• The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
  • Thelma and Louise.
  • Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

What do all these famous friends have in common? When the chips are down, they each can be counted on to support the other. Friends to the end. Loyal, strong and true.

Chances are your friendship won’t be tested like these famous friends, but you want to know that in times of trouble, you pal will come through for you. And you’ll do the same for him. Loyalty beyond question is an important attribute of a good friend. If you support your friend in good times and bad, if you call just as much—maybe more—when he’s in trouble, then you’ve mastered an important aspect of friendship.good friendship

In addition to loyalty, what else does it take to be a good friend?

You know your friend’s shortcomings and you love her just as she is. You don’t need to change her; you don’t have any agenda. You just enjoy her. You give her the freedom to be herself around you without any pretense. You don’t judge. You just take pleasure in her friendship. You are able to listen empathetically when he shares his woes. Your friend knows he can come to you for quiet understanding. You don’t need to fix his problems; you don’t need to give advice. After all, he’s the one in trouble. You know it’s not about you, and you simply listen when your friend needs to talk. You can genuinely rejoice in her good fortune. Even if you could use a raise and a promotion yourself, you are truly happy that your friend got a better job. You wish her well for her sake, because you know how to share joy as well as sorrow. It’s just as important to have a good friend to tell your great news to—it’s no fun alone. You bring out the best in him. You appeal to his better nature. When he’s around you, you make him feel happier, wittier, wiser. You inspire him to be free, to have fun, to think new thoughts. You don’t have to hog the spotlight. You don’t have to always be right. Sometimes you can just let go of the point you were trying to make and let him have his say. You let her know she’s important to you. You don’t have to get mushy, but it’s nice to tell her she’s made a difference in your life. She makes you laugh. She brings you joy. And you show how much you value your relationship by keeping in touch on a regular basis, by giving her a hug, by surprising her with an invitation to lunch.

Good friendships in life are rare enough. Be sure to nurture those who are important to you. That way, they’ll stay that way.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.