They say that to have a friend you must be one. But before you know it, the week has whizzed by and you still haven’t called your friend back – the one who needed your advice. With our hectic lives, being a good ally is sometimes a bit of a challenge. And with the holidays around the corner, it’s easy to become even more self-absorbed than usual.So here are some easy reminders on what constitutes a reliable and dear friend:
Take five minutes to send your friend a phone text or an email. Tell her you miss her, you’re thinking of her and that you will call her (back) on the weekend. And then commit to that promise. If you’re a flake, write it down in your day planner. Keeping up with what’s going on in your friend’s lives, asking specific questions and remembering to call them on a big day means a lot. Also consider surprising your BFFs. Send them something thoughtful like a card for absolutely no reason other than you love and appreciate them.
Lend an Ear
Remember to shut up once in a while. Make sure you aren’t always the one who is blabbing away. Friendships are a give and take! Really listen to your friend’s thoughts and feelings before you chime in because it’s important to really understand their point of view. And, “only give advice or an alternative perspective if asked. In other words, don’t therapize,” says Neil Fiore, psychologist and author of Awaken Your Strongest Self: Break Free of Stress, Inner Conflict, and Self-Sabotage. When they do confide in you, let them know that their secrets are safe. Respect is key.
Keep Them On Track
We are here to support our friends because we have their best interests in mind. Right? So therefore there’s no room for jealousy and catty low blows. Are you a sister or not? Remind your friends of their goals and values, and express confusion/wonderment if you see them deviating from their aims (yet refrain from judgment). For example say, “I’m confused. I thought you wanted to… quit smoking; find someone for a long-term relationship; learn how to face your fears instead of giving in to them.”
You aren’t perfect all the time and neither will your pals be. Be willing to put up with them if they’re acting inappropriately or testing the limits of the friendship, adds Fiore. You have to stick around some tough times to get to the good stuff.
Also if the ‘tude is flaring up, infuse some humor into the current predicament — because none of us should ever take ourselves too seriously. It will lighten up the mood.
To find out if you’re a friend supreme, here is a piece of advice for every letter of the alphabet. The excerpt is taken from Friends Are Everything, written by author and speaker BJ Gallagher www.womenneed2know.com.
A FRIEND …
Accepts you, warts and all.
Believes in your potential.
Comforts you when you’re sad.
Delights in your successes.
Empathizes with your struggles.
Forgives you when you hurt her feelings, just as you do for her.
Gives you time and attention.
Hugs you … often.
Inspires you to do your best.
Just loves you.
Keeps your secrets.
Listens with her heart.
Makes you want to be a better person.
Never judges you.
Occasionally disappoints you ’cause she’s human, too.
Points out your good qualities when you forget.
Questions you when you’re about to do something dumb.
Respects your boundaries.
Shares her hopes and fears with you.
Tells you the truth… with love.
Understands you, even when you don’t understand yourself.
Values your ideas and opinions.
Will do anything she can to help you.
Xtends you the benefit of the doubt.
Yearns to hear from you when you’re away.
Zings with joy ’cause you’re her friend!
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