5 Characteristics of True Friendship

young people

True friendship is rare. If you ever get in a bind, have a major failure, or somehow lose your way, you realize how rare true friendship is these days.

To me, the difference in a true friend and one who calls themselves a friend, but is really an acquaintance is fairly easily identified.

Here are 5 characteristics of true friendship:

Unconditional love - Regardless of what you do, what happens, or where life takes you, a true friend loves at all times.

Unwavering support – You don’t have to do the “right things” to keep a true friend. They support you (if not in actions as a person) whatever you choose to do.

Willingness to challenge – A true friendship makes you better. The Bible says “iron sharpens iron”. True friends will correct you if needed.

Consistent over time – True friendships aren’t for a season. They are for a lifetime.

Gives grace freely and generously – True friendship weather the sometime difficulties of relationships, forgive where needed, and love even when it hurts.

Do you have a true friendship? Pay tribute to them here.

More importantly, are you a true friend?

What makes a true friend in your opinion?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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25 thoughts on “5 Characteristics of True Friendship

  1. how about:
    Respect for a person's privacy and property. A friend does not have a right to presume friendship includes use of or checking out their property without permission, such as computer, bedroom, house, or other possessions.

  2. I don't think being a giving person should ever be viewed as a bad thing, or to say it's "gone too far", but a true friendship, the kind you trust your life to, is a two way street. It's where both parties are willing to share equal sacrifice. That's the kind I'd give my best energy, honesty, and heart to. They are out there too.

  3. Dear Ron,

    I have, for the past few months started following your blog posts and can I say that they have all been very encouraging and inspiring. Some of them speaks true to my heart and have challenged me to rethink some of my positions about the issues you talk about. Can I say thank you very much again, for your posts.

    I have been trying to establish an inner ring of friendship with friends that are true friends, friends that hopefully possess all the qualities that you mentioned above. All too often, I find myself to be giving more into the friendship than I am getting back from it (in my opinion anyway). Do you think that is a friendship worth pursuing? Is there a limit to how much I can give for the 'friend' to perhaps, not take my friendship for granted?

    Thanks for your insight.

  4. Hey Ron!

    I came across your blog tonight while I was looking for info to backup the fact that God WILL give us more than we can handle b/c it deepens our dependence and causes us to live out of him rather than our own strength (which is right where he wants us!) LOVED your posts on that! I really liked this post too, but I have to say…the "unwavering support" is a tough one for me. One of my very best friends (of 11 years) who is a strong believer is engaged to marry a man who is not only not walking strongly with the Lord, but also used to be verbally abusive with her as well as an alcoholic. They are also currently living together before marriage. Watching her walk towards this not only majorly unequally yoked union (which is SO much less than God's best for her as she is such a light for him outside of the decisions she makes in this relationship), but also one that has hurt her emotionally in the past is like watching her walk off a cliff -it breaks my heart. She asked me to be in the wedding and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I had to tell her what the Lord was leading me to do, which was not to be a part of any of the marriage festivities. It's been an incredibly hard decision, one I've had to lay in the Lord's hands over and over (and have even second-guessed)…but I do it b/c I love her so dearly and even more, love the Lord and want to follow him at all cost. That said…Sometimes I think being a true friend means that we have to not support some of the harmful decisions they make…would you agree Ron?

    • I totally agree. 100% That's why I wrote "They support you (if not in actions as a person) whatever you choose to do." The "if not in actions as a person" applies to your situation here. A true friend would not allow a friend to make such huge mistakes without at least trying to step in. That's the way to provide unwavering support. If you weren't a true friend, you'd walk and let her to her own downfall.

  5. I have had many people with whom I have been friends, but I have had very few true friends. The former have been many and were usually quick to come and go with the good times; when the times got bad or just not as good, they were gone. The really good, true friends were the ones that remained loyal even when I was not always able to stay in touch with them (nor they with me) as much as we wanted. When the times got hard, they were, and still are, right here!

  6. At the beginning of this year, I did an evaluation of all my friendships. I realized that I was putting effort into a couple of people who really wasn't giving anything back. There were other friendships I needed to strengthen. Friendship isn't valued like it used to be. This is a great post!

  7. I have this one friend, from college; had the “pluck” to pull me to one side and let me know in no uncertain terms that I was acting in a way that was not portraying Christ (I was acting quite the jerk, to put it mildly)! This friend had courgage enough to tell me what others avoided, thought they needed to stay out of it. Didn’t hurt any that he was 6’9″ tall! I called him Golliath, and his name, (seriously) was David!
    Twitter: bryankr

  8. I believe true friends are intentional about those characteristics you listed. I was challenged by a close friend about a year ago, who was leaving to move to another state. He said, "You know, Brett, I feel like you've held back in our friendship. I wish we could have been closer."

    I have committed to be intentional in my friendships since that conversation. By the way, my friend's name is Josh Dyson. Love that guy.

  9. Theresa obviously I'm using a subjective term in "true friendship" and I think you make a good point….friend for a season…but I think true friendships last beyond the season of need, convenience, or location. That doesn't mean you still talk everyday, but the level of commitment stays the same. As I said, these are rare, but oh so special and dependable.

  10. I ALWAYS find valuable information on your blog! I love what you say about friendship over time – but wonder if a friend truly CAN be placed in your life for a "season". If your God-given path takes you down separate roads and you are unable to get together, does that mean you weren't really good friends? Maybe I just answered myself – by keeping in touch (any way you can) – you keep the friendship going. Is this what you mean Ron?

    • I once heard that some friendships are like orbits – certain seasons you are closer and other times you are further apart. Other friendships are like the comets that only come through your life once in a lifetime. I have to ask the Lord for discernment of the type of friendship.