Some people are really good friends to others. Not everyone is so fortunate to have such great friends. Have you ever had someone in your life that made you ask yourself, on a regular basis, why you are friends with them? I have had friends that made me feel like they just suck the life right out of me and then I have had the kind that I’d be lost without. So, what makes someone a good friend?
While I won’t profess to be the best friend anyone could have, I do know what I appreciate about some of mine. I have a friend that goes back to when I was seven years old. I have friends that I’ve made in just the last few years. I have reconnected with friends from the past that I’d lost touch with and I have friends of all ages. I also consider some of my relatives to be friends as well.
They all have a few things in common. They are wonderful people. By that, I mean they are caring individuals who would go out of their way for a friend if need be. They are good listeners. They understand how crazy my life can be and, if we don’t talk or see each other often, we just pick up where we left off without any problem. I enjoy being around them. They make me feel good even if we are sharing things that aren’t necessarily pleasant. We have some things in common, but yet differ in other ways. And it is ok. Neither of us get upset about those differences. They come in all shapes and sizes, different careers, varying financial stages, some married or never married, some divorced, and some widowed. I can say I am doing just fine, but they know instinctually when something is wrong. There’s nothing like a friend who can read the situation and know when to ask questions. Better yet, which questions to ask. They remember the things and people that are important to me. They are honest with me when I need them to be and understanding and compassionate when I need a shoulder to cry on. They get my sense of humor and support my creative endeavors. They like me. They honestly like me and respect my choices, even if they don’t agree with them. They don’t judge me or ask me to be anything that I’m not. I can just be me.
I hope they can say the same about me. There are probably a dozen things I could list as failures on my part, but we are still friends. I don’t contact people enough because I get caught up in that before mentioned chaos. I think of them often, but they don’t always know that. I won’t call someone at midnight to tell them I was thinking about them, even if that’s often the case. I miss birthdays or special events. I sometimes talk too much about my own problems and not enough about theirs. And sometimes I let just a little too much time go by or miss too many opportunities to show I care. The intentions are always there. The love I have for them is constant. I just need to be a better friend.
There are a few things I have learned that are friendship destroyers. If you want to be the kind of person that makes them wonder why they are friends with you, then stop reading right now. But, if you genuinely care about your friends, check it out. This is how you lose friends…
- Stop answering calls, texts, or messages and not showing up at events you’ve been invited to. Did you suddenly become part of the Witness Protection Program? That’s the only reason you should be totally unreachable. Obviously, they are trying to contact you for a reason and want to share good times with you. If you don’t have time right now, then let them know. If it’s not always that way, they will understand. Otherwise, they end up feeling slighted and hurt. If you don’t want to spend time with them, don’t keep letting them hang onto the hope that you want a friendship.
- Always talk about yourself, your problems, and make every subject somehow relate back to you or someone else you know. Sometimes people just need someone to listen. If you are always making it about you or what you know, then they will just get tired of trying to talk to you. They need to feel you care about what they are going through or feeling.
- Only contact them when you want or need something. A good relationship is one that practices give and take. It can’t be one sided all of the time. Some folks are just needier, but you can’t make people feel that you are only using them.
- Leave them out of your socializing. Keeping your friendship incognito doesn’t make anyone feel good. If you can’t mix your friendships with one another, you need to ask yourself why? If jealousy is a problem, you need to address it. Your friends can’t get along? Find out what the problem is and see if it can be worked out.
- Don’t pay attention when they talk to you. If you are a good friend, you are going to listen to what’s not being said. Sure you have to hear what they ARE saying, but pick up on what’s really going on. If they know they can talk to you and trust that you care, they will open up.
- Talk about them behind their backs. How would you feel if someone you thought was a friend was saying terrible things about you when you weren’t around? You got some ‘splainin’ to do Lucy if you would do that to someone you consider a friend. If you have a problem with them, talk to THEM, not anyone else.
- Never remember who or what is important to them. Just because you don’t know the same people or work with the same people, doesn’t mean you can’t engage in thoughtful conversation about them. It may not affect you, but it does them and they need to feel you care enough to know who they are referring to. And how could you ever buy the perfect gift if you can’t remember what your friend likes?
- Stay angry about something they did or said. We all make mistakes. You aren’t perfect and neither are they. Being judgy, preachy, or nasty about what your friends do or say will make you one lonely person. Not realizing that you might have said something that was taken out of context, don’t be angry because you upset them. Don’t be critical of their families, friends, or partners.
- Lie about who you were with or where you went. Don’t be dishonest about your life or what’s going on. You don’t have to go into details about things if you are aware they will be upset, but you should be able to tell the truth about things.
- Don’t apologize when you do something wrong. Nobody likes the person who can’t say they are wrong or sorry when they should be. Be the bigger person and apologize. It can go a long way to making things right.
To have a good friend is one of the highest delights of life; to be a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings. ~Anonymous