To say what an ideal friend is is not the easiest thing to do. Each person has his or her own perception of what one would be. However, speaking generally, there are certain attributes that most people deem characteristic of an ideal friend. Loyal, trustworthy, open to show weakness, caring, reassuring, and inspiring are common qualities that the majority of people attach to ideal friends.
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Loyalty is a usual attribute given to ideal friends. According to Psychology Today, “Loyalty is valued early on in all of our relationships, from the time we make our first friendships. We need friends who won’t spill our secrets to others, gossip about us, or allow others to criticize us” (“The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends”). The worst action between friends is double crossing one individual, or not keeping one’s word.
Also in the vein of loyalty, ideal friends are usually referred as being trustworthy. In a statement by Psychology Today, they say that, “Trustworthiness is often the “make or break” element in any interpersonal relationship. Any breach, regardless of perceived magnitude, can devastate a relationship. Trustworthiness is comprised of several components, including honesty, dependability, and loyalty, and while each is important to successful relationships, honesty and dependability have been identified as the most vital in the realm of friendships” (“The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends”). In light of this, a ubiquitous pet peeve of friends is a lack of honesty, and this is at the heart of being trustworthy.
In line with being honest is also the capacity to show one’s weaknesses. According to the Book of Life, “The ideal friend doesn’t try to prove how robust and successful they are; on the contrary, quite often they let us know awkward and potentially embarrassing things about themselves. They show how much they trust us by confessing failings and sorrows which would open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond. They offer us the gift of their vulnerability” (Cotton, Jess). That openness is treasured, as to be close to an individual, one must be willing to share his or her true feelings and states.
Caring is the essence of love, many say. In the words of ReachOut.com, “Friends will come and go in your life, but more important than how long your friendships last is your friends’ acceptance of you for who you are. A good friend walks the talk and shows that they care by their actions – big and small” (“What Makes a Good Friend?”). An ideal friend cares for your well-being over any issues that may arise between you two.
A part of caring is being reassuring. According to The Book of Life, “They don’t just flatter; they understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own ability to cope. They know we’ve got zones of fragility that need to be treated gently. Sometimes they get us to laugh at ourselves, when on our own we’d be inclined to self-pity or rage” (Cotton, Jess). Ideally, a friend will do his or her best to lift your spirits when you are down.
Another part of being uplifting is the quality of being inspiring. As The Book of Life says, “More often than it’s comfortable to admit, we don’t quite know what we think until a proper friend gently asks us to expand on a thought, to explain why we’re impressed by it and to find good answers to possible objections. They see the potential in what we’re saying when we can’t” (Cotton, Jess). So, an ideal friend allows us to expand on our ideas and for them to be greater than a momentary thought.
There are more qualities that could be spoken about when talking about an ideal friend. However, these are the most commonly mentioned. Being loyal, trustworthy, open to displaying weaknesses, caring, reassuring, and inspiring are often stated as attributes of an ideal friend.
“The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201503/the-13-essential-traits-good-friends.
Cotton, Jess. “What Would An Ideal Friend Be Like?” The Book of Life, 2 Nov. 2018, www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/what-would-an-ideal-friend-be-like/.
“What Makes a Good Friend?” Friendships | ReachOut Australia, au.reachout.com/articles/what-makes-a-good-friend.
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