Harsh title? Maybe. (Also, my apologies for the language, Mother Dearest.) I’ve also had three martinis at happy hour. But nonetheless, it needs to be said: you’re probably a bad friend. Sometimes I think I’m a great friend, then I do something and I realize…probably not that great of a friend. But again nonetheless, I know how to be a good one, and it takes EFFORT. It takes freakin’ effort to be a FRIEND, just like any other relationship you are in! It’s not really complicated, but some people just need to hear it. So, I am saying it. Read on.
- To be a good friend you must BE THERE. Your friend’s grandma died? Be there for the funeral. Your friend’s dog died? Be there when the put him/her down (if they ask you). Your friend had a breakup? Be there when they need to cry, vent, or drink. Your friend feels down on her/his self? Be there to listen and offer encouragement. It is NOT complicated. Whatever you are doing doesn’t matter. What matters is you showing up. I read another beautiful blog post about showing up, and it just reminded me of the importance of actually being there. But beyond being there for them in hard times…
- BE THERE in the “normal times”. If you are a friend that just shows up in the hard times, that’s cool. But guess what? It’s nice to have a friend that just wants to go out to happy hour with you too. It’s nice to have a friend that calls you (actually, don’t call me – send me a text) on a random Wednesday to get a drink or dinner or both. Friends appreciate when you PUT IN EFFORT. If someone asks you to hang out three times and you say no every time (and I understand you might be busy), but you have to RECIPROCATE.
- RECIPROCATE. Seriously. Oh my gosh. I’ve gone years without talking to a friend because I just wanted her to ask me to do something. Was it fair? Mmmm.. I don’t know, she didn’t know what I was doing. But I was sick of always feeling like I was the only one putting effort into the friendship. So, ask your friend to do something. Is your friend really outgoing and use to making plans (pssssttt.. that’s me), IT DOES NOT MATTER. That friend NEEDS you to ask them to hang out too. And if you aren’t asking them to hang out, you might not be a good friend. But guess what? It’s super easy to fix: just ask them to hang out.
- Don’t “break up” with them when they can’t hangout. Listen, I’ve been up and down on the ride of a friendship. I have had multiple “break ups” with friends because I wasn’t being a good one. But now… I am friends with them again, and I can truly say a break up isn’t necessary. However, you can address your friends and tell them straight up, “Hey, I am feeling a little neglected, I would appreciate if you asked me to hang out sometimes, and I feel important to you.” It’s going to SUCK for your friend to hear, but it beats having a full BLOW UP BREAK UP. I mean, trust me, I said some things I wish I would take back. Communication is key.
- When you get a boyfriend/girlfriend, don’t neglect them. This is really important, and how a lot of people drift apart. Having a significant other is cool, but what’s really cool? Having a significant other and still having friends. If your s/o is jealous of your friends or doesn’t want you hanging out with them… mmmm… is that really the person for you? I think I will write a whole blog post about this one day. But seriously, never give up your friends just to hang out with your new boo. Be better than that, be a good friend.
Being a good friend is not hard. You have to put in effort and time. But it shouldn’t be a chore. It should be something you want to do because you care about these people. If it is a chore, you may need to analyze that friendship and if it’s one you need in your life.
I’m at a lucky spot in my life where everything is smooth sailing. Is that the case for some of my friends right now? Not so much. There’s a lot going on for them, and I am HERE FOR IT. They need to spend the night at my house for two weeks straight? I’ll clean out a drawer for you. You need to text me in the morning about how your life is a mess? Girl, spill it all. You need a pick me up? I think the world of you. You need to vent about a fight about you and your boyfriend? My ears are wide open and my lips are sealed.
Am I a perfect friend? Hell no.
Am I trying to be the best I can be? Yes. Yes. Yes.
I want to be the person my friends go to first. The one they can count on. The one who wipes tears, plan girl’s nights when they need it, pours them another drink or takes the next one away ;), stands up for them, confirms their feelings, makes them feel loved (cause they are), offers them trust, honesty, and security, and is THERE.
I want to be the best friend I can be because my best friends deserve it.