Stand up. A friend will not cave to peer pressure and waffle on a topic, issue, or confrontation just because the majority feels otherwise. A friend will stick, especially in public, even if the cool kids are in dissent. A friend will support our stand, even if it makes them unpopular. A friend doesn’t waver in his opinion or preferences depending on a whim or the audience.
Show up. A friend will issue an invite, and stick to it, no matter what. A friend will turn down other (potentially better or perhaps more fun) offers because they already committed to something. A friend will do just that, commit. You can know that when a friend says they will do something, it will be done.
Tell it like it is. Sometimes we need to hear we are being pig-headed or foolish. Sometimes we need that proverbial slap upside the head to get the thought process headed in the right direction. Sometimes, we need brutal honesty (preferably coated with just a hair of sugar). A friend will do this for us. A friend will tell us that we have spinach in our teeth and that we are making a huge mistake pushing to get our kid advanced a grade. A friend would tell us if we are being a jerk to our spouse or screwing up at work. A friend will give us the truth, even if it makes us - and them - uncomfortable.
Say no. A friend doesn’t do things just to please you. A friend knows that he can be true to his own beliefs and heart and that you will understand and accept. And, just as important, a friend allows you the same. A friend knows their own mind and appreciates their individuality, and yours, and knows that one plus one is equal to something much greater than the parts.
Celebrate differences. A friend will not ask you to conform to their beliefs. A friend will not morph to change to yours, either. A friend will not be a shape-shifter; or blow in the breeze. A friend is consistently consistent, letting you lean when you need to, and celebrates your strengths when you stand. A friend knows which skills you rock, and is the loudest one cheering in the audience.
Be a friend. Make sure you have some that have all of the required skills, too.