21 Tips for Being a Better Friend


Better friend tips

By: Alexandra DeWoskin, LCSW

A true friend of mine once said, “when you leave a visit with a friend, you should feel uplifted and full…you shouldn’t feel empty and exhausted.” We need meaningful connections with other people. While not all friendships are besties, it’s important to one’s happiness that we connect to others, to allow others to know us and to allow ourselves to know others, to care about each other.  Wasting time in unhealthy relationships is just that, a waste of time.  So, what draws people together as friends?  Certainly, common interests.  But, also shared or common history, like values, a feeling of equality.  Friendships come in all shapes and sizes from acquaintances to life long and true blue.

But, how often do we get so busy that we lose touch with or stop nurturing friendships?  As our days start to become more jam-packed and we become more unavailable, real friends don’t let life interrupt the relationship. As challenging as it may be with schedules, real friends will carve out some time to catch-up with a call or visit and make each other a priority. It’s totally up to us whether we should feel alone in this world.  It’s up to us to create and allow opportunities to be with others, enjoy each other’s company, and to be there for each other. It’s up to us to make our relationships priorities and to decide to be a true and real friend.

In the late 60s, The Beatles song said “I Get by with a Little Help From my Friends”.  And it seems no truer words can be said. Friends are social companions, helpers in need, shoulders to lean on in hard times, support systems, networks, and extensions of family.  Relationships help us live longer. Genuine friends assist us in making better decisions and reducing our stress.  We seek their advice and look to them as calming forces.  Friends can be a mirror for us reflecting our greatness to us when we can’t see it ourselves.

They can be supportive and encouraging when we are struggling. Friends can provide empathy and give us their full attention and be present with us.  They can make us feel like a priority and really listen to, hear, and be there with us.  Friends can also be our reality check can be our reality check.  They can help us see our flaws so we can be accountable as well as acknowledge us when we are doing great.  This gentle honesty is what really sets genuine friendships apart from the weaker ones. It helps us build trust and honesty.

Friends are forgiving and have the courage to confront each other directly.  Building an understanding allows for this forgiveness.   They stick by each other throughout good and bad times and hopefully make us strive to be better people.  Friends are confidants and role models.  They can help to bring out the best in each other.  The best of friends are simply the ones who know how to make you laugh, bring you joy, hope, and comfort even in the midst of life’s most difficult situations. True friendships are reciprocal, self-esteem boosting, and helpful. We receive so many benefits back by helping others most importantly feeling better about yourself.

Here’s 21 tips for being a true friend to another:

  1. Always be there and practice selflessness once in a while.
  2. Be kind and listen.
  3. Don’t be scared to tell each other the truth.
  4. Guide each other in times of need.
  5. Listen with genuine interest.
  6. Be loyal and forgiving.
  7. Be supportive and uplifting.
  8. Try to be a good influence and role model.
  9. Be your true self
  10. Be vulnerable.
  11. Provide safety to allow your friends to vulnerable.
  12. Accept the person as they are, as an individual, without conditions.
  13. 13. Remain friends despite disagreements or choices.
  14. Help your friends to grow.
  15. Celebrate the wins and be there to support the losses.
  16. Don’t hold grudges over petty disagreements.
  17. A true friend is someone who makes you feel comfortable.
  18. Be there for the other person in the same way you would be there for yourself.
  19. Don’t let your own stuff get in the way.
  20. Share your appreciation of each other.
  21. Share interest whether, hobbies, sports, goals and spiritual interests.

So, maybe it’s time to get out there a join social clubs organized around activities you enjoy or leverage the internet to find people of like mind. Put down your phones in the presence of your friends and be present. Find friends that who uplift your soul, are full of life, and are excited about you as a friend. And remember, the easiest way to attract true friends is to be a true friend yourself…be the friend you want to have.