I’m Trying To Be A Better Friend. Here’s How.

How I'm Becoming A Better Friend | #friendship #friends #how #to #howto #bestie #bestfriend #best #friend

There’s only one item on my bucket list I know I’ll never cross off.

Goal #12 on my long-term bucket list is to become a better friend, and I think there will always be room for growth. There will never be a day when I can say I am the best friend there ever was to all the people in my life, so I’ll always have more to strive for.

But lately I’ve been really going at this one. I have some really stellar people in my life and I think they deserve my very best effort.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to become a better friend:

How I'm Becoming A Better Friend | #friendship #friends #how #to #howto #bestie #bestfriend #best #friend

1) I’m remembering to follow up after the big stuff.

When a friend calls me crying because of a love life disaster or I hear about their job promotion via Facebook, I normally make a mental note to text them the next day and ask them about how things are going and how they’re feeling. Following up after I hear big news shows them they are in my thoughts and cherished.

How I’m doing it:

  • I’m setting alerts on my phone to remind me to send a text the day after I learn a piece of important news about a friend
  • I’m sending those texts as soon as I remember to, not waiting until later when it’s likely to slip out of my thoughts

2) I’m working on opening up and being vulnerable.

I’ve discussed my desire to be more vulnerable before. It’s really hard to do because it can feel risky, like we’re putting ourselves out there to get hurt. But I’ve found that when I’m intentional about being vulnerable, my relationships deepen. My friends feel more comfortable around me knowing I’m a human being who struggles the same way they do, and I feel more cared for and loved in the end.

How I’m doing it:

  • Often there are pivotal moments in a conversation with a buddy where I could choose to go deeper into my true emotions around a subject, or I could retreat and cover it up with happy smiles and words. Lately I’m actively deciding to share what feels difficult for the sake of vulnerability.
  • I’m discussing my desire to be more vulnerable with my friends, which in and of itself feels kind of vulnerable because it admits I’m not normally very good at this. It also keeps me accountable to actually following through.

3) I’m sending more cards and making more phone calls.

To be 100% honest, I’m the worst texter known to man. While I’m trying to follow-up with my friends after the big stuff with texts, I’m not always the best at holding a conversation with my fingers. This makes it hard to keep in contact with my pals who are far away when I’m not seeing them regularly, so I’m trying to write them letters or call them every so often to keep our relationship alive and well.

How I’m doing it:

4) I’m spending more time listening and empathizing than trying to give advice.

It can be so hard not to butt in when a friend is telling me about a struggle they’re having in order to offer a solution. I just want to help them fix it! But I’ve found that what most people want is to be heard, not to be fixed. If someone wants advice, they’ll ask for it. Until then, my job as a friend is to truly hear them and understand what they are saying or going through.

How I’m doing it:

  • I’m asking more questions instead of offering my thoughts.
  • I’m focusing intently on what my friends are saying when they’re sharing something instead of letting my mind wander towards how I can help solve their puzzle.

5) I’m taking notes from my friends who are good to me.

Like I said, I am so fortunate to have some killer friends. (Not killer like murderers. Killer like they’re just really great friends. Ugh, haven’t you heard of urban dictionary?) One of these people is my pal Fiona, who I’ve learned so much from in the way of friendships. She was the one who shared with me how she makes monthly phone calls to her friends in far away places, and that inspired me to start doing it too. Emulating people who are better friends than I am helps me actualize my goal.

How I’m doing it:

  • I’m identifying when something a friend does makes me feel cared for and loved. Then I’m doing it back.
  • I’m identifying when something a friend does makes me feel hurt or unloved, and I’m avoiding that like the plague.

Being a good friend is important because it’s our social circles that support us, care for us, laugh with us, and cry with us. Our friends deserve good friends back.

What’s something else I can try to do to be a better friend? What do you do to show your friends you love them?

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