How to Be a Good Best Freind: 5 Ways to Keep Your BFF
Besties are the Best!
Friendships are important relationships in our lives as women (though most of these tips are equally applicable to men!). There is nothing like the companionship and loyalty of a good, solid girlfriend in your life. Having friends is one of life's greatest blessings. But for some, it seems that friendships come and go. How do we increase the odds that our friendships will last the test of time? Here are five things that you can do to enrich and keep those valuable friendships going strong.
1. Devote Time To Your Friendship
Every relationship needs to be nurtured, whether it is a parent and child or a husband and wife. The same is true for a friendship. Friendships can wither and fall apart if not actively and purposefully maintained.
Do things on a regular basis with your friend, just the two of you. Talking on the phone, texting and emailing have their place, but nothing beats spending time together. Go to a movie, meet for lunch, take walks together, or host one another at your homes for coffee or tea. Make it at least once a month to keep a friendship close, and twice a month is even better. Take turns choosing what you will do together, each choosing one event per month!
Of course, if your BFF moves away it may be more difficult, but this doesn't mean you have to lose contact. Skype is terrific for staying close, and you can arrange to meet at the same time each week online. Keep a savings jar and drop some money in it every week. This is your BFF fund. If both of you keep a jar, soon you'll be able to combine them to fly one of you to visit the other for a long weekend or more.
2. Be Non-Judgmental and Supportive
You and your "bestie" no doubt have a lot in common. But somewhere along the line, your friend is probably going to do something that you don't approve of. Perhaps she impulsively decides to make a major purchase - a house or an expensive car - that she can't afford. Maybe she starts dating someone who you think is using her. Or something as simple as she throws herself into the political campaign of someone you think is a horrible candidate. When this happens, it's fine to let her know your thoughts on what she is doing. But if she continues on her course, you have to "agree to disagree".
Friends don't have to agree on everything. They should allow the friend the freedom to be different, even to make mistakes, and still support them as much as they can. Never say "I told you so" when she finds she's behind on those car payments. No "I knew he was a louse!" when she finally dumps the boyfriend, and no "Thank goodness he's out!" when her candidate pulls out of the race. Again, don't hide your disagreement from her, but say it once and drop it. Be there for her if and when it goes sour and never say "I told you so". Just a hug and a bottle of wine will do!
3. Be Loyal and Trustworthy
Loyalty and trustworthiness are characteristics that tend to be in short supply in this busy and often self-centered era. To have a friend you can count on to be there when you are having a difficult time and who will not betray your trust in her is a priceless gift. If your friend is in need, do whatever you can to help, even if it doesn't seem like much. If she is ill, stop by with chicken soup. If she had a bad break up, take her for a ride and let her talk while you mostly just listen. Keep her confidences and never gossip about her behind her back. If you prove you are loyal to her and that you can be trusted to value her as a person, you will be a rare gem that she will want to keep close for a lifetime.
Best Friends are Valuable
4. Accept and Forgive
You and your friend are on the same page about most things. Your values and beliefs are similar and compatible. But remember that your friend is not you. She has her own strengths and weaknesses, and this is where acceptance must come in.
Let's say your friend is overweight and you are not. She is constantly battling her weight, but in your mind she just eats too much! It is fine to suggest that paying attention to portion control might help, but don't harp on it. Chances are she knows she eats too much. It is one of her personal struggles, and you must accept it as part of this person that you care about. For sure, jump right in if she asks you for suggestions as to how she can control her portions! But if she doesn't ask specifically for your help, keep your mouth shut and be enthusiastically supportive each time her weight is down.
Don't forget that forgiveness is part of acceptance. Your friend isn't perfect, any more than you are. She will mess up at some point. Maybe she forgets your birthday. Maybe she borrows your favorite sweater and gets a mustard stain on it. Or it could be something more egregious that causes the two of you to argue. Most things, if you are true friends, can be forgiven.
Not that you allow yourself to be a doormat. A friend who hurts you over and over is probably not worth keeping as a friend. But the occasional thoughtless comment or heated disagreement can be put behind you and forgiven, if you value one another as friends. It feels good to forgive anyway, and then you can treat yourselves to lunch and have a laugh over it!
5. Remember Your Friend and Surprise Her!
Remember your friend when you are apart and surprise her with something! Send her a postcard when you go away on a business trip or vacation. If you're out shopping and see something you think she'd like that is within your budget, pick it up and surprise her with it. Wrap it in pretty paper and put a bow on it! Make extra when you cook or bake something and leave it on her front step with a note. Send her a pretty blank card that you've written something in, perhaps a poem or just a reminder that you appreciate her friendship or were thinking of her. How about a framed picture of the two of you for her desk? Send her an email with a funny joke you found online. If you are crafty, create something especially for her and give it to her just because. These little remembrances are wonderful ways to nurture a friendship.
Best Friends Are the Best!
Do You Have A BFF?
Friendships Take Effort
Having a best friend is a gift to be cherished and nurtured. If you don't take your bestie for granted and instead make the effort it takes to keep a relationship vibrant and healthy, you can secure your friendship for a lifetime.
© 2016 Katharine L Sparrow