Good friends are gifts from God. I'm talking about real, true friends. They are people in your life whom you can count on. They accept you for who you are. When you make a mistake, do something wrong, or are being self-destructive, they should be honest with you and tell you. It might get you a little annoyed or hurt your feelings, but they don't do it to be mean. They do it to help you and because they care enough about you to be honest with you even when the truth might hurt. A good friend isn't someone who always agrees with you just to make you happy and get you to like them.

Good friends support you, care about your well-being, and want you to be happy and successful. They always have your back. They are loyal and you know that you can trust them. If you can't physically be together in person, they should only be a text, phone call, or video chat away. True friends aren't people who only stand with you when times are good or when it's convenient and easy for them. Sure, you should be able to have fun with your friends, laugh, and be light-hearted. But your friends should also be there for you when times are hard and when you need a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and a heart to offer you compassion and advice.

Likewise, if you want to be a good, true friend to someone else, you should possess these qualities as well. Friendship is a two-way street. There should be mutual care, thoughtfulness, love, acceptance, and support. It takes a good friend to have a good friend. You can't just expect other people to be there for you if you don't reciprocate and if you aren't there for them.

Do not use others. Do not take their kindness and good deeds for granted. Do not expect others to be there for you if you aren't there for them. Make sure they know how important and special they are to you. Make sure they know how much you truly appreciate them and value them as not only your friends, but also as people. This could be as simple as sending them random text messages stating how much you love them and how grateful you are for their friendship and for having them in your life! You can even just randomly bring it up when you hang out in person. No matter when or how you do it, just make sure at least every now and then you go a little out of your way to let them know truly how special and important they are. A kind word or gesture can really go a long way. People aren't mind-readers, so even though you appreciate them, they might not always feel it. Letting them know how incredible they are will really make them feel good and cared about—because they are and they deserve to know.

To all my true friends, thank you so much for everything you have done for me. I know sometimes I can be a pain and a mess. Thank you for standing by my side, for listening to me, for giving me great advice, and for giving me your unending love, support, and acceptance. Thank you for all the fun times and memories we've created and shared. I look forward to many more. It means the world to me to have you all in my life. Every time I may be a little down or unhappy with my life, I think about all of the wonderful friends and beautiful souls I have in my life, and it reminds me truly how blessed I am. I love you all so much.

True friends are hard to come by. If you have at least a handful of people you can call your true friends, you live quite a blessed and lucky life. Please, don't take them for granted. Let them know how much they mean to you. Hug them extra tight when you see them. Let them know how much you appreciate them and how much you care about them. Make time for them, listen to them, and be a true friend to them. Treasure your true friends because your true friends are a treasure.