How to be a Better Friend

Let’s be honest: we all could be better at being a friend. If it’s true that our vibe attracts our tribe, then maybe it’s time for some self-reflection about what it means to be a good friend. When we have better practices in our friendships, the connections we have always dreamed of having start to come to us. Here are a few tips on how to be a better friend:

1. Support your friends. It’s almost too obvious, but it needs to be said: we must support our friends. If your friend makes things, buy them. If they are creating podcasts, writing things, and producing artwork, consume it like you are their biggest fan. [rework this sentence] Go to their events. Like their memes on social media.  Have a good conversation about what is really going on with them. The little things add up, but so does being there when they’re going through rough times.  When we are going through a difficult time (a break up, death, job loss, etc.) it is always the friends that stuck around that we remember. Be sure to check in on your friends instead of hoping they’ll let you know when they’re struggling, because often when we are struggling the most, we have the most difficulty asking for help.

2. When you’re thinking about your friends, let them know. Sometimes we hold back when we want to tell our friends how much they mean to us. Even sending them a quick text: Hey! Remember that time… or,I was just thinking about you. Hope all is well!It’s unexpected and probably very much needed. It’s likely your friend will be flattered you thought of them and took time out of your day to check in. It may be the exact thing they needed in that moment. 

3. Ask them for help. People like feeling useful to each other. We each carry unique wisdoms about life that we are eager to share. Your friends will feel appreciated if you confide in them about a particular problem you are having. Working on the problem together could also bring you closer and make your friendship stronger. Be mindful, however, that you are not “dumping” your problems on one friend, as this can drain the friendship easily.

4. Consider what they are going through, too. When reaching out for support, be sure you are contacting a friend who could help you in the respective area in which you are struggling. Not every friend is equipped to help you with all your problems all the time. For example, calling a friend to complain about your boyfriend when they just broke up with theirs is not very considerate. Obviously we can’t control how things land with others, but be mindful about who you confide in at different times. 

5. Work on yourself. The best way to be a better friend is to start reflecting on things that are holding you back in your life. Friends are great in this respect because you can reality-test and ask for their honest feedback. This could enhance both your self-development and your friendship. Working on yourself often involves recognizing where you fell short as a friend, and it is never too late to talk about your missteps. Apologizing and talking about your missteps will likely bring your friendship closer.

We could all use better friendships in our lives, and one step to having better friends is becoming a better friend. Life would be better with good friends by your side.

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