Best Friend Guidelines

Be the Kind of Friend You'd Like to Have

As human beings, relationships are valuable to our psyche. We actually need to interact with others as part of a well-rounded life experience. We all value our friendships and want to be loved and accepted by those around us. Social and emotional bonds formed with school mates, coworkers, neighbors and others are of a different dynamic than relationships with relatives, and help us develop well-rounded personalities. 

Striving to be a good friend can and should also include our siblings, spouses, parents and other relatives as well as people to whom we‘re not related.

Set boundaries. It’s OK to expect your friends to respect your privacy and not intrude on your life in areas you choose. This includes your bedtime if you don’t like to be disturbed at night, also time you spend with your family or others. These are normal limits and should be respected, and as a good friend, you would do the same.

Offer help only if asked. If you truly know that your help is expected without being asked, do so as soon as possible. But recognize that this is not  welcomed in every relationship you have. So objectively consider how to respond when a coworker or acquaintance tells you about an issue in their personal life. A receptive and sympathetic ear may be all they need.

Ask how you can help and not decide what to offer. You may have the perfect solution to the problem or you may have experienced a similar situation and be eager to offer details of how you accomplished the same goal. But ask your friend what they would like you to do, not impose your solution on them.

Occasionally ask for opinions. You can allow others to feel valued and useful just by asking for feedback or suggestions on a subject. Ask for recommendations when faced with a choice. Look for ways to get the message across that you want and respect your friend’s opinion

Be generous and genuine with complements. Don’t hesitate to let a friend know that you like and admire something they’ve said or done.

Be a sounding board.

Don’t be judgmental. Whether you agree with a friend’s choice of action or not, show them your willingness to be supportive. Unless the situation is a matter of life and death, as a friend, your job is unconditional support. 

Don’t offer an opposing opinion unless asked. And if asked, offer your opinion as a different point of view and not as criticism of their idea.

Don’t criticize, even if asked. Again, just offer an alternative.

Don’t participate in gossip within your circle of friends. If you will speak maliciously about one friend, it can be assumed that you will do so about another. Avoid taking sides in disputes between friends, especially if the conflict is just a matter of differing opinions and not clearly right verses wrong. If asked, and logic doesn’t present the clear answer, simply state that you will help them come to a compromise but that you will not take sides.

In all your relationships you’ll have the opportunity to give and receive. Determine that your primary motive is to give your best and you will receive as much in return.