Published:  12:00 AM, 27 February 2017

How to be a better friend: 10 simple ways


Are you doing everything you can to prevent friendships from growing apart or are you the one responsible? Here's how to be a better friend. Friends are an important part of our lives. Some will enter our lives and disappear, but the special ones will stay by our side no matter what. It's important to hold on to those friends and let them know how much you value them.

The moment you start taking them for granted and they leave your side is when you inevitably realize just how important they are. Without them, your life is going to feel empty and dull.

To prevent this from happening, you have to show your friends that you care about them and appreciate the friendship you have. It can be as simple as telling them face to face or over a text. But actions speak louder than words ever could. Read on to find out how to be a better friend.

Make time for them: Neglect is the main culprit when a friendship grows apart. It's so easy to forget about the important people in your life when you have other things to deal with.

You brush them off as if they don't have their own problems too, and instead of checking in to see if they are okay, you simply forget. To keep a friendship alive, it's important to let them know that you are always there for them. That means you should drop everything, no matter how important, to make sure they have someone by their side.

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but for them, it means the world knowing that someone truly does care. Regularly spending some quality time with your friend, whether it's in person or over the phone, ensures the friendship is alive and kicking.

Be a good listener: There's nothing ruder than continuingly interrupting your friend when they are speaking. You'll get your chance, but right now they just need someone to talk to and it's your duty as a friend to listen to them patiently. Usually, there's always one friend who talks more than the other and at times that can be a problem.

Constantly talking about yourself makes you appear selfish, which is definitely not a trait that any of us looks for in a friend. The other friend will feel uncomfortable and perhaps neglected by this, so make an effort to enquire about their lives and listen without interrupting. Being a good listener is one of the most important ways you can be a better friend.

Offer your help: Friendship is about going the extra mile and doing anything to help that person, even if they don't ask for it. If you sense that something is wrong, let them know that you're concerned.

 A simple text or phone call can instantly put them in a better mood. Sometimes it just helps to know that someone is thinking of you. If there's anything you can help with, whether it's relationship advice or something more serious, try your best to support your friend and help out in any way you can.. They will very grateful to have your support and you can bet that would do the same for you. After all, that's what friends do.

Don't judge: Sure, you aren't always going to agree with your friend's choices. Maybe you don't agree at all with something they have done, but right now that doesn't matter. Your friend needs someone to confide in and that person has to be you.

They don't expect you to tell them exactly what they want to hear, but they do expect you to at least lend a shoulder. An important part of any friendship is that you should be able to be yourself around them. If your friend feels like they can't tell you everything, or that they will be criticized if they do, well that's a red flag.

 You should make it clear that you'll always stand by your friend, even when they make the wrong choices, within reason of course. The very best thing you can do is listen to what they have to say, but most importantly refrain from letting it show that you don't necessarily agree with their decisions.




Chances are, they already know they've made a mistake, what they really need is support. Know when to be serious: Some of us don't cope well with serious situations but try not to make attempts at being funny when your friend is going through a hard time. They probably want a heart-to-heart to discuss something that's bothering them.

 If you aren't good with words, just sit there quietly and listen. Sometimes that means so much more than words. It's natural to feel uncomfortable and maybe even unhelpful in these kinds of situations, but all you really have to do is lend an ear. Your friend will feel closer to you knowing that they can share everything with you, even the more serious stuff.

Show that you're happy for them: When your friend is happy about something, naturally you feel happy for them too. But feeling happy for them isn't enough, you have to let them know that you are, otherwise, they may assume that you don't care at all. We all get preoccupied with our own lives but it's important to show your support for your friend. Don't act like it's not very important, because to them it can be a huge deal, and showing them that you are invested in their lives and accomplishments it what makes you a better friend than some.

Keep in touch: Nothing should tear a good friendship apart. A promotion, a new relationship, moving house - don't let anything get in the way.

There are certain things you should leave behind, but your friend isn't one of them. It doesn't matter if you are miles apart or on other sides of the world, there are ways to stay in touch. Some friendships drift apart but that only happens if you let it happen. You don't have to see them regularly to call them a friend. Distance doesn't come between two people, lack of effort does.

You should be making the effort to get in contact with that friend and asking about their lives. It takes two to keep a friendship alive, that means both of you need to be putting in the same amount of effort to prevent it from falling apart. If they are putting in the effort, make sure you are too.

Say 'yes' more often: Continuingly turning down your friends can give them a negative feeling. They may feel like you are purposely avoiding them and decide to keep their distance instead.

Sometimes you have a genuine excuse. You have work deadlines, family emergencies, or you have the flu. But if you're turning down invites because you would rather stay at home, then you really need to reconsider your friendship and whether it's important to you. In your friend's eyes, no one can be that busy. There's only so many times you can reject someone's invitations before it causes suspicion.

They will start assuming that something they said or did upset you. If that's the case, let them know, instead of leaving them feeling confused about the situation. It's so easy to drift apart from people, and if you keep saying "no" then it's very likely that the friendship is heading that way. If you do value your friendship, make time for them. It's as simple as that.


The writer is an active blogger and freelance contributor at
www.youqueen.com

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