It turns out that like many things people do, people have to learn how to do them. And, it seems that for some, being a good friend is one of them.
Of course, 'Good Friend' is subjective and relative in people's eyes, but idealistically there are some things that personify what a good friend looks like. And, here they are:
1. Communicate Often
This may seem to be intuitive, but it is important to always have an open line of communication, and use that line frequently. From communication, comes and exchange of knowledge. How well do you know someone, if you don't talk enough?
2. Have One-on-Ones
This is vital, because you may find yourself only being friends with someone because you are in a constant group environment with them, or only friends with them because your preexisting friends are friends with them. Interacting exclusively can help determine whether their is indeed a friendship there. Also, one-on-ones provides a huge space for open discussion and valuable quality time. With a one-person audience, you may self-disclose more and be more inquisitive. In these exchanges and experiences, your bond has an opportunity for more growth.
3. Accept & Challenge
If an individual is in fact your friend, you must accept them for who they are. They may be imperfect, but you are too. Everyone operates a bit differently, so like them for what makes them special to you. Do not try to change them, but you can challenge them, which may foster change on their part. Many people have a lot of preconceived notions on the world, their beliefs, and their feelings. But, it is important to not have a narrow view, because if your friend has a view too narrow, where do you and reality fit into that view? The more widespread view one has, the more room there is for understanding and acceptance. Facilitate growth. Don't you want your friend to be the best they can be?
You have to demonstrate your interest in your friend, and by initiating communication, plans, or acts of comfort, you offer clear signs of that interest. When you initiate, you are essentially choosing them for something. You decided to choose them out of other possibilities, and if it is not recognized at first, they should begin to appreciate that initiation. It can be difficult to do this, especially when the other person is not initiating too. It is hard to be the one always orchestrating interactions, so it is up to you whether you should initiate even when the other person doesn't. This concept leads to the next.
You should not do something for someone else, just because that someone else did something for you. You should want to do something for them. If someone is there when you are down, you should want to be there for them when they're down. If someone is encouraging and supportive of your endeavors, you should want to be encouraging and supportive of their endeavors too. If someone goes the extra mile, you should want to go the extra mile for them too. If they're your friend, why wouldn't you?
See, if things like these five, or C-H-A-I-R, seem to be too much for you to convey to your friend, then you may not be being as good as a friend as you could be. And, if for a particular person you don't feel the want to do these things for them, then maybe you don't actually want to be friends with them after all.
Friendships, like other relationships, require work and time-dedicated. It should be the job you enjoy doing and want to do. It should be thing you don't mind working overtime for. So, when are you gonna clock in as a 'Good Friend'?