5 Character Traits of Healthy Friendships

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What is your inner circle of friends like?

Are those closest to you healthy friendships?

Are those who speak most into your life challenging you to be a better person?

Do those with whom you talk the most leave you feeling positive, uplifted, and encouraged?

Or are those with whom you have the most contact filling your life with negativity, drama, gossip, and discouragement?

“Rosilind, what do you think us the reason that you continue to date men who are not healthy for you?”

The question caught me off guard.

Having just come out of a relationship where I had been emotionally and psychologically abused, I was told over and over again that I wasn’t to blame, that what had happened to me said more about the my ex-fiance than it did about me.

And this was true. Very true.

A victim of abuse is never the guilty party. However, in my case I had slowly and systematically walked from the frying pan into the fire. With each boyfriend the poison was worse.

This time it was almost deadly.

“I don’t know.” I said. “But I am on a journey to find that answer.”

And that is exactly what I did.

I put a moratorium on dating for an indefinite period of time, until I was certain that I had discovered the answer.

While I learned much about myself during the next five years, it would take much longer to become healthy inside. Five years later I began dating my husband, who has been essential in teaching me how to become a healthy friend and recognize healthy friendships.

5 Character Traits of Healthy Friendships

Learning how to spot those healthy friendships in our lives, so that we can invest in them, it crucial.

Equally crucial is learning how to spot the friendships in our lives that leave us feeling drained, defeated, and discouraged; the friendships that continually bring us drama.

In my free Building Healthy Friendships Mini Course, I take you on a journey through examining your friendships, learning how to put them in proper order, and even confronting the toxic friends in your life.

You can sign up for the free mini-course here:

1. A healthy friend is forgiving

One of my biggest hangups has always been forgiveness. I am a “stuffer” and my biggest battle to become healthy was learning to embrace God’s grace so that I could release it to those who had offended me. The worst part was that I didn’t even know that I was harboring bitterness. But I was, and I used past hurts to trap me into a victim mentality. My default was self-pity.

Once I began walking in forgiveness and renewal of my mind, so that I no longer identified with my pain but with Jesus Christ; and once I began to change my default from self-pity to gratefulness, I began living in a whole new level of freedom and joy!

Most of all, I learned to understand grace in a whole new way! I had become a great receptor of grace….and a generous giver of grace!

2. A healthy friend is authentic

Authenticity, probably the #1 character trait I admire most in people. A person who is comfortable with their own idiosyncrasies, limitations and imperfections is a person who is free to be authentic. They realize that to err is human, and that a mistake is only a cue to try again from a different angle.

But more than that, an authentic friend is a trustworthy friend. With an authentic friend there are no unwritten rules. You will not discover that this friend has harbored poor opinions of you or talked about you behind your back because they speak truth….and always in love.

3. A healthy friend is real

A healthy friend owns up to his faults and blind spots and asks for prayer. They have learned the value of humility and do not assume that they are above being needy from time to time.

A healthy friend has learned that we are all equal under grace: whether we’ve been saved 30 years or 3 years, we were all equally lost and we are equally forgiven. In inner-circle relationships there should be a healthy exchange of needs, prayer, and openness.

4. A healthy friend respects boundaries

Every person has boundaries. Some prefer wider boundaries while others are more comfortable with narrower ones. A healthy friend will recognize and respect those boundaries without feeling insecure or growing pushy.
A healthy friend has learned to surrender expectations in the friendship. Realizing that each party has their own responsibilities and obligations, they release expectations and comparisons to other friendships.

5. A healthy friend communicates

One of my blind spots (to which I am no longer blind) was to martyrdom. I would silently put up with a lot of stuff that I didn’t like, until I could bear it no more and then explode on anything and anyone within any reasonable distance.

This is obviously very unhealthy!

My husband, early on in our dating relationship, taught me to immediately share what was bothering me, rather than subjecting him to an indefinitely “silent treatment”. Silent treatments are unfair and cause insecurity to build in the relationship. A healthy friend will immediately communicate their dislike of a situation or comment, or their need for understanding in a certain matter.

Without healthy communication a relationship is stunted because it can only be as healthy as the amount of communication that takes place.

More great content for women:

Can a Woman Biblically Teach or Preach in the Church?

10 Ways to Lead an Online Bible Study

How to Find God’s Will For Your Life

5 Things You Need To Know To Find Your Calling

4 Thing You Need to Know About Dreams

Encouragement for Wives in the Ministry

Supporting Your Husband in the Ministry

The Top 3 Things Single Women Need to Know

5 Character Traits of Healthy Friendships

5 Biblical Ways to Resolve Conflict

How to Surround Yourself With Safe People

5 Qualities of An Authentic Person

9 Ways to Spot a Toxic Friendship

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  1. Rosiline, I love this series – it’s so good. I have definitely been the martyr and I have had to learn how not to be the hard way. Thank you for these traits. Be blessed! – Kia

  2. Hi Rosiline, thank you for sharing this post. I give people the silent treatment too, and I silently put up with any thing I’m not comfortable with then explode much later.
    It makes me unpredictable and makes people scared of saying or doing certain things around me because they are don’t want the silent treatment.
    I am trying really hard to deal with it and my significant other is helping me out too.
    Thank you for sharing the need for communication in friendship.

    I’m Joining the linkup today.
    Thank you for hosting

    1. Yes – being a stuffer does make it hard to have healthy and lasting friendships. I have found that learning tools and words to express myself calmly right away not only helps to keep my relationships in a healthy place, but it helps to keep my heart joyful and free from bitterness and pain.

  3. Thank you again, Rosilind for hosting. I so enjoyed your “healthy friendships” post that I will be sharing it in several places today. Many women need to hear messages like this one. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

  4. Thanks for hosting and for sharing your story. It Is hard to learn boundaries and how to have healthy relationships. This is something I have struggled with for many years but as my faith grows, many of this has been wiped away and I have learned to communicate better with others. Blessings to you!

  5. I agree with all of these. I like what you said how a healthy friend has learned to surrender expectations in the friendship. As we get older and our lives follow different paths, it’s really hard and unfair to have the same expectations from our friends. It’s something I have learned and hope my friends will also understand.

    1. Yes – you are so right. As we grow and mature, our priorities often take on a different shape and we can’t have the same expectations as we did before. Example: marriage and children.

  6. What a great follow up post to the one last week regarding toxic friendships! Thank you for sharing, Rosilind. I am blessed by your words again today. 🙂

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