Why good friends are so important
Research has shown that the better the quality of your relationships, the more likely you are to be happy. So, being a great friend to someone and having friends support your back is good for your wellbeing. But what, exactly, makes a good friend?
Signs of a good friend
Friends will come and go in your life. No matter how long your friendships last, the most important thing is your friends acceptance of you for who you are. A good friend walks the talk and shows that they care by their actions big and small.
A good friend:
- is there for you, no matter what
- doesnt judge you
- doesnt put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings
- is kind and respectful to you
- is someone whose company you enjoy
- is loyal
- is trustworthy and willing to tell you the truth, even when its hard for you to hear
- laughs with you
- sticks around when things get tough
- makes you smile
- is there to listen
- comforts you when you cry.
How to be a good friend
If you treat the people around you in the ways described above, then youre already a good friend to them. But its not always easy to know how to be there for your friends.
Listen to them
Try to understand a situation from your friends point of view. Ask questions to get a sense of the problem or issue, but the main thing is to listen to them. You dont have to have all the answers, and dont assume that your friend wants advice they might just want to talk so that they can work it out for themselves.
Get the facts
If your friend has a medical or mental health issue, a good way to offer support is to learn about what theyve been diagnosed with. Being interested in what theyre going through shows you care, and that you plan to stick around no matter whats going on.
Ask them what they need
If youre worried about someone and you want to be there for them, ask them what they need. Youll then know what they find helpful during tough times, and you can offer them support in a way thats genuinely helpful.
If youre a hugger, ask your friend whether itd be okay to hug them. Once you get the thumbs up, hug away! Hugging your friends can be a great way to show you care for them. Physical contact can be comforting, especially when someone feels alone.
Keep in touch
Even if you dont live nearby, show your friends youre there for them by making an effort to keep in regular touch through social media, texts or calls.
Tell them how you feel
You dont have to make a big deal about it all the time, but you can make a real difference to how someone is feeling just by letting them know how important they are to you. So, go for it!
Be willing to make a tough call
If you think your friends safety is at risk, you might need to act without their consent and get help. It can be a tough call, particularly when youre worried about how theyll react, but remember that good friends care enough to step up, and that youre doing it to protect them from harm.