Have you found yourself pondering how to make that new person in your life be friends with you? Want to get closer and demonstrate your support, loyalty and love to your mates? Read on for ways to be a great buddy and in the process, show your pals how you would like to be treated, too.
Are you trying to be friends with someone to be accepted into a certain clique, or because you’d like to get to know someone else that he or she knows? That’s not friendship, it’s opportunism. Every new person you meet has the right to be accepted (or not) on his or her own merits, rather than being appraised and appropriated by some weird Professor Henry Higgins who thinks he can mold you or who wants you to change for his sake.
A dishonest person has no chance of having true friends. Keep your promises, do what you say you are going to do, and most importantly, don’t lie! Lying leads to more lies, and people will eventually figure you out. If you found yourself lying about something, be honest – go up to them, tell them the truth and how you felt, as well as how you may think they would’ve felt (explain that you were second-guessing rather than trusting your friendship). Don’t be a coward; if you know you were at fault for the whole dilemma, own up. Simply talk about it, hope your friend will forgive you. They’d most likely appreciate it in the future, to look back and say, ‘wow!’ I have/had an amazing friend by my side.
If your friend tells you something in confidence, don’t blab about it to anyone else. Don’t talk about your friend behind his/her back. Nobody likes a backstabber. Never say anything about your friend that you would not want to repeat face to face. Don’t let others say bad things about your friend until you’ve had a chance to hear your friend’s side of the story. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn’t seem like a thing your friend would do or say, tell them, “I know him/her, and that just doesn’t sound right. Let me talk to him/her, find out his/her perspective on this. If it turns out to be true, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, I would appreciate it if you didn’t spread that around, because it might not be.” You can’t play both sides of the fence.
Know the boundaries. Things you and your friend discuss should be treated with care – your friend is not sharing this information with just anyone, and may not want to. She shared it with you – and only you, as far as you know. Example: If your friend doesn’t want to name her crush, don’t push her into it. If she has named her crush, don’t tell anyone else. This is just common courtesy anyone and everyone deserves the expectation that you will keep confidences.
If you sense that s/he is getting drunk at a party, help him or her to get away from the alcohol. Don’t allow your friend to drive drunk – take his or her keys and/or drive your friend home personally. If your friend begins talking about running away or committing suicide, tell someone about it. This rule overrides the “respect privacy” step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Suggest a help line or professional to your friend. Talk to your and your friend’s parents or spouse first (unless they are the ones causing the problems) before involving anyone else.
Pitch in for friends during times of crisis.
If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school and give them their homework assignments when they’re absent and sick at home. Send cards and care packages. If there is a death in his/her family, you might want to attend the funeral or cook dinner for them. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let tears roll. Give them a tissue and listen. You don’t have to say anything, just be with them.
If your friend is going through a crisis, don’t tell them everything is going to be all right if it’s not going to be.
This goes right along with keeping it real. It’s hard not to say this sometimes, but false reassurance can often be worse than none, and it may undermine your friend’s ability to get through the crisis as well as they might. Instead, tell your friend that whatever they need, you are there for them. If they need to talk, talk; if they need to sit quietly, sit with them; if they need to get their mind off things, take them to a movie or concert. Give them a hug. You are friends, not strangers, after all. Just stay honest, but upbeat and positive. Even a stranger would most probably appreciate it.
Give advice, add perspective.
Don’t judge your friend, but do advise to stay out of situations where they may harm themselves or others. Tell him/her how you perceive his/her situation, and what you might do in the same circumstances. Don’t be offended if they listen to your advice and then decide to ignore it. Your friend must make his or her own decisions. Avoid saying “You should…”.
Give your friend space.
Understand if he/she wants to be alone or hang out with other people. Allow it to happen. There’s no need to become clingy or needy. Allowing one another the time to hang with other friends gives you much-needed breathing room, and allows you to come together fresh and appreciating each other even more.
Never make a promise you know you can’t keep.
Good friendship is based on trust – if you break a friend’s trust, the friendship may be very hard to salvage. Of course, if you have made a promise and planned to keep it, but circumstances beyond your control conspire to prevent it, let your friend know as soon as you find out. Don’t wait until 15 minutes after you were supposed to arrive to call and say, “gee, I’m sorry.” Instead, a quick call to say, “Hey, I know I promised to help you with whatever it is, but my mom is telling me we are going to my aunt’s for the weekend, and leaving tomorrow just after school – that means I won’t be able to make it. I’m so sorry. Can we reschedule?” That’s just honoring the fact that your friend is counting on you, and respecting the fact that, given a little notice, your friend might just be able to get someone else to help with whatever it was – or not, whatever. But at least you won’t be hanging your friend out to twist in the wind.
Listen to them.
You don’t have to agree with them – just listen to what they have to say. Make sure they are talking too and you are not just running your mouth. Some people don’t really find it interesting listening to someone talk about their feelings 24/7. If you’re monopolizing every conversation with your feelings, they aren’t getting anything out of the friendship. Invite them to share their hearts with you as often as you share yours with them.
Don’t abuse their generosity or “wear out your welcome”
If your friend does something nice for you, then reciprocate. Money doesn’t have to be an issue. Don’t use your friends! Don’t let them pay every time you go out, even if they offer. Don’t help yourself to things at their house without asking, unless you are willing and they do the same at your house. No one wants to be friends with a moocher or feel used. If you borrow something from a friend, take good care of it and then return it without being asked. Also, if you end the friendship then you should return any gifts they bought for you, especially if they gave you any gifts under false pretences. It’s proper etiquette.
Live by the golden rule.
Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated. If you don’t there will be repercussions. Don’t do or say anything to them that you wouldn’t want done to you. Be there for them through thick and thin as long as they are a TRUE friend to you. Also learn to forgive, and apologize.
- If you are somewhere where there is a celebrity, get an autograph for your friend.
- Make sure your friend doesn’t have to spend a birthday alone. You can hold a party for them (even a surprise party if you can keep a secret) or take them out to dinner and pay for their meal.
- Have fun. It’s not all about bleeding hearts and advice to the lovelorn – or at least, it shouldn’t be. Decorate your friend’s locker on his or her birthday, have a spa party, host a sleepover, whatever. Join activities with them.
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be a good friend. The best gifts are often hand-made and come from the heart.
- Don’t set too many expectations and rules. That’s just trapping others in your dimension. Allowing your friendship to evolve and change naturally is really best – it allows your friend to be as unique and individual as you are, and for both of you to enjoy one another in that light.
- If someone is in any difficulty and he/she behaves in a way that’s very hurtful to you, then don’t be angry and try to understand their problems.
- Don’t be needy and greedy by taking up all your friend’s time. This could get extremely annoying and irritating. He/she will WANT to get rid of you if you become needy. Relax and trust in your friendship, and allow each other the freedom to be with each other, or with others, or just alone.
- Don’t hang out with somebody because you’re both “nerds” or you’re both “geeks” or “gangsters” . You don’t have to hang out with people just like you. Sometimes the weirdest friend combos make the best of friends. Any person can transcend stereotype be the most wonderful person you’ve ever met in your life – keep your mind open and form your own opinions.
- If your friend doesn’t treat you the same way, get rid of them. If you treat them well, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t expect the same treatment. Don’t stay with a friend who doesn’t treat you well.