17 Ways to be a Better Best Friend
Cherish your friendships
Being a good friend is more than just hanging out and having fun, or being there to bash their ex when they’re feeling blue. Truly being someone’s friend means you are there all the time, whenever they need you, and that you put their needs first as much as possible.
Here are the key components to how to be a better friend that you might be right now. Remember, life is a journey. We are always learning to be better than we are, so that we can better enrich the lives of those around us.
Tips on how to be a better friend
- Keep your friendship as a two way street meaning that equal time should be given for talking, venting, and helping each other out.
- Have empathy, real empathy. Take time and really think about how your friend is feeling. Let them know that you are there for them in their time of need.
- Don't judge. We have all made mistakes and it is important to allow friends to know that it's ok if they make a mistake.
- Really listen to your friend. Don't just think about what you want to say, or focus on the text message you are writing, or the e-mails that you're sending. Listen to what she shares with you. Listen actively and attentively. Especially be careful of not just sharing on your end and then when your friend wants to share, you suddenly have to get off the phone, or your stop the text messages back and forth because you're busy.
- Be grateful. Show gratitude for the friendship by going out of your way to say thank you or reciprocating a kind act that someone has done for you.
- Pick up where you left off. Even if you have not seen or spoken to a friend in quite awhile you can still pick up right where you left off. Remember that everyone is busy and has things in their life that they need to tend to.
- Tell the truth. Never lie to a friend. Lies become complicated and messy.
- Always support the person even if you don't support the situation. You will not always agree with your friend's choices, however, it is important to always support your friend regardless of your feelings about what is happening.
- Be there even when no one else wants to be. A good friend will be there for thick and thin, whether you’re successful or not.
- Tell them what needs to be said, even if they don’t want to hear it. Honesty given in a compassionate, loving manner is essential to helping your friend grow.
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you would want someone to remember your birthday, make it a happen to remember others. If you believe a friend should bring you soup when you're in bed with the flu, make a pot and take it to someone else. Be and do what you want in order to have it come back to you
- Don't ever take a real friend for granted. Don't take them or their kindness as if they are obligated to do this for you. Truly appreciate them and thank them for what they do. Repay the kindness whenever you can
- Don’t make promises you cannot keep. Don't ever say, 'I'll be there for you forever' and when a crisis comes you are nowhere to be found. Do what you say you will do, keep your word and honor the friendship
- Be the type of friend who will hold a hand in the hospital bed, lend a shoulder at a funeral service, take care of their child when no one else is around. Be a friend that says, ‘I love you’ with their words and actions. Be a friend who believes the best when every one else is saying the worst
- Figure out what your friend needs, not what you’ve done for others. Everyone is different. Listening is a key component of friendship but the actions that follow matter just as much. Learn what it is your friend needs both in times of joy and in times of struggle. Some friends just need company, a shoulder to cry on and sometimes a hand to hold. Some friends need tough love or to be dragged out of the house when they are down in the dumps, and some friends just need challenging and enriching debates and conversations.
- Be forgiving. Focus on what your friends does do that's wonderful instead of dwelling on what you find lacking in her or your friendship.
- Remember to have fun together. Friendship is an optional role so you don't want your friend choosing others to hang out with because you've become the type of friend who just complains all the time, or only calls when there's something really wrong or really big to share. Do the kind of fun things that you probably used to do when you first became friends, whether that was during your formative years, at school, or through work. If you can make the time, and your significant others are okay with it, go on a girlfriends weekend away. If you can't get away for the weekend, at least make time for each other to take in a movie, lunch or dinner, or go to a concert.
Sources: Barbara Neitlich, psychotherapist; Chantay Bridges, coach; Sarah Lisovich; Jan Yager, Ph.D., relationship and business expert