castaway-1024×576

Guide to Being a Good Friend

Guide to Being a Good Friend

The smartest investment you can make in life isn’t on Wall Street or a new apartment complex — it’s in people. Your relationships with your friends ultimately define you, and unless you’ve been marooned on an island for the past year or so, it’s something you might want to pay more attention to. If Tom Hanks can make a friend out of a volleyball, you can make a few improvements in your relationships. So what kind of friend are you? Here is a quick guide to being a good friend:

1. It’s a give and take relationship. Have a friend that’s always helping you out? Don’t take them for granted; try to do as much for them as they do for you. You shouldn’t be keeping score, but reconsider things if they are off balance.

2. Give advice, be genuine. You should want the best for your friends, which means you should be giving advice out of compassion — not envy. You shouldn’t have a hidden agenda, you’re there because you care.

3. Trust is given. With all friends trust should be given, not earned. Assume the best of people and give them the benefit out the doubt. Just because you and your college roommate ended up on Judge Judy over a broken vintage lamp, it doesn’t mean you can never trust anyone again.

4. Acceptance is key. Neither you nor your friend should feel pressured to change in order to gain approval in the relationship. Guess what? We’re all unique, and it’s your role to accept your friends for who they are. Do not be critical of things they cannot change.

5. It’s like you never left. Sometimes we lose touch or make mistakes, but don’t be bitter about it. You understand that these things happen and you won’t hold it against them. Just like it is with family, things should just pick up where they left off.

6. Be realistic. We all love that friend that we can wake up at 2 a.m. to pick us up from the airport, but don’t constantly ask your friends for extensive favors on a daily basis.

7. You are available. There’s no telling when you or your friends will be going through a rough patch. Be there for them when they need it most and they will not only notice, but perhaps they will be there when you need it.

8. Constructive criticism. It’s important to know when to throw in that white lie, but when you must be brutally honest, do it the right way. Don’t just fire out verbal disapproval, offer some sort of solution and/or bright side.