As promised, I have comprised a "Good Friend Guide" as a follow up to last week's blog on the importance of friendship. I have developed these points as a result of wisdom gained from my own experiences and the insight I have acquired via others' viewpoints and feedback over the years and recently.
The Good Friend Guide: Basic Rules to Keep You in Check
-When you don't feel like going out and meeting up with your friends, do it anyway.
-It takes energy after a long work day and may break up your routine, but you will be happy you did afterwards, and your friends will too.
-Being with your friends is mutually beneficial. When you make time for your pals, you build stronger relationships and your life becomes more enriched with a support system and people who love you.
-It is important for you not to seclude yourself from your friends because the more you do, the less motivated you will be to make an effort, and consequently, the more your friends will feel like you aren't invested...and the farther apart you will grow.
- Stay true to your commitments. If you are a person who has a crazy schedule or you have a habit of canceling plans last minute, don't commit until you know you can. Then you won't be breaking a promise and you are up front from the start. You really don't want to be seen as a flake.
- If you do make a commitment, stick to it.
- Don't underestimate the intelligence of your friends, they know when your BSing them and when you're coming up with lame excuses.
- If you don't feel like following through with a plan to hang out, be honest about the reason. If they're your real friends, they should understand you and will appreciate your realness.
- Tell your friends the real reason because more than likely, they've figured it out anyways and no one likes to be lied to. Deceiving your friends will lose you points real quick.
- Being honest only strengthens your relationships. Being open and raw is scary sometimes, but it is the only way to form genuine friendships.
- Get over your fear over being judged, people appreciate candidness and when you are open, they will feel more comfortable revealing their true selves as well.
*Have Good Character*
- As hard as it may be sometimes, try really hard not to say something about a friend that you wouldn't say or haven't already said directly to them. Most likely, it will get back to them and nothing gets resolved by talking to someone else about it. Not to mention, do you want your friends talking about you behind your back?
*Be Self Sufficient*
- Friends are not your babysitters, they are your equals. This means in order to have a balanced friendship, it is important to be independent and take care of yourself.
- Do not expect your friends to take care of you all the time. It becomes apparent and annoying quickly to everyone.
- For instance; 1. Be able to drive yourself places and give your friends a lift every now and then; 2. Plan ahead and be sure you have a bag that can carry your own belongings when you go out; and 3. Take the reigns occasionally and make the plans; make the reservations or look up the directions when you're lost in the car, don't just sit there texting, expecting someone else to figure it out.
- Although our lives can be really busy; our careers and money will not be at our funeral, our relationships will. Make time to check on your friends and show them you care. It takes 2 seconds to send a text! Celebrate their successes, support their endeavors and be a listening ear through tough times.
- Seek to give and be the friend that you want to have in return.
One of my favorite suggestions that I received for this guide was from, Miss Oregon USA 2009, Sylvie Tarpinian and it is as follows:
"Seek to understand before seeking to be understood."
This phrase completely gives me a refreshing mindset. Instead of always focusing on what they can do for you or how your friends should improve in one way or another; focus your energies, instead, on what you can do for them and what is going on in their lives. It is amazing how the feeling of sadness is lifted when you ask a friend how they are truly doing and you engage in a conversation that is all about them. Life is so much more rewarding and meaningful when you are giving to others as opposed to always thinking of yourself.
In summary, life is so much richer with true, meaningful friendships. But, they don't just come to you, they take energy and effort. However, the rewards you reap are greater than the seeds you sow. This holiday season and going in to the New Year, reflect on the kind of friend you have been and how you see your friendships blossoming in the future. Choose the friends with whom you invest your energy and love with care; be sure they are Team You and will only be a positive influence in your life.
- "Our relatives are the family that we are born with, our friends are the family we choose."
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! This is such a fun topic!
Until next time,