10 Habits of a Totally Awesome Friend


When swim practice ends, my daughter Faith hops out of the pool in one smooth motion. She walks my direction, arms crossed over her chest. She leaves a trail of water in her wake, and one look at her expression tells me she’s awake to something bothering her, too.

When she reaches me, I grab the large white towel, unfold it, and wrap it around her shivering shoulders.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. “It can’t be how you were swimming. You looked great!”

She gives the pool and a young boy standing next to it a hard side eye.

“It’s that boy, mama. Every time I catch up with him and try to pass him in our lane, he throws a fit and won’t let me move ahead of him. It’s so annoying!”

From the sidelines or in the thick of things, it’s easy to pick the obvious rude behavior. But sometimes bad habits and rude behavior aren’t so obvious. They sneak in and stealthily sabotage our relationships – in particular our friendships. There’s nowhere I’ve been more keenly aware of this than in my own behavior. So today, I’m looking inside my own friendships – and inside my own heart – to yank out these bad habits by the roots so my friendships bloom better. And I’m replacing them with 10 habits of a totally awesome friend. We may not develop or display them perfectly, but they can show our heart’s goal.

10 habits of a totally awesome friend

1. She remembers friendship moves in two lanes. She doesn’t mind making use of her own lane to reach her friend rather than checking the horizon to see when her friend is coming to her.

2. She looks her friend in the eye when she talks to her. She gives her the gift of her full attention.

3. She says please and thank you. When someone compliments her savory meal or cute shirt, she doesn’t shift uncomfortably in her seat or list off all its flaws. She just says thank you and shows humility at its finest.

4. She doesn’t interrupt her friend when she’s talking. This seems like a problem only kids should have, but grown-ups often do this, too.

5. She leaves her one-up stories at home. She chooses to listen and take in what her friend says rather than hand out her story laden with harder, more dramatic plots.

6. She listens and remembers that sometimes it’s best to hold her opinions close. She remembers we are called to ease one another’s burdens, not add to them. And sometimes that means listening more and talking less.

7. She provides a safe space for her friend’s differences. She doesn’t write her friend off because she see the world differently.

8. She gives to give, not to get. Whether in a facebook message, tweet, or card, she gives kind words from a desire to lift others up by showing humility through encouragement. She leaves expectations out of the gesture.

9. She allows freedom for life’s changing seasons, twists and turns. If her friend isn’t as free to hang out as she used to be, she sees it as the result of a life change and the responsibilities it brings rather than any change in her friend’s feelings toward their friendship.

10. She validates her friends’ problems. She also may give her a good, honest dose of reality when needed, but she lets her friend know that in the end, she will be okay, too.

What habits would you add to my list?

Psst: Some fun news! If you could use a friend that sends the message you’re going to be okay straight to your heart, then let me fill you in on a special treat: Holley Gerth, the world’s encourager-in-chief, has a brand new baby book that releases TODAY. It’s called You’re Going to Be Okay, and it’s available on  AmazonB&NCBD, and DaySpring.

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 Isn’t she beautiful?

Of course she’s not just beautiful to look at, but she’s chock-full of relevant words that provide beautiful encouragement to your heart and soul.  Here’s just a small sampling of what’s inside:

 I want to whisper, “I know this isn’t easy.” You’ve made it this far, and that tells me so much about you – that you are a brave, beautiful, faithful woman. You are trying to trust even when you’re not sure what’s ahead. You’re persevering when it would be easier to give up.

I don’t know what your future holds. But I know who holds you…The news ticker for your life still reads, “Good things coming.”  ~ Holley Gerth, You’re Going to Be Okay

In this book, Holley expertly connects spiritual truths with the physical and mental, so her encouragement is perfectly well-rounded. Quite honestly, I can’t praise it highly enough.

May it bless you – all of you – as it has me. Have a wonderful day, my totally awesome friends. I love you!

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  1. says

    Such goodness here. I pray I’m that kind of friend to others, thankful for the awesome friends in my life and I need to head over to Amazon to purchase Holly’s book. :)
    Blessings to you. xoxox

  2. says

    We are settling into our new home and area but I have never felt more awkward as we get to know new friends. I’m almost unsure of who I am or how I should be parenting. While I’m standing next to these other really great women I feel like I’m scrambling to cover up some of my mess. It’s hard to be vulnerable with new people when you aren’t sure how they’ll receive you! This is the first duty station I’ve experienced this and most of the people we are getting to know are not military families but I’m missing that instant connection experienced with my old friends.

    Thank you for this post though, it’s a good reminder for the kind of friend I would like to be. It’s really simple things we can do for others and I like that. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as I’m making it. Loving people isn’t always easy but these 10 ways are a great start!

    • says

      Laura! So happy to see your pretty face!

      You’re so right ~ it’s hard to be vulnerable with new people. And sometimes, I think it’s okay not to be, at least not until you know them better and feel they’re safe. For me, every duty station had its own friendship personality, and some were much trickier to maneuver than others. I’m praying for this new season of yours right now. May God open the doors to some beautiful, safe friendships that help you thrive in your new home. I love you, Laura!

  3. says

    Kristen, nicely and tenderly done. I just shared this on google+. I am hoping it reaches all the hearts it is meant for. You are a good friend to promote Holley’s book as well. She is a whole lot of awesome!

    • says

      Hi Debbie!

      Absolutely. What I mean to say is that sometimes in friendships, it’s hard to remember that like any relationship, it’s a two way street. I know I’ve been caught up in dwelling on what I’m not getting from a friend when if I’m being honest, I’m not giving much, either. A good friend knows that it’s not about what she gets from her friends, but what she can give as well. And while this may change depending what’s going on in life (harder seasons mean we aren’t as free to give as much as we would like), but overall, a good friend is mindful of being a giver, not just a getter. Does that help, I hope?

  4. Beth Williams says


    Such superb advice for woman of any age. I find it hard to find truly good friends that you can connect with on a deeper level and just pour out your feelings to. God has blessed me with a good co-worker and some super great Christians at church–Blue Springs Christian in Elizabethton, TN– that I can call or text and wham prayers going out for me. On the flip of that they can text me or call and let me know their issues or problems and I am on my knees for them. We just love on each other and pray daily.

    Thank you Kristen for a great encouraging post! Blessings :) :)

  5. Beth Williams says

    I call and check in on my covenant friend often. Especially since she and I both have had aging parent health issues. We commiserate with each other. Most weeks I call her 3-5 times to check and see how her dad is doing. I also give–take meals to her knowing the stress of going to hospital or nursing home daily and dealing with house chores, etc.