Four Ways to Be a Better Friend

It wasn’t until I came into college that I began to appreciate my friends and what it meant to have a friendship. When you are suddenly surrounded by people everywhere, and are also given more duties and responsibility, the day-to-day tradeoff between investing in friendships and expending effort on classes, work, and organizations becomes much more tangible. For me, this helped me realize some important aspects of friendship that have helped me grow.

Whether you are trying to make new relationships or maintain old bonds, below are a few simple ways in which you can improve that balance and grow to become a better friend:

1. Show up – Whether it’s an event that your friend has planned or just a trip to the grocery store, being present is a powerful way of showing that you care. Even just seeing someone’s face over several occasions can go a long way in making them seem familiar.

2. Reach out – When you remember somebody you haven’t talked to in a while, take a moment to reach out to them. It takes no more than a minute to text someone a “how are you?” or a “let’s catch up!”, but in a world where everyone knows hundreds of people, taking the time to reach out with a simple hello can make you stand out. After all, don’t we all like to be remembered?

3. Accommodate – For many of us, with our busy lives, busy jobs, and constant work, we often find it very difficult to see the relevance of talking to anybody who is not actively present in our day-to-day activities. We become so absorbed in our mundane tasks that we often forget those people who have helped to make our experiences worthwhile. When someone is making an effort to reach out to you, try to accommodate. Recognize how much effort the other person has been making by letting them know that you notice how much they have been giving to you and try to give back as much as you can.

4. Appreciate – Many times, we forget that along with our families, our friends have shaped much of who we are today. Take a brief moment to look within and acknowledge who has had an impact on you. Whether it has been because of a deep conversation or a passing compliment, if someone has helped to change you or your perspective, take the time to let them know – it has the potential to mean more than you can imagine. We all meet each other for a reason, and it is important to appreciate that everyone plays a role in our development and growth, whether it is the professor who taught you discipline or the grade school bully who helped you develop patience.

Ultimately, there is no formula for being a better friend. Maintaining friendships and good relationships is a continual process that takes intention, love, and time. And while we may never be perfect friends, with some planning and better understanding, our little efforts can go a long, long way in helping uplift those who have helped us on our journey.

This post was featured in Heartfulness Magazine.

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