PEOPLE WITH THESE 8 PERSONALITY TRAITS MAKE THE BEST FRIENDS
Our best friends are the people we depend on to nurture us, comfort us, and energize us, and our interactions with these men and women are life-giving, inspiring and frankly, make life worth living. These relationships are founded on some core values and personality traits. In fact, there is a wealth of scientific evidence showing just how much of an impact the quality of our friendships has in our lives.
According to the Mayo Clinic, friends, "increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce your stress, improve your self-confidence and self-worth, help you cope with traumas [such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one], encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits [and promote improved] overall health."
A longitudinal study of aging conducted by Australian researchers found that "greater social networks with friends and confidants had significant protective effects against mortality over a 10 year follow up period [whereas networks] with children and relatives were not significant predictors of mortality over the same follow up period."
A study of dementia in elderly women, researchers found that "larger social networks have a protective influence on cognitive function among elderly women." And yet another study, conducted by neuroscientists at Ohio State University, found that social interaction can potentially decrease pain and increase recovery time in patients dealing with physical pain. If you want a friendship that stands the test of time, it's important you know which character traits you should you look for in a friend.
8 personality traits make some of the best friends you can find, since they know what it takes to form a good friendship.
A good friend is one you readily and easily connect with. It was almost as if you knew each other from the start. The relationship has a sense of ease and comfort that results from this sense of familiarity.
As you get to know each other you discover that you have shared values and interests in common. Perhaps, you like to do the same things, read the same kinds of books, watch the same kinds of movies. You might get up at the same time, like to eat the same kinds of foods, have similar beliefs about life, child raising, or interest in the same causes.
Good friends have heart for what you’re experiencing. They understand your pain with compassion and support AND they rejoice in your successes. They are your cheerleaders for everyday challenges and achievements.
A good friend listens with interest and responds supportively to your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Good listening includes reflecting back, as well as suggesting positive ideas. Good listeners are tuned into when in the conversation you need to talk, and when you need to hear back from them.
When your friend hears what you’ve shared, even if — and especially if — it’s something you have uncomfortable feelings about, she responds with acceptance and understanding and avoids judging you. She waits to give suggestions until you’re ready to hear them. She knows she doesn’t have to fix it.
One of the reasons you feel close to your friend is that you know who this person is. You are open and upfront with each other about all that is important to both of you. While you may not be identical twins, you accept each other and value each other including your flaws.
This is a person you can rely on. Their behavior is predictable, so you know what to expect. They do what they promise. You can count on them.
Sharing humor is so important in friendship. When you can laugh about life, you reduce stress and improve your ability to navigate even painful moments so you can start to see the humor in them.
We also tend to laugh about things that cause us tension or discomfort, so when you laugh with a friend, it suggests that you share similar pain points in your lives, that you understand each other. Of course, while these are the basic personality traits to look for in a best friend, if your usual behaviors aren't compatible, it could be hard to form a deep bond.
People naturally develop preferred ways of being in the world, and this becomes your natural approach to living and relating to others. Even if someone possesses all 8 traits, if their approach to life differs greatly from your own, your usual behavior styles could collide, and here are 5 red flags that signal it's a not a good match.
You have vastly different needs for quiet vs. social time
Let's say you and your friend both need alone time to unwind and de-stress — that’s a good match, as your needs are in sync. But if your friend needs space on a regular basis, while you require regular contact, each of you may feel put upon and judged by the other's typical way of interacting, leading to discomfort and distance.
Vastly different paces of life
If the two of you through life at extremely different paces, you could be headed for friendship problems down the line.
Perhaps your friend waits as long as possible before rushing to the airport at the last second before flights because she hates wasting time hanging around the waiting area, while you need to be there at least an hour or earlier order to feel safe. You use the time well, working on your laptop or making calls, and this actually helps you relax. If you travel together, each of your usual behaviors and preferences will stress the other out, and that does not make for a fun trip — or a happy friendship.
Vastly different responses to change
Maybe you like to plan ahead and have a specific time locked down for an appointment, while your friend likes to make decisions on the fly. If there’s a change in scheduling that allows for meeting at an earlier time, she will opt for changing the schedule, while you will be put off by the change. This could led to you both feeling oppressed by the other's style, even if you're both well-intentioned and want to make your friendship work.
Vastly different approaches to decision-making
Say your friend goes by the book when it comes to following rules and laws. She stops at all red lights and slows down when the light turns yellow to make sure she can come to a complete stop in time. You, on the other hand, understand the law as a guideline, so, if the light is turning yellow and there’s not a lot of traffic, you may speed up to get through it, even if that means it turn red as you’re halfway through the intersection. These two opposing styles could make for some unpleasant car rides together, to say the least.
Vastly different perceptions of control
You may feel a sense of control when everything is scheduled and orderly, while your friend feels in control when she knows she can change her mind, spin on a dime, and go in a different direction if the situation calls for it. Your need for order might make her feel anxious, while her needs to go with the flow does the same to you, leaving you both feeling unsettled and frustrated on the whole.
The most important factor in developing and nurturing healthy friendships is willingness on the part of both people to remain open to understanding one another’s needs. If you’re worried there may be a problem within one of your close friendships, ask yourself the following questions:
-What do I want from this friendship?
-What am I getting?
-What are my needs? What are hers?
-What can I comfortably ask for? What can I comfortably give?
A good friend is someone you enjoy spending time with. Someone you can laugh with and share life’s pleasures and challenges with. Someone whose needs are compatible and overlap positively with yours.
Having a great friend is a joy of life, but true friendships are rare. It's like discovering a four-leaf clover — they’re hard to find, sometimes show up where you least expect them, but make you feel very lucky to have found them.
Dr. Sharon Livingston is a master career coach, world-class researcher and best-selling author who co-founded Future Proof, a dynamic program that strategically and effectively guides people to the career of their dreams. Connect with her to ignite your career and transform your life.