One of the most important and formative types of relationships everyone will experience in a lifetime is friendship.
Friends are people you can share your deepest thoughts and experiences with to the extent that you become an important part of each other’s lives. They give you a sense of belonging and security knowing you are loved and cherished by the people you most care for.
The beauty of friendship is that you get to choose who your friends are, unlike with your family. But anyone who has ever had a negative experience with someone they thought was a friend can attest to the fact that it is not always easy to spot and have a longstanding true friendship. If your heart has been broken by a friend before or you have caused a friend some pain you’re not alone. Truth is, you might be a terrible friend and not even realise it because sometimes our actions and the words that escape our mouths stop going through a filter. Then eventually we’re not even conscious of how horrible we are as a friend.
Here’s a guide on how to be a great friend yourself.
Let’s start with signs you might be a bad friend;
- You project your own negative qualities onto them.
- You start criticizing or blaming them for everything.
- You only spend time with them when you need something.
- You evade all responsibility, leaving them to handle it all.
- You never think about how they may feel.
- You have the need to “one-up” them.
- You don’t listen to what they have to say.
- You never stick to your word.
If you are guilty of one or more of these signs of being a bad friend, it’s time to turn a new leaf by doing one or more of the following;
Check on your friends:
When you feel like something is wrong, ask to make sure they’re okay. Don’t go overboard. Send them a text, a phone call or surprise them by showing up at their front door. You’ve got to figure out what works best and adjust when needed.
Know the appropriate mood:
Know when to be serious and when to be goofy. When it’s time to be serious, you should get down to business. Making a cheap attempt at being funny to avoid the real issues can be irritating. You may argue from time to time and that’s natural but being mature and aim at finding common ground instead of trying to divert the attention elsewhere is beneficial for the relationship.
Make them feel wanted:
This means you listen to what they say intently and show that you like being around them. Sometimes, say it outright “You’re an awesome friend!” It doesn’t take a lot to show you care and re-assure them from time to time.
Understand and respect boundaries:
Understand that you don’t have to be together 24/7. Some people need their space to recharge and don’t always feel like hanging out with others and it doesn’t mean they hate you. Good friends aren’t pushy and don’t get upset because of an occasional “no.” In fact, a good friend knows how to pick up right where he/she left off no matter how long it’s been since they last saw each other.
Show small gestures:
It can be as simple as buying them something you thought they might like. That would leave fond memories. First, they know you remember what they enjoy. Second, that you’re thinking of them. Third, you spent your hard-earned cash to let them know you like them. Awesome right?
Learn how to apologise:
It takes inner strength to admit you did something wrong. Don’t be afraid of admitting to your friends that you messed up. It happens to the best of us. Someone who can swallow his or her pride and admit they’re in the wrong is a great friend.
Be honest and constructive:
If they have developed a bad habit then kindly point it out and show you’re concerned. If you feel like criticisms are harsh, offer them tips on how to improve.
Being a great friend is one of the best things in the world.
Do you have questions or comments? Do share with us in the comment section.