"A listener." This is one of the best qualities someone can have as a friend. The ability and desire to sit and listen to the ideas, complaints, and hurts of a friend; to empathize, and to hear the intent behind the words.
But I think there is another important side to friendship that we often ignore:
Proverbs 27:5 - "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."
Proverbs 27:6 - "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."
Prov 28:23 - "He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue."
Good friends sometimes need to challenge, correct, and even rebuke each other. It is pretty clear that none of us are perfect. In fact, all of us are pretty messed up. Even mature Christians still have blind spots of sin. Part of what God uses to make us more like him is the loving correction and rebuke of those that are close to us.
When our friends and family will never challenge us. When all they do is listen, we are in danger. We are in danger of settling in to patterns of sin that are destructive and do not glorify God. We need friends that love us enough to challenge us and correct us sometimes.
What do you think? Do you agree that we need this? Why do you think it doesn't happen? What are some ways we can be better at both correcting and taking correction?
Prov 15:31 - "He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise."