Just a random thought I have after an educating weekend I had. Although, with great awareness, I know I've been blessed with lots of good friends, it made me think how 'good' of a friend I am.
1. Be real
Are you trying to be friends with someone to be accepted into a certain clique, or because you'd like to get to know someone else that he or she knows? That's not friendship, it's opportunism. Every new person you meet has the right to be accepted (or not) on his or her own merits, it's better to just be yourself than let anyone else influence you into being someone you are not.
2. Be honest
A dishonest person has no chance of having true friends. Keep your promises, do what you say you are going to do, and most importantly, don't lie! Lying leads to more lies, and people will eventually figure you out. If you found yourself lying about something, be honest - go up to them, tell them the truth and how you felt, as well as how you may think they would've felt (explain that you were second-guessing rather than trusting your friendship). Don't be a coward; if you know you were at fault for the whole dilemma, own up. Simply talk about it, hope your friend will forgive you. They'd most likely appreciate it in the future, to look back and say, 'wow!' I have/had an amazing friend by my side.
3. Be loyal
If your friend tells you something in confidence, don't blab about it to anyone else. Don't talk about your friend behind his/her back. Nobody likes a backstabber. Never say anything about your friend that you would not want to repeat face to face. Don't let others say bad things about your friend until you've had a chance to hear your friend's side of the story. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn't seem like a thing your friend would do or say, tell them, "I know him/her, and that just doesn't sound right. Let me talk to him/her, find out his/her perspective on this. If it turns out to be true, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I would appreciate it if you didn't spread that around, because it might not be." You can't play both sides of the fence.
4. Be respectful
Know the boundaries. Things you and your friend discuss should be treated with care - your friend is not sharing this information with just anyone, and may not want to. She shared it with you - and only you, as far as you know. Example: If your friend doesn't want to name her crush, don't push her into it. If she has named her crush, don't tell anyone else. This is just common courtesy anyone and everyone deserves the expectation that you will keep confidences.
5. Watch out for your friend
If you sense that s/he is getting drunk at a party, help him or her to get away from the alcohol. Don't allow your friend to drive drunk - take his or her keys and/or drive your friend home personally. If your friend begins talking about running away or committing suicide, tell someone about it. This rule overrides the "respect privacy" step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Suggest a help line or professional to your friend. Talk to your and your friend's parents or spouse first (unless they are the ones causing the problems) before involving anyone else.
6. Pitch in for friends during times of crisis
If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school and give them their homework assignments when they're absent and sick at home. Send cards and care packages. If there is a death in his/her family, you might want to attend the funeral or cook dinner for them. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let tears roll. Give them a tissue and listen. You don't have to say anything, just be with them.
7. If your friend is going through a crisis, don't tell them everything is going to be all right if it's not going to be
This goes right along with keeping it real. It's hard not to say this sometimes, but false reassurance can often be worse than none, and it may undermine your friend's ability to get through the crisis as well as they might. Instead, tell your friend that whatever they need, you are there for them. If they need to talk, talk; if they need to sit quietly, sit with them; if they need to get their mind off things, take them to a movie or concert. Give them a hug. You are friends, not strangers, after all. Just stay honest, but upbeat and positive. Even a stranger would most probably appreciate it.
8. Give advice, add perspective
Don't judge your friend, but do advise to stay out of situations where they may harm themselves or others. Tell him/her how you perceive his/her situation, and what you might do in the same circumstances. Don't be offended if they listen to your advice and then decide to ignore it. Your friend must make his or her own decisions. Avoid saying "You should...".