Be A Better Friend
These tips will get you in good with the ones you love
Reading women’s mags and websites, there’s always a lot of talk about what we can do to be better girlfriends, attract men, or please men. But what about our lady friends? The chick who held your hand when you sobbed to her about the latest drama, the girl who puts up with your dad’s bad jokes, or the guy that listens to you talk about how all boys are idiots. Those people really deserve some of your quality time and attention. So let’s focus on them for a minute.
Taking friends for granted sucks and I bet we all do it more than we think. And since your friends are incredibly awesome, they’re probably so cool that they let that kind of thing slide. But if you really want to show your friends that you love them for putting up with you, try some of these friendly suggestions.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but how often do you do something really thoughtful and incredibly nice for a friend? It’s probably common for you to cook your significant other a nice meal or pick up a trinket if it would make him (or her) smile, but you should put that kind of thought into your relationship with friends too.
“Send flowers when your friend is feeling down,” says Vanessa, a 26-year-old who works at an advertising company, “If doing something nice will make her cry, then it’s probably a good idea.”
Some other things that will be looked kindly upon: sending an unexpected email just to say, “I think you’re great,” picking up her favourite dessert for her on the way to her place, picking up her box of stuff from her ex-boyfriend’s place, listening to her trash the girl at work (again), remembering she’s kosher and making turkey bacon at brunch just for her.
Be a copycat
If you’ve ever had a friend (or family member) that’s completely wowed you with his or her thoughtfulness and dedication, take a cue from him or her. Vanessa says her parents’ generosity has inspired her to be a better friend and Stephanie, a 24-year-old researcher, says that her friends taught her how to be a great compadre.
“In my lifetime, I’ve met some truly awesome people who have become my close friends and I try to emulate them,” Stephanie says. “Those people made me realize what a true friend really is.”
Sometimes it’s tempting to just befriend any old person that comes along. It’s difficult and awkward to turn down an offer of friendship or a coffee date with someone you don’t really want to hang out with. Think about it, though, would you go on a date with any old dude simply because he asked? Nope. So why would you waste a whole evening with someone substandard?
Sasha, a 29-year-old lease administrator, has a list of unacceptable friend behaviour: When someone doesn’t call you back, forgets your birthday, cancels on you all the time, only contacts you when she needs something, or gets jealous when things are going well for you, maybe she isn’t the best friend for you.
If someone isn’t living up to your standards, maybe you should make time for people who are worthy of your efforts. Check out our “How to Get Rid of that Obnoxious Friend” article if you need help cutting her off.
If a friend is coming to you for good counsel, don’t feed her the company line. “Just be yourself” or “you’re great the way you are” is nice, but sometimes doesn’t cut it. Being a friend means being there even when things aren’t going so well and getting the person you love back on track.
“Give advice that serves your friend’s best interest and not yours,” Susie, a 26-year-old sales manager says. Telling someone something she doesn’t want to hear might hurt her feelings but could serve her best in the long run.
But Vanessa warns that you should always consider your own mood before saying something harsh. “Think about what you’re bringing up and if it has to do with your own insecurities than your friend’s actions.”
The best thing you can do in any situation is listen to what your friend has to say without judgement and be interested in her life.
Written by: Nicolle Weeks
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