Being honest with your friends is important in building strong friendships. It also keeps friendships alive and healthy, which will motivate you in making positive progress in your life. It also shows how much you value them. Not only will they be there for you during the happy times, but they will also be sure to have your back once you’re down.
Being honest all the time is never easy. In this article, you will learn these important tips you must keep in mind for you to be honest with your friends and remain so. These tips will keep you from making huge mistakes that will ruin your friendships. These tips will also help you become the best that you can be.
1. Be honest with yourself
It’s always better to start from within—your relationship with yourself. It serves as the solid foundation for all the aspects of your life, especially your relationships. You’ll have an easier time in being honest with your friends if you’ve been honest with yourself. It also allows you to have a happy and healthy relationship with anyone. Here are some of the ways to get you started:
- Listen to your body – If you’re feeling tired, rest. If your skin and mouth are dry, hydrate. Listening is all about paying close attention. If you listen to your body, you’ll learn to respect and be honest with yourself. You’ll also learn to make informed decisions, which will affect your way of handling other matters.
- Make time for self-reflection – It helps you to become a better version of yourself. Self-reflection allows you to connect with yourself in a deeper level. You’ll come to realize your strengths and weaknesses, which makes it easier for you in setting boundaries and in determining which to work on.
- Live your truth – It will help you to remain honest with yourself and in all aspects of your life. You’ll have to define your values—what matters most to you. Reflect on the experiences that has made you feel happy, proud, and confident. It’s a challenging thing to do, but it’s crucial in reaching your success in life.
2. Avoid giving unsolicited advice to your friends
When your friends decide to share their problems with you, often times you can’t help but offer them unsolicited advice—it’s when you offer an advice when they aren’t asking for any. Even though you feel like you’re only trying to help them because you care, it actually shows that you think they’re incapable of figuring out what’s best for them. It’s a frustrating situation for you and your friends.
It’s important to remember that your friends are comfortable in things with you because they believe your friendship is a safe space for them. If you continue to do this, you’ll only create problems that will ruin your friendship. When you start to feel like offering one, pause. It’s not about you. No matter how uncomfortable you are, you have to think about something else that could be more helpful. Or focus on listening to them. If they ask you for advice, start it with: “If I were you…”
3. Learn how to give feedback to your friends
You can’t change your friends’ behavior, only they can change it themselves. So it’s pointless to criticize them. It’s destructive to the relationship you’re trying to build with them. It’s not that your friends don’t welcome suggestions, it’s that you have to be careful of how you give it to them.
There’s a difference between giving criticism and feedback. Criticism is about focusing on what’s wrong with them. You end up belittling and blaming them. You want them to submit to you. On the other hand, feedback is about focusing on what can be improved. You show them respect and support. It’s easier to find a middle ground.
You can be honest with your friends without being critical towards them. If they do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can say: “I’d really appreciate it if you do a, instead of b, because y .” Or “If you were to a, it will make me b.”
4. Tell your friends the truth; No more, no less
Telling the whole truth is a difficult thing to do because it is often unpleasant. Needless to say, it can make or break your friendships. But whether you tell them or not, it’s always possible for the truth to come out. If you know the truth, gather all of your strength in making the better choice.
Telling lies will hurt you and your friends. There’s no room for growth in that. It will also make matters worse because it will dwell in your mind, making you more stressed out that you will end up avoiding your friends—which will make them suspicious of you. Lying by omission is equally hurtful. A lie is a lie, big or small. It’s a choice you make. Your friends deserve to know the truth as much as you do.
In telling the truth, avoid blaming your friends when trying to make them understand. There are also times when they choose to ignore a good advice you’ve given to them a hundred times, instead of holding it against them and saying “I told you so”, be their rock—someone they can hold on to while they’re falling down.
5. Avoid situations that make it harder to be honest with friends
The more you lie, the easier for you to do it. But eventually, you will get all tangled up in your web of lies. And when you are, your friends are nowhere to be found. Friendships built on a solid foundation are healthy to the mind and body. Loyalty is among the foundational building blocks of friendship. To be loyal is to be honest.
To remain honest with your friends, you must avoid situations that will ruin your integrity. Here are some of them and what you can do about it:
- When everyone is lying – Often times, the person being lied to is the last to know. In such situation, a good friend is in need. Choose to be the good friend, and they will do the same for you.
- When you think you can get away with it – Just because you haven’t been caught, doesn’t mean you’ll never be. The truth comes out one way or another. Never underestimate your friends because they’re not stupid. So think again.
- When you’re trying to protect someone else – Again, a lie is a lie. Your motive will not make your intent any less malicious. You’re not helping anyone here. Covering someone else’s mistake sounds noble; but once you’re caught, say goodbye to the reputation you worked so hard to build. Or you can correct their mistake by telling the truth.
With all that said, you can now see why there’s the saying honesty is the best policy. By remembering these tips, you will come to enjoy genuine friendships as you learn to keep an open and honest communication with your friends. It will take time, but with every honest step of the way, you’ll eventually get there. If you’re looking for more tips on improving social skills, feel free to read other articles here written to help you with that.