From loyalty to empathy: What young Hongkongers look for in a friend

Compiled by Nicole Moraleda

We asked our readers: What is the most important quality you look for in a friend? Here are our favourite answers

Compiled by Nicole Moraleda |

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Stand by me

Why do we have friends? Because we want company, we want someone who will stand by us no matter what. So that’s it. The most important quality I look for is loyalty. I want them to support me, but also tell me when I’m doing the wrong thing.

Natasha Ho Jo-wei, 13, Carmel Pak U Secondary School

Listen and understand

Open-mindedness. Everyone has different backgrounds and beliefs. This may cause some people to clash, and sometimes even break relationships. I have strong beliefs and unusual interests, and I’ve come across people who have trouble accepting these things. I don’t need my friend to have the same thoughts and beliefs as me, but I need them to be open to differences, and be willing to at least try to understand and respect my choices.

Jacqueline Guico, 18, Belilios Public School

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A mile in their shoes

The most important quality I look for in a friend is empathy because in having this, we are able to build healthy relationships with the many people we encounter in our lives and thus, form better friendships. If we understand who they are from their experiences by empathising with them, we can understand them better.

Zita Puentespina, 14, YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

Be true

To me, the most important quality would be sincerity. Someone who brings positivity to my life would also be a plus!

Kenneth Leung, 20, Baptist University


I tend to become friends with people whose most endearing qualities are different from mine. Nobody wants to hang out with a clone, we need friends who push us to learn more about ourselves and encourage us to step out of their comfort zone. Most of my best friends are louder than me, kinder than me, and more athletic than me, and that’s fine with me.

Ady Lam, 13, Island School

If you could read minds, whose thoughts would you start with?​

Honesty is the best policy

Honesty and transparency. I think friends need to be honest with each other so that they can confide in and comfort each other. I also like when me and my friends can be honest, and give each other constructive criticism and help one another grow.

Jimmy Jim, 16, Ying Wa College

What is love

Love. It’s the best thing ever. If you can like me for who I am, that’s enough. Also, it helps if you’re not annoying.

Iris Lee, 16, Hong Kong International School

Friendly critique

The most important quality I look for in a friend is honesty. I value criticism because it allows me to improve, so I try my best to surround myself with those who can both take and give constructive criticism.

Natalie Kainz, 17, King George V School

Who is your favourite teacher and why?


I think being a good listener is the most important quality. I want to be able to share my troubles with them and hope that they will listen and give me good advice. I like some one I can have fun and sing with, but a true friend will stick around even during the hard times.

Han Chin-yu, 15, Seaward Woo College

Banter and bonding

I think a balance between banter and deeper conversations is most important to me. An emotional connection between friends is necessary, but at the same time, too many DMCs (deep, meaningful conversations) can be exhausting.

Martha Chow, 17, Sha Tin College

For our next Top 10, tell us: If you could combine two animals to make a new animal, which two would you pick? Send your answer, together with your name, age and school, to [email protected] with “Top 10: New animal” in the subject field. Our favourite answers will appear in next week’s Top 10 page!