If you want the kind of deep, real friendships you read about in books or see on TV, then you’ve first got to learn how to be a good friend.
Be yourself. Don’t try to pretend to be someone you’re not just because you think that will help you make friends. When you’re pretending, you feel uncomfortable and you make others feel uncomfortable. Friends respond to your realness and seek your unique take on the world.
Make time. Friendships develop over time, and the best friends know their time is a gift that they give to special people. Make sure you include your friend in your plans and make time for them amongst your other activities.
Be honest. Friendship thrives on honesty and withers on lies. Friends speak the truth to each other, even when it’s hard. Friends keep promises – when you say you’re going to do something, do it.
Notice. Your friend might pretend everything is fine when it’s not. Notice their moods, their actions, when they lash out or shrink into themselves. Be brave enough to confront your friend or to find help for them, even if they can’t or won’t help themselves.
Be loyal. Sometimes, your friend will screw up. Loyalty doesn’t mean following your friend even when they’re making bad decisions. It means that you accept they’re human and make mistakes, and that you are willing to work through conflict and be there for them when they need you.
Lift them up. Be the person in your friend’s life who makes them burst with confidence and good vibes. Show them you think they’re special, encourage them to do better and to pursue opportunities, and make them laugh when they’re sad.
Respect boundaries. You don’t have to be with your friend or in contact 24/7. The quality of your friendship isn’t measured by how much time you spend together. Some people need more space than others to recharge, so make sure you’re giving your friend the space they need.
Keep in touch. The best friendships endure long after you leave school, even if you’re in different cities or timezones. The internet makes it easier than ever to keep in touch with your friends. Use the tools you have available to stay in touch even when you’re far away.
Being a good friend takes work – but the rewards are more than worth the effort. Do you think you’re a good friend? What can you do today to make your friend’s life better?