Let’s keep it real, shall we? Our generation has lost the concept of what it means to be a good friend. Due to social media, we’d rather flaunt our friends to prove something rather than actually cherishing that sacred relationship once we upload that seemingly perfect photo on our Instagram page. Nowadays, people would rather be so-called “besties” with everyone they meet at the club or special event in order to gain social approval, instead of keeping a small circle and letting it genuinely blossom. I’ll admit it — I don’t think I’ve been the best friend that I know I can be over the past few years. As a result, many of my friendships have either broken off or have been reduced to a “hi-bye” thing.
Now as we’re in a new year, one of my resolutions is to make my currently budding friendships even stronger and not taking them for granted. And judging from all of the back talk and shadiness I’ve witness on sites like Twitter, I think we could all learn a thing or two about being a good friend. So below are a few guidelines and tips that will help you and I both in maintaining lifelong sisterhoods and brotherhoods.
1. Pick up your phone and call/text
Don’t just hit up your friends when you want to get crazy at the after work happy hour! It’s important to let them know that they’re remembered, and calling or texting your friends with no strings attached will show them that you truly care and that they’re on your mind. Share with them a relatable meme, a funny Vine or simply ask how their day is going. Feeling appreciated is something that we need to stop forgetting in 2015.
2. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down
I think what’s hindering myself and other people is that fact that we don’t want to share anything personal with our friends. Being emotionally available is necessary in every friendship; there has to be a certain connection between you two. If you’re feeling pissed off or sad, don’t try to suppress it. Instead, share your feelings with said friends. You may actually get some gems of advice!
3. Listen for a change!
Nowadays, many people just like to hear themselves talk. But you have to make time to listen as well. You should be a source of comfort if your friend is trying to open up to you, not a cold wall. Paying attention to what your friends are going through shows empathy — which I think is sadly lacking.
4. Remember, it’s not all about you
This point goes along the lines of the previous one. Eat a piece of humble pie and stop being so damn selfish. Do not reach out to your friends when it’s convenient for you; remember to make time for them as well. We all have busy schedules and different lives, but carving out a place in your agenda to attend a friend’s special event is something that you shouldn’t feel bad about sacrificing.
5. Make time to hang out with each other
Don’t stifle your friendship where you only like an Instagram photo or retweet something they said with various emojis here and there! You need to see your mates outside of social media! Also, don’t plan things just for the sake of posting it online after the fact. Cherish the memories you make with your friends that don’t have to always make it to your Snapchat stories. Those are the moments that you will always remember, even though there may not be physical proof for the rest of the world to see — and who cares if they don’t?
6. Just say “No”
Always remember to be honest with your friends. If you don’t want to do a particular thing or go to the next turn up, just say so! Or else, you’ll wind up at an event where you don’t feel comfortable and the situation will become tense. Save yourself the trouble and kindly pass it down — your friends will thank you in the end. Don’t waste their time!
7. Befriend their parents as well
This is something that I’ve come to realize is important. Friends are an extension of your family, so why not add to that and meet their own? You don’t have to add your bestie’s mother’s phone number in your contacts, but you should know their first name and what they look like! Hanging out with the parents every so often makes you seem less than a “who is she again?” stranger and more like an extended relative.
8. Be a shoulder to cry on, but also laugh until your stomach hurts!
If your friend is going through a tough time, he or she should not hesitant in thinking that you won’t care to listen to their problems. Friends should stick together through thick and thin, and also be open to sharing secrets knowing that they won’t be exposed. Laughing together is also important. It is healthy for the heart and mind, and it keeps the friendship feeling fun and alive.
9. Argue with a purpose
Friendships aren’t always going to be smooth. That being said, don’t have petty fights! If your friend is making a silly decision that will affect them in the long run, tell them straight up. But don’t call them out of their names or degrade them. Always maintain honesty and give constructive criticism even when they don’t want to hear it. They’ll take it in and eventually thank you for it.
10. Celebrate all accomplishments while toning down your envy
Lastly, have some damn good fun! If your friend gets the job of their dreams, gets engaged or accomplishes something meaningful to them, you should be right next to him or her celebrating the moment. Yet you shouldn’t feel jealous or bitter when they tell you good news. I’ve always heard that your true friends are revealed not when you’re going through a sad time — it’s who sticks by you when you’re at your happiest. Don’t ever forget that! In time, you’ll see who is meant to be in your tight circle for a lifetime.
I hope in 2015 (and the years to come) that we all take these notes into consideration when aiming to strengthen your existing friendships. After all, as a wise person once said: “We’re so much more than pointless fixtures…Instagram pictures.”