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Saturday, 19 June 2010

How To Be A Good Friend

Being a good guy/girl to be around, you'll get more friends than you could ever imagine. So here are the steps, for if you have any friends, to follow to be a good one! Enjoy having this time because a lot of people need tips.
1.       Be real. Are you trying to be friends with someone to be accepted into a certain clique, or because you'd like to get to know someone else that he or she knows? That's not friendship, it's opportunism. Every new person you meet has the right to be accepted (or not) on his or her own merits, it's better to just be yourself than let anyone else influence you into being someone you are not. And you should fill their brain with good things. Remember, it's better to be hated for who you are, than to be liked for who you aren't.
2.       Be honest. A dishonest person has no chance of having true friends. Keep your promises; do what you say you are going to do, and most importantly -- don't lie! Lying is when you say "Okay, I will...", but you never do: people will eventually figure you out. If you have found yourself lying about doing things -- then not trying to keep your word -- admit how you felt, as well as how you may think that he or she might have felt (Explain that you were second-guessing that you felt like you had to say "Yes..." -- rather than trusting your friendship and just saying "I can't." -- or "I don't know when I'll have time..."). Be dependable.
If you know you were at fault for the whole dilemma, own up. Simply talk about it, hope your friend will forgive you. They'd most likely appreciate it in the future, to look back and say, 'Wow!' I've had an amazing friend by my side. But, if you are changing, flip-flipping and undependable -- that feels like you were not a good friend ("Sincerity" may be comforting -- and insincerity: "just a lie." But, depends on your motives and what was intended.).
3.       Be loyal. If your friend tells you something in confidence, don't talk about it to anyone else. Don't discuss your friend behind his/her back except when it involves the other person, and you won't just make it worse. Nobody likes a gossip or backstabber. Never say anything about your friend that you would not really want to repeat face to face. Don't let others say bad things about your friend until you've had a chance to hear your friend's side of the story. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn't seem like a thing your friend would do or say, then
respond as, "I know him/her, and that just doesn't sound right. Let me talk to him/her, find out his/her perspective on this. If it turns out to be true, I'll let you know. Until then, I would appreciate it, if you didn't spread that around, because that might not be what was really meant or intended..."
But, you can't play both sides of a game or of the fence. Agree with one -- or the other -- not with both sides! But don't accuse either one without a real reason.
4.       Be respectful. Things you and your friend discuss should be treated with care - your friend is not sharing this information with just anyone, and may not want to. She shared it with you - and only you, as far as you know. Example: If your friend doesn't want to name her crush, don't push her into it. If she has named her crush, don't tell anyone else. This is just common courtesy anyone and everyone deserves the expectation that you will keep confidences.
5.       Watch out for your friend. If you sense that s/he is getting too drunk at a party, help him or her to get away from the alcohol. Don't allow your friend to drive drunk - take his or her keys and/or drive your friend home personally. If your friend begins talking about running away or committing suicide, tell someone about it. This rule overrides the "respect privacy" step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Suggest a help line or professional to your friend. Talk to your and your friend's parents or spouse first (unless those were the ones causing the problems) before involving anyone else.
6.Pitch in for friends during times of crisis. If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school and give homework assignments when you know that one is absent and sick at home. Send cards and care packages. If there is a death in his/her family, you might want to attend the funeral -- or cook and take a dish or a meal over to your friend. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let the tears roll. Give a tissue and listen. Really listen openly. You don't have to say anything, just don't be too upset by hearing sadness or anger, or deep grief. Stay calm and reassuring.
7. If your friend is going through a crisis -- don't say: "Everything is going to be all right." -- if it's not going to be. This goes right along with keeping it real. It's hard not to say that sometimes, but false reassurance can often be worse than none, and it may undermine your friend's ability to get through the crisis as well as one might. Instead, tell your friend that "Whatever you decide or need, I am there for you." If the need is to talk: talk; if it's to sit quietly: sit there. If the need is to relax and get your minds off of things, offer to take in a movie or concert "together." Give a sincere hug, if you are friends -- not strangers, after all. Stay honest, but upbeat and positive. Even a stranger would appreciate a sincere word or possibly a gesture of a "quick" hug, or a hand rubbed across the back for just "a moment," but don't overdo it.
8. Give advice, add perspective. Don't judge your friend, but do advise to stay out of dangerous situations where one may harm oneself or others. Tell him/her how you perceive his/her situation, and what you might do in the same circumstances. Don't be offended by one listening to your advice and then deciding to ignore it. Your friend must make his or her own decisions. Avoid saying "You should...". That may feel like you are imposing "shoulds" upon your friend.
9. Give your friend space. Understand if he/she wants to be alone or hang out with other people. Allow it to happen. There's no need to become clingy or needy. Friendship doesn't require that you always have to be paired together. Allowing one another the time to hang with other friends gives you much-needed breathing room, and allows you to come together fresh and appreciating each other even more.
10. Never make a promise you know you can't keep. Good friendship is based on trust - if you break a friend's trust, the friendship may be very hard to salvage. Of course, if you have made a promise and planned to keep it, but circumstances beyond your control conspire to prevent it, let your friend know as soon as you find out. Don't wait until 15 minutes after you were supposed to arrive to call and say, "gee, I'm sorry." Instead, a quick call to say, "Hey, I know I promised to help you with whatever it is, but my mom is telling me we are going to my aunt's for the weekend, and leaving tomorrow just after school - that means I won't be able to make it. I'm so sorry. Can we reschedule?" That's just honoring the fact that your friend is counting on you, and respecting the fact that, given a little notice, your friend might just be able to get someone else to help with whatever it was - or not, whatever. But at least you won't be hanging your friend out to twist in the wind.
11. Listen. you don't have to agree -- just listen to what is said. Make sure to stop talking to listen -- so you are not just running your mouth. Some people don't really find it interesting listening to someone talk about your/their feelings 24/7. If you're monopolizing every conversation with your feelings, the friend isn't getting anything out of the relationship (Don't sigh and groan like the world is against you. Seek help elsewhere and try to stop being paranoid.). Invite sharing hearts with you as often as you would share your heart -- but not so you have a monopoly on the friends time or have some juicy gossip or a cut down like to do to "teach a lesson" to your friend. A long or hard lesson may not be practical or appreciated at all.
12. Don't be selfish. Grabbing, stealing, envying and/or begging are big No's in the rules of friendship. The friend will soon get tired of this and eventually move towards more self-less people who are willing to give the same as one gets, but a good friend will not demand it, yet one might mention being tired of it. Even if you are a total wreck -- don't expect constant sympathy.
13. Share. As before, if you have a selfless friend, that always expects something back; try to accommodate. That's if one doesn't make it too obvious, like begging or envying. This does not mean giving large or expensive presents. This can just mean being there when you are needed. If you already gave a lot of your time, then that gift is probably in appreciation for that... and so, don't feel obligated to make an equal gift in that kind of case. Just say thanks, "That's nice." No gift would be expected that way.
14. Don't expect, demand or abuse generosity or "wear out your welcome." When your friend does something nice for you, then reciprocate quickly. Money isn't, or doesn't have to be, an issue.
Don't compare labels, prices, size and value.
Don't let your friend pay every time you go out, even if it's offered. Don't help yourself to things at your friend's house without asking, unless you are willing and that is desired -- and practiced at your house in turn.
Go home when it seems like the time is right; don't be like furniture. Reach for the door knob and say "Bye." turn the knob, leave... No one wants to be friends with a moocher or to feel used.
If you borrow something from a friend, take good care of it and then return it without being asked.
If you end the friendship then you should return any special gifts bought for you, especially if gifts were under false pretenses. Like: "Friends forever." but you were only pretending to be a friend. It's proper etiquette; act in "good faith."
15. Live by the golden rule. Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated. If you don't -- there will be repercussions. Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want done to you. Be there through thick and thin as long as that is how you feel as a true friend. Don't begrudge everything as a favor that has to be repaid immediately.
Don't use your friends as a measure of your worth! You have value.
It's not measured by a gift or a token like a card or a trinket...
16. Don't be presumptuous. It shouldn't be called friendship -- if it is "Tag you're it! See ya later until you pay me back..." That is being self centered and not a good friend.
17. Apologize and forgive and don't hold a grudge; stop playing games like:
"I called last; so, I won't call again until I get a call-back."
"No more! I'm through!" -- if you feel easily slighted, that's being paranoid.
Don't say: "It's not my turn... I did a favor last." That's holding a grudge like a self-centered person: Be nice! Be friendly...
18. If you miss an event like their party, apologize to them and offer to make it up to them. To some people, a birthday party is something that can hurt them if you don't come.
19. Don't over spoil your friend, especially if she's never (or hardly) done anything for you. It shows you are desperate and you will definitely regret it later.
Make sure your friend doesn't have to spend a birthday alone. You can hold a party for them (even a surprise party if you can keep a secret) or take them out to dinner and pay for their meal.
Have fun. It's not all about bleeding hearts and advice to the lovelorn - or at least, it shouldn't be. Decorate your friend's locker on his or her birthday, have a spa party, host a sleepover, whatever. Join activities with them.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to be a good friend. The best gifts are often hand-made and come from the heart.
Don't set too many expectations and rules. That's just trapping others in your dimension. Allowing your friendship to evolve and change naturally is really best - it allows your friend to be as unique and individual as you are, and for both of you to enjoy one another in that light.
If someone is in any difficulty and he/she behaves in a way that's very hurtful (like a put-down) to you, don't be overly angry. Try to understand their problems.
Listen and talk to your friend about their problems. Keep their secrets and be trustworthy.
Take initiative. That means try to do some small/medium favors and be fun to be around; be out there, or in there, to see how it works and develops over the long term if possible.
A friend who is only available at school or work -- but, a friend nonetheless -- only in that one place. One could still be very good within the career or academic context. Be very glad for that specialty kind of necessary, if less than a "good-friendship".
Warnings
Don't be needy and greedy by taking up all your friend's time. This could get extremely annoying and irritating. He or she will want to separate from you if you become needy. Relax and trust in your friendship, and allow each other the freedom to be with each other, or with others, or just alone. You can't decide for them.
Don't hang out with somebody because you're both "nerds" or you're both "geeks" or "partiers". You don't have to hang out with people just like you. Sometimes the weirdest friend combos make the best of friends. Any person can transcend a stereotype to be the most wonderful person you've ever met in your life - keep your mind open and form your own opinions.
If your friend doesn't treat you well while you treat them well, then there's no reason why you shouldn't expect the same treatment in return. Don't stay close friends with one who doesn't treat you well.
No one likes an insulting friend, be careful when you tease them!
Never start a fight or a big argument because you are bored. .
Do not tantalize your friend with food or candy. Do not offer everyone candy in the room and leave out your friend; let the friend decide to participate or let it alone, even when your friend has told you not to give him/her candy for months... but also, don't carry around a special treat with which to taunt your friend who is on a strict diet.
Don't keep wasting your life by having secret crushes on new prospective friends (a crush is a secret/self defeating boundary). So, being sociable and very friendly, but not being presumptuous should let your friendship develop naturally.
Don't expect instant or life-long friendship; realize that, if it is to be something special, it may develop quite gradually.
If your friend is starting to make new friends, don't get jealous. No one likes a jealous friend. Have faith in your friendship. Also, if your friend is talking to someone else, don't crash their conversation. You'll seem needy and pathetic.

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