How To Be A Better Friend

September 11, 2014

As you get older, your friends become your family – just as much as your parents or partner. A good friendship can even help you live longer! It is a relationship built on love, laughs and an incredible amount of respect. But just like other relationships, friendships require work and maintenance. If you’re in it for the long haul, you need to be prepared to step-up (or in some cases, step-down) in order to support your loved one.  Follow these tips for an indestructible friendship.

Be reliable

We all have a friend who is perpetually late. If you don’t have that friend, maybe you are that friend. Relationships can disintegrate over a long period if one half can’t be relied upon to arrive on time. This will only get worse as life gets busier and time becomes tight. Even though it  seems like a small problem, if you ever have a fight with your friend, I can guarantee this will be at the top of the list when evaluating whether or not to continue your friendship. Keep your appointments and try not to keep people waiting.

Be supportive

Friends are the people we employ to make us feel like we aren’t alone in this big, bad world! They make us feel like we belong, like we’re not crazy, like we are worthy of all the greatest things that can happen to humans. Being a good friend is about supporting and reaffirming your friend’s life choices – even if they don’t align with the decisions you make for yourself.

Be trustworthy

A good friend can be trusted to keep a secret. There will come a time in every friendship when somebody needs to offload some heavy news, and a big part of feeling safe and secure in a friendship is knowing that your friend won’t share your private business or expose you to judgement, ridicule or blame.  Don’t gossip to other friends (or strangers!), keep those sacred pinky promises and carry some things to your grave.

Be free of judgement

Tying into the previous two pointers, friendship is about safety and security. A good friend should make you feel confident in being yourself. We’re all a bit weird, and we can all make mistakes. Remember to trust your friends to make their own decisions, and run their own lives. Let her – or him – do her/his thing, keeping in mind that it isn’t your job to pass judgement – it is your job to be there if it doesn’t work out.

Be there

Better than being on time, is just being there. Full stop. If your friend is having a hard time, let them know that you’re around if they need anything. If they have exciting news, be there to celebrate with them. If they have an important meeting or job interview, call them to see how it went. Sometimes it’s as simple as just hanging out and watching movies on a rainy day.

Be flexible 

Like all relationships, friendships have their ups and downs. But good friends are like sisters: they’re always around, even when they’re not. Don’t be upset if your friend cancels plans – she still loves you. She’s probably legitimately busy. And if she’s not, perhaps she’s legitimately starved of alone time! Give each other space when you need it, but also be willing to inconvenience yourself when a buddy is in need. Being flexible and ready for anything is not only a great friendship skill, it’s an invaluable life lesson.

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