What Makes a Good Friend?

Making and keeping friends are critical life skills for children to learn and develop. Not only does it develop empathy, confidence, and moral reasoning, but it helps to set a good foundation for relationships later in life! During this holiday season, encourage students to not only think of things they can receive from others but to consider what they can give of themselves in relationships.

Elementary Lesson

Show students the following video about “friendship soup”:


  1. Have students complete the worksheet titled: “Top 5 Ingredients for My “Friendship Soup”
  2. Break students into small groups of 3-4 and have them each share what “ingredients” they would put in their friendship soup, and why. 
  3. Conduct a whole group discussion by providing students with the opportunity to share what they learned from their classmates about what makes a good friend. Create a “classroom” friend list that can be permanently displayed. This should be a compilation of the 5-7 most common answers shared. 

Secondary Lesson


  1. Have students read the following quote about friendship by CS Lewis: “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” 
  2. Have students take 5-10 minutes to complete this Quote Reflection Sheet.
  3. Have students each share their answers in small groups of 4-5 students. 
  4. Conduct a whole class share out where students can then share one new idea/perspective they learned about friendship from talking with their peers.
  5. Ask students to identify just ONE person who fits their definition of a “good friend” and then challenge them to let that friend know how they feel.

Teacher Tips

In school, academics often take priority over a student's development of social skills or healthy relationships. However, a good majority of students report that the quality of their friendships at school has a huge impact on their motivation to attend school and even to do well. With this understanding, it’s important for teachers to incorporate opportunities for students to connect with one another and to learn about different ways to build healthy friendships. Incorporating circles in the classroom is a great way to do that. Check out this instructional guide on facilitating circles in your classroom.