Being a good friend is an art, not a science. It’s about the little things you do every day to be there for your friends in their time of need. And it’s also about the big gestures that show them they are important to you.
Here are 24 ways to be a better friend this year:
Be Willing to Listen
People love to talk about themselves, and a great way to be a better friend is let them do it as often as they want. Learn to be a good listener by giving them your undivided attention during conversations – look at them, nod your head and make eye contact. Letting them know you’re interested in what they have to say will make them feel appreciated and valued.
Once you’ve learned how to be a good listener, take it one step further by being an active listener. Paraphrase what your friend has said to ensure you understand them correctly, and ask questions if you need clarification. Being an active listener shows your friend that you care about what they have to say and, in a world where everyone is distracted by their smartphones, it’s a gesture that will be appreciated more than ever before.
Make Time for Your Friends
Busy people make time for the people who are important to them, even if it takes a little creativity. Plan to meet your friends outside of school or work, and make an effort to actually follow up on those plans. By finding time to regularly spend with the people you care about most, they’ll be more likely to want to confide in you.
Don’t Text or Check Your Phone When You’re with Friends
This one is simple: put your phone away and focus on the conversation you’re having. Constantly checking your phone not only distracts you from the people you’re with, but it also sends the message that they are not important to you.
Never Make a Promise You Can’t Keep
You know those friends who have a bad habit of saying they’ll do something and never following through? They’re not good friends, period! If you can’t commit to being somewhere or doing something with your friend for whatever reason, just say so. Don’t make promises you can’t keep because it will only lead to a broken relationship sooner or later.
Never Cancel Last Minute
If you do happen to have a change in plans and you need to cancel on your friend, call them immediately instead of waiting until the last minute. There is nothing that annoys friends more than waiting around for someone who never shows up. And if you can, try to reschedule as soon as possible.
Pay Attention to the Details
The little things mean a lot when it comes to friendships. If your friend tells you they’re going through a tough time, be sure to ask how they’re doing every now and then. It’s the small gestures like these that will help your bond grow stronger over time.
Say Sorry When You’re Wrong
Everyone messes up sometimes; it’s part of being human! But if you call your friend fat or spill ice cream on their new shirt, it’s obviously not okay. If you do something you know you shouldn’t have, be sure to say sorry as soon as possible. A true friend will accept your apology and let it go after that, but they probably won’t forget about it anytime soon!
Giving compliments is a great way to make your friends feel good about themselves. It can be as simple as telling them they did a great job on their presentation or that they’re looking really pretty today. By making your friends feel good about themselves, you’re building up their self-esteem and helping them feel more comfortable in their own skin.
Even though it’s nice to feel special every now and then, most people don’t want a friend who is only around when they need something from them. If you have a busy schedule, try to find a few hours a week where you can do something with your friend. And when you do have some time to spend together, make sure it’s quality time that you both can enjoy!
Always Make an Effort
By making an effort every now and then, you’re showing your friends that they are important enough for you to put in a little work. It can be something small like leaving a nice comment on their Facebook status or inviting them to try out your new restaurant. The more effort you put in, the closer you will become with your friends over time.
Be Upfront About Things That Affect Your Friends
It’s not easy keeping secrets – no matter how hard we try! If you aren’t ready to talk about something, don’t say anything at all. Avoiding certain topics will only make your friends feel like they can’t trust you with important information.
Never Give Them the Silent Treatment
Have you ever gotten into an argument with your friend and then refused to speak to them until things blow over? Well, that’s called the silent treatment, and it’s not very mature. If you have a disagreement with your friend, talk to them about it like adults. You may not come to a resolution right away, but at least you will be able to communicate openly and honestly.
Show Your Friends Lots of Genuine Love
Your friends need some love, too! So show them some affection every now and then by giving them a hug or telling them how much they mean to you. It may sound cheesy, but your friends will appreciate it nonetheless. By showing your friends lots of genuine love, you’ll strengthen the bond that you have together.
Never Be Negative About Your Friends
Negativity is like a disease; it always spreads! By constantly complaining about your friends or putting them down, you’re only hurting yourself and making things worse for everyone involved. Try to be as positive as possible, even when they’re not around.
Always Ask How They Are
By asking them how they are every now and then, you’re showing that you care about their well-being. When a friend asks you this question, have an answer ready. This will show them that they can talk to you about anything!
Never Ignore Them When They Need You
If your friend is going through a tough time, it’s important to be there for them. Sometimes all they need is someone to listen to them and give them some support. By ignoring them when they need you the most, you’re only making things worse.
Don’t Compare Them to Other Friends
It can be tempting to compare your friends to each other, but it’s never a good idea. Every person is unique and has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. By comparing them to other friends, you’re only hurting their feelings and making them feel insecure.
Never Think You Know Everything
There will always be new things to learn in life, so never think you know everything! This way, you’ll always remain humble and committed to learning more about your friends. It’s always a good idea to ask them for advice, because they may know things that you don’t.
Always Give Genuine Advice
Don’t give advice unless you genuinely want to help your friend solve the problem! If the advice you give makes no sense or sounds like it was pulled out of thin air, don’t say anything at all. Your friends will appreciate it more if you give them honest and useful advice.
Respect Their Opinions, Even If You Disagree
It’s important to respect your friends’ opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. By stating your opinion in a rude or condescending way, you’re only going to make them more upset, and they’ll see you as a negative influence.
Be Honest with Them Whenever Possible
If your friend needs to know something about you, just be honest! There is no point in lying if it isn’t going to hurt anyone or cause problems for yourself. It takes a lot of maturity to be completely honest with your friends, and this will earn you some major respect in return.
If You Can’t Be There to Support Them, Send Help in Your Place
If you can’t support them yourself, send help in your place! By sending help to the best of your ability, you’re showing that you care about them and that someone has their back.
Always Remember That You Have the Power to Become a Better Friend
Lastly, remember that you always have the power to become a better friend! All it takes is some introspection and a little bit of effort. The next time you hang out with your friends, try and think about how you can be better than the last time. And don’t forget to have fun!
By following these tips, you can be a better friend and make your friends feel appreciated. By being more positive, helpful and understanding, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationships with the people you care about. So what are you waiting for? Start practicing today!