How to Be a Good Friend

This platform has given me the opportunity to speak about so many different topics, but one I haven't really talked a lot about yet is friendship.

It's almost ironic to me because I always write about the most important things in my life, yet I haven't written about friendship, family, or relationships at all. These are truly some of the most meaningful things to me and lately I've become very eager to talk more about them and share my experience and knowledge with you.

Being a great friend is not always easy. It is natural to protect and care for your own well-being, but when it comes to another person, it becomes a whole different story. Using lessons learned from my own experience, I am sharing my top tips to being the best friend you can be.

This post is dedicated to all my best friends (in absolutely no order), past or present, even if you're not shown or mentioned here in this post. The advice next to each person's photo is directly inspired by a lesson I have learned from that specific friendship. My friends are the most valuable to me, and every friend who has entered my life has made a huge impact that I am forever thankful for.

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Communicate

In every type of relationship, communication is the biggest factor in making sure things run smoothly. It can be hard at times to express your feelings or share personal information, but being able to open up to your best friends will bring you closer together and build a stronger bond.

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reach out

Distance can be hard if you live far away from your best friends, but all you can do is make sure the effort is being put in on both sides. The best thing you can do is take turns reaching out so that neither person feels like they have been forgotten. Even if you know it has been a while since you last spoke, it is never too late to re-connect.

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Show support

When a friend is going through a tough time, the best thing you can do is simply be there. This could mean texting them and checking in, or keeping them company even if you're not necessarily doing anything. It is also just as effective to offer your guidance and kind words.

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Give advice

You are by no means required to be an expert in every topic you give advice on. It can seem very intimidating to guide others, but you are put in tough situations to learn lessons and share your experience with others. Being able to give some direction to a friend shows that you are listening and reminds them that they aren't alone.

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spread positivity

When your friend is down, or even when they aren't, a great quality is the ability to be positive and happy around them. When you're positive, it radiates to the people around you and can directly impact them into feeling more happy. Try to smile and show a positive attitude around the people you love. It will encourage them to be happier and more positive too.

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Be dependable

Whether you made dinner plans or offered to give your friend a ride to work, a valuable quality is the ability to be there for the other person no matter what. It's not only important to be reliable in those situations, but also to keep your word even if something else comes up.

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forgive & forget

It's almost guaranteed that with any close friendship comes disagreement. The real test of strength isn't about the argument itself, but about the way you handle it, and your ability to bounce back after it's over. A great friend is someone who can acknowledge what went wrong, then forgive and move on. Additionally, a great friend is also someone who will admit they were in the wrong and take responsibility for their mistakes.

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trust & be trustworthy

This piece of advice has two parts and takes both to work properly. Both friends must be comfortable confiding in one another, but also must have the ability to keep that information confidential. It's extremely common for certain things to slip throughout the duration of a friendship, but both sides need to understand that there is always room to build back that trust.

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listen

Listening is so powerful in a friendship because it is surprisingly hard to do. When a friend wants to talk about something whether it's good or bad, a true friend will put everything aside for that moment and give their full attention.

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evolve together

If you have been friends with someone for a long period of time, you are bound to see changes in one another. Unless you see those changes as negative, it is your job to support the other person progress with them. This progression will not only allow you to support one another, but will also strengthen your friendship as a whole.

be honest

Whether they're asking for your opinion on an outfit or on a big life decision, honesty is always important. Sometimes we aren't always told what we want to hear, but that's what true friends are for. They will always praise you when you do something great, but will never fail to tell it like it is when something goes wrong.

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teach them

The great part about having all kinds of different friends is that they each provide you with something different. While one friend might be able to give you the best style advice, another could be your go-to when you need help with school work. Every person has something different to bring to the table, so make sure you are using your own strengths to help your friends become better people, and they will do the same for you.

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make time

We all lead extremely busy lives, but true friends will put everything aside to make time for each other. It is easy to let life get in the way, but when you make time for the other person even if its for 10 minutes, it shows that you care about maintaining your friendship.

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Accept them

Even though you might not be the same as every single one of your friends, it is still important that you make each person feel accepted. Every friendship is special for a reason, but it doesn't need to revolve around liking all the same things. A true friend recognizes that you are different, but sees the beauty in your unique qualities.

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be compassionate

There will be plenty of times when your friends make mistakes and suffer the consequences, or go through something that you might not understand. The best thing you can do in either circumstance is put yourself in their shoes. It's part of the human journey to hit bumps in the road, but showing sensitivity to their situation is way more effective than showing judgement.