HOW TO BE A GOOD FRIEND

     
When it comes lớn friendships, you are always going khổng lồ be closer to some people than others. While many friends may fall into the “casual acquaintance” category, a special few sit comfortably within your inner circle of ride-or-die besties. There are plenty of chất lượng qualities that phối a truly good friend apart, but chances are, you’ve never taken a moment khổng lồ sit & think about what those traits are exactly.

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“Friendships can definitely be found on a continuum, with acquaintances on one side & your best friends on the other, with all different types of friendships in between,” Heidi McBain, licensed marriage và family therapist and author of Life Transitions: Personal Stories of Hope Through Life’s Most Difficult Challenges and Changes, tells soulcake.vn. So, this begs the question: How does someone make the cut, so to lớn speak, & become one of your closest friends?

The most important thing, as McBain explains, is that you feel lượt thích your best self around them. “There are many different ways , but a big one is that you feel completely comfortable with the other person,” she says. “You can truly be who you are without fear of judgment on their part. Plus, if this friendship truly benefits both of you — which the deepest friendships vì — then your closest friends are able to be exactly who they are with you, as well.”

There are many characteristics that set close friends apart from the rest. Lớn help identify them, soulcake.vn asked experts khổng lồ weigh in on the essential traits that make a good friend.


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Every relationship needs trust as a chip core quality, & friendships are no exception. “They’re trustworthy and genuine,” Jamie Gruman, Ph.D., professor of organizational behavior & author of Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands, tells soulcake.vn. “They offer us a sounding board to demo ideas and show our true selves while knowing they won’t betray our confidences or make us feel ashamed of our weaknesses,” he says. “They offer us caring, honest feedback, even when it might hurt.” This creates a safe environment for both of you to lớn discover yourselves và grow.


Supportive friends are a lifeline. “Good friends offer us various kinds of support, such as emotional tư vấn when we’re feeling insecure & information tư vấn when we need khổng lồ know how lớn handle problems or khuyễn mãi giảm giá with ambiguities,” Dr. Gruman says. “This gives us the reinforcement and encouragement we need to face life’s many demands và prop us up when needed.”

Darlene Corbett, speaker, therapist, success coach, and author of Stop Depriving The World of You: A Guide For Getting Unstuck, agrees. “A good friend will go 150% khổng lồ be there for you,” she tells soulcake.vn. “Life is not always easy & fun, but a good friend will be available.”


You’re probably comfortable around your good friends because you can be yourself around them; with others, you may put up more of a front or feel less comfortable. “A good friend is someone who will unconditionally accept you as you are, but will never be afraid to lớn tell you the unpleasant truth of a situation or your behavior,” Lisa Orban, author of It’ll Feel Better When It Quits Hurting, tells soulcake.vn. “They are the mirror that keeps your life in focus when you’ve lost perspective.”

Corbett adds that good friends are not judgmental either. “Unless your friend commits an egregious crime, you should not judge them,” she says. “None of us leave this earth unscathed from doing something we would rather forget.”


While any friend may listen lớn what you have to say, a great friend actively listens và engages with you. “A good friend ... Asks questions và truly listens khổng lồ the answers,” Susan MacTavish Best, friendship expert & founder of lifestyle site Living MacTavish, tells soulcake.vn.

Dating & relationship coach Varsha Mathur thinks so, too. “A good friend listens và shuts up,” she tells soulcake.vn. “They’re a sounding board rather than a coach, và won’t give you advice when all you’re looking for is someone to lớn listen.”


Just lượt thích a lãng mạn partner should be emotionally available, good friends should be, too. “They make us feel heard và acknowledge us & our points of view,” Dr. Gruman says. “We feel listened to & appreciated as opposed khổng lồ ignored or dismissed.” As a result, he says, this allows you to cốt truyện your life with each other and feel connected, both of which combat loneliness and help you weather distressing circumstances. Even if your best friend doesn’t live nearby, you still maintain a close relationship with them.



Chances are, you và your good friends are a good fit because you have several things in common. “They are similar to lớn us in terms of values, beliefs, & views about things that matter khổng lồ us,” Dr. Gruman says. “Because our personalities and opinions are similar, it gives us a sense of belonging, which satisfies the fundamental human need khổng lồ feel connected lớn others — we feel united, togetherness, & a sense of belonging.”


While it’s easy to lớn be there for somebody during good times, it’s even more amazing to be there for them during the not-so-good periods of life. “Good friends show up for the tough times,” Mathur says. “They help clean up after the party, come lớn your parent’s funeral, and pick you up from that doctor’s appointment you’ve been dreading. All the fun memories are easy khổng lồ make, but these critical times are the true kiểm tra of a friendship.”


In any type of relationship, having a balance of give-and-take is important. “Good friendships have reciprocity so you’ll have a satisfying relationship, which is symbiotic,” Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to lớn Stress, tells soulcake.vn. “Sometimes you carry the ball, & sometimes your friend does. If one side is doing all the giving, this relationship will tip over.”

Corbett agrees. “There are the takers và the givers in this world,” she says. “Sometimes one friend is giving far more than the other, and this is fine as long as the other tiệc nhỏ reciprocates at some point. If you are just giving & they are just taking, how good of a friend is that person?”


Sometimes, you may feel as though your good friends know you better than you know yourself. They root for you even when you aren’t feeling like your own biggest fan. “Good friends can be your biggest cheerleaders và your greatest advocates,” McBain says. “They can also serve as accountability buddies, keeping you focused on what’s most important at that point in your life — even during the times when you may doubt yourself & your own self-worth.” Good friends will continually build you up, remind you how great you really are, and tư vấn you as you learn và grow throughout your life.

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You can probably think of people who tương tác you only when they are in need of something. However, with good friends, liên hệ isn’t just a one-way street, according khổng lồ Claudia Sigala, licensed psychotherapist at the mental health provider Alma.

“When emotional reciprocity is absent in a friendship, the relationship can feel one-sided, & a friend can start feeling like they vì chưng not matter và their needs are not important,” Sigala previously told soulcake.vn. Both people in a friendship should feel valued và heard, but you may come across people who see your friendship as a constant tư vấn network for them, without giving much back lớn you. A true friend won’t see and use you simply as a means to an end, only ever asking things of you.


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You know that friend who drops everything to help you out? That’s the definition of a good friend. “They are there for us when we need them and make our lives easier,” Dr. Gruman says. “They lighten our load & help shoulder the inevitable hurdles, stresses, và crises life throws at us. Friends can make what seems like an insurmountable mountain into a small hill that’s easily scaled.”


It can sometimes feel hard to say “no” to someone you care about, but any close friend will understand that you can’t say “yes” khổng lồ everything. A telltale sign that someone isn’t a great friend is if they react negatively khổng lồ you telling them “no” sometimes, according to lớn Kailee Place, a therapist at Shifting Tides Therapeutic Solutions.

“If there’s any emotional manipulation, such as guilt or some type of other ‘punishment’ — the silent treatment or passive-aggressiveness — then that’s a huge red flag," Place previously told soulcake.vn. "Friends need to be able khổng lồ say ‘no’ to each other & respect the other’s boundaries.”


While it’s important to chia sẻ interests, even best friends don’t have everything in common. The fact that friends aren’t exact clones of each other is what makes platonic relationships so fun và worthwhile. A good friend will understand this và respect the differences between you two. “Respect your friend’s values và ask that they respect yours,” Katie Bennett, co-founder and certified coach at Ama La Vida Coaching, previously told soulcake.vn. “You may not nói qua the same religion, ideas, or political views as your friend, and that’s OK. A healthy friendship allows two people khổng lồ respectfully believe in very different things.”


As in all relationships, boundaries are essential, & a good friend will respect yours và make theirs clear to lớn you. “It is essential for any relationship that we receive permission first before offering our advice or opinion about someone else’s life decisions or choices,” Jeffrey Sumber, licensed psychotherapist and relationship consultant, previously explained lớn soulcake.vn.

A good friend will not only come to lớn realize your boundaries naturally over time, but they will also immediately take into tài khoản any specific boundaries you tell them you have. In general, they will respond positively lớn any personal requests you make when it comes khổng lồ maintaining the relationship.

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Finally, one of the most telling characteristics of a good friend is that you simply feel comfortable và safe being around them just as you are. “Healthy friendships & relationships provide a space in which we are able khổng lồ feel safe, supported, và valued as an individual, and as a result, one can get through life challenges, develop healthy self-esteem, and cultivate a sense of belonging & trust in the world,” Sigala told soulcake.vn. With a good friend, you’ll feel safe và at ease while expressing your true self.


There are many qualities that make a good friend, some of which may be particularly important khổng lồ you based on your personal values. If you’re hoping khổng lồ take a casual acquaintance khổng lồ the next level, there are plenty of ways to lớn become closer with someone và (hopefully) elevate them to “close friend” status. You may even realize that in some instances you could be a better friend, và it’s never too late to make those changes & show up for the people you love.

Experts:

Heidi McBain, licensed marriage & family therapist and author of Life Transitions: Personal Stories of Hope Through Life’s Most Difficult Challenges and Changes

Jamie Gruman, Ph.D., a professor of organizational behavior & author of Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands

Darlene Corbett, speaker, therapist, success coach, and author of Stop Depriving The World of You: A Guide For Getting Unstuck

Lisa Orban, author of It’ll Feel Better When It Quits Hurting

Susan MacTavish Best, friendship expert & founder of Living MacTavish

Varsha Mathur, dating and relationship coach và founder of KnowingLuxe Coaching