It was amazing watching my 2-year-old daughter play with her two new friends the other day. They tug at toys, cry, fall over, snatch and shove and at the end of it all, they hug and go back to one another with a smile as if nothing had ever happened.
Makes you wonder what happened to us as adults. How did we lose this long history of forgiving and forgetting, smiling and laughing and loving. There is a lot we can learn from our children and how to truly be the friend that you desire. I believe it starts with simplistic things that as adults we all value and have time for. It boils down to making the time and utilizing the abundance of resources available to us to make sure that we are being the type of friend that we desire.
Here are some practical ways by which you can be and become a good friend:
Become An Active Listener
My Grandmother use to say, “I’m hearing what you are not saying!” What does that really mean. It means, listen with you heart and mind and try to understand the situation from your friends point of view. If you try to engage this sort of listening technique you will naturally start of find yourself asking the right sort of questions to get the answers you may be looking for. Not only will you feel good about being that listening ear, you will also find that your friend will feel good about you listening to them with intention and purpose. When was the last time you asked your friend, “What do you need?” If you are worried about someone, don’t just think about them.. show some action, be present both in good times and tough times.
We’ve all heard the saying that action speaks louder than words. Well, if you are making yourself available then your friends won’t know you care. Intention means nothing if you are not engaging. Smile more, hug more, make phone calls, show up for a surprise lunch, make a phone call… just whatever you choose to do, Be available stay in touch. Even if you are not nearby each other, making an effort to stay in touch goes a long way with friends who are not near by. Try it out. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Take An Interest In Them
A few weeks ago I did something a bit radical… I deleted my Facebook page and started over. Why, because I realized I didn’t know those 3909 people and they didn’t know me. I decided I wanted to only truly be friends with people I had a relationship with. I went from 3909 to 165. I actually interact now..
Social media is a great way to show your friends that you care. I have to admit, its sometimes easier to hit “like” then to pick up the phone at that moment when my 2-year-old is screaming. You can tell them how you feel and make a big deal out of an accomplishment or something important to them that they shared. Use social media to show your friends that you care when you don’t really have the time in the day to stop by or call. When you can’t make the call, the drive or show up…this too is a great median to show you care.
Challenge Your Friend
I think one of the best traits a friend can have is to be candid and honest. I would rather someone “keep it real with me” than fake. sometimes people need to hear the hard truth about themselves. They may not like it at first, and they might need time to digest it, but eventually they will Thank you for not allowing them to make bad mistakes and tough choices. I sure wish I had people that saw me going down a wrong road and motivated me to take a different leap. Friends shouldn’t just be there for convienence …They challenge us to be greater!
There is never one “best” way in which you can show that you are a great friend. The above are some simply suggestions for each of us. The first step is always making the step. Empower your friends to be better women and stronger friends.