I don’t know about you, but I’ve met a lot of toxic people throughout my life.
Good, honest people are hard to find. That’s why, when you do find a good one, someone whom you could see being a close, long-term companion, you need to do what it takes to nurture that relationship and be a good friend.
But what does it really mean to be a good friend? What does it mean to value and nurture another human being?
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
– Hubert H. Humphrey
There’s no science to being a good friend. However, in my time, I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes, learned some things, and feel I’ve picked up on a few critical, fundamental lessons about what it means to be a good friend.
1. Give value
A friendship shouldn’t be a transaction where one person is always doing something for the other.
Take some time to think of ways you can give value to your friend and make them happier. If they’re a great friend, they probably give you a ton of value and you want to repay that.
Providing value can come in the form of advice, support, favors, even just humor — laughter can be amazing when life is tough. Really, anything you can think of that helps your friend move forward with a goal or be happier can qualify as value, so get creative and don’t think too hard on it.
Just remember, they do a lot for you, so you should think of how you can repay that.
2. Be supportive no matter what
Is your new friend on a diet? Are they going to school? Starting a business? Or are they going through a difficult personal challenge? Whatever it is, a good friend is supportive and seeks to aid andmove their friend forward (or pick them up when they’re down) every step of the way.
But this has to do with more than just helping your friend with what’s going on in their life on the outside. This also has to do with what’s going on within.
When your friend is experiencing a change or some form of mental or emotional pain, a good friend should be there to lean on. In fact, it’s during transitional or painful moments like these that we need our friends more than ever.
Sometimes, it’s hard being ourselves, and we need others around us for strength and support. Encourage your friend to express who they truly are by expressing your encouragement, being a good listener and defending them if needed. This is easily one of the most important aspects of being a good– no– a great friend.
It’s not enough to care about someone. Even if it’s just from time to time, people want and need to see that you care. You could argue that by providing value and always being supportive you already do this, however, we have a thing for outward displays of affection such as gifts and verbal (or written) thanks.
Often, if we don’t get these displays of affection during certain notable occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc.), we feel that it means our friend doesn’t care about us.
I’m the first person to say that these formalities are a bit ridiculous, however, it’s a part of modern society that’s not easily escaped, given that it’s been conditioned into us since we were barely old enough to think for ourselves. So, take some time to think about how you can show your friend you truly care.