Friendship is one of the most valuable gifts that life has to offer. Being a good friend entails making an effort to show your friends that you care about them. Being a good listener, spending quality time together, and sending encouraging cards or gifts can all help to strengthen a friendship. This article will show you how to be a good friend in a variety of situations.
Offer assistance to a friend who is going through a difficult time. If you are unsure what to do, or if you believe they require more assistance than you can provide, there are support organizations, mentors, and counselors with whom your friend can be connected.
Friendship also entails learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Even for the people, we love the most, none of us can be or do everything. It’s fine to request alone time or to decline calls or texts right away. You should also tell your friend what you require when you are in pain, and how they can assist you if you are going through a difficult time.
A strong friendship is a two-way street with a healthy amount of giving and take between you. If you are having difficulty making new friends or resolving conflicts in existing friendships, it may be beneficial to seek support from someone you trust or to seek advice from a mentor or counselor.
How to be a good Friend
Being a good friend isn’t always easy, but making the effort to cultivate a lasting friendship is well worth the effort. Friendships provide strength, happiness, and meaning in ways that social media and popularity cannot. All true friendships are founded on mutual trust and support, so whether you want to form new, quality friendships or strengthen existing ones, there are things you can do to be a good friend to others.
Good and genuine friends are invaluable in one’s life. However, in order to earn them, you must also be a good friend to them. The following are tips on how to be a good friend, which has been divided into four sections, each with a different tip under it.
#1. Being Trustworthy
1. Keep your commitments:
Never make a promise you can’t keep–or, at the very least, don’t make it a habit. Explain the situation if you say you’ll hang out with a friend and a legitimate conflict arises. If you simply cannot attend, give your friend a gift and express your regret. Nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to break a promise once in a while—just don’t make it a habit.
- If this happens repeatedly, you will most likely be perceived as untrustworthy. If you promised something important to a friend, keep your promise or risk losing a him or her.
- When making a serious promise, look your him or her in the eyes and speak slowly to show that you mean it rather than just saying it because you think you should. Breaking such a promise will cause harm to your friend. It could even sever your friendship!
2. Be dependable:
One of the most important aspects of being a good friend is dependability. Your friend will require your assistance, especially during difficult times. It’s difficult to rely on someone who doesn’t exhibit consistent and trustworthy behavior. We’ve all met well-meaning but erratic people who say, “Okay, I’ll…” but never follow through. If that describes you, be aware that you are undermining your friends’ trust; eventually, they will stop believing what you say.
- If you’re unsure whether you can do something, don’t agree to do it and then back out. Instead, admit that you’re not sure if you’ll be able to make it.
- Your friends should always be able to rely on you, even when times are tough. If you’re only there for the good times, you’ll be nothing more than a passing acquaintance.
3.Express regret when you make a mistake:
If you want your friends to believe in you, you can’t act perfect. If you know you’ve made a mistake, rather than being in denial, own up to it. Though your friends will be disappointed that you made a mistake, they will be delighted that you are mature and grounded enough to admit it rather than pretending that nothing is wrong or, worse, blaming it on someone else.
- When you say sorry, make sure you mean it. Allow your friends to hear the sincerity in your voice rather than thinking you don’t care how they feel. You should also mean it, taking the time to explain the misunderstanding or how you feel bad; and wanting to repair your relationship.
4. Be honest and vulnerable with yourself:
To be a good friend and have people trust you, you must be honest about your feelings, your friends’ actions, and how you feel about your friendship. If you’re honest about how you’re feeling and allow yourself to be vulnerable with your emotions, you’ll open up direct lines of communication with your friends and make them more likely to open up to you. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, If your friend hurts you; if something bothers you, don’t be afraid to tell your friend about it.
- Being honest is not the same as being so blunt that you hurt your friends. If you suspect a friend has a drinking problem, for example, you owe it to your friend to initiate a discussion about it. However, if you think your friend looks strange in her new dress, you should keep your mouth shut.
- Be genuine. Connect with people who you deeply value if you want to have long-lasting friendships. Invest in people with whom you can be yourself. Your friendship will not last if your behavior is not sincere. Even if you believe your friend will disagree, be honest about how you feel.
5. Disagree with your friend respectfully:
When a friend says something that offends you or you simply disagree with their point of view, it is perfectly acceptable to express your displeasure! Tell your friend what you believe and why. Just remember to be respectful when expressing your point of view.
- If you start to feel upset, take a moment to notice your feelings as well as any physical reactions you are having. It is natural to be angry, but it will be much easier to respond respectfully if you first calm down.
- Approach the situation with a sense of curiosity and a desire to learn more about your friend’s point of view.
- Speak your mind directly and courageously. It is difficult to disagree with a friend, especially when they do or say something hateful or mean-spirited.
6. Do not rely on people:
If one of your friends suspects you’re only there to take advantage of them, they’ll dump you like a hot potato. Good friendships are not formed by hoping for someone else’s popularity or network to rub off on you. If you’re trying to befriend someone just to get into a certain clique, that’s not friendship – it’s opportunism – and the shallow nature of your involvement will eventually come to light.
- And if you have a reputation for taking advantage of people, new people will be hesitant to form friendships with you.
- A friendship is based on reciprocity. Sure, it’s convenient if one of your friends drives you to school every day. However, make a point of doing something for that friend in return.
7. Be loyal:
If a friend tells you something in confidence, keep it to yourself and don’t discuss it with anyone else, just as you would expect your friend to do for you. Don’t talk about your friend behind his or her back, and don’t spread rumors about the trust they’ve given you. Never say anything about a friend that you would not be willing to repeat in front of them. Be loyal to your true friends and be ready to defend them if your new friends or people you barely know begin gossiping about them.
- Understanding the value of a long-lasting and stable friendship is an important part of being loyal. Don’t throw it all away just to spend your time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend or a cool new person you met. Keep in mind that your friends may feel left out.
- If you have a reputation for being a blabbermouth or gossip, your friends will quickly find out and will be hesitant to reveal anything personal to you in the future- or even spend much time with you at all.
- Don’t allow others to say negative things about your friend. Treat comments that aren’t supportive as hearsay and rumors until you’ve had a chance to hear your friend’s side of the story. If someone says something that surprises you and does not seem like something your friend would do or say, respond by saying something like, “I know them, and that doesn’t sound right.” Let me talk to them and find out what their thoughts are on this. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t spread that around until then.
8. Be courteous:
Good friends show their appreciation for one another by being open and supportive of one another. Respect his or her choices and be open to learning more about them, If your friend has values and beliefs that differ from yours. If you want your friend to trust you, he or she should feel comfortable expressing opinions with which you may disagree or discussing a new point of view with you. If your friend believes that you will dismiss any interesting or novel idea that they may have, then your friendship will be valued.
- Your friend may say things that you find boring, uncomfortable, or annoying at times, but if you respect your friend, you will give your friend the space to speak up eat, and you will do so without judgment.
- When you disagree with a friend, disagree respectfully and be willing to see things from a different perspective.
#2. Remember to Involve Your Friends
Never, ever make your friends feel left out. This is a brief but important aspect of being a good friend. Never make your friends feel excluded. Just because you get a boyfriend or begin dating doesn’t mean they’re done with you! Remember that if your crush starts dating someone else, your friends will be there for you. When you are heartbroken, your friends will be there for you. When the popular students in class turn everyone against you, your friends will be there to support you. Remember to be available to them as well!
#3. Being Supportive
1. Have a selfless attitude:
Though it is impossible to be selfless all of the time, it is an essential component of being a good friend. When possible, accommodate your friend’s wishes, as long as you do so in a balanced manner. Reciprocate his or her acts of kindness with your own caring actions, and your friendship will be strengthened. People will know you’re not looking out for them if you develop a reputation for being selfish and only being around your friends when you need help.
- Do a favor for a friend simply out of kindness, not because you expect something in return.
- There is a distinction to be made between being selfless at the appropriate time and allowing others to walk all over you. If you constantly help your friends and receive nothing in return, you may have a problem.
- Don’t overindulge in generosity or overstay your welcome. Reciprocate quickly when a friend does something nice for you. Return any borrowed funds as soon as possible. When it appears that the time has come, return home.
2. Be an attentive listener:
Instead of monopolizing conversations, take the time to truly understand and support your friend when they are speaking to you. It may seem obvious, but make sure you’re listening as much as you’re talking about yourself. If you dominate every conversation with your emotions, your friend will get nothing out of the relationship. Listening creates space between you and your friend and reassures them that you care.
- It will be obvious right away if you are simply waiting for your friend to finish speaking so you can say what you want to say.
- Strike a balance by allowing your friend to speak about half of the time. Though some people are more shy than others, if your friend feels as if they can’t say anything when they’re around you, it will be difficult to maintain a healthy, two-sided friendship.
- If you inadvertently interrupt someone, say something like, “Oh-I’m sorry, go on.”
3. Assist your friends in dealing with their difficulties.
To be truly supportive, you must be able to look out for your friends when they are going through a difficult time. If you suspect a friend is getting into trouble over which they have little control, such as using drugs, being promiscuous, or getting too drunk at a party, assist him or her in getting out of it by not being afraid to speak up about it.
- Don’t assume that your friend can handle it on their own; this could be the exact moment when your voice of reason is required to jolt them out of their trance. If you see a problem, speak up, no matter how self-conscious you are.
- Inform your friend that you are available to offer him a shoulder to cry on during this difficult time. It will be easier for your friend to deal with their problems if they feel less alone.
- If all your friend wants to do about the problem is talk about it, that’s fine at first—but you should help him find practical solutions.
- For example, if your friend admits to having an eating disorder and simply promises to eat more, you might talk to them about taking more serious measures to address the problem, such as consulting with a health professional. However, keep in mind that you must also have boundaries. You cannot solve all of your friend’s problems.
4. Be present during a crisis.
Visit your friend if he or she needs to go to the hospital. If their dog escapes, assist in locating it. Be there if they need someone to pick them up. When a friend is absent from school, take notes for them. When you live far apart, send cards and care packages. If someone in their family dies, they should go to the funeral. Show your friend that they can rely on you at any time.
- Just make sure your friend isn’t always in the midst of some sort of crisis, no matter how fabricated it may be. You should be there to help during difficult times, but that should not be the foundation of your entire relationship.
- Being there for your friend in a crisis entails providing emotional support as well. You care about your friend enough to assist them in opening up and allowing the tears to flow. Give them a tissue and listen intently. You don’t have to say anything if nothing appears to be wrong; simply remain calm and reassuring.
- If a friend is going through a crisis, don’t say, “Everything will be all right,” because it won’t be. It’s difficult not to say that at times, but false reassurance is frequently worse than none. Instead, let your friend know you’re available to them. Maintain your integrity while remaining unbeaten and optimistic.
- If your friend starts talking about suicide or hurting other people, tell someone. This rule supersedes the “respect privacy” step date because you should tell everyone even if your friend begs you not to. Make a referral to a helpline or a professional to your friend. Before involving anyone else, talk to your and your friend’s parents or spouse (unless they are the ones causing the problems).
5. Provide sound advice:
To be a good friend, you should be able to assess your friend’s situation from his or her point of view and offer your opinion without insisting that your friend do whatever you say. Don’t pass judgment on your friend; simply offer advice when they reach out.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice. Allow for venting as needed, and be ready to offer advice if it’s clear that it’s needed. Always inquire before assuming you can provide advice.
- In some cases, a friend may benefit from a little tough love to keep them out of a potentially dangerous situation. You don’t want to lecture or overwhelm your friend, so use caution here. Tell them how you perceive the situation using facts, and then suggest what you would do in the same situation.
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6. Allow your friend some space when they require it.
Part of being supportive is accepting that your friend may not always want to spend time with you. Learn to take a step back and give your friend some space. Recognize whether your friend prefers to be alone or with others. There’s no reason to become clingy or dependent. If you’re clingy and check in with your friend every two seconds if they’re not around, you’ll come across as a possessive significant other, which will not be appreciated.
- Don’t be envious if your friend has a large number of friends. Every relationship is unique, and this does not imply that your friend does not value you.
- Giving each other time to hang out with other friends gives you much-needed breathing room, allowing you to come together with new eyes and appreciate each other even more.
#4. Maintaining Your Friendship
1. Develop the ability to forgive.
If you want your friendship to last, you must be able to forgive and move forward. If you hold a grudge and allow your bitterness and resentment to fester, you will be unable to move forward. Recognize that no one is perfect and that if your friend is sincerely sorry and hasn’t done anything too heinous, you should move on.
- If your friend did something so heinous that you simply cannot forgive him, it is better to move on than to try to save the friendship when it is doomed. However, this should only happen on a very rare occasion.
- If you are angry at a friend but refuse to tell them why, you will never be able to forgive them.
2. Accept your friend for who they are.
You should not try to change your friend or make your friend see the world through your eyes in order for your friendship to thrive. Celebrate your friend’s (and your own) uniqueness! If you’re a conservative and your friend is a liberal, except that rather than constantly arguing about it. Instead of expecting your friend to see everything through your eyes, you should appreciate the fresh perspective he or she can bring to your experiences.
- The more you spend time with each other, the less you idealize each other and the more you accept each other for who you are. This is what it means to be a truly good friend: caring deeply for each other, even if you both know you’re flawed.
3. Go above and beyond the call of duty:
While you finish your homework, a friend will stand by. A wonderful friend stays up all night to assist. Remember that if you are a good friend, others will want to be your friend. Recognize the times when you need to go above and beyond to help a friend and know that doing so will strengthen your friendship and that your friend will reciprocate.
- If your friend needs you but keeps saying, “No, you don’t have to do that…” learn to read between the lines and recognize that your friend does require your assistance.
4. Maintain contact at all times:
People tend to grow apart as the year progresses. Perhaps you and a friend will move to different cities and only see each other every now and then. Years can pass without much interaction. Speak up if you never stop caring about your friend. They will be delighted to hear from you. You were friends for a reason in the past, and the same bond may still bind you together.
- Don’t let your relationship’s strength be determined by where you live. If your friendship is meaningful, it should continue to grow even if you are separated by an ocean.
- Set a monthly phone or Skype date with your friend, even if you live in a completely different time zone. If staying in touch with your friend becomes a habit, your friendship will thrive.
5. Allow your friendship to develop.
If you want to be a good friend, you must recognize that your friendship will not be the same in high school, college, or the adult world. Sure, when you were fourteen, you may have spent all of your time with your best friend; however, by the time you went off to separate colleges or began serious relationships, you naturally spent less time talking. This isn’t to say your friendship isn’t strong; it simply means that your lives are changing and your friendship is taking on a new shape over time.
- Don’t try to recreate your friendship from ten years ago. Consider it pliable rather than solid.
- If your friend is married with children, or even just in a serious relationship, and you aren’t, be aware that, while your friend cares for you, they won’t be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Appreciate the changes your friendship has undergone over the years, and learn to grow with it.
- Your friend must reciprocate by being a good friend to you.
Good friends are difficult to come by. If you can’t find them, look within yourself first. In other words, work on becoming a good friend to others. When you become a good person, you will naturally attract a large number of friends. Just don’t forget to carefully select your close friends. Keep in mind that bad company can taint your good character. As a precaution, choose good friends in order to maintain your goodness as a friend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a bad friend?
To put it simply, a bad friend is someone who is stressful or exhausting to be around. They could be: excessively competitive with you. It is very likely to encourage bad behavior.
What are 3 types of friendships?
According to Aristotle, there are three types of friendships:
Friendships of utility: friendships that exist between you and someone who is useful to you in some way.
Pleasure friendships: exist between you and those whose company you enjoy.
Good friendships are built on mutual respect and admiration.
What are 3 ways to be a good friend?
When you’re down, good friends lift you up, make things more fun and exciting, and boost your confidence. Make it a point to talk to your friend on a regular basis, to hang out when you can, to show your support, and to act trustworthy. You can strengthen your current friendships or make new ones with a little effort and care!