If you think back over the best moments of your life, there’s a good chance most of those moments included your closest friends. Maybe it was a trip, a party or a special accomplishment. Whatever we do, life is better lived when it’s lived with friends.

I believe one of the most important things we can do throughout our lives is cultivate healthy friendships. Find people who make the good times better and who will love you enough to be there through the hard times as well.

Here are five things that all great friends do.

1. Listen 

Great friends know how to actively listen when they are with you. They value what you have to say and are present in all conversations. Whether you are talking about a major life decision or where to grab some dinner, they have learned how to pay attention and listen.

Great friends are disciplined distraction avoiders. Have you ever spent time with someone who was constantly distracted by what was happening on the television, on the computer or on their phone? Whether they mean to or not, that person is communicating their attention is elsewhere. They can’t listen to you because their focus is somewhere else.

2. Rejoice

Do you have a friend who you love sharing good news with? A great friend knows how to celebrate the great moments with us. They get genuinely excited when we have good news to share and quickly become a person with whom we can’t wait to share good news. Great friends are always watching for reasons to celebrate us. They love hearing about birthdays, promotions, opportunities and accomplishments because it gives them reason to celebrate with us.

3. Lament

Great friends are also there for us when life gets hard. We all go through seasons of discouragement, and great friends know how to walk with us through pain. Many people today don’t know how to walk with others through hard times, and when hard times inevitably come, they quickly become scarce. But great friends know how to meet our needs and share in our sorrow. They know how to weep with us in our hard times.

4. Pray

The great English preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” He placed a high value on the prayers people prayed for him. Great friends faithfully pray for us. They not only listen to our prayer requests, but faithfully pray for us. Praying for other people is an act of love in itself, but it also can increase our love for the people for whom we pray. The people who you pray for most are the people who you love the most.

5. Correction

Lastly, great friends know how to correct us when we need correction. There are times in life when we succumb to wrong thinking or are about to make a poor decision. Many will leave us to our own opinions at the fear of offending us. But a great friend is willing and able to give us some tough love. They care enough to lovingly share with us where they feel we might be in the wrong. They know how to affirm their love for us while giving us a needed correction.

Can you recognize a great friend when you’ve found one? Look for these five qualities in others, and try to live up to these standards in being a friend to others.

You may also be interested in How To Maintain Healthy Friendships When You’re In A Relationship

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