Jasmine McCain
May 04, 2016 9:33 am
NBC

While we may feel as if our time, money, and other resources keep us from adding much value to our community, we can certainly contribute by being good friends to the people we love. Communication is everything, and while there are heaps of resources for romantic relationships, there aren’t as many that help us be better friends. Here are some tips for how to better connect with your closest companions.

A good friend will initiate.

It is easy to believe, especially when we’re the new kid, that those around us are supposed to make the first move; they’re supposed to notice a new face walking through the door and offer a welcome committee. But the truth is that we all get comfortable in our groups and routines that we often don’t take the initiative to reach out. So whether you’re the newest hire at the company or have been apart of a group for years ― a good friend will take a moment to acknowledge another’s existence and check in.

A good friend listens with intent.

Sometimes, we just need a friend to lend an ear. Other times, we open up because we believe that our listener may have something to add. While it can be quite awkward, a good friend will seek to know the difference; a simple, “Did you want me to just listen, or would you like to hear my thoughts?” will uncover how your friend wants you to support them.

A good friend checks for comprehension.

It’s easy to unintentionally give bad advice, simply because you misinterpreted a message. We have to make sure we have the right understanding of what’s been shared before we dish out our two cents. It’s a simple as repeating back what you think you’ve heard and asking for verification, as this is the best way to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Only then should you dig into your tool belt and pull out your most effective device for being an awesome support system.

A good friend is there (within reason).

Whether you’re in need of a hug or a ride to the airport, a good friend steps in whenever possible. It’s always a sacrifice to help, but they’re usually willing. Need help moving? Oh, let me just count this as today’s workout. Need someone to proofread your essay? I’ve got you, on my lunch break.

A good friend keeps it real.

No one wants to be friends with someone who agrees with every word they say, right? While those relationships are great for shopping and running errands, a good friend will challenge your thinking. If you believe that you deserve all the money at your local bank because you work yourself to the bone, and your best gal pal is down to lend you her stockings, it may be time to branch out and meet people who have no shame in telling you when you need to sit yourself down and have a glass of wine.

A good friend activates their memory.

Chances are, you’re probably better at remembering your closest friends’ favorite stores and books than the details of their upbringing. While surface-level facts are great for sustaining a friendship, intimate details are much more valuable. When you can reference a past conversation and let your friend know that you really were listening, you begin to strengthen a bond with all the potential to last a lifetime.

A good friend gives credit and praise when it’s due.

Although we don’t all have affirmation as our top love language, we can still put it in practice. With the competitive nature of many aspects of our lives, we should ensure that our relationships are full of support. Being a hater of others’ success is surefire way to lose your friends, but learning to dish out praise and give a genuine congratulations will earn trust and strengthen your relationships.

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