We all want to be good to our friends, but it’s not easy. It’s difficult to be in tune with another person’s needs and wants and ways of thinking, and inevitably we’re going to screw up. So, how can you be a good friend? Today on the blog, I’m going to share three things that can help.
I know it seems counter-intuitive to tell you to set boundaries to improve your friendship, but trust me. Even if your bestie is like family to you, you’re never going to mesh 100% and in the times where your differences come to light, it’s good to know where you stand.
Let’s say your friend likes to text all throughout the night when you like to try and get some sleep, but they feel ignored when you don’t text them back. Setting the boundary of - ‘Hey, I’m not going to respond that late, but I’ll answer later’ or ‘Please don’t text me at this time,’ saves you the misunderstandings and headaches.
This goes for jokes that might rub you the wrong way or where you like to hang out, even what you like to watch. Set boundaries with your friends.
If there’s something more important than setting boundaries, it’s listening! Think about how you feel when you’re trying to tell someone something and they don’t even register the words you say. Now imagine if you’re trying to tell them something important or difficult to say. How frustrating?
When your friend - or anyone really - is trying to tell you something, give them your full attention. Don’t chip in or try to solve their problem unless they specifically ask you for your opinion or advice. Also, put the phone down. Don’t multitask at all.
Even with boundaries and good listening skills, you’re bound to mess up and when you do this, you need to apologize. It’s not easy. Admitting you’re wrong is probably one of the hardest things to do, but it’s necessary and your friendship will be that much better for it.
When you’re apologizing, don’t place the blame. “I’m sorry you overreacted because of this thing I said” is not an apology. You’re only going to make things worse if you say it like that. Take responsibility for your actions (even if you do think your friend was overreacting) and take steps to avoid those actions in the future.
In conclusion, maintaining friendships is hard work and these three suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a good friend. But nothing good was ever easy. Putting effort and time into your friendships will have them last for a long time.