You know the saying, "Blood is thicker than water?"
And sometimes, when we get caught up with our own lives or have known each other for so long, we *might* take our friends for granted or forget to show them how much we appreciate them.
So here are some everyday habits, tidbits, and pieces of advice that can help you be a better friend. (And if you have one to add, please share in the comments!)
1. If you're constantly venting to your friend, also be sure to let them know when things are going well.
2. Don't compare yourself to your friends! Everyone has their strengths, and comparing your "non-strengths" to their strengths isn't going to do anyone any good.
3. Make time to check out something that your friend recommends to you! Even if it's not your vibe, you'll have something to bond over and may be able to understand them better.
4. When a friend is sharing something difficult with you, don't immediately share a similar problem to relate. Instead, make sure you're genuinely listening.
5. Similarly, when your friend tells you about a problem, don't immediately try to solve it. They're most likely seeking validation and just want to be heard.
6. And, if you already know your friend is upset (and maybe why), ask them if they'd rather talk about it — or get their mind off of it.
7. Support your friend's growth. If they change their mind about something and make a positive change in their life — whether it be a new belief or behavior — don't judge them negatively.
8. Whenever you find out an important date — like their birthday, the first day of their new job, or any big event — add it to your calendar. Then, shoot your friend a text the day of.
9. Don't assume that your seemingly-always-has-it-together friend never needs help. Some people just aren't good at asking for help when they need it, so reach out and offer help when you can.
10. When you make a mistake or hurt your friend, just own up to it, apologize, and work toward moving on.
11. But if your friend is treating you badly, you're entirely allowed to defend yourself or call them out.
12. On that note, set clear boundaries with your friends. It's okay to feel selfish when it comes to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
13. Let your friends know when you're running late! While it's not on purpose, running late can be disrespectful and inconsiderate of their time. So just shoot them a quick apology and text to let them know when to expect you, instead.
14. Use "I feel... when..." statements to diffuse (and prevent!) arguments.
15. And remember, an argument between you and your friend does not mean it's "you" versus "your friend." It's "you and your friend" versus "the problem."
16. Immediately tell your friend when you're speaking to them on speakerphone. And mention whoever else is listening!
17. It's not always worth calling out your friends on small things, especially if it leads to trivial arguments.
18. Be conscious of why you're sharing certain information with certain friends, especially if you're talkative. It's cool to always have something to talk about, but sometimes you gotta know when to not say anything, too.
19. When you and your friend are trying to figure out what to do together, try not to say, "I don't care." Instead, explain that it doesn't matter to you because you're just here to hang out with them.
20. If you have anxiety when it comes to socializing (or social events!), remind yourself that your anxiety doesn't actually mean everything will definitely go bad. You're just uncertain, and that's okay.
21. With new friends, ask questions to drive conversations. If things are feeling a bit awkward, questions are a great way to open up.
22. Keep a list of things your friends like for gift ideas throughout the year.
23. Whenever your friend asks how you're doing, make sure to return the question. Sometimes, they may even want to open up about something but not know how to begin.
24. If your friend shares their creation with you (like a song they wrote or art they made), point out a specific aspect of it that you notice. It's more engaging than a general compliment.
25. If your friend is talking about a subject you don't know much about, it's totally okay to say that you don't have an opinion because you don't know enough about it.
26. Be willing to walk away from friendships that are doing you more harm than good.
27. When you invite your friend somewhere, tell them, "I'd (We'd) love to have you there!" instead of, "You can come if you want." One sounds way more invitational than the other.
28. If you have a (new) partner, still make an effort to keep connected with your friends.
Do you already do these things and more? If so, share what you do to be a good friend below!
P.S. if you are worried that some friendships are toxic, check out these red flags and these lessons learned from toxic friendships.