5 Ways to be a Better Friend, According to Experts
Being a good friend doesn’t always come naturally. Just like any relationship, it’s important to make a conscious effort to be an excellent friend! We know just how valuable our friends are to us, and that’s why we’ve rounded up 5 ways to help you be an amazing friend!
Have More In Person Interactions
Technology has made keeping in touch easier than it’s ever been before, however, it’s also made our relationships more impersonal. Kali Rogers, founder of Blush Online Personal Coaching states, “While technology has its pros, it should never completely replace in-person connection. So many factors of communication are left out of the fold when it comes to technology, such as body language, tone, physical touch and so much more. In-person connection leaves less room for misunderstandings and conflict and much more room for bonding and heartfelt discussion. It takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to be more vulnerable with another human being—and vulnerability is the foundation for deep relationships. So don’t let technology totally consume your friendships. Instead, let it be a booster.”
Our friends should be the people we turn to when we need to share good news, vent, work through an issue, and express our thoughts and emotions. In the age of social media and “liking,” it can be difficult to create genuine relationships where we feel comfortable being ourselves – which is why it’s so important to listen to our friends when they need a supportive ear.
Rogers explains, “It’s really easy to see a friend we love (or any friend, for that matter) and completely unload. To be frank, a lot of us simply don’t have a ton of real friendships. Another lovely side effect of technology is we are connected to hundreds and thousands of people online as acquaintances, so our true friendships feel diluted among all the superficial relationships we’ve cultivated.
Does your friend have a favorite band or a favorite flower? Are they moving into a new apartment and could use a hand packing up their belongings? Maybe your friend is nervous about an interview or a date. It’s important to remember the little things about your friend. When something is important to someone it’s meaningful when someone else mentions it, or remembers it too.
Rogers explains, “Remember things that are important. People love to talk about themselves and love it when others remember things important to them. Ask about those things next time you see them. It can be things like family, pets, vacations, whatever is important to that person. Names are especially important. Remember names of people important in their lives. If you have trouble remembering, write down a few notes about the friend and have a quick look at them before you meet them.”
Cool weekend getaways, evening dinner dates and impromptu candids shown on social media can easily make you feel left out when it comes to seeing your friends with their other friends splashed all over social media. It can be difficult to see a friend having a blast with their other friends, but don’t let these moments ruin how you feel about your bond with your friend.
Rogers says, “Technology makes it ever so easy to stack yourself up against the competition also vying for a friend’s attention. Don’t let yourself go there. Your friend is going to have other friends outside of your friendship, and that does not and should not threaten your bond. I will admit, it can be tough when you are being shown pictures of said friend happy and healthy with others who aren’t yourself, but instead of letting it threaten you, cultivate feelings of positivity that they are happy. Let it inspire you to be a better friend whenever you guys are together. Just like you don’t compare your dog to someone else’s dog, don’t compare your friendship to others, either. Focus on your own bond and nothing else!”
Rephrase Your Questions
Social media and technology has made us accustomed to superficial relationships. When we ask someone how they’re doing, we’re not really expecting an in depth response. Go beyond the generic questions and let your friend know that you’re really interested in how they’re doing.
Counselor and keynote speaker Natasha Oates says, “Technology is reflective of how surface-level many friendships have become. When you connect with friends, avoid asking questions like, ‘How are you?’ Most Americans are conditioned to say, ‘I’m doing good or I’m fine,’ even when the sky is falling in on them. Ask more open-ended questions such as, ‘What has it been like for you lately?'”