Humans are inherently social. We desire to interact with other people. Even if you tend to be introverted, you’d probably agree that social interactions can be enjoyable. We all have a deep need for authentic human interactions.
Some of these interactions are purely casual and don’t ever become deep, real friendships. Others are with people we connect with on a soul to soul level. As we meet people and they transition from acquaintances to friends, we’re giving a part of ourselves to them. We start to get more real about who we are and the guard we have up at first starts to come down.
To continue to be a good friend and be happy in relationships, it’s important to set selfishness aside. It’s something I haven’t always remembered as my natural tendency is to be very opinionated. However, I know that to find necessary peace in human relationships, it’s important to offer up my life for my friends.
Here are 5 Ways to Be a Better Friend:
1. Listen more than you speak.
As an avid talker, I have struggled with this one. When someone is telling a story and I have something to say about it, I have to consciously bite my tongue and let them finish. You don’t always have to be the listener; in fact, most good discussions have a fairly even pace of back and forth talking. Just make sure you start to actually listen to what your friend is trying to say. Take a real interest in your friend’s thoughts and opinions and avoid making the conversation all about you.
2. Give freely.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned so much about giving freely. I have some incredible friends who never hesitate to treat someone to a meal or kindly give a small gift for no reason other than out of love. When you give, don’t expect anything in return. Stop keeping a mental list of what you’ve done for others or what they’ve done for you. If you’re doing it as a form of payback, it’s not the same as giving freely.
3. Seek to meet needs before your friend even has to ask.
If you know your friend needs something, go out of your way to meet that need. Maybe he or she has been too busy working to cook. Make a meal and take it over to their family. They’ll appreciate that you helped them before they even had to ask. Try to listen and see the needs of those around you and be there to help.
4. Call just to say hi.
There are few things nicer than knowing someone was thinking about you and just wanted to check in. With social media as a huge source of communication these days, it becomes tempting to write on your friend’s Facebook wall or send out a Tweet. Resist the urge to do the standard, less-than-meaningful social media conversation. Pick up that phone and make a call.
5. Say Thank You.
Did your friend do something nice for you? Show that you appreciate it. Make sure your friend knows you are glad they’re in your life. Send a random card or simply tell your friend thank you for being there for you the next time you see them.
We all need friends. Life is full of ups and downs. Having others there to experience the pains and joys with us help us keep our spirits up. Take a moment to reflect on your friendships and see how you can be a better friend.