The old adage says it all "A man is known by the company he keeps." It is very important for our well being to be a great friend to someone and to have a group of good friends supporting you. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a good friend. Friends will come and go in your life, but more important than how long a friendship lasts, is that a good friend will love you for who you are.
The way you can tell the sign of a good friend is by looking at the actions they take -- big and small -- that show they care. At the same time we must be careful who we spend a lot of time with; we all have a propensity to imitate the habits and adopt the interest and opinions of our close friends and we inadvertently embrace the values they profess.
By choosing whom we take on as friends we are charting our own destiny. Some common signs of a good friend include; their unconditional support, non-judgment, trustworthiness, sensitivity about our feelings, no put downs, kindness and respect, someone who love us out of choice not out of compulsion, someone who enjoy our company and vice versa, loyalty, telling us the truth even when it is difficult to do so, someone who laughs with us, they stick around in all circumstances, someone who gladdens our hearts and makes us smile, and most importantly someone who is always present and willing to listen to us.
Moral influence is a two way street and thus we should make sure by our own thoughts, words and deeds to be, a positive influence on our friends as well. The real test of personal excellence is how we conduct ourselves in all matters at all times. It is our actions, which speaks louder than words.
If you want to do all or many of the things listed above for someone you care about, you already know how to be a good friend. Choose your friends who are dependable and honest. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect -- people who reciprocate kindness.
Proceed slowly into new friendships until you know you have common values and perspectives. Be a reliable friend to your new friend. This will take some time and commitment on your part before you can expect it from them.
An important part of having a successful friendship is knowing that you can rely on them to be there to support you, spend time with you and be honest with you. Good friends allow you to experience life appropriately because you can always be your true self around them. You never have to wear a mask, and that is the most joyous way to go through life.
Human beings were created to be social creatures, meaning that we are most comfortable when we have family, friends and acquaintances. Friendship is an important element in a fulfilled, contented life, and those who have close friends, whether one or two or a multitude, will usually be happy and well-adjusted. At the same time, those who call themselves our friends may cause us grief and hardship, constantly disappointing us. So what exactly is a friend, and what does the Bible have to say about friends?
The good things about friends
On the positive side, friends can console and help us when we are in trouble, as when Barzillai the Gileadite consoled David when he was being hunted by Saul (2 Samuel 19:25-26) or when Jephthah’s daughter’s friends consoled her before her death (Judges 11:37-38).
A friend may also rebuke in love, proving more faithful than a hypocritical flatterer (Proverbs 27:6).
One of the greatest biblical examples of friendship is David and Jonathan, son of King Saul. Jonathan’s loyalty to his friend, David, exceeded that to his own father and his own ambitions (1 Samuel 18:1-4;20:14-17). So attached was David to his loyal friend that, after Jonathan’s death, David wrote a song to him (2 Samuel 1:17-27). Theirs was a friendship closer than brotherhood.
In the New Testament, many of Paul’s letters begin and end with tributes to his friends, those who ministered to him, supported him, prayed for him, and loved him.
The bad things about friends
Friendship can have its negative aspects as well. Supposed "friends" can lead us into sin. A friend can lead us astray in regard to our faith, as they sometimes did in Israel, leading others to worship false gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). In those days, such an act was punishable by death.
Even if our friends do not lead us astray, they can provide false comfort and bad advice, as Job’s friends did, making his suffering worse and displeasing the Lord (Job 2:11-13,6:14-27,42:7-9).
Friends can also prove false, pretending affection for their own motives and deserting us when our friendship no longer benefits them (Psalm 55:12-14;Proverbs 19:4,6-7).
Friendship can be broken down through gossip (Proverbs 16:28) or grudges (Proverbs 17:9).
Friends should be chosen carefully because, as Paul told the Corinthians, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Proverbs 1:10-19 and 4:14-19 contain warnings about friends and how we should choose them. We are not to associate with those who entice us to do wrong, no matter how appealing their “friendship” seems to be. Those whose “feet rush to sin” should be avoided. The path they choose is no place for a Christian whose choice should be to follow the “path of the righteous.” Only that path leads to friendship with God, which is the ultimate goal of a Christian.
Originally published on www.gotquestions.org