Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How to Be a Friend

Friends form a big part of our lives. They are the ones with whom we share our ups and downs; our most joyous successes and most unforgettable pains. Without friends, life wouldn’t be the same at all.  So for all the things our friends do for us, do we ever stop to consider how to actually be a friend (to others)?  Here are a few key points to consider.

Active Listening:  Listening is so important, do not underestimate its power.  The best way to be in the position to listen is through empathy.  Try to understand the situation from your friends’ point of view.  If you aim to do this, you’ll naturally find yourself beginning to ask the right sort of questions.  They will appreciate having someone who really cares about how they feel and what they’re going through. You don’t have to have all the answers, and you shouldn’t assume your friend wants advice – they might just want to talk (so that they can work out what they’re going to do themselves).

Ask Them What They Need:  If you’re worried about your friend and you want to be there for them; openly ask them what they need.   That way you know what they find helpful during tough times, and you can be there in a way that’s most useful to them.   

Be the Friend You Wish You Had:  Beatles have said, “I get by with a little help from my friends” Learn to be the kind of person your friends turn to when all else is lost or when their heart has been broken or when life just sucks. You don’t have to fix their problems, sometimes you can just listen and be there.

Keep in Touch: Face-to-face allows you the most complete experience.  However, even if you guys aren’t nearby each other, making an effort to keep in touch through Facebook, emails, texts and calls will show your friend you are there for them (share the off experiences too). 

Friendships are a Two-Way Street: You have to do your part so that your friend can do theirs.  It must be mutually beneficial.  The experience of being a friend may feel one-sided from time, and there may be long gaps between meetings, but over the lifespan of the friendship, the “work” of the relationship must be balanced.  If one of you is not dependable and there, the friendship can’t run smoothly.

Tell Them How You Feel: You don’t have to make a big deal of it all the time, but sometimes there are moments where letting someone know they’re important, can make a big difference to how someone is feeling.  Making your friend feel relevant, share with them in the important times, and off-times too.

Know When to Let Go and When to Walk Away: If you have someone who is toxic or you feel toxic around them, walk way. There is nothing wrong with letting go of someone who does not want the best for you. 

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