Friends are important. After all, it’s our relationships that help to mould and cement who we are and very often are our most valuable achievements in life. As with many things it’s easy to leave our closest connections to chance and hope, or pray, that the right kind of people cross our path and like us enough to be our friend, but this isn’t the wisest path to take.

There is a popular school of thought that states that you become like the five people you spend the most time with.   That can be a sobering thought. Without careful consideration and good boundaries you may well be giving people who don’t deserve it, and who are doing more harm than good, a great amount of influence over your life.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

Being careful about who you call your friend can make a huge difference in your life in so many ways. Here are a few things to consider if you want to pick your friends wisely.

Look for ‘more’ people

I’m not talking about the amount of people when I say ‘more’ people, although lots of friends may be nice. ‘More’ people are those who seem to be further along the road or higher up the ladder than the average. It could be someone who is more positive, more helpful, more caring or more creative (you get the idea). Look for those who are going to spur you on to be a more person yourself especially in areas where you want to grow.

Look for similar values

What are the things that are important to you and that you want to pursue in life? Choosing friends who don’t share your values is possibly a recipe for disaster. While diversity is a positive in most cases, when it comes to the people who you keep the closest, you need individuals who will encourage you, support you and at times keep you accountable especially in the area of the values you choose to live your life by.

Look for positive relationships

People who have other strong and healthy relationships will bring that health and strength into a relationship with you.   Someone who is unreliable or disloyal in their current friendships isn’t going to suddenly exhibit those characteristics when they become your BFF.

Look for common interests

Friends don’t need to be identical or have everything in common in order for the relationship to work but little common ground gives you something to connect over. You may both love a specific sport, hobby or pastime. Whatever it is, these are things that make friendships fun and give you something to enjoy as friends.

Look for give and take

Being able to be a great friend is just as important as having a great friend. While you want a friend you can be proud of and who will add to your life, you also need to know that you are that friend to someone else. All relationships are a two way street and the give and take between two friends a vital part of having a healthy and meaningful relationship that benefits both parties.

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