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5 Ways to Be a Good Friend

Updated: Apr 30

“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter;

whoever finds one finds a treasure.”

—Sirach 6:14

It’s hard to go through life without at least one good friend, someone you can share your thoughts and ideas with, someone who helps when you’re feeling down, someone you can relate to, someone you can laugh with, grow with, and enjoy favorite activities with. A good friendship can make a person feel less alone in the world, but it can also do so much more. A friendship grounded not only in shared interests but in shared values can help both parties grow in happiness, skills, virtue, and holiness.


To have a good friendship, it helps to know how to be a good friend, so here are 5 suggestions!


“God sends us friends to be our firm support

in the whirlpool of struggle.

In the company of friends we will find strength

to obtain our sublime ideal.”

—St. Maximilian Kolbe


1. Spend time together. It’s easy to “connect” with others via social media and texting. But those methods only allow for a superficial connection. Nothing beats the real thing. Meet up with your friends and enjoy each other’s company.  


“Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

—James 1:19


2. Become a good listener. Everyone wants to be heard and understood. Our first instinct is to share our own thoughts, ideas, fears, or anxieties. But a good friend works to put the other first. So work on listening and understanding the other before sharing your thoughts. Even if a friend seems to be taking the wrong path, listen first, then offer advice.


“Therefore, putting away falsehood,

let everyone speak the truth with his neighbor,

for we are members one of another.”

—Ephesians 4:25


3.  Be truthful. Telling the truth isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve made a mistake or if your friend is making a mistake. But if you are blessed to have a good friend, you want to be a good friend to them. A good relationship is grounded in truth. Also keep in mind: the culture might say you need to affirm every choice your friend makes and avoid making judgments. But sometimes a person makes poor choices that are not in keeping with God-given truth. And the truth will set that person free.


“Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again,

never to be broken off.”

—St. Francis de Sales


4.  Share your faith. Life in this world is not the whole story. We move on to eternal life! Even if you’ve never touched on the subject of faith with a friend, you can be certain your friend shares those same spiritual longings. Whether or not one recognizes it, everyone has that God-sized hole in their heart. Sharing your faith, even in little ways, might help you and inspire your friend to grow deeper in faith.  


“A friend loves at all times,

and a brother is born for adversity.”

—Proverbs 17:17


5.  Don’t give up on a friendship. Life throws a lot at us. No one is perfect. And everyone handles stress in a different way. True friends will make every effort to work through difficulties, mistakes, and misunderstandings. One might use conflict as a defense mechanism, but when their friend remains steadfast, offering the unconditional love that Jesus calls us to, they might find the support they need to overcome their present trial. And when you don’t know how to help or perhaps a friend pushes you away, turn to Our Lord in prayer. He is with us always, ready and able to help us through any trial.


“No longer do I call you servants, 

for the servant does not know what his master is doing;

but I have called you friends,

for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

—John 15:15


Ultimately, a good friendship moves us closer to the best of all relationships: friendship with God. God calls us His friends and invites us into a deep relationship—communion—with Him.

For another blog post about friendship, including our heavenly friends, check out “True Friends Are Closer Than You Think.”

 

 

Friendships play an important part in the novels you’ll find at Catholic Teen Books.

Characters provide role models for:

  • Making friends—like in Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden. Roland would trade anything for one real friend, but his shyness and cruel rumors about him and his family stand in his way. When Peter, his nearest neighbor, is thrown into his life, he struggles to trust him, but Peter’s mysterious inheritance piques his curiosity. This story of new friendships encompasses friends both in this world and in the next, through the Communion of Saints.

  • Repairing a friendship—like Wendy does throughout the entire 4-book Bird Face series by Cynthia T. Toney. Wendy repairs friendships damaged by mistakes, misunderstandings, intentional hurts, long-distance relationships, interference from other persons, and lack of knowledge about situations.

  • Supporting a friend in trouble—like Xan and Lucy do in The Fire of Eden (Book 3 of Tony Kolenc's medieval series, "The Harwood Mysteries") when their friend John suffers a serious injury and they ask him to help solve the mystery of a stolen jewel.

  • Risking one's life for a friend—like Christina does in The Merchant's Curse (Book 4 of Tony Kolenc's award-winning series, "The Harwood Mysteries") when she throws herself in harm's way to defend Xan from a witchy woman.

  • Sacrificing for a friend—like Talitha does when she risks her life to save her best friend Desta from a human trafficking ring in Sarah Robsdottir's Brave Water.

  • Speaking truth when it’s hard—like both Peter and Roland must do in Roland West, Outcast, one to defend a friend against a group that doesn’t share their Christian values, and the other because a new friend needs to hear the truth, even though it might not be welcome.

  • Risking one’s life for a friend—like Hector does when he travels to another planet in Marie Keiser’s science fiction Heaven’s Hunter.

  • Interceding for a friend—like the little-known Saint Cloud, who even works a miracle, in the fast-paced and inspiring saint story The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms by Susan Peek.

  • Supporting a friend in trouble—like in Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk. When Paul is grieving after the unexpected death of his father, Rachel supports him with prayer, patience, persistence, being willing to listen, and even giving him a tough love talking-to (albeit imperfectly).

  • Sharing faith with a friend—like Josie does in Leslea Walh's contemporary story Charting the Course. Liz's best friend Josie gives her a Novena to pray when she's having a difficult time with her family.


 

About the author: Theresa Linden is the author of award-winning Catholic fiction. One of her great joys is to bring elements of faith to life through a story. She has over a dozen published books: for adults (Tortured Soul), children (Armor of God series), and teens (West Brothers and Chasing Liberty). Three of her books won awards from the Catholic Press Association. Her articles and interviews can be found on various radio shows and magazines, including EWTN’s The Good Fight, The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Today's Catholic Teacher, and Catholic Mom. Her books are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, SilverFirePublishing.com and Catholic Reads. A wife, retired homeschooling mom, and Secular Franciscan, she resides in northeast Ohio with her husband and family.


Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

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