Being a good friend is a skill we can learn and improve upon. Here, eight ways to be a better friend.
The first step in having a good relationship with a friend is to have a good relationship with yourself. When we genuinely like ourselves, we become more attractive to other people. We have more to offer others because we are not constantly focused on our own image and reputation.
We become better friends because we don't cling. We are secure enough to spend time with a friend because we want to, not because we need to.
Relationships among true friends take a steady dose of time and energy--two resources in limited supply for all of us. Identify the friends with whom you wish to create a closer bond. It's perfectly okay if not all of your acquaintances make the list. The closeness of your connections is far more important than the length of your guest lists.
Friends are important in many ways--so much so that these relationships often take on a life of their own. You owe it to yourself (and to your friends) to make these relationships a priority. Carve out some quality time for one another.
If you want to improve your relationships, put your fear of rejection aside and start taking more risks. Invite your friends to lunch. Organize a new playgroup. Invite them over for dinner.
Too often, we fail to follow up with our friends. Don't miss out-just make the first phone call. Your friends are just as anxious to get together as you are.
Treat your friends as you wish to be treated. Stated another way: "To have a friend, be a friend."
Focus more on being interested than on being interesting. Be enthusiastic and energetic. Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing.
Make your friends feel significant by remembering small kindnesses. Notice her new haircut. Remember to ask about her mother-in-law's surgery. Send flowers or a simple email when you know she needs it most.
Good listeners are hard to find, and honing your skills can be a long-term project.
A few tips:
We all need someone in our corner. If your friend isn't there to defend herself against gossip or criticism, speak up, and know she would do the same for you.
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground - http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking. Visit today to subscribe to her free weekly newsletters and to get more information on her scrapbook club and work-at-home scrapbooking business.
Here's the scenario: Julie, a hardworking secretary, lent money to her good friend Ray; $1300 to be exact. Ray had just moved to a new town and claimed that he needed two new suits: one for an upcoming wedding and one to wear on job interviews. Ray lived in a beautiful penthouse. He had a degree in Computer Science and was accustomed to the finer things in life - designer labels, frequent travel, and spa week-ends. When Ray told Julie he would repay her and signed a paper promising to do so, Julie didn't think anything of it.
A couple of weeks later, Ray tried to hit Julie up for more money; this time to furnish his new home. When she told him that she wouldn't be able to help him out this time, he accused her of being cold and hung up the phone on her. Julie suddenly realized that she was being taken advantage of. Her hurt quickly turned to rage. She wanted to know how someone could be so self-serving and inconsiderate. If Julie had been weak enough to lend Ray another several hundred dollars for furniture, how could he sleep at night knowing that she had expenses of her own to look after?
We as women have an innate desire to nurture whenever possible. Many of us have learned the hard way we must always keep our guard up - spot when we may be being misled or taken advantage of. It is a common belief that a woman who is eager to lend money to a man, suffers from niavity, desperation, or poor self-esteem. But in this case it was a loan not a gift, and a friendship not a romantic relationship.
We all know how risky it is to lend money to a friend of either sex. Some of us decide to give the lendee the benefit of the doubt because we think we know and trust them. Some of us are vigilant enough to take precautions to make the loan legally binding. The bottom line is that we need to stop stereo-typing and pointing fingers at a woman who would lend a man money. We need to take a closer look at the character of anyone who would try to take advantage of a friend's genourostity .
Along with her respect for him, Julie also lost all compassion for Ray and their so-called friendship deteriorated. The fact of the matter is that no one can respect a man who fails to respect others. When he performs actions that are self-serving and manipulative, his sincerity, his honour, his integrity, are all called into question.
It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong;
not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich;
not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned;
and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.
Denni Gill is a Toronto Poet and Freelance Writer. For more, check out http://www.DenniGill.net