Do you ever have days when you think you’re a bad friend? I know I do. All. The. Time. So how do you fix that?
First of all, we need to realize that being good and doing the right thing take effort. This relates to the fight or flight response. Survival of the fittest. Humans are inherently selfish because that’s how we’ve survived ever since we were babies. With that being said, we need to stop putting ourselves down for maybe initially feeling like we do. It’s natural and normal.
Secondly, understand your boundaries. If you feel like a bad friend, maybe it’s because you’re wearing yourself thin by trying to help. It is okay to put yourself first every now and then.
I know so far I’ve just told you how to justify being a “bad friend” but I promise we’re getting to the good stuff. If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve seen posts such as how to steal friends and how to lose friends. This list is pretty similar. Instead of gaining or losing, we’ll be focusing on keeping the friendships we have have and nourishing them.
How to be a good friend:
Step 1 – Take time to listen and understand what your friend is talking about. Don’t just interject your thoughts whenever you want. That’s annoying. Have you ever been cut off in a conversation? It happens to me all the time and each time it happens, I feel less comfortable speaking up.
Step 2 – Communicate. This ties in with step 1. Your friend is not talking to you just to have you say ‘yeah.’ Sometimes they’re looking for advice or feedback. Sometimes they want you to say that you don’t know how to fix the problem but that you’re there for them. Sure sometimes they just need to vent that’s okay too. Part two of this step is this: talk to your friend if you need a break. There is no shame in this. I promise you that your friend will understand. What I will say, though, is if they don’t understand, they aren’t a good friend to you. This isn’t, and will never be, on you. You aren’t responsible for the happiness or well being of this person.
Step 3 – Make an effort. If you’ve noticed a friend is being distance, reach out to them. Plan to go to grab a meal together to catch up. A little quality time makes all the difference.
Step 4 – Be patient with them. No one is perfect, I think we can all agree on that. take time to breath before jumping down their throats about something. I’ve messed this up more than once. You will almost always regret what you said in the heat of the moment. I promise.
Step 5 – Encourage them. Find ways to support them, even if you live 150 miles away. It can be as simple as reminding them why they started something. It can be helping them plan “me” days. If you know your friend well enough, you’ll learn what ways they need encouragement.
Step 6 – Remind them why you love them. It’s easy to forget when life gets in the way. Send a letter, send a text show up at their doorstep with coffee in hand, however you want to tell them. I can promise you that making someone else feel loved and appreciated will make you feel great. It’s science.
And it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t take much to be a good friend. You just need to pay a little attention and everything will fall into place.
What is one thing that you do for your friends that sets you apart? Let me know if the comments below.
Today I’m thankful for being able to support my friends and be supported by them.