Friends are some of the most important people in your life. While boyfriends and girlfriends may come and go, friends should be there throughout your life to share fun, frustrations and success. You can laugh with them, cry with them and know that they always have your best interests at heart. While everyone has her own preferences for what makes someone a good friend, most people tend to pick certain qualities above all others when it comes to choosing friends.
A study published in 2002 in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" showed that people rated kindness as a very important trait in a friend. Warm, kind people are more likely to listen patiently and sympathetically to your problems, to share things with you, and to offer you help when you need it.
The same study, which was led by researchers at Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles, showed that a sense of humor was a highly desired quality in a friend. Having someone who can make you laugh when you're down can be very valuable.
The 2002 research also showed people liked to have exciting friends. Someone who can lead you off on exciting adventures can be a fun person to spend time with. This quality was even more desirable in a friend than in a romantic partner, the study revealed.
The same research, which involved questioning 700 students, found that openness was a highly valued trait in a friend. Friends are often the people you turn to when you are feeling vulnerable, and it is much easier to be honest with people if they are open and expressive with you.
According to research published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 2007, trustworthiness is a quality that people want in all interdependent relationships. Trustworthy people can keep secrets confidential and can make you feel safe. Friends like this tend to be reliable and their actions match their words.
A study published in 2014 in the "Journal of Youth and Adolescence" showed that young people can be protected from threats to their self-esteem by having friends who accept them for who they are. Youngsters whose self-esteem might have otherwise suffered because of poor relationships with parents were found to be able to maintain their sense of self-worth if they had accepting friends. A friend who truly accepts you will stand by you through both good times and bad.
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Liking Some Things (in Some People) More Than Others: Partner Preferences in Romantic Relationships and Friendships
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: What Do People Desire in Others? A Sociofunctional Perspective on the Importance of Different Valued Characteristics
- Journal of Youth and Adolescence; Peer Acceptance Protects Global Self-Esteem From Negative Effects of Low Closeness to Parents During Adolescence and Early Adulthood; Marianne Skogbrott Birkeland et al.
- John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images