptance- True friends accept you even when your lives are different from one another. A great friend understands that your choices are yours and accept those decisions because they know that what’s right for them isn’t necessarily right for you.

Supportive– Being there for a friend 100% is most important, even if you do not always agree with their decisions or opinions. You care deeply for each other, no matter the circumstance. A great friend will stand up for you and always remain loyal.

After reading about our qualities, what does being a great friend mean to you? What qualities would you consider?