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15 Traits Of A High-Quality Best Friend

15 Traits Of A High-Quality Best Friend

Friends – how many of us have them? I have a lot of contacts in my phone, but there are only a small handful of people I consider my friends. They’re the ones that stuck with me as I transitioned from corporate shill to antihero, the ones who picked up the phone when I lost everything and desperately grasped for normalcy. I don’t call anyone my bff unless they meet these criteria.

1. A best friend listens to you.

ron harry hermione bff lifehack versability
    …so I said, “Rectum? Damn near killed him!!!”

    It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve said the same asinine thing – a true best friend never tires of hearing your ridiculous stories. Your best friend is one who listens to your work gossip, even if he or she doesn’t understand it.

    2. A best friend always has your back.

    Lethal Weapon lifehack versability
      Stop, or my mom will shoot…

      Some people act friendly to you, but when the chips are down, they turn their back. A high-quality best friend is always there. If you walk into a Hell’s Angels clubhouse to explain motorcycles are for pussies, your best friend is waiting outside with the engine running.

      3. A best friend accepts you at your worst.

      ren stimpy lifehack versability
        It’s log – log. It’s big. It’s heavy. It’s wood. Log. Log. Better than bad; it’s good…

        Ever wonder if your friends are real? You’ll find out when you do something bad. Fake friends can’t deal with your vices, addictions or bad decisions. A real best friend loves you when you’re in the gutter with your middle finger in the air.

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        4. A best friend loves you.

        JD Turk lifehack versability
          I love you like a fat kid loves cake…

          I have to admit, I have a few bromances – they’re those guys I hug a little longer, make an uncomfortable amount of eye contact with at parties, and have licked for a variety of reasons. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for these people because they’re high-quality best friends.

          5. A best friend can talk about personal things.

          sheldon leonard friends lifehack
            Some secret handshakes are complicated; some are simplistic…

            The most substantial and sincere friendships you have are with people you can talk openly with about all your personal business. High-quality best friends can take a conversation from breakfast to work to your diarrhea without batting an eye.

            6. A best friend knows how to make you smile.

            will carlton bff lifehack versability
              It is unusual to see black folk living in such expensive digs…

              We all have certain triggers that make us smile or laugh. Friends have inside jokes – best friends reference those shared moments anytime you’re down to make sure you have a smile on your face.

              7. A best friend gives an honest opinion.

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              Tina Amy Lifehack Versability
                CAT FIGHT!!! 

                Any stranger can be polite – as a decent human being, you should be polite to people as a default setting. What makes a high-quality best friend is their authentic voice. They’ll tell you when you look a hot mess instead of smiling to your face and telling everyone else.

                8. A best friend sticks by your side.

                stan kyle bff lifehack versability
                  It’s a new world, Charlie Brown…

                  You’ll go through some crazy things in life. I’ve found people start to avoid you when you become too much of an inconvenience. Anyone who’s ever been through a major medical condition can tell you acquaintances sign a card, friends visit you in the hospital, and best friends sit with you while you sleep.

                  9. A best friend helps you even when he or she doesn’t agree.

                  Jay Silent Bob Lifehack Versability
                    Ride the pony, Bob…Ride it all night long…

                    Whistleblowing taught me a lot about relationships. A lot of my friends and family didn’t agree with my decision to butt heads with the man, especially in such a public manner. My high-quality best friends were the ones who accepted me and my life decisions, whether they agreed or not.

                    10. A best friend encourages you.

                    troy abed bff lifehack versability
                      Say it with your chest…

                      We have those people in our lives who want to outdo, outshine or down us. It’s OK to be competitive, but people who don’t have your best interests at heart aren’t your friends. An actual best friend encourages you in your endeavors.

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                      11. A best friend knows your secrets.

                      Cheech Chong BFF Versability Lifehack
                        I’ve seen bigger…

                        Co-workers, classmates and clients all have their places in our lives. We share time, space and experiences with these people. Your actual friends have been there when you’ve done things you don’t necessarily broadcast to the public. A solid best friend knows all your dirty little secrets, and keeps them that way.

                        12. A best friend traverses time and space.

                        bill ted lifehack versability

                          My president is black…soon Keanu Reeves will be in charge…

                          I spent the last week crashing on the couch of one of my high-quality best friends. We hadn’t seen each other in three years and talked maybe two or three times in that period. There are a lot of reasons for the original distance, and when I showed up on her doorstep, none of those reasons mattered; we hung out as though it was just yesterday we last saw each other.

                          13. A best friend is dependable.

                          Bert Ernie Lifehack Versabiliy
                            Bert…are we…more than just friends?

                            A high-quality best friend is one you can count on. My best friends know what they can expect from me, and I know what I can expect from them. We don’t cross each other’s boundaries, and we go out of our way to accommodate each other.

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                            14. A best friend never judges you.

                            Farley Spade Lifehack Versability
                              We lost the wrong one…

                              Everyone hates being judged when it’s bad, but we all judge people. A high-quality best friend already judged you a long time ago when you met, so they have no need to do it ever again.

                              15. A best friend celebrates your success.

                              Matt Damon Ben Affleck Friends Lifehack Versability

                                Sometimes I’m the Robin – sometimes Ben is…

                                One of these days, you’re going to succeed at something in life – that’s when the haters come out the woodworks. Some people you thought were your friends turn out not to be. Your high-quality best friends are the ones who celebrate with you, rather than let their envy get the best of them.

                                A friend bails you out of jail, but a best friend is in the cell next to you. Quality always comes before quantity, and in order to find quality best friends, you need to be a high-quality best friend yourself. Be the change you wish to see in the world, and go make quality friends.

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                                Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                                If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                                Example 1

                                You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                                You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                                In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                                Example 2

                                You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                                People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                                You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                                Example 3

                                You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                                The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                                Example 4

                                You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                                Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                                If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                                Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                                • Understand your own communication style
                                • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                                • Communicate with precision and care
                                • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                                1. Understand Your Communication Style

                                To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                                In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                                Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                                2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                                Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                                If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                                “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                                This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                                To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                                3. Exercise Precision and Care

                                A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                                On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                                Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                                I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                                I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                                In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                                The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                                Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                                4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                                Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                                In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                                “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                                Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                                Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                                It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                                It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                                It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                                Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                                Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                                The Bottom Line

                                When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                                I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                                Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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