Tag Archives: friendship

How to Be a Good Friend

True friends relationshipsAs I have gotten older, I have a smaller circle of friends, but I feel like I have closer relationships with those friends. When we’re young, we consider anyone we know to be a friend. Case in point: the typical teenager has 300 “friends” on Facebook.

Your true friends are the people you call when you have big news or just want to gripe about your day. They stick with you through thick and thin – the good times and the bad.

Are you truly a good friend? Could you be a better friend? Here are 9 ways you can strengthen your relationships and become a great friend:

Stop giving advice
Sometimes your friends may just want to vent. They may need your support. You may think that being a good friend means telling your friend how to solve all her problems. However, your friend may start to feel like you’re lecturing her. Let her bounce ideas off of you. Try to offer your opinion only when a friend asks for it.

Excerpt from A Completely Balanced Life:
“Take the time to understand the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of someone before offering advice. Recognize what makes a person unique and encourage their strengths and talents to help them reach their potential.”

Accept others
As human beings, we tend to judge. Your friends may make decisions you don’t agree with, or have bad habits you don’t like. No one is perfect. And, as the saying goes, you need to walk a mile in your friends’ shoes to understand what they have been through. A true friend accepts people for who they are.

Find time
Make time for your friends. We can get caught up in work, family and other obligations. Set aside time for your close friends. Both you and your friends will benefit from the time you spend together.

Be dependable
One of the most important traits of friendship is dependability. You want friends who are consistent and trustworthy, rather than flaky and unreliable. To be a good friend, you need to mean what you say and follow through on your commitments. True friends are the ones you can count on – in good times and bad – no matter what.

Celebrate the good
Friends want to celebrate with you when good things happen. Sometimes, we can be jealous of our friend’s success. Acknowledge your jealousy, then put it aside and be happy for your friend. Real friends are there to cheer on the triumphs of others and share in their joy.

Be there for the bad
This is the true test of a good friend. Fake friends are there for the parties and celebrations. Real friends are there during the difficult times. Your friend may be going through a job loss, divorce, death in the family or depression. True friends stick out the tough times, too.

Just listen
The art of listening is hard. You may think you’re listening when you’re really not. You may already be thinking about what you want to say instead of focusing on your friend. In addition, your friend may not always say what he means. You may need to listen closely to understand what is really bothering him.

Be honest
Close friends are honest with each other. You need to be honest about how you feel. Being honest is not the same as being blunt or hurtful. You can nicely tell a friend that her outfit isn’t very flattering. Or if your friend has been drinking too much lately, you can tell him you’re concerned about it. If your friends know that you have their backs and are looking out for them, they know that your criticism is meant with the best of intentions.

Do little things
Take the time to do little things for your friends. Send a text message to a friend who’s having a rough day. Drop by a friend’s office with a cup of coffee. Invite a friend to lunch, or offer to watch her kids while she goes grocery shopping. Little gestures and acts of kindness can mean the world to a friend.

Creating strong, lasting relationships takes nurturing and hard work. Good friendships require balance – give and take on both sides. Could you be a better friend? What tips do you have for being a true friend?

7 reasons we need friends

best friendsDo you remember your first friend? I do. Her name was Jennifer. We met on the school bus on the first day of kindergarten. We were among the first kids on the bus and usually the last ones off, so we formed a bond. We were friends all through school, but then lost touch after graduation. I haven’t seen her in over 20 years.

Friendships come and go. Sometimes they form out of convenience, like riding the bus together. You may also be friends with co-workers, but those friendships can fade when one of you moves on to a different job.

Then, you have the friendships that can last the better part of your lifetime. These are the friends who will be with you through a bad break-up, divorce, miscarriage, illness or death. They will also share your joys: a promotion, marriage or a new baby.

So, what are the benefits of having good friends?

Fight illness and depression
Friends are important to your overall health. Studies have shown that people with a good network of friends are better able to fight diseases, such as cancer. In fact, friends may have a bigger impact on your physical and emotional well-being than your family relationships. It’s also harder to become depressed when you have friends to listen to you and help you through the tough times.

Live longer
Research shows that older people who have a large circle of friends have a greater chance of living longer than those with fewer friends. Your friends will encourage you to get out and do things you might not do by yourself. They can provide emotional support, a mental challenge and keep you physically active.

Relieve stress
Have you ever called a friend when you’ve felt like you couldn’t deal with one more thing? Our friends have our backs. If you’re mad at someone, they will be mad with you. If you’ve had a bad day, they will lift your spirits. If you just need someone to listen to you unload, they will listen. One of the best stress relievers is to get what’s bothering you off your chest and have someone listen unconditionally.

Boost your confidence
When you need a boost, your friends will tell you that you look fantastic. They will tell you that you are right and your spouse or significant other is being a jerk. They will agree that you deserved that promotion. Knowing your friends are behind you can give you the confidence to face your challenges and make changes in your life.

Tell it like it is
On the other hand, your friends will let you know when you are out of line. They will call you on your bull. True friends will be honest when honesty is what you need. They may tell you that you are putting on weight. Then, they’ll give you some healthy recipes or offer to exercise with you.

Test your limits
Good friends will push you to test your limits and try new things. It may be something as simple as eating sushi or going to a Zumba class. They may talk you into skydiving or taking a road trip to Vegas. Your friends will push you out of your comfort zone and make you a more well-rounded person.

Feel loved
Our friends love us. And while you may not tell each other all the time, you know. Your friends will be there with you through the good times and the rough patches. That’s what makes them your friends.

I’m going to call my best friend now. Who will you call?