It takes a proper mindset to be a good friend. Doing so will highly improve your social standing and your overall life quality. Not only will you keep all the friends you have now, but you’ll also gain a few more just by being an outstanding friend. That’s what this article will teach you today.
To be a good friend is to be a good person. That is the first step that you have to consider if you want to be a good or a better friend to everyone around you.
If you’re actively seeking to be a good friend because you want to keep the friends you already have, then that’s already a good sign. That already makes you a better person for going out of your way just to become a better presence.
If you want to be a good friend to the friends you’ll make in the future, then that’s good too. Whatever the case, let’s discuss the ways on how you can be a good friend.
1. Reach Out Regularly
A good friend will always stay in touch no matter the case. Don’t just contact your friends when you need something from them. Call or text them every once in a while. Say hello. Ask how they’re doing. Tell them how you’re doing. Communicate and make conversations.
Not reaching out to your friends regularly, to the point that you rarely contact them at all, will make them feel abandoned. You would too, wouldn’t you? Abandonment is a horrible feeling and you don’t want your friends to feel that because of you.
At worst, once you do reach out to them again, after months of not contacting them, they’ll have moved on from you. You will not have a space in their lives anymore. Maybe they’ve made friends who go out of their way to reach out to them. Losing a friend is also a horrible feeling and you will most definitely experience that if you don’t reach out to your friends enough.
Friendships should be treated like all relationships. It should be nurtured if you want it to blossom. So be sure to reach out to the friends you have now. You don’t have to do it every day, you just have to do it enough.
2. Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to friendships. If you can be honest with your friends, you’re already a good friend, to begin with. Not everybody is capable of honesty these days. To find that in a person is a treasure to cherish. Be sure your friends can find that in you.
This street will run both ways too. If you’re honest with your friends, they will be honest with you too. You are actively making your friendship healthier just by being honest.
One way you can be honest and be a good friend is to call them out whenever they do something bad. You don’t have to criticize them so much, you just have to let them know that what they did was wrong.
If your friend is mature and has a sense of morality, they will acknowledge their mistake and be grateful to you for pointing it out. By doing this, you are helping them become better people. It means you are honest and gutsy enough to call them out. That makes a good friend right there.
3. Be Present On Both Good and Bad Times
There are people out there who are labeled as “fair-weather friends”, and oh boy do people not like them at all. What exactly is a “fair-weather friend”?
A fair-weather friend is someone who only appears when the situation is good. If the situation calls for a celebration, they’re there. If you’re happy and everything is positive, they’re there. But if the going gets tough, they’re nowhere to be seen.
As the name implies, a fair-weather friend is someone who’s only ever-present whenever the weather is fair.
Do you think that makes a good friend? Of course not.
A good friend is someone who can be there for you in your good days and your bad times. If you’re doing amazingly, they’ll be there to share the happy moments with you. But if you’re on your horrible days, they will also be there for you to help you get better.
Be a good friend by not hand-picking your situations with your friends. Celebrate with them if they have a cause for celebrations. Mourn with them if they have a cause for mourning. Whether the weather is sunny or stormy, be there for them. They will return the favor. That’s what makes a good and healthy friendship.
4. Don’t Be Insensitive
Earlier, we mentioned the point of being honest with your friends. Now, you need to determine the line between honesty and insensitivity.
Honesty is good, yes, but if you just plain speak your mind without considering how your friend will feel, that is considered insensitivity. Being insensitive means you say things without taking other people’s feelings into consideration. If you want to be a good friend, you definitely shouldn’t be insensitive.
You can criticize your friends for doing bad behavior. That’s honesty and it’s done in good faith. Insensitivity is saying things you know will hurt them. Even if it’s just in passing, or you didn’t do it on purpose, you should always be mindful of your friend’s emotions. Especially when you’re trying to help them be better.
For example, let’s say your friend has a bad history with relationships and she’s in one again. Being honest is saying something like “Hey, I need you to be careful. I know what you’ve been through and I don’t want you to go through that again, okay? I’m just looking out for you”.
Being insensitive, on the other hand, is saying something like “Hey, are you incapable of making correct decisions? Do you love getting hurt?”.
This is insensitive, obviously, because you’re not helping them at all. You’re just saying hurtful things. You can help them properly by being mindful of your words. There’s a fine line between honesty and insensitivity and you shouldn’t cross that.
There are so many more examples of being insensitive, but you get the idea already. The gist of it is, never say something you know will offend their beliefs, culture, personality, upbringing, etc.
5. Don’t Cross Certain Lines
There are certain lines you just don’t cross when it comes to friendships. Crossing them can mean the end of the friendship, or you’ll be viewed as someone reckless and tactless.
To really get the grasp of knowing how not to cross certain lines in a friendship, you just have to ask yourself this simple question: What are things you’re allowed to do in other relationships but will completely seem awful if you’re just friends?
For example, a family member is allowed to judge, make fun of, or joke about another family member. A friend isn’t.
A lover is allowed to, well, do things lovers do. A friend isn’t.
You get the idea.
Just be sure the things you do or say are exactly limited to what a friend should. Anything more than that may turn them off or drive them away.
This is especially important if you’re at the early stages of your friendship. Another thing that comes into play when it comes to this is the fact that there are things old friends are allowed to do but new friends aren’t. If you’ve just met someone or have only been friends for a short amount of time, don’t treat them like you’ve known them for a long time.
An old friend makes fun of their friends about certain things and that’s just considered banter.
A new friend makes fun of their friends for something personal and that friendship will immediately die down.
6. Let Your Actions Speak Louder Than Your Words
You can be a good friend by staying true to your words, all the time. Don’t just say things for the sake of saying them. Mean everything you say.
If your actions speak louder than your words, your words will have more ground. You’ll be more believable. You’ll be a better friend. If you say you’ll help someone in something, actually help them. Once you start making a promise, make sure you fulfill that promise.
Everybody will appreciate you if you stay true to your words. Better yet, let your actions do the talking for you. You don’t have to say you’ll do something, just do them anyway. If you want to do good, then do good. You don’t have to announce it to everyone.
Most importantly, in the essence of being a good friend, don’t say you’re going to be a good friend. Just go ahead and do it. Be a good friend. If you do it more instead of saying it more, it will be more truthful. Doing more instead of saying more in friendships will always make you a better friend as a whole.
7. Be Trustworthy
Trust is not something everyone just gives out to anyone. Trust is always earned. Once you earn the trust of a friend, make sure you don’t do anything that will end up destroying that trust.
There are a lot of ways you can break someone’s trust, but there’s only one way to keep it.
You can remain to be trustworthy by being a true friend. If you say you’ll do something for them, do it. If they share a secret to you and they ask you to keep it, then keep it. Bring it to your grave. If your friend needs help, help them. Give them advice if they want to. If there are any promises made between the two of you, make sure you keep that promise.
Make sure you don’t undo anything your friend did out of trust. That’s what you should keep in mind. If you know they trusted you for this one thing, do not do anything that will destroy that certain thing. Be a true friend and you’ll be trustworthy. Be trustworthy and you’ll be a good friend. Trust and friendship go hand in hand and if you want to keep one, you have to take the other.
8. When Two Friends Argue, Always Be In The Middle Ground
Arguments happen in friendships. That’s a given. You have undoubtedly argued with a friend in the past. It happens with everyone and it can be corrected. But if two of your friends argue and you choose one side over the other, that’s a different story.
If two of your friends argue and the issue has nothing to do with you at all, never favor one friend over the other. Even if you know one of them is wrong, never make them feel like you’re choosing a side. Always remain neutral.
If you choose a side when two of your friends are arguing, you might remain friends with the side you chose after the argument is over. But you’ll lose the other person in the process. A good friend wouldn’t do that. A good friend will listen and help both parties.
You can remain neutral by still consoling both of them. You can talk to both of them. Learn each of their sides of the argument. Better yet, help them resolve the issue. Assess why the argument happened in the first place. Know both of their sides. Finally, help both of them meet in the middle and find a resolution.
You can act as a mediator or a peacemaker of sorts when it comes to situations like this. Just make it clear to both your friends that even though they are fighting, you will remain in open communication with both of them in the essence of fairness. Make sure they understand that.
Once they finally make up, which is what your ultimate goal should be as a good friend to both, the two of them will appreciate you better. The bond among all of you will even come out stronger after all that.
9. Flaws And Mistakes Should Never Be Judged
Everybody has flaws and everybody makes mistakes. After all, no human is ever perfect. It’s in our nature to be flawed. Our individual goal is to better ourselves to minimize our mistakes and turn our flaws into strengths. Our goal as friends to others, however, is different.
As friends, we should discriminate or judge our friends if they make mistakes or for their flaws. You have to realize that, like you, they’re working on it as well. Instead of approaching that negatively, help them overcome that. You can be a good friend by accepting others for their flaws and helping them better themselves.
To highlight two of the points that have been made in this article, be honest but don’t be insensitive. That can be very much applied here. Be honest by letting them know they’ve made mistakes and that they can work on it, but don’t be insensitive that you’ll end up horribly criticizing them for it.
Helping your friend is the name of the game here. As a good friend, that’s all you really have to do. They’ll come out better in the process and at the same time, your friendship with them will become ultimately stronger because it was you who helped them become a better person.
10. Highlight Your Friend’s Goodness
On the other hand, aside from helping your friends overcome their negative traits, you can also be an incredibly good friend by highlighting their positive traits.
Make sure you acknowledge them when they do good deeds, or pat them on the back for jobs that are well done. If they do something interesting and amazing, be there for them and cheer them for it. If they’re being a good friend towards you, let them know! You can be a good friend too just by letting them know that.
You are encouraging your friend’s good behaviors just by acknowledging them. If you highlight them enough, they’ll be more inclined to do more good. You’ll be considered a good friend who brings out the best in other people. There’s no better friend than a friend who’s capable of doing that. Your friends will love you and other people will want to be your friend too!
It’s a very simple idea, but it’s very impactful for those around you. This is one of the best ways you can be a good friend. Be sure you practice it regularly.
We know that having friends in our lives is important for our well-being. It makes us physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. You are making that benefit ten times stronger just by being a good friend, a better friend towards the friends you already have. You make the lives of others better and in turn, you make your life so much better as well.
Make sure you remember these tips on how to be a good friend to the people around you. Not only will it do wonders for your social life, but it will make you happier and better as a person.
If you want other tips on how to become more social, make friends, and how to be more liked by others, be sure to check out our trainings on friendship and social skills.