When it comes to friendship, we always have room for improvement. Most of us grow up believing that we already know how to be a friend — and many of us are right. But life can get in the way of your friendships, and suddenly, you’re wondering why you and your best friend are so distant now. It happens, and although it’s not always your fault, sometimes you were a bad friend.
Has a friend ever said that you disappointed them? Did you know why they felt that way? What did you do to make the situation better or improve yourself? These are important questions that we need to ask ourselves in order to learn to build stronger friendships.
Becoming a better friend is not as difficult as you might think. Like all relationships, friendships require effort. If you notice that you’re slacking in the friendship department, it’s time to put in overtime on your friendships and be a better buddy to your closest friends. Here are four simple ways to become a better friend:
1. Show up for your friends.
If you heard that your friend was in an accident or is going through a bad breakup, be there for them now. Show up for your friend and try to lift their spirits. Your presence will show them that you care and that you want to help them through their toughest times.
If they’re celebrating something important, like a new relationship or job promotion, you should still show up for them. They’ll know that you love and support them, which will ultimately strengthen your bond.
2. Express your gratitude for your friends.
Did your friend do something nice for you recently, like show up at your place with food and drinks on a rough day or help you clean your apartment when you didn’t have time? Thank them! Your “thank you” can be as simple as helping them through a problem or giving them a little surprise to brighten up a bad day. Showing your friends how much you appreciate them matters. They’ll definitely appreciate your kind words and actions!
3. Maintain balance in your friendships.
Friendship is a two-way street, so it’s important to pull your weight. If your friends are always there for you, but you aren’t there for them, they may grow to resent you. No matter how strong a friendship seems, it can easily become toxic if there is an imbalance in the way that the friends give to each other.
If your friend is always the one who listens to your rants and not the other way around, then it’s important to start talking less and listening more. Make it a point to ask your friend about their day, work, and relationship problems before you start discussing yours. This way, you can show your friend that your friendship isn’t all about you — and your friend can feel how much you love and appreciate them.
4. Try not to judge your friends.
Judging your friends is the fastest way to alienate them. Instead, try to see difficult situations from their points of view. Why did they act the way that they did? What led up to it? Would you have actually done the same thing? Having more empathy can help you understand where your friends are coming from and make them feel like you’re willing to hear their side of the story. They’ll certainly appreciate your effort.
If you feel like you’re struggling in your friendships, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re really being a good friend. If the answer is “no,” showing your friends how much you truly love them can help get your friendships on the mend.
Originally written by Mehruba Chowdhury on YourTango.
Featured Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash.