I am so thankful for the friendships I have in my life, and for the fact that I am living in an environment where I have the opportunity to constantly meet new people. Being a good friend is something that is really important to me. Below are some tips that I have discovered through experience, on what sets a good and a bad friend apart.
Learn How to Listen And be Compassionate
Listening is a really, really important skill. Especially when it comes to friendships. Nowadays, it is so easy to get distracted when listening.. especially since our generation basically cannot survive without an iPhone in hand at all times. Next time a friend is talking to you, really try and focus your attention on everything they are saying and cut out all distractions. Don’t spend time thinking of how to respond, or cut your friend off. Don’t listen with an agenda. Instead just listen till they are finished. And then you can respond. There is nothing better than talking to a friend who truly listens to what you have to say. I have been conscious of becoming a better listener lately and it has really been paying off. “One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to take a genuine interest in other people. Love and kindness begins with love and kindness” – Marc and Angle
Don’t Pretend You Have All The Answers
If you think about those who have helped you the most in your life and been there for you, it is most likely those who have lent you a shoulder to cry on, sat with you while you vented your heart out, and stood beside you through every decision. Nobody has the all the answers to everything, and that is completely ok. Just be supportive, compassionate and there for people when they need you the most. Don’t look for friends who think they can “solve all your problems” but instead, face your problems with you.
Don’t Build Walls, Build Bridges
If you don’t let people in, you are essentially building a wall around yourself. I have found that it is so much easier to let people in and open up to them because it helps you relate and build deeper and more meaningful connections with them. I’m not saying to spill your whole life story to someone the first time you meet. But instead to look for the people who seem trustworthy and real. They are the ones worth taking that risk for. We all share very similar dreams and wants, and also insecurities and struggles. Everyone has their own insecurities and instead of covering them up, we work on overcoming them. And trust me it is a lot easier if you do it with support, because then we can look at someone else and say “I am feeling frustrated lately because I feel ___” and they can respond “I know how that feels” or “Me too” and maybe share a similar experience with you – which is comforting. It’s ok to not be ok all the time. Life is full of constant ups and downs.
Share Positive Energy
Rid yourself of any negative, toxic people in your life. Instead, surround yourself with good people who radiate positive energy. Positive vibes really do rub off. It is also very inspiring to see someone with a positive outlook on life. I have so many loving, inspirational memories from spending time with motivated and positive friends – they are definitely very influential in my life and that is how friendships should be. Let your passion inspire others.
Don’t Be Quick To Judge
I personally would hate it if all my friends were exactly the same. I love the fact that I have friends from all over the world, who have all lived completely different lives. They are all unique from each other in their own way, and that what makes each friendship a little bit different. Respect originality and search for it. Don’t judge your friends for mistakes they may make, or for not thinking or doing something exactly as you might do. Loving a friend means allowing them to be themselves… so don’t let yourself expect them to behave a certain way just because you would. Support your true friends – stand by them and be loyal.
Reach Out and Stay In Touch
It is definitely a lot easier to keep in touch with friends nowadays with social networking. However if you feel like talking to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, pick up the phone and call them. If you miss someone, reach out and let them know. I mean who wouldn’t appreciate being told they are being missed?!? Some of my greatest friendships are with those that I can go forever without seeing, but once we are together again it’s as if we never were apart.