How to Be a Good Friend

Though social media and technology keep us more connected than ever, at least in some ways, there are other ways humans are losing connection with one another. By the way, I by no means believe that social media or technology are the downfall of humanity. This post is just a comment on how things have changed, and how to use social media and technology as well as other, more traditional methods, to be a better friend.

Be present.

That means putting down your phone, though not necessarily entirely cutting yourself off from it. Sometimes people have emergencies. Sometimes they’re maintaining relationships or friendships with people far away. Taking away their access to this completely is actually a little bit rude. Limiting access to technology when present with another person, however, is good for everyone involved. Technology can be helpful in promoting conversation, also. If someone forgets something, or wishes to show exactly what it is they mean, technology can enrich the conversation and prevent miscommunication.

Communicate.

Of course communication includes doing so when one is annoyed, angry, or hurt. But communication should include positive emotions, as well. When your friend makes you feel loved, or happy, or amused, communicate that. People tend to like knowing that they’ve had a positive impact on others, especially those they love. So yes, tell your friend when they’ve hurt you, or annoyed you, or angered you. But try also to tell them when they’ve made you happy, amused you, or made you feel loved. Positive discourse is just as or more important than negative discourse.

Include them.

Contacting someone who is always there for you is great – unless you only contact that person when you need something. Then you’re just using them, and you’re not being a good friend. Contact your friend with good news. Invite them to things. Both of these are methods of inclusion, and everyone loves to feel included.

Trust them.

This means maybe sharing the parts of yourself you’re not that proud of. It means sharing secrets. And it means that if you don’t expect to be judged, you shouldn’t judge your friend either. Trust them with your secrets – maybe not all, but being vulnerable is a way to grow closer.

Love them.

Loving someone means promoting what is best for them through your words and actions, etc., etc. We all know the conventional definitions of platonic and romantic love. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them on everything, or support all their decisions. Loving someone means disagreeing with them sometimes, but still respecting them despite that. Loving someone can mean that you don’t support their words or actions, but you still support who they are and the person themselves. Blindly approving of everything someone does isn’t true love. Love means working toward what is best for someone. You can love, respect, and support someone without supporting what they choose to do or say, especially if those words or actions are detrimental to themselves or others.

 

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Student. DC area native. Lover of literature, my rescue dog, good food, and the sea.

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