Good friends are hard to come by. Why? Because many people aren't sure what it means to be a good friend! God has given us His Word to shine wisdom on this issue. Namely, in Proverbs we find much wisdom about relationships including six marks of a good friend:
1. A Good Friend is Faithful.
"Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?" Proverbs 20:6
At the end of the day, a good friend is faithful. They will not abandon you when things get tough or bail out on you when you need them most. They are constant, present, and reliable.
2. A Good Friend is a Listener.
"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." Proverbs 18:2
Bad friends talk more than they listen. They love for you to hear about everything going on in their life, but give little time to listening to what is going on in yours. "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding" is the opposite of what a good friend does. A good friend takes pleasure in listening and seeks to never make you feel unheard.
A good friend takes pleasure in listening and seeks to never make you feel unheard.
3. A Good Friend Helps you Grow.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
Good friends stretch you. They are constantly pushing you to grow and change. Some of the best friends I have are those that tell me what they are learning and teach me things I didn't know. Are you helping your friends grow?
4. A Good Friend is Honest.
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." Proverbs 27:6
No one likes a liar. Yet, often times we fail to be honest with those we love most. Why? Because we love comfort. We love peace-filled relationships that are undaunted with conflict and disagreement. Good friends don't shy away from being honest for the sake of comfort. In fact, they love you enough to be honest with you. Even if they suffer the consequences.
5. A Good Friend Is Gracious.
"Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9
A good friend is not easily annoyed or offended. They are gracious with you. The look at your weaknesses and cover them with love. They don't allow them to become hindrances in your friendship. Gracious friends are those who are willing to walk with you as you grow. They pray for their friends instead of criticize or gossip about them.
Friends need time together and friends need time not together.
6. A Good Friend is Not Clingy.
"Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you." Proverbs 25:17
Benjamin Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, stink after three days.” Friends need time together and friends need time not together. A good friend realizes this and doesn't attach themselves to their friends. They give them space. They don't constantly inquire when they can spend time together. Instead, they live life and let the friendship take it's course. Bad friends choose to center their lives, happiness, and well-being around other people. So they think that every day, week, or month they need face time with their friends. Good friends understand the wisdom of giving space to those around them.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Lead Pastor Resident at College Park Church in Indianapolis, 'Tweeter' at @brad_merchant, and avid reader of books.