1 Keep your promises. Don't ever make a promise that you can't keep -- or at least don't make a habit of it. If you say you'll hang out with a friend and a legitimate conflict arises, explain the situation and trust that the friendship is strong enough for the no's as well as the yes's. If you just cannot go, give your friend a gift and tell him or her sorry. Nobody's perfect, and it's okay if you skip out on a promise once in a blue moon, but don't make it a regular thing. If this is recurring over time then you will probably be seen as not trustworthy as you can not be trusted to be committed to someone such as your friend.
When you make a serious promise, look at your friend in the eyes and speak slowly to show that you really mean it instead of just saying it because you think that you should. Do not break any such promise, as that will hurt your friend.It might even break your friendship!
2 Be dependable. Being dependable is one of the most important aspects of being a good friend. Your friend will need you for support, especially in hard times. Nobody likes a fake, and nobody wants one for a close friend. It's hard to rely on a person who doesn't behave in a consistent and trustworthy way. We all know well-intentioned but flaky people who say, "Okay, I will..." but never follow through. If that's you, know that you're eroding your friends' trust; eventually they'll stop believing what you say.
If you're not sure you can do something, don't agree to do it and flake out later. Instead, be honest about the fact that you're not sure if you can make it.
Your friends should always feel like they can count on you, even when the going gets tough. If you're only there for the fun times, you'll be no more than a fair-weather friend.
3 Apologize when you've made a mistake. If you want your friends to trust you, then you can't act like you're flawless. If you know you've made a mistake, own up to it instead of being in denial. Though your friends won't be happy that you made a mistake, they'll be very pleased that you're mature and grounded enough to admit it instead of just pretending that nothing is wrong, or worse -- blaming it on someone else.
When you say sorry, you should mean it. Let your friends hear the sincerity in your voice instead of thinking that you don't really care how they feel.
4 Be honest. If you want to be a good friend and to have people trust you, then you have to be honest about your feelings, about your friends' actions, and about how you feel about your friendship. If you're honest about how you feel, that will open up direct lines of communication with your friends and will make them more likely to open up to you. If your friend hurt you, don't be afraid to talk about it; if something is upsetting you, don't feel too shy to open up to your friend about it.
Being honest is different from being so blunt that you're hurting your friends. If you think your friend has a drinking problem, for example, then you owe it to your friend to start a conversation about it. But if you think your friend looks kind of weird in her new dress, you may want to keep your mouth shut.
Be real. Connect with people whom you value on a deep level if you want to have sustainable, long-term friendships. Invest in people you can be yourself around. If your behavior lacks sincerity, your friendship won't last.
5 Don't use people. If one of your friends suspects that you're just using them, then they'll drop you like a hot potato. Good friendships don't arise from hoping someone else's popularity or networks will rub off on you. If you're trying to be friends with a person just to be accepted into a certain clique, that's not friendship – it's opportunism – and eventually the shallow nature of your involvement will reveal itself.
And if you have a reputation of using people, then new people won't be too excited to start a friendship with you.
A friendship is about give and take. Sure, it may be really convenient that one of your friends gives you a ride to school every day, but make sure that you do something for that friend in return.
6 Be loyal. If your friend tells you something in confidence, keep it and don't talk about it with anyone else, just as you'd expect your friend to do for you. Don't discuss your friend behind his or her back, and don't spread rumors about the confidences they've imparted to you. Never say anything about your friend that you would not be prepared to repeat to their face. Be loyal to your true friends and be prepared to defend them if your new friends, or people you barely know, start gossiping about them.
Part of being loyal is understanding the importance of a long-lasting and stable friendship. Don't throw all that away just to spend all your time hanging out with your new boyfriend or girlfriend or a cool new person you just met.
If you have a reputation for being a blabbermouth or a gossip, then your friends will quickly find out and they'll be hesitant to reveal anything personal to you in the future -- or even to spend much time with you at all.
Don't let others say bad things about your friend, either. Until you've had a chance to hear your friend's side of the story, treat comments that are not supportive as hearsay and rumors. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn't seem like a thing your friend would do or say, then respond with something like, "I know him/her, and that just doesn't sound right. Let me talk to him/her; find out his/her perspective on this. Until then, I would appreciate it if you didn't spread that around."
7 Be respectful. Good friends show respect for each other by being openly and mutually supportive. If your friend has certain values and beliefs that don't align with your own, respect his or her choices and be open to hearing more about them. If you want your friend to trust you, then your friend should feel comfortable voicing opinions that you may not agree with, or discussing a new perspective with you. If your friend thinks that you'll shoot down any interesting or original idea that he or she may have, then your friendship won't be valued.
Sometimes your friend will say things that you find boring, uncomfortable or annoying, but if you have respect for your friend, you'll give your friend the space to speak, and to do so without judgment.
During times when you don't see eye to eye with your friend, disagree respectfully and be willing to see things differently.
1 Be selfless. Though you can't be selfless all the time, being selfless is an important part of being a good friend. Accommodate your friend's wishes whenever you can, provided this is done in a balanced way. Reciprocate his or her acts of kindness with caring deeds of your own, and your friendship will be strengthened. If you get a reputation for being selfish and only being around your friends when you need some help, then people will know you're not looking out for them.
Do a favor for your friend just out of the goodness of your heart, not because you want something in return.
There's a difference between being selfless at the right time and letting people walk all over you. If you feel like you're always helping your friends and get nothing back, then you may have a problem.
Don't abuse generosity or wear out your welcome. When your friend does something nice for you, reciprocate quickly. Pay back money you borrow promptly. Go home when it seems like the time is right.
2 Be a good listener. Don't monopolize conversations and take the time to truly understand and support your friend when he is talking to you. It sounds simple, but make sure you're listening as much as you're talking about yourself. If you're monopolizing every conversation with your feelings, your friend isn't getting anything out of the relationship. Listening opens space between the two of you and reassures your friend that you care.
If you're just waiting for your friend to finish talking so you can say what you want to say, it'll be obvious right away.
Try to strike a balance of letting your friend talk about half of the time. Though some people are more shy than others, if your friend feels like he can't get a word in when he's around you, it'll be hard to have a thriving friendship.
3 Help your friends deal with their struggles. To be truly supportive, you'll have to be able to watch out for your friends when they're having a tough time. If you sense that your friend is getting into some sort of trouble over which they have little control, such as taking drugs, being promiscuous, or getting too drunk at a party, help him or her get away from the situation by not being afraid to speak up about it.
Don't assume that your friend can handle it alone; this may be the very time that your voice of common sense is needed to wake them from their fugue. If you see a problem, speak up, no matter how awkward you may feel.
Let your friend know that you can give him a shoulder to cry on during this tough time. If your friend feels less alone, it'll be easier for them to deal with their troubles.
If all your friend wants to do about the problem is to talk, that's fine at first, but you should help your friend find practical solutions to his problems.
For example, if your friend admitted to having an eating disorder and simply promises to start eating more, you need to talk about taking more serious measures to address the problem, like talking to a health professional.
4 Be there in a time of crisis. If your friend has to go to the hospital, visit. If his dog runs away, help to find it. If she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school when he or she is absent. Send cards and care packages when you're living far apart. If there is a death in his/her family, attend the funeral. Let your friend see that he can count on you any time.
Just make sure that your friend isn't always in the middle of some kind of crisis, however contrived it may be. You should be there to help out during the hard times, but that can't be the basis of your whole relationship.
Part of being there for your friend in a crisis is providing emotional support, too. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let the tears roll. Hand him or her a tissue and listen openly. You don't have to say anything if nothing seems right; just stay calm and reassuring.
If your friend is going through a crisis, don't say, "Everything is going to be all right" if it's not going to be. It's hard not to say that sometimes, but false reassurance can often be worse than none. Instead, let your friend know you are there for him or her. Stay honest, but upbeat and positive.
If your friend begins talking about committing suicide, tell someone about it. This rule overrides the "respect privacy" step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Suggest a help line or professional to your friend. Talk to your and your friend's parents or spouse (unless they are the ones causing the problems) before involving anyone else.
5 Give thoughtful advice. To be a good friend, you should be able to weigh your friend's situation from his or her perspective and to provide your opinion without insisting that your friend should do whatever you say. Don't judge your friend; simply advise him or her when he or she reaches out.
Avoid giving unsought for advice. Allow venting where needed and be willing to offer advice if it's clear that it's sought. Always ask before assuming you can give advice.
In some cases, a friend could use a little tough love to keep him or her out of a dangerous situation. Use discretion here; you don't want to lecture or overwhelm your friend. Tell him or her how you perceive the situation using factual information, and suggest what you might do in the same circumstances.
6 Give your friend some space when he/she needs it. Part of being supportive means supporting the fact that your friend won't always want to spend time with you. Learn to step back and give your friend space. Understand if your friend wants to be alone or to hang out with other people. There's no need to become clingy or needy. If you're clingy and check in with your friend every two seconds if he or she isn't around, you'll start to look like a possessive significant other, and that will not be appreciated.
Don't get jealous if your friend has lots of other friends. Every relationship is special and different, and that doesn't mean that your friend doesn't appreciate you.
Allowing one another the time to hang with other friends gives you much-needed breathing room, and allows you to come together fresh and appreciating each other even more.
1 Learn to forgive. If you want your friendship to last, then you should be able to forgive your friend and to move forward. If you hold a grudge and let your bitterness and resentment build up, then you won't be able to move forward. Recognize that nobody's perfect and that if your friend is sincerely sorry and if he or she didn't do something too horrible, that you should move past it.
If your friend really did do something so unforgivable that you just can't get past it, then it's better to move on than to try to save the friendship when it's doomed. But this should happen very rarely.
If you're angry at your friend but haven't told him or her why, you'll never be able to forgive him if you don't talk about it.
2 Accept your friend for who he or she is. To make your friendship thrive, you shouldn't try to change your friend or make your friend see the world from your perspective. If you're conservative and your friend is liberal, then accept that instead of trying to argue about it all the time. You should appreciate the fresh perspective your friend can bring to your experiences instead of wanting your friend to see everything from your perspective.
The more you are with one another, the less you idealize each other and the more you accept one another for who you really are. This is what being a truly good friend is really about -- caring deeply for each other, even if you know you're both full of flaws.
3 Go beyond the call of duty. A friend will wait while you do your homework. A great friend stays up all night helping. Remember that if you are a good friend, people want to be a good friend to you. Recognize the moments when you need to go above and beyond to help your friend and know that this will make your friendship grow, and that your friend will do the same for you in return.
If your friend really needs you and keeps saying, "No, you don't have to do that..." learn to read between the lines and know that your friend really does need you.
4 Stay in touch no matter what. As the years pass, people tend to grow apart. Maybe you and a friend will move to different places and only see each other every once in a while. Sometimes years may elapse without much contact. If you never stop caring about your friend, speak up. He or she will be happy to hear from you. You were friends for a reason in the past, and you may find the same bond still ties you together.
Don't let your location determine the strength of your bond. If your friendship is meaningful, then it should keep growing even if you're an ocean apart.
Make a goal of having monthly phone or Skype dates with your friend even if you're in a completely different time zone. If keeping up with your friend becomes a routine, your relationship will continue to thrive.
5 Let your friendship evolve. If you want to be a good friend, then you have to understand that your friendship won't be the same in high school, college, or in the adult world. Sure, when you were fourteen, you might have spent all of your time with your best friend, but by the time you went off to separate colleges or started your serious relationships, you naturally spent less time talking. This doesn't mean that your friendship isn't as strong; it just means that your lives are evolving, and your friendship is taking on a different shape over the years.
Don't try to make your friendship be exactly the same as it was ten years ago. Think of it as elastic, not solid.
If your friend is married with two kids or even just in a serious relationship and you're not, be respectful of the fact that, while your friend really cares for you, he/she won't be on call 24/7 like he/she used to be.
Appreciate the changes your friendship has made over the years, and learn to grow along with your relationship.
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How do I turn a bad friend into a good friend? wikiHow Contributor Be a good role model for your friend and express openly the good things that your virtues bring into your life. Tell your friend that you're always there for them and that you know there is a really good person inside them and it's okay to let that show more. Not Helpful 21Helpful 225
Why is friendship so important? wikiHow Contributor Friendship is important because the human being is a social animal and needs friends to talk to, spend time with and to be supported by. In turn, it is great to be able to support, listen to and help others you know you can trust deeply. Friends are people who are there for you and prove it time and again. Friendship gives you strengths that you cannot derive merely from being alone. Not Helpful 37Helpful 206
What do you do when your friend is gas lighting you? wikiHow Contributor Gas lighting refers to the act of the abuser denying the victim's reality. It is good that you've recognized this is happening. The next step is to tell your friend that it was nice knowing them but that you're leaving to find a friend who treats you with respect, kindness and loyalty. And don't look back, as hard as it may seem, it's a lot harder to have someone constantly deny your perspective and reality. Not Helpful 30Helpful 151
I talk too much about a topic and I am starting to think that this is breaking our friendship. What should I do? wikiHow Contributor It does seem you already know - you've identified the problem as talking single-mindedly about one topic. The answer is to stop going on about that one thing. It annoys most people when they hear nothing but one topic, it gets old, annoying and it sounds obsessive. Broaden your topics and if you are still needing to discuss that topic, talk to a parent, sibling or your therapist instead. Not Helpful 38Helpful 150
Ask a Question SubmitCan you answer these readers' questions?On How to Block Calls on an iPhone, a reader asks: How do I restrict all outgoing calls except emergency calls? On How to Clear BIOS Password, a reader asks: What should I do if this method does not work for me? On How to Price Used Furniture, a reader asks: How much would a 4 post queen size bed frame made of solid wood and is antique looking with no scratches or dings sell for? I don't know year of original construction.EditTips
Honest communication is a basic foundation in a friendship. If you and your friend can't talk to each other freely then you are set up for a difficult and possibly doomed relationship.
You don't have to spend a lot of time and money to be a good friend. The best gifts are often handmade and come from the heart. A phone call can mean as much as a visit.
Enjoy one another's company. It's not all about bleeding hearts and advice to the lovelorn - or at least, it shouldn't be. Be sure to have fun together and do spontaneous activities now and then. Be a positive force in your friend's life.
A friend who is only available at school or work is still a friend. Be very glad for that special kind of friendship associated with the place where you share time together.
If your friend makes a promise and doesn't keep it then don't do the same to them or you will keep repeating the pattern.
Don't set too many expectations and rules. Allow your friendship to evolve and change naturally.
Accept your friend's decisions. You may not completely agree on them but letting them know you're there for them is enough.
Don't try to be the same as your friend - differences are what make great friends. Plus, it can get irritating. Embrace your differences and be proud of them! Do make sure not to be so different that your friendship breaks.
Tell your friend how much you appreciate their company or how they were with you when you needed them. It will brighten up their day and affirm your friendship.
Tease friends about something they're proud of. The better you know your friend, the easier it is to find the things they're sensitive about and use teasing to pick them up instead of tearing them down.
When spending time with your friend, whether having a meal together or just hanging out, both of you should turn your cell phones off. It's very off-putting to have a conversation constantly interrupted by a ringing phone. He or she may feel that you're not paying attention to them or don't value your time together.
Don't share your feelings when you know the person can't be trusted because she/he might use it against you someday.
If your friend is starting to make new friends, don't turn jealous. No one likes a jealous friend. Have faith in your friendship. However, if your friend is ignoring you because of this friend, talk to them about it. They have no right to ditch their best friend.
No one likes an insulting friend, so be careful when you tease them! If your friend asks you to stop, heed the request and stop right away. Otherwise you will end up with no one.
Don't talk about things that may make your friend uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be around an uncomfortable person. For example, if your friend's relative just passed away, don't talk about something surrounding death. (Note: It's OK to ask about her feelings about the death. Maybe she wants help surrounding the situation. It's not good to just ignore it.)
If your friend doesn't treat you well while you treat them well, then there's no reason to stay friends. Don't stay close friends with anyone who doesn't treat you well.
If a friend is friends with someone else that you don't feel right about, talk to him/her about it. That could also save them from making a mistake, and you from a bad friendship!