My friends are very important to me! Which is why I want to share with you some valuable friendship advice... 5 Ways to be a Better Friend. Why? Because I am willing to bet that your friends are really important to you too. And we don't always think about ways to improve our friendships with our girlfriends. Maybe because we are too busy reading up on how to improve our marriages and be better parents. While family rules supreme, friends are still super-duper important!
You may notice that these cute photos are of me and a group of my friends. I love these girls dearly and I hope they aren't too surprised to see themselves all over the internet ;).
What? You don't get professional photo shoots of you and your friends?
Confession: I haven't always been a very good friend. When I think back to my grade school years I cringe. What was my problem? I think it was just that I didn't know how to do it, I didn't know how to be a good friend. And maybe I was a little bit of a jerk. Since then, I have learned from examples of others as well as from academic sources. I have a degree in Family Studies and a lot of the same principles apply.
Friendship Advice #1
Compliment! You know how in elementary school some kids put other kids down in an effort to build themselves up. Well, we all know that doesn't work. But sometimes as adults we make a similar mistake. Sometimes we are afraid that we might take away from ourselves if we compliment another. We know this isn't true. But sometimes if feels true. Solution: do it anyway! Even if you feel uncomfortable doing it, say something nice about someone else. Tip: don't just compliment how people look. I mean, we all like to be told we look cute, but by looking deeper we show that we really care and aren't just saying the first superficial thing that pops in our head.
Friendship Advice #2
Loyalty! I have a friend whom I have known my entire life. Our moms were best friends growing up and she lived up the street. Now we're grown ups and live in a totally different city. But guess what, she still lives up the street from me. This friend is beyond loyal. Even through Jr. High School, she never uttered a mean word about me and she stood up for me when others did. She's one of my heros! She was there for me when she didn't need to be and helped me through the most difficult situation of my entire life. Oh, and she also introduced me to my amazing husband. I could not love her more!
How can you and I be more like her? One thing I have learned is that your thoughts shape your actions. And so, I never think negative things about my friends. I figure that if I have friends that I think negatively about then I have the wrong friends. And if I ever have a moment when I do think negatively about my friends, I quickly think of their best quality. Incidentally, this trick works great when it comes to thinking positively about your kids too.
Friendship Advice #3
Know your friend's love language! My friend, Jenny, pictured above is one of my favorite people on earth! Can't you tell how much I love her? Well, part of why we became such good friends is because she appealed to my love language. Have you read that book? It's really good. It's meant to be a marriage book but the principles apply to parenting and friendship too. My love language is service. I love when people do stuff for me. So I thought that was Jenny's love language too. It wasn't until recently, when we were talking about love languages, that she let me know that GIFTS are her love language. What? I had been giving her such lame gifts all these years. See, I don't care much for gifts, so it's hard to imagine that others feel loved when I give them gifts. But now that I know Jenny feels loved by me when I give her gifts, I have been showering her with love. Her only regret is that she didn't tell me her love language sooner. HAHA.
Friendship Advice #4
Be reliable! When you are say you are going to be somewhere or that you are going to do something, be there, do it! If you can't commit, that's ok. It's better to say no, than to disappoint a friend that is counting on you. I have a friend that used to be so unreliable. We would make plans, but she had also made plans at the same time with someone else (sometime multiple others). She would wait until the last minute and see which of her plans seemed to be the best option and then she would go with that one. Finally I explained to her that she didn't need to make plans with me if she had other plans and that it was important to me that I be able to count on her. She realized the error of her ways and proved to be reliable forever after. So if your friend isn't reliable, just take a minute to express how important it is to you and a good friend will work on it. Which brings us to the next piece of advice...
Friendship Advice #5
Be honest... but kind. Have you ever heard that a friend said something about you? Did your friend do something that upset you? Go to the source! Give your friend the benefit of the doubt and kindly let her know what you heard or how you felt about what she did. Often times we don't realize the affect our actions have on others. I don't know about you but if I accidentally upset a friend, I hope she would come to me and let me know so I could fix the situation.
I hope this friendship advice comes in handy for you... and your friends.