Friendship quality is something we often don’t focus on. As we go through life, we pick up acquaintances. We meet them at school or work or through mutual friends. Some of those acquaintances become friends, with some of those friends making it into our inner circle. How did they get there? Usually it “just happens” and we don’t stop to think about whether these friends are the right people for us to be spending our time with, or whether on the flipside, we are being good, supportive friends to them.
Try this reflection exercise and challenge yourself to review the quality of your most important relationships.
Friendship reflection exercise
Follow this reflection exercise (printable available at the bottom) to take a step back and test the quality of the most important friendships in your life.
Rank your top 10 friends using the following categories:
- Best friend
- Very good friend
- Good friend
Do you think the categories you’ve put your friends in are the same as where they’d place you? If not, why not? How do you think that affects the day-to-day quality of your friendship?
10 questions to ask yourself
- How much time do you spend each week with that friend? Include messaging.
- How would you rate the quality of that time?
- What do you appreciate about your friend?
- Is there drama in your friendship?
- What don’t you like about your friend?
- If you could change something in the friendship, what would it be?
- Is the friendship balanced from a give-and-take perspective?
- How could you be a better friend to them?
- What is your favourite memory with your friend?
- Do you feel happy during and after spending time together?
You can repeat this exercise for your very good and good friends as well. By reflecting on your friendships, you may realise you’d like to put in more effort into one of your friendships or you might need to have a difficult conversation with a friend about something in your friendship that isn’t working so well. You might realise that a friend you’ve thought of as a “best friend” is not a healthy friend to continue to have in your inner circle.
Whatever the results of your reflection, take a few days to digest your thoughts before acting on them!
“Good” qualities that you want to have in your friends
- Reliable and available for your emotional needs
- Communicative, honest and open. No drama!
- Generous with their time and energy
- Believes in the best of you and encourages you to follow your goals
- You feel happy being around them
“Bad” qualities that you don’t want to find in your friends
- Flaky and you can’t rely on them to be there when you need them
- Takes more from the friendship than they give to it. Includes things such as giving up time, listening to you, doing something thoughtful for you, paying for rounds of drinks.
- Two-faced, where they say one thing to your face and the opposite to someone else.
- Superficial and doesn’t care about the realities/deeper things in your life.
- Has unhealthy or unwise habits and encourages you to do things against your mindset. Depending on who you are, this could include getting drunk, overspending, fad dieting, poor self-image habits or gossiping.
Download the printable reflection exercise
Has this review made you appreciate your friends more? If so, let them know you are grateful for them!
Share with us! Tell us about what makes a friendship worthwhile for you. What qualities do you admire most in your best friends?