In honor of my good friend Terence’s birthday on September 28th, I thought it would be a nice idea to summarize the character traits and qualities that make up a good friend. I don’t mean someone you just know at work, or someone you dated five years ago, I mean a real, true friend.

I freely admit that I’ve never measured up to the criteria I’ve outlined below, and I don’t think many of us do.

I’ve known Terence since we were together in Infants’ school, (aka Elementary school). The ironic thing about it is that we now live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and I really didn’t appreciate him enough when we were on the same side: I haven’t found a friend remotely like him where I am now, and it’s even more ironic that Terence is not a professing Christian.  How I would love to say that I know a whole bunch of Christians that match the characteristics he lives out naturally! It was by thinking about him that I was able to create this list.

I want to say that I really believe the truest friend anyone can have is Jesus Christ, but God made us for each other in this physical world, and it’s not wrong to give praise where praise is due. People usually wait until someone has died before they say nice things about them publicly – that’s a sad mistake. My list is inspired by Terence –  a true friend. I noticed that the list fulfills a lot of Biblical guidelines for what real love is. 

But first, I asked my nine-year old son what he thought were the things that make a good friend, and hadn’t told him my thoughts yet. His list:

A good friend is playful, kind, friendly, doesn’t argue with you, hates school, doesn’t bully people, doesn’t get jealous and is funny. I’d say that’s a good list, and really summarizes mine pretty well too.

I’m sure you could add some definitions to these two lists: please send some as a comment.


Never stops being your friend

Agrees to disagree

Shares some of your opinions, ideas and views

Is someone you can laugh with frequently

Laughs with you, not at you

Speaks no hateful words behind your back

Is a listener

Is interested in you and not just himself

Speaks the truth in love

Is someone you can be truthful with

Is always willing to help

Cares for his own (Terence took his aging father into his own home)

Does not engage in destructive gossip

Is always respectful (teasing is healthy fun though)

Is anxious to help you think problems through

Lifts your spirits when you’re down

Inspires you

Is more willing to praise than criticize

Considers criticism

Rejoices in your achievements or profit

Advises, doesn’t nag

Always thinks good of you

Never seeks revenge for your mistakes (Terry laughs at them – what could be better?)

Is quick to apologize

Is quick to forgive: doesn’t hold grudges

Feels your hurts

Overlooks your weaknesses and foibles

Is someone you feel comfortable being yourself with



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