BFF Rules: How to Create Unbreakable Friendships with Your Best Gal Pals - Christine Kane

Ever wonder how to be a good friend?

Or even, what IS a good friend?

Well, today is my best friend Joy’s birthday.

And though I’m far from being a stellar example of a great friend, my years of friendship with this spectacular woman have taught me some of the most important things about friendship and mostly, about love

So, in honor of Joy’s birthday, here are some BFF rules for creating unbreakable friendships:

BFF Rule #1 – Want your friend’s happiness more than anything else.

Admit it. Most of us are lame at this.

We love our friends BUT we sometimes have our own silent concerns, judgment, or agenda about what we think they should do with their lives.

Joy has shown me over and over again that all she wants for her friends is their happiness. And she supports them however she can as they create that for themselves. Most of all, what this means is that she never EVER judges her friends’ choices.

(Except for the time she told me that under NO circumstance was I to ever wear this yellow blouse I used to own.)

Love your friend so much that all you want is her happiness. This means allowing her life choices to teach her and grow her. It also means trusting that her wisdom will always guide her.

BFF Rule #2 – Always pick friends who think you’re fabulous.

One time Joy called me to describe a situation she had been in where no one laughed at stuff she was saying. She thought it meant she wasn’t funny.

I told her I thought it meant they couldn’t be her friends.

If you like to laugh and if you’re funny even a little bit? You should always have friends who think you’re a hoot. If not, it’s a deal-breaker.

(By the way, Joy laughs at pretty much everything I say.)

Love yourself so much that you surround yourself with people who think you are fabulous and funny.

BFF Rule #3 – Never trash-talk other people.

This might be the biggest thing I’ve learned from Joy. Never trash-talk anyone, even with your best girlfriends.

Now, this isn’t to say that when you get triggered by someone, you don’t share your trigger and let your friend listen. But claim your trigger. Don’t make it a story about the other person.

This is keeps the attention on your insides and helps you grow and learn from everything. It’s also a trust-builder.

Love both of yourselves enough to know that when you trash other people, you lose out on some great opportunities to recognize and heal your own triggers and move beyond the stories.

BFF Rule #4 – Share stupid moments. They’re more important than the big stuff.

Recently, someone asked me about how to share something that you’re just wildly passionate about with people who need to hear your message.  I told her to tell little everyday stories. That’s how big passion gets through.

It’s the same thing with friendships. Big love comes down to little moments.

For instance, Joy doesn’t like some of my toenail polish choices. So, naturally, when I recently got a nasty dark black purple pedicure when I was in Miami – I shot an iPhone photo of my feet while I was in the bathtub and I texted it to her.

I did this because I knew it would make her laugh.

She, in turn, sent me a snap shot of her orchid arrangement that had been ripped completely apart by Suki the cat. She wanted me to see Suki’s creative moment.

Know each other’s everyday loves and preferences – and look out for those things you KNOW would make your friend laugh. Share your moments with her.

BFF Rule #5 – Have a “No-Should” Policy.

Joy and I have a no-guilt no-should cancellation policy.

What that means is that whenever we make plans, if anything at all comes up (even just feeling like staying home and reading) we allow full cancellation with no guilt required. This gives permission and even tests the depth of the love every now and then.

Remember that love sometimes means letting the other person be disappointed. But NEVER means doing anything out of “should” or guilt.

BFF Rule #6 – Love each other’s “stuff.” (And laugh at it sometimes.)

I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a phone call with Joy where she hasn’t either hung up on me with her cheek bone, or dropped her phone in the toilet, or clipped the headset wire with gardening shears or muted the conversation altogether.

She, on the other hand, has never known me to plan ahead for anything, or have all the ingredients of a dish I was preparing to bring over, or remember what I was supposed to bring, or arrive on time.

We have worse “stuff” than this, of course. Every now and then, it catches up in the form of shame or tears. But the best moments are when we just crack up at each other – and remember that there is no arrival.

Loving each other’s “stuff” will help each other heal old wounds. Laughter makes healing happen faster.

BFF Rule #7 – Occasionally leave messages that are so long, the voicemail shuts off.

This isn’t hard at all if you’re committed to #4.

BFF Rule #8 – Rave about each other to each other. Rave about each other to other people.

If you’re a friend of Joy’s, you can pretty much count on the fact that she raves about you to all her other friends. Even her friends I’m not friends with – I feel like I know them and celebrate their victories because I hear about them through our mutual friend.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced – like so many women – the usual girlfriend stuff.  Occasional betrayal. Lots of confusion and uncertainty. And maybe even bad communication. It’s not anyone’s fault. We don’t have great role models on this friendship thing. So it’s up to us to BE the role models we so need.

This is not a perfect list. I am not a perfect friend. But Joy has been my role model. And I will rave and tell the world that knowing this woman who sees ONLY the best in people (and laughs at all my jokes) makes me turn around and do the same with the other people in my life. Her light makes mine shine brighter.

In honor of Joy’s birthday – take a moment to rave about your BFF or any friend, for that matter!  Rave in the comment box below – or just call her up and let her hear it over the phone!

Happy Birthday Joy!!! I love you!!



  • Marjorie

    i love it,.i also have my bHezfriend, i also treat her as my sister for i dont have a real sister. I am also soooo lucky and blessed to have her as my bestfriend.

    i love you bhez.

  • ruthy

    I am so haapy knowing there are people out there who respect great friendships as much as i do..
    good work ladies… i love my BFF

  • ruthy

    U mean the world to me Inna, I love you very much. Thank you for being such a friend.
    we all need good girlfriends. I got my self a twin.

  • Vickie

    BFF Rule #5 – Have a “No-Should” Policy.

    Boy do I disagree on that one!

    On both sides.
    Often, I am tired, or don’t want to deal with traffic, etc. But, because I believe in following through–I will meet a friend any way–and 95 times out of 100–I am so glad I did.

    On the other side, I plan and put time aside for friendship, I look forward to times together, and I expect the commitment to be there.

    I believe in integrity. And that means following through with promises and commitments. If you really don’t want to commit to a friend–then maybe it really isn’t a friendship at all.

  • Kara

    What a great post! And what a great friend you must be!! 🙂
    Thanks for fantastic techniques to not only have good friends (which I need more of), but to be a great friend too.


  • Create My Mind Movie

    I love all these tips! My favorite is the “NO SHOULD” rule …. Making sure you have trust and communication are equally important for intimate relationships as well as your BFF’s. How lucky your BFF’s are! lol

  • Chiqui*Kat

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful friend, Christine.

    I’ve got three – an online BFF, Allison who introduced your wonderful mind to me; a sister-in-law BFF Mariam, who lives three houses down and, Lee, a GBFF (g for gay!) which, in my opinion, every girl should have.

    And now I’m sending this link to all three of them to honor their amazing presence in my life!

  • ~Kelley

    My best friend Michelle was the first person who ever really listened to me. In high school we had so many incredible conversations that she just picked up out of thin air by asking me what I thought about something, and really listening to my answers and getting to know me. We have always supported each other and never understood how some people could call their relationships “friendships” when they seemed so horrible and damaging. We were so lucky to find each other. We rescued each other in so many ways.
    Thanks for posting this – this is one of your best articles ever. I am so happy for you that you have Joy in your life. (and Happy Birthday to Joy!).

  • Deborah Wall

    I have a girlfriend I call my wife (we both have husbands and kids) because we share a relationship as close as the one I have with my husband. We support, love, cry and share our daily lives. I think every woman deserves a wife and this reminded me how lucky I am to have mine.

  • Sarah Naylor

    I love this blog article Christine and reconnecting with you. You are incredible and I would daresay that Joy is blessed to have you in her life also. My best friend, Dorothy Edwards, and I have been friends for over 50 years. We are sooo blessed because we had an opportunity to attend our 50th high school reunion together two weeks ago. We shared a hotel room and did a lot of BFF stuff for three days. She treated me to the best pedicure I have ever had. We have shared many years of the good, bad, and difficult and through it all we have grown in our love and trust of each other. Wherever we have been in the world, we have always connected with each other because no one else understands who we are and where we have been in our lives like we do for each other. I am so grateful to have Dottie as a very important person in my life. Thanks for this blog Christine. It would be good to see you in Sedona, Arizona one of these days.

  • Jill Ferguson

    Oct. 16th is my vewy vewy Best Friend Forever’s Birthday!
    Suzanne S. has been my BFF for over 35 years, starting at UCLA.
    Together, we have laughed, cried, screamed, yelled at, ignored, hung up on, and done just about everything else under the sun for as long as I can remember! But, most of all, we laughed so much, our stomachs’ ached! That is what made it so wonderful. I knew she would love me forever, no matter what a fool I made out of myself (although I questioned it and tested her love many, many times!).
    I will always try to love her more, and to show her that love, because there is no one on earth who could ever replace her!
    So, here’s to Ms. Suzanne and being Best Friends for the rest of our lives, no matter what the situation! I love you, Suzannie! XOXOXO

  • Cheryl

    I would like to rave about my best friend Mel, who just sent me a link to this post in my email and told me she loved me. We do all of the above for and to each other, and much much more. Yay for bestest girlfriends!!

  • Barbara Lazarony

    My BFF is my husband David, he’s an artist, a brilliant software engineer and a good listener. I’m a lucky woman, 27 years and counting together.

  • Leonie

    I’ll take this opportunity to rave about my wonderful friend Mags, who I’ve known for over 7 years, but will meet for the first time in just a couple of weeks (so excited!!). We’re separated by an ocean, but she is the one person who has stood by me through the most trying times of my life, sent me care packages and letters, and kindly read every single overanalysing e-mail I’ve ever sent her (and there were many – the woman is patience personified), while caringly offering a different light in which to see some of my drama. She calls me on my crap like I call her on hers, and we both know that if there’s something we hesitate to tell each other, it’s probably something that isn’t really in our best interest. I don’t know what I’d do without her!

    Happy birthday, Joy! Bet you never expected to start a blog post and such lovely comments just by being born on this day!

  • Suzie

    I recently ended a friendship, (badly, I’m ashamed to say), so your words are really great timing for me. They have helped to reaffirm that I made the right decision and can concentrate more on those friends that are good for my soul.

    Your #3 rule can be soooo hard to follow when you are angry. I wore a bandana wrapped around my wrist the other day to remind myself to keep my mouth shut. It worked and I felt wonderful inside because when I went home, I left only good thoughts behind with others.

    Christine, I am so thankful for your newsletter in my inbox today. It led me here and gave me hope and made me smile, knowing that I do have many wonderful friends and that I am a wonderful friend in return!

    Happy Belated Birthday, Joy!

  • Maria

    Thank you for this post and happy birthday to Joy. I have so many friends like this and cannot imagine my life without all of my girlfriends no matter where we are in our friendship journeys or paths of life or whatever. Mostly thanks to my mom who taught me what being a friend is all about by her example with all of her friends some of whom she has had since pre-school and she’ll be celebrating her 75th birthday this year. Makes my friend of 40+ years met in reading group in kindergarten and my friend of 40+ years who I met in Brownies seem like very little time in the friendship pool.

  • Carol

    I adore all of these comments as well as the post! Not having a sister, and witnessing the neurologically-related personality changes of my beloved Mom (both of us learning to be with each other on an essence level), I so cherish any time with K, my dear friend of 37 years. What you posted is absolutely true, a beautiful summation. We laugh, cry (sometimes in the same minute), act silly as hell, are reverent about, well, little, and Never let the other forget who we truly are. Whenever I think of the movie “Sideways,” I think of her. 🙂 May there be more of this love all over…we need it.

  • Kelley

    Very true words Christine! Sounds like me and my BFF Laurie Knight…I could rave on and on about her. She’s super fab! We laugh with and at each other. She’s a true BFF. My life is enriched because of her.

    Great list! Thanks for reminding us that BFF’s rock!

    Happy Birthday Joy!

  • Anna

    Awwww….this gave me goose bumps and tears…Joy’s blessed to have such a wonderful friend in you. Happy, happy birthday Joy…you are a true gem!

  • kelly

    How inspiring and it reminds me why my soul is attracted to a few special people and left hesitant with others. Thank you Christine. Happy Birthday to all the Joys in the world.

  • inge

    happy birthday joy and thanks to both of you gals for this wonderful post! =)

  • elaine

    Christine I LOVE this post so beautifully written and what a wonderful birthday gift (made me teary!)

    Happy Birthday to you Joy 🙂 (imagine me singing this!)

  • Jul

    Great list! You definitely made me think about my close friendships. And what a wonderful birthday present.

  • Stacey

    Just reading this post took me into 3D thoughts of my own. There’s something about those kind of friendships that bridges the distance. Having moved across continent I left one of those on the east coast. It doesn’t seem to matter whether email, internet chat, cell phone or snail mail (she likes the pen on paper feel sometimes), the connection lives on. And each time we unite it’s as if we were never apart… she has a way of taking me to my safe place no matter what is going on. My preference would be to have her at my side, but I’m reminded constantly that I couldn’t get away from her if I tried…. She’s under my skin 😉 I’ll raise a glass to Barb tonight! Thanks for the reminder to appreciate so much the precious gift and honour of sharing in another’s life!

    • Christine Kane

      Stacey – What’s funny is that Joy and I have realized that MOST of our friendship is on the phone! (we recently rode in a car together – and realized it was the first time we’d ever done that!) so closeness isn’t always about ‘in the same room.’

  • Abbie

    WOW!! Incredible….! I Cried, laughed and finished w/ a warm feeling of gratitude.
    Couldn’t think of a better b-day gift EVER!
    Lucky to have you both in my life:)
    Happy Birthday Sweet Joy!
    *Love that pix!!!

  • JOY (your joy)

    actually, my favorite toenail polish is RED.
    it’s called “the thrill of brazil.”

    • Christine Kane

      huh. i never knew that! (i just know you make fun of my french pedi’s and my ghastly goth color choices!)

      • Kimberly Graham

        Ha! lol!!!! 🙂 See, that Joy is a keeper.

        Joy, I used to wear only OPI Red and Nordic Nights (OPI). OPI Red is very close to the Thrill of Brazil. I switched recently to polish that is less toxic, it’s called Zoya (color: Racquel). (And no, I don’t have financial interests in any of those companies.)

        Nail polish?! Well, it’s a silly and fun thing to chat about. 🙂

        You rock, Joy. Sounds like you received the perfect name.

  • Ursula

    Beautiful post, Christine! What a wonderful friend to have, and how wonderful that you are inspired by it. You’ve inspired me to email my friend Diana – she’s a true light in my life! And though we haven’t met, happy birthday Joy!

  • Sue

    Christine- This is awesome!! It is fun and true, and needs to be stated over and over in the world of girl-friendships.

    Happy Birthday Joy!!! 🙂

  • Lilly

    When I was 14, I had an awesome BFF, Lisa (LL). We lost touch, as often happens when you’re that young. 25 years later, I found her and can no longer imagine my life without her. She has listened to me when no one else would and has been the only constant friend during my divorce. She absolutely refuses to let me even “shoot the poo” with destructive men, constantly reminding me to love and honor myself. She taught me that “should” is really a misspelled 4-letter word. In fact, she introduced me to Christine’s wisdom and website (now that’s a best friend!). She laughs at the moronic things I say (WITH me, not AT me – well, maybe AT me sometimes), and she cracks me up every time I talk with her. More than anything, LL hasn’t run away screaming in frustration at the constant vacillation which she learned is my trademark. And during times in her life, like perhaps now, when she might be feeling low about her own choices or “stuff”, I want to let her know that I love her unconditionally and that I’m here for her, through the years and through the miles, like she has been for me. I love you, Lisa!

  • Cheryl

    Lovely post! And timely for me, too. One of my best girlfriends is coming to visit for a week. I will see her tomorrow, which is her birthday. Even though we have had to maintain our friendship via telephone and email over the last few years, I know that when I see her, we will pick up exactly where we left off. Her friendship is a great gift in my life. Happy Birthday, Joy & Debbie!

  • Wendi Kelly

    We are blessed to have people in out lives like Joy- and you Christine- who really get what friendship is all about. I have these kind of friends, in fact, these are the only kinds of friendships I choose anymore because life is too short for any other kind.Three of these wonderful people pop right into my head this very second that I could call, laugh with, cry with, hug and do absolutely anything with. I love and cherish these women with my whole heart and soul. The fourth, she lives in heaven now, but I swear, I still feel her with me every single day.

    Happy Birthday Joy, and Christine, wonderful post- it made my day.Going on the gift list. 🙂

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Wendi – i”m writing this during my webinar – and everyone is getting to know you on my computer screen!

  • Lynne

    Happy Birthday, Joy!

    Oh my gosh – Christine this is fabulous! I am lucky enough to have a Joy in my life – only her name is Pam, and she’s awesome. And the coolest part about our friendship is that we do tell each other this stuff all the time – and it is the glue that holds everything else together.

    Love it.


  • Bob Damiani

    Yes I feel blessed to have Joy as my wife and best friend and I am so impressed to see how Christine has blossomed into this amazing woman over the last few years. SoThank you Christine for such a wonderful posting, it made me cry, it made me laugh and it probably made Joy’s day… I also feel blessed to call Christine my friend and do get to laugh at her fairly often also.

  • Emily

    This is great, Christine! And HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY Joy!!

    My friend Natalie was my Joy. She was funny (I could not be around her without laughing), she was there during some of the hardest experiences of my life – nagging at me to take care of myself and letting me cry, then making me laugh. She was smart and open and loving. And she was always telling me how great I was and poking fun when my “stuff” showed up. We went through all sorts of life’s ups and downs together. She reminded me that life doesn’t have to be taken so seriously! Sometimes I can still hear her laugh, coming through the ethers 🙂

  • Kirsten

    Awesome post Christine! My BFF is fantastic, we’ve only known each other four years, but she has changed my life. She’s incredibly supportive in every way, she laughs at my stupid jokes & I would hate it if she wasn’t in my life.
    Happy birthday Joy!!!!

  • Laura

    This is so beautiful and I can’t wait to share it with my teenage daughter. Wishing Joy a fabulous day; I’ve been hearing about her for a long time now. She’s gorgeous inside and out! Thanks, Christine!

  • kathleen

    This is a wonderful post about true unstoppable friendship! Thanks Christine! …and Happy Birthday Joy!

  • Vrinda

    Beautiful post! The world would be a brighter, more lovely place if everyone had friends like you describe.

    I’m lucky enough to have a friend like this and I count myself blessed every day, and talk about her to every person I know. She’s warm and wonderful and fun, and is alternately wise and silly as the situation calls for it. And of course she thinks I’m clever and funny and all kinds of great too, which always helps. Most importantly our friendship is deep and durable enough for any little ups and downs to do no more than strengthen it in the long-term. I adore her and can’t imagine life without her.

    • Christine Kane

      Vrinda – you need to write her let her know what you wrote here. It made me smile really big!

    • Create My Mind Movie

      That sounds like such a great relationship you have been able to develop with her! Its things like this that help create so much meaning in our lives. You are both very lucky. I agree, show her this post! lol

  • Kimberly Graham

    OH! And I would like to rave about a mentor who once talked me out of a boring, dead-end job I was very tempted to take because I was afraid and needed “security.” (or helped me talk myself out of, or something like that)

    Thank you.

  • Kimberly Graham

    Well, gosh, I’m with Joy here. Red is the only toenail polish color anyway, I mean, really. 😉

    Beautiful post.

    Happy Birthday Joy! xoxo!

    • Christine Kane

      Kimberly – Joy only likes clear and subtle! No reds even!

      • Kimberly Graham

        Well pshaw! That ain’t even any fun! 🙂

        • Lynne

          You have to make a statement with your toenail polish. I had foot surgery. Had to paint my toes a shade of purple to match the bruises! 🙂