To Being a Better Friend
Not to toot my own horn, but I feel like (for the most part) I'm a good friend. 🚂 I care deeply about my friendships and have learned that there is no "one size fits most" relationship between two human beings. Each friendship is unique and requires different attention — or in some cases all the attention...
As I made my progression from late-teens to early twenties, my circle of friends shrunk by about half. As I've moved further along, it's shrunk even more. Despite the fact that at this rate I'll be completely alone by thirty, I'm actually quite pleased. For most people our age, this shedding is actually quite common. Most twenty-somethings feel that they have a smaller, but higher quality squad* now, than we did in our younger years.
Because I'm fairly convinced that my best friend is one of my soulmates in life, I thought I'd share the top five ways I try to be a better friend every day. Also, I'm writing this because she told me to write about my inspiration (and then proceeded to tell me that she was my inspiration as she left my house this evening — err, morning, being that it's 12:26am — yay procrastinating!)
*I can't stand the word squad, but it seems to be all the rage, alas.
Five ways to be a better friend
(As Told by the real housewives of new york city)
Be able to admit you're wrong (and apologize)
While this should just be common courtesy, it's worth noting that our friends, especially those closest to us, put up with a ton of our shit. The friend I previously mentioned, Danielle, and I have been friends for nearly ten years. In this time, we've fought probably seven or eight hundred times — eighty percent of that being her fault. Or ninety five percent my fault if you ask her.
Regardless of who started the argument, if during mid-rage you realize that you may actually be in the wrong, just come out with it. For example, earlier this evening, my actions portrayed the wrong message and something ridiculous became something bigger than it needed to be — resulting in tension. Once I realized where I went wrong, I verbalized my mistake and apologized. When saying you're sorry to anyone, you're likely apologizing for more than just one thing — the mistake you made, the argument (if there was one) and how you made them feel — so make it sincere. And probably not via text, either.
Share in both the ups and the downs
One of the worst friends you can be is the fair-weather friend. This is the friend that wants to hang out when things are good — but it nowhere to be found when the path gets a little rocky. For a lasting friendship, you're going to need to be there through the good and the bad. This is practically a marriage; which is probably why the timeline for common law marriages and the formation of lifelong friendships take the same amount of time: seven years.
If you fear that you're being a fair-weather friend, a bit of advice courtesy of Dorinda:
You have to be there for it all — you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: a real friendship. I can assure you that your friend wants you around to lift their spirits or help support in their time of need just as much as when the road is paved with gold and it's raining champagne. If you haven't heard from them, do a wellness check — sometimes people don't want to ask for help, especially when they're feeling down.
Support their passions, dreams and goals
I hate to brag, but when I decided to launch this blog, I immediately had (and felt) the support of my friends, especially Danielle. No matter what venture I chase after or plan I hatch, I know that I have an incredible support network that A) is the loudest pack of cheerleaders I've ever heard B) will help catch me if I fall and C) will do anything that I need them to to support my dream.
If you haven't already, I urge you to take an interest in your friend's passions. You may not necessarily care for baseball — but if your friend loves going to games, zip up your jacket and prepare to shiver your tits off. (Especially at AT&T park! ❄️) If they're taking on a new challenge, ask what you can do to support them — you just may have more experience, or at the very least, a little perspective or insight.
Be their personal comedian
Laughter is incredible — not only is it the best medicine, it also brings people together (and wouldn't you rather have laugh lines than angry brow?) With all of laughter's benefits, it pays to have funny friends. Even those that don't feel they're particularly funny probably make their friends laugh all the time.
There's something magical, at least to me, in banter. I find a good sparring partner that matches my sense of humor and packs quick come-backs worth their weight in gold. Throw in a heaping pile of sarcasm and baby, we have a match. If you asked me, I'd say that every single one of my friends could double as a standup comic. They're hilarious. Maybe I'm rubbing off on them?
Have the courage to tell them when they're wrong
Rather than calling your friend a bitch — I'd suggest a softer approach. Think couples therapy, "I feel", "When you do X, it makes me Y", type statements. Or call them out — whatever works for your friendship, I suppose. As an Aries, I'm a little hot-headed, so starting out at 60 only takes me to 210.
Seriously though, in a situation — with either you or a third party — where your friend thinks they're right, but isn't, offer some perspective that helps them see their mistake. I understand the thought behind standing behind your friend, even when they're wrong; but I don't believe in it. It may just be my opinion, but I think that the right thing should be done in every situation. Backing up your friend when they're wrong or letting them continue on path that you don't think is best isn't helping them in any way. By all means, be loyal — but know that loyalty isn't blind.
So there you have it kids
Take inventory of your friendships. Are you following the same five guidelines that I do? Are your friends? There's no time like the present to improve our valuable connections (or make new ones!) I'm interested in hearing what qualities you love about your best friend. Let me know on the newly minted Facebook page!
Channeling my inner Hannah Horvath tonight — this song makes me want to twerk it out.