Recently I was hanging out with my friend Amy and we were discussing women in our lives who weren’t good friends. You know who they are. They either ignore you until they break up or have a fight with their significant others. Or they just talk about themselves and their interests non-stop. Or (my favorite) they only contact you when THEY need you.They don’t ask you about what your occupied with or show any interest in you. You know, your basic fair weather friend. Why are we still friends with these people? That’s another blog post.
So how do you be a good friend? You need to regular quality time with your friend. Maybe you having a standing lunch date once a month or you visit the antique warehouse a few times a year. Perhaps you both enjoy the weekly spin class together. It doesn’t really matter what you do but it should be regular and it should be a shared experience.
Then you need to communicate with one another. In normal healthy relationships, one person talks and the other person listens. With bad friends, one person talks while the other one wonders when her turn is coming. Ask questions like “What are you working on now?” “What are you passionate about?” “How did the Brazilian waxing go?” “Did you ever get that infection cleared up?” (just kidding) Each person needs to feel that they are valuable and so are their thoughts and feelings.
A real friend will help you bury the body and never ask a question. You need to be there for each other no matter what. A real friend will pick you up from the drunk tank or from jail or perhaps from an abusive boyfriend without judging or making comments. A good friend will take you out for drinks to celebrate your promotion or bring you soup when you are sick or in the event of your death will clear the history on your computer. I’m being intentionally dramatic to make a point. It’s easy to celebrate the good times but you need to support each other during the downswing.
Have their back. This goes along with supporting each other during a downswing. Don’t gossip about them. Have their back when they aren’t around. If you know they are going through a rough time, call them. Send them a nice card. Take them out to lunch. Notice the small things.
I think being a good friend goes back to being the type of friend you want to have. You can’t keep score. You have to be a stand up kind of person. Have respect for them and their situation. If you can’t do the small stuff like phone calls and supporting each other, why are you friends?