Monday, September 26, 2016

10 Qualities of a Great Friend

Friends are good.

I've had a few of them over the years.

Friends for a season: they've been there for a while, and then not. For a season of life, for an actual season. We lost touch when my family and I moved away. We grew up and took different paths, and held different priorities.

Friends for a reason: to teach, to help. To teach me about my own priorities. Probably the hard way. Or else to pray with me through said hard way.

Friends that stick around. So far, at least. Like leeches. But friendly leeches.

But those guys are awesome. (Girls, I mean.)

And here are 10 identifiable characteristics all of my favorites have in common.

Written here, not for their pride, but for our edification. That we might see where we have room to grow, and work to be better friends, ourselves. For His ultimate glory.

1. They pray always.

For me. For my struggles. 

They pray for me. They pray with me. (Even over the phone. <3) They encourage me in prayer. 

Those really good friends are friends I can count on to always pray for me if I ask, and even when I don't. 

2. They listen purposefully. 

It's a quality beyond hearing. Listening is hearing with the intent of understanding; not just a time when you can re-group your own thoughts. 

3. They try, too. 

I don't mind being the first to text. Maybe I'm a little needy...? But I don't think so. 

But the greatest of friends reach out, too. Like they care about keeping in touch with me just as much as I care about keeping in touch with them. Which is easier said than done in this thing we call adulthood. 

4. They care deeply. 

There's a remarkable difference between that indifferent, sympathetic nod and back-pat, and those heart-felt tears of empathy and true care for you and your burdens. 

5. They laugh consciously. 

My favorite friends laugh. They think I'm funny. They think they're funny. We can send each other stuff on Pinterest and laugh together, even though thousands of miles apart. Our laughter connects us. 

Also, though, they know when not to laugh. Not to laugh about Spiritual matters. Not to laugh when I'm down and hurting. Not when I share my heart. Not at my family or other friends in biting, hurtful manners. 

They can laugh and share a joke, but they know when to stop. 

6. They converse openly. 

I recently finished Persuasion by Jane Austen. There's this quote that rings with my very soul. 

"[A friend] was rational, discreet, polished, - but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation, or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."*

Be open and sincere. Find something to converse on passionately. 

7. They defend readily. 

A good friend has your back and, despite knowing your dark side, is the first to defend your honor in time of accusation or gossip or confrontation. 

Maybe they don't defend you or your stance- friends should definitely have their own set of backbones!- but they will protect your honor with their own. 

8. They encourage by example. 

There's a difference between encouraging a friend into a dedicated morning devotion routine, and living out that persevering, set-apart example every day. The kind of encouraging done with your own actions is outrageously more effective and impacting. I know because this is how my friends encourage me best. 

Just a quick story: I have a friend who read through the entire Bible every month for at least three months in a row, a couple of summers ago. The fastest I've still ever gone through the entire Bible is 100 days, but still today thinking about my friend inspires me to spend just a bit more time in God's Word that day. 

9. They edify unknowingly. 

Unknowingly because they're being edified, too. 

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
- Proverbs 27:17

Y'all know Mykaela, right? We definitely can get down for a Studio C marathon, or laugh for hours about how funny we look with little round magnets on our eyes, but there are also those 2:30am discussions about Jesus Christ and His maternal lineage. Long talks about what we want to be when we grow up. Getting our priorities straight together, and dropping judgments like we should have long ago. We're good for each other. 

And zip lining is awesome, too. 

10. They keep my secrets. 

Not to say I have secrets. 

But if I did, my friends would keep them. 

Haha, just kidding. I don't really feel like I have secrets, but my friends let me tell my own news. They don't babble around town giving everybody the latest news of my life. Even if it is just some funny story or another, they know that if I wanted the world to know about it, I could easily make that happen myself. I have a blog, afterall! 

I was totally the no-filter kid in my family. That was something I had to learn. Usually the hard way. Sometimes I still slip. And I'm sorry. If it's any comfort, the last secret I blew was two and a half years ago. I remember so well because I still feel terrible about it. 

But anyways. The secure, lock-and-key, Fort Knox of my friends lips is such a blessing, and also an encouragement! Trying to be more like them. :)

~ ~ ~

In closing I want to exhort you to remember that who influences you is extremely important, but that you ultimately have the say in who all handles that influence. Don't hand over a control panel to your brain to someone entirely undeserving. Seek friends equal to above where you are on the spectrum of maturity (spiritual and otherwise), right priorities, and quality conversation. 

Like I already stated, this is not just a friend brag. This is to help us all (myself surely included!) think about being better friends, ourselves. We all have so much growing room. Let us fill it out! Let us grow and bear fruit! As living things should. 

A post on goals for friendships is in the works. So I hope you'll subscribe to stay on top of my weekly posts. (Which, by the way, can be accomplished via the subscribe bar on the top right of the page in web version or via my 'Contact' page in mobile version.) 

Have a fantastic week! Text one of those long-distance, haven't-heard-from-them-in-forever friends for me, will you? :) 

*A Borzoi Book, Published by Alfred Knopf, 1992. Page 159. 

(Picture used for this blog post is my own property. It is illegal to copy, crop, or reproduce. Pinning and sharing is appreciated; please provide a link back to Peculiar on Purpose. Thank you!) 


  1. I love this so much!! <3

  2. Awesome! This is exactly how I feel about all my sweet internet-met friends. I love you all so much because God ya'll to me at a time He knew I needed them. ^_^

  3. This is such a wonderful list!

    I found your blog from the KBR challenge and have enjoyed reading old posts. :)


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