MESSAGES LOG IN EXPLORE HELP US EDIT Home» Categories » Youth » Social Interactions for Youth ArticleEditDiscuss Edit Article How to Be a Good Friend Help Being a Good FriendBeing TrustworthyBeing SupportiveMaking Your Friendship Last Edited by Axiom, Rob S, Ben Rubenstein, Dave Crosby and 198 others Being a good friend isn't always easy, but taking the time to nurture a lasting friendship is worth every ounce of effort. As the years pass, some people will s tay by your side, but many won't, and you'll realize that each friendship you ke ep is priceless. Of course, to have a good friend, you must be one, and it takes a lot of effort and care. To be a good friend, you have to establish a trusting friendship, be there for your friend during hard times, and deepen a friendship to make it last. If you want to know how to be a good friend, just follow these steps. EditHelp Being a Good Friend Sample Qualities of a Good Friend Listening Tips Sample Ways to Be Respectful EditPart 1 of 3: Being Trustworthy 1Keep your promises. Don't ever make a promise that you can't keep -- or at leas t don't make a habit of it. If you say you'll hang out with a friend and a legit imate conflict arises, explain the situation and trust that the friendship is st rong enough for the noes as well as the yeses. Nobody's perfect, and it's okay i f you skip out on a promise once in a blue moon, but don't make it a regular thi ng. When you make a serious promise, look your friend in the eyes and speak slowly t o show that you really mean it instead of just saying it because you think that you should. 2Be dependable. Being dependable is one of the most important aspects of being a good friend. Nobody likes a flake, and nobody wants one for a close friend. It' s hard to rely on a person who doesn't behave in a consistent and trustworthy wa y. We all know well-intentioned but flaky people who say, "Okay, I will..." but never follow through. If that's you, know that you're eroding your friends' trus t; eventually they'll stop believing what you say. If you're not sure you can do something, don't agree to do it and flake out late r. Instead, be honest about the fact that you're not sure if you can make it. Your friends should always feel like they can count on you, even when the going gets tough. If you're only there for the fun times, you'll be no more than a fai r-weather friend.
3Apologize when you've made a mistake. If you want your friends to trust you, th en you can't act like you're flawless. If you know you've made a mistake, own up to it instead of being in denial. Though your friends won't be happy that you m ade a mistake, they'll be very pleased that you're mature and grounded enough to admit it instead of just pretending that nothing is wrong, or worse -- blaming it on someone else. When you say sorry, you should mean it. Let your friends hear the sincerity in y our voice instead of thinking that you don't really care how they feel. 4Be honest. If you want to be a good friend and to have people trust you, then y ou have to be honest about your feelings, about your friends' actions, and about how you feel about your friendship. If you're honest about how you feel, that w ill open up direct lines of communication with your friends and will make them m ore likely to open up to you. If your friend hurt you, don't be afraid to talk a bout it; if something is upsetting you, don't feel too shy to open up to your fr iend about it. Being honest is different from being so blunt that you're hurting your friends. If you think your friend has a drinking problem, for example, then you owe it to your friend to start a conversation about it. But if you think your friend look s kind of weird in her new dress, you may want to keep your mouth shut. Be real. Connect with people whom you value on a deep level if you want to have sustainable, long-term friendships. Invest in people you can be yourself around. If your behavior lacks sincerity, your friendship won't last. 5Don't use people. If one of your friends suspects that you're just using him, t hen he'll drop you like a hot potato. Good friendships don't arise from hoping s omeone else's popularity or networks will rub off on you. If you're trying to be friends with a person just to be accepted into a certain clique, that's not fri it's opportunism and eventually the shallow nature of your involvement w endship ill reveal itself. And if you have a reputation of using people, then new people won't be too excit ed to start a friendship with you. A friendship is about give and take. Sure, it may be really convenient that one of your friends gives you a ride to school every day, but make sure that you do something for that friend in return. 6Be loyal. If your friend tells you something in confidence, keep it and don't t alk about it with anyone else, just as you'd expect your friend to do for you. D on't discuss your friend behind his or her back, and don't spread rumors about t he confidences they've imparted to you. Never say anything about your friend tha t you would not be prepared to repeat to their face. Be loyal to your true frien ds and be prepared to defend them if your new friends, or people you barely know , start gossiping about them. Part of being loyal is understanding the importance of a long-lasting and stable friendship. Don't throw all that away just to spend all your time hanging out w ith your new boyfriend or girlfriend or a cool new person you just met. If you have a reputation for being a blabbermouth or a gossip, then your friends will quickly find out and they'll be hesitant to reveal anything personal to yo u in the future -- or even to spend much time with you at all. Don't let others say bad things about your friend, either. Until you've had a ch ance to hear your friend's side of the story, treat comments that are not suppor tive as hearsay and rumors. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn' t seem like a thing your friend would do or say, then respond with something lik e, "I know him/her, and that just doesn't sound right. Let me talk to him/her, f ind out his/her perspective on this. Until then, I would appreciate it if you di dn't spread that around." 7Be respectful. Good friends show respect for each other by being openly and mut ually supportive. If your friend has certain values and beliefs that don't align with your own, respect his or her choices and be open to hearing more about the
m. If you want your friend to trust you, then your friend should feel comfortabl e voicing opinions that you may not agree with, or discussing a new perspective with you. If your friend thinks that you'll shoot down any interesting or origin al idea that he or she may have, then your friendship won't be valued. Sometimes your friend will say things that you find boring, uncomfortable or ann oying, but if you have respect for your friend, you'll give your friend the spac e to speak, and to do so without judgment. During times when you don't see eye to eye with your friend, disagree respectful ly and be willing to see things differently. EditPart 2 of 3: Being Supportive 1Be selfless. Though you can't be selfless all the time, being selfless is an im portant part of being a good friend. Accommodate your friend's wishes whenever y ou can, provided this is done in a balanced way. Reciprocate his or her acts of kindness with caring deeds of your own, and your friendship will be strengthened . If you get a reputation for being selfish and only being around your friends w hen you need some help, then people will know you're not looking out for them. Do a favor for your friend just out of the goodness of your heart, not because y ou want something in return. There's a difference between being selfless at the right time and letting people walk all over you. If you feel like you're always helping your friends and get nothing back, then you have a problem. Don't abuse generosity or wear out your welcome. When your friend does something nice for you, then reciprocate quickly. Pay back money you borrow promptly. Go home when it seems like the time is right. 2Be a good listener. Don't monopolize conversations and take the time to truly u nderstand and support your friend when he is talking to you. It sounds simple, b ut make sure you're listening as much as you're talking about yourself. If you'r e monopolizing every conversation with your feelings, your friend isn't getting anything out of the relationship. Listening opens space between the two of you a nd reassures your friend that you care. If you're just waiting for your friend to finish talking so you can say what you want to say, it'll be obvious right away. Try to strike a balance of letting your friend talk about half of the time. Thou gh some people are more shy than others, if your friend feels like he can't get a word in when he's around you, it'll be hard to have a thriving friendship. 3Help your friends deal with their struggles. To be truly supportive, you'll hav e to be able to watch out for your friends when they're having a tough time. If you sense that your friend is getting into some sort of trouble over which they have little control, such as taking drugs, being promiscuous or getting too drun k at a party, help him or her get away from the situation by not being afraid to speak up about it. Don't assume that your friend can handle it alone; this may be the very time tha t your voice of common sense is needed to wake them from their fugue. If you see a problem, speak up, no matter how awkward you may feel. Let your friend know that you can give him a shoulder to cry on during this toug h time. If your friend feels less alone, it'll be easier for them to deal with t heir troubles. If all your friend wants to do about the problem is to talk, that's fine at firs t, but you should help your friend find practical solutions to his problems. For example, if your friend admitted to having an eating disorder and simply pro mises to start eating more, you need to talk about taking more serious measures to address the problem, like talking to a health professional. 4Be there in a time of crisis. If your friend has to go to the hospital, visit. If his dog runs away, help to find it. If she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school when he or she is absent. Send ca rds and care packages when you're living far apart. If there is a death in his/h
er family, attend the funeral. Let your friend see that he can count on you any time. Just make sure that your friend isn't always in the middle of some kind of crisi s, however contrived it may be. You should be there to help out during the hard times, but that can't be the basis of your whole relationship. Part of being there for your friend in a crises is providing emotional support, too. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let the tears roll. Hand him or her a tissue and listen openly. You don't have to say anything if nothing seems right; just stay calm and reassuring. If your friend is going through a crisis, don't say, "Everything is going to be all right" if it's not going to be. It's hard not to say that sometimes, but fal se reassurance can often be worse than none. Instead, let your friend know you a re there for him or her. Stay honest, but upbeat and positive. If your friend begins talking about committing suicide, tell someone about it. T his rule overrides the "respect privacy" step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Suggest a help line or professi onal to your friend. Talk to your and your friend's parents or spouse(unless the y are the ones causing the problems) before involving anyone else. 5Give thoughtful advice. To be a good friend, you should be able to weigh your f riend's situation from his or her perspective and to provide your opinion withou t insisting that your friend should do whatever you say. Don't judge your friend ; simply advise him or her when he or she reaches out. Avoid giving unsought for advice. Allow venting where needed and be willing to o ffer advice if it's clear that it's sought. Always ask before assuming you can g ive advice. In some cases, a friend could use a little tough love to keep him or her out of a dangerous situation. Use discretion here; you don't want to lecture or overwhe lm your friend. Tell him or her how you perceive the situation using factual inf ormation, and suggest what you might do in the same circumstances. 6Give your friend some space when he needs it. Part of being supportive means su pporting the fact that your friend won't always want to spend time with you. Lea rn to step back and give your friend space. Understand if your friend wants to b e alone or to hang out with other people. There's no need to become clingy or ne edy. If you're clingy and check in with your friend every two seconds if he or s he isn't around, you'll start to look like a possessive significant other, and t hat will not be appreciated. Don't get jealous if your friend has lots of other friends. Every relationship i s special and different, and that doesn't mean that your friend doesn't apprecia te you. Allowing one another the time to hang with other friends gives you much-needed b reathing room, and allows you to come together fresh and appreciating each other even more. EditPart 3 of 3: Making Your Friendship Last 1Learn to forgive. If you want your friendship to last, then you should be able to forgive your friend and to move forward. If you hold a grudge and let your bi tterness and resentment build up, then you won't be able to move forward. Recogn ize that nobody's perfect and that if your friend is sincerely sorry and that if he or she didn't do something too horrible, that you should move past it. If your friend really did do something so unforgivable that you just can't get p ast it, then it's better to move on than to try to save the friendship when it's doomed. But this should happen very rarely. If you're angry at your friend but haven't told him or her why, you'll never be able to forgive him if you don't talk about it. 2Accept your friend for who he or she is. To make your friendship thrive, you sh ouldn't try to change your friend or make your friend see the world from your pe rspective. If you're conservative and your friend is liberal, then accept that i
nstead of trying to argue about it all the time. You should appreciate the fresh perspective your friend can bring to your experiences instead of wanting your f riend to see everything from your perspective. The more you are with one another, the less you idealize each other and the more you accept one another for who you really are. This is what being a truly good friend is really about - caring deeply for each other, even if you know you're bo th full of flaws. 3Go beyond the call of duty. A friend will wait while you do your homework. A gr eat friend stays up all night helping. Remember that if you are a good friend, p eople want to be a good friend to you. Recognize the moments when you need to go above and beyond to help your friend and know that this will make your friendsh ip grow, and that your friend will do the same for you in return. If your friend really needs you and keeps saying, "No, you don't have to do that ..." learn to read between the lines and know that your friend really does need you. 4Stay in touch no matter what. As the years pass, people tend to grow apart. May be you and a friend will move to different places and only see each other every once in awhile. Sometimes years may elapse without much contact. If you never st op caring about your friend, speak up. He or she will be happy to hear from you. You were friends for a reason in the past, and you may find the same bond still ties you together. Don't let your location determine the strength of your bond. If your friendship is meaningful, then it should keep growing even if you're an ocean apart. Make a goal of having monthly phone or Skype dates with your friend even if you' re in a completely different time zone. If keeping up with your friend becomes a routine, your relationship will continue to thrive. 5Let your friendship evolve. If you want to be a good friend, then you have to u nderstand that your friendship won't be the same in high school, college, or in the adult world. Sure, when you were fourteen, you might have spent all of your time with your best friend, but by the time you went off to separate colleges or started your serious relationships, you naturally spent less time talking. This doesn't mean that your friendship isn't as strong; it just means that your live s are evolving, and your friendship is taking on a different shape over the year s. Don't try to make your friendship be exactly the same as it was ten years ago. T hink of it as elastic, not solid. If your friend is married with two kids or even just in a serious relationship a nd you're not, be respectful of the fact that, while your friend really cares fo r you, she won't be on call 24/7 like she used to be. Appreciate the changes your friendship has made over the years, and learn to gro w along with your relationship. EditTips Don't try to be the same as your friend - differences are what make great friend s. Plus, it can get irritating and they probably won't trust your word. Show you r differences and be proud of them! You don't have to spend a lot of time and money to be a good friend. The best gi fts are often handmade and come from the heart. A phone call can mean as much as a visit. Enjoy one another's company. It's not all about bleeding hearts and advice to th e lovelorn - or at least, it shouldn't be. Be sure to have fun together and do s pontaneous activities now and then. Be a positive force in your friend's life. Tell your friend how much you appreciate their company or how they were with you when you needed them. It will brighten up their day and affirm your friendship. Don't set too many expectations and rules. Allow your friendship to evolve and c hange naturally. Honest communication is a basic foundation in a friendship. If you and your frie nd can't talk to each other freely then you are set up for a difficult and possi
bly doomed relationship. If your friend makes a promise and doesn't keep it then don't do the same to the m or you will keep repeating the pattern. A friend who is only available at school or work is still a friend. Be very glad for that special kind of friendship associated with the place where you share t ime together. Tease friends about something they're proud of. The better you know your friend, the easier it is to find the things they're sensitive about and use teasing to pick them up instead of tearing them down. EditWarnings No one likes an insulting friend, be careful when you tease them! If your friend asks you to stop, heed the request. If your friend is starting to make new friends, don't turn jealous. No one likes a jealous friend. Have faith in your friendship. If your friend doesn't treat you well while you treat them well, then there's no reason to stay friends. Don't stay close friends with anyone who doesn't treat you well. When spending time with your friend, whether having a meal together or just hang ing out, both of you should turn your cell phones off. It's very off-putting to have a conversation constantly interrupted by a ringing phone. He or she may fee l that you're not paying attention to them or don't value your time together. Don't share your feelings when you know the person can't be trusted because she/ he might use it against you someday. Don't expect instant or life-long friendship; realize that, if it is to be somet hing special, it may develop quite gradually. Don't talk about things that may make your friend uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be around a uncomfortable person. For example, if your friend's relative just p assed away, don't talk about something surrounding death. (Note: It's OK to ask about her feelings about the death. Maybe she wants help surrounding the situati on. It's not good to just ignore it.) EditRelated wikiHows How to Get a Good Friend How to Not Be Controlled by Your Best Friend How to Be a Good Friend on wikiHow How to Feel Good Without Friends How to Have Your "Me" Time How to Reconcile a Friendship How to Know when It's Time to Find New Friends
How to Get True Friends How to Recognize a True Friend How to Be Friends With Guys How to Win Friends How to Become Sociable How to Socialize, Be Funny and Make Friends How to Convince Your Parents That Your Friends Are Good People Article Info Categories: Social Interactions for Youth Recent edits by: gabriella, Norvin_Go, Inich In other languages: Español: Cómo ser un buen amigo, Italiano: Come Essere un Buon Amico, Português: Como Ser um Bom Amigo, Français: Comment être un bon ami, Deutsch: Ein guter Freund sein, ???????: ???? ??????? ??????, Nederlands: Een goede vriend zijn, ??: ?????? DiscussPrintEmailEditSend fan mail to authors Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 970,151 times. Was this article accurate? YesNo Random Article Write An Article Related Articles How to Be Popular on a Swim Team How to Keep a Friend How to Make a Friendship Last How to