The Essentials of a Great Friendship

Friendship is one of the most important elements of your life, so the answer to the question of what makes a good friend is something that we should all be aware of.

Although many people tend to say that they have lots of friends, the truth of the matter is that friendship can be divided into many levels, with the first and most remote of friendships being categorized as acquaintances, and the ultimate closest friendships falling into the "best friends" category.

In truth, when it comes down to hard fact, most of us can count our true best friends on the fingers of one hand. But what makes a good friend and why?

Some people tend to think that friendship is all about having a good time, and that those they enjoy sharing those good, fun times with, are good friends. Of course that is true up to a point; for example you wouldn't expect to be having a miserable time when you are amongst friends; but having real, good friends, operates on a much deeper and more meaningful level.

A good friend is actually someone you know that you can rely on when the chips are down. There is an expression that we sometimes use to categorize the people who hang around for the good times only. These we call "fair-weather friends." What we mean by this is that as soon as the going gets a little bit serious, or even rough, they are nowhere to be found. What makes a good friend, is a person who sticks around when the going is not so good, and who is there to help and advise you when you need them.

There is a simple saying that I am sure you will have heard before, and it is that "a trouble shared, is a trouble halved." This is a profound truth, and being able and willing to do this for someone is what makes a good friend become a true friend indeed.

It really all comes down to caring enough about someone, to put their welfare above all else. The typical fair-weather friend is the sort of person who will just agree with whatever you say or do. They feel that it's just too much hassle, and that it may even cause some unpleasantness to tell when you are in the wrong, or that you are about to do something that they don't think you should. But what sort of a friend will just stand by mouthing platitudes, whilst watching you get into trouble. I'll tell the answer - no sort of friend would, and certainly not a good friend. No, - one of the fundamentals of what makes a good friend is integrity and a commitment to making sure your welfare is their welfare too.

For some people, their partners are also their best friends, and this makes for a wonderful relationship. If you are lucky enough to be in this position, then your "soul mate", covers all of the roles anyone could ever want, from partner, and companion, through to friend and lover too.

But having good friends outside of your relationship with your partner, is an extra blessing. It's always good to widen your horizons and get new input from a different point of view, and this is another thing to add to your list of what makes a good friend - honest advice and a genuine opinion offered in good faith.

Good friends are really hard to come by, and when you find someone, the relationship should be treasured and nurtured. As a rule of thumb, women make easier good friends amongst themselves than men do. This is because they are not afraid to talk to each other about anything and everything. Men often seem to hold back about certain personal issues, and all too often there is a rivalry, albeit a friendly one, and there is often that little undercurrent that threatens to boil up into full blown confrontation.

But in the final reckoning, it is this ability to open yourself up to each other without any fear of competition or resentment that truly makes a good friend who is worth their weight in gold.

We often talk about the difference between friends and family. Yes there is always the blood tie with your relations, but it is very true what is said; that is that you are landed with your relatives for good or for bad, but you get to choose your friends. Just make sure you make the right choices, and your life will be all the richer.

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