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What does it mean to be a true/best friend?


Perplexingana

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Sometimes, I am told that I can be overly self absorbed and that I often do not seem to care how or what is going on in the lives of those I am closest too who I regard as best friends, I do care but I guess I'm not taking the right steps to show it. I'm also told that sometimes it doesn't seem like I am listening to them when they try to talk to me about themselves and that I do not ask them questions about their own lives enough. When I hear this stuff I feel terrible of course and I'm trying to fix it, I really am. What are some things I can do to show them that I do care? That I do listen? What are other things I should think about to be a better friend? I'm open to suggestions, thanks

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Active listening -and you can if you like read books on how to be a better listener. Taking actions to show you care. For example, following up with an e-mail a day or two after your friend shares something to follow up (and the e-mail should be focused or almost entirely about that) such as "how did things work out with your car?" or "how did the visit go with your former boss?" Or offering to give someone a ride somewhere, offering to connect a friend with something or someone she needs such as a good plumber, a babysitter, another friend of yours who could help her network for a job (or offering to set up a friend with a single guy you think she might like and vice versa).

Call and show up when you say you will and show appreciation for what your friends do for you.

 

People also like when you remember the details they share-especially about funny stories they've shared with you. That also shows you care.

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I'm also told that sometimes it doesn't seem like I am listening to them when they try to talk to me about themselves...

 

Are they right? Are you actually listening? If not, what are you thinking about instead? If it's a case in which you are always thinking about what you are going to say next, instead of paying attention to the person speaking, that could be a big part of the problem.

 

I would recommend reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you can get past some of the dated writing, it's actually really helpful in addressing the problems you listed here.

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This is hard to respond to if you don't give specific examples of who is telling you that and why they feel that way. It may be correct or it may not be and someone is just trying to guilt and manipulate you. Or it may be a bit of both, but without knowing the circumstances I can't give specific advice beyond the following:

 

Friends do things for each other, but it's a two-way street. If only one friend brings gifts or does all the calling or runs favors and errands or talks about themselves and the other friend never does then it's a bad friendship. Bending over backwards to do everything for someone with little or no reciprocation is always sets a very bad tone for a relationship too, be it a friend or lover or boss or coworker. It tells others you have zero self-esteem and are trying to buy their good will and good thoughts of you and unfortunately really selfish people take full advantage of that and actively seek these types of people out to use. It's also not uncommon for a really selfish person to use the whole "you're a bad friend" complaint when you've told someone no for legitimate reasons. Like no to borrowing my dad's car without his permission or no, you can't borrow that expensive clothing item I just got since you ruined the last one you borrowed.

 

So you need to step back and if you honestly don't know what you've done then just ask your friend(s) what they mean, what exactly did you do. If you're the type who's been running your friend(s) around town all day while putting your own life on hold and they never even take you out to lunch as a thank you or buy gas for the car then tell them off and go find better friends since you aren't being a bad friend, they are.

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What I have realized is that if you want a true and healthy relationship you have to be more "passive" than "active".

 

Dont talk about yourself, ask them about them. Care for them and show them.

Never get jealous or lust about something they have.

Feel happy and proud for them.

Do things for them, dont just expect things from them.

 

There are no specific rules on how to be a good friend but those things i mentioned are the fundamentals of a healthy relationship.

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What I have realized is that if you want a true and healthy relationship you have to be more "passive" than "active".

 

Dont talk about yourself, ask them about them. Care for them and show them.

Never get jealous or lust about something they have.

Feel happy and proud for them.

Do things for them, dont just expect things from them.

 

There are no specific rules on how to be a good friend but those things i mentioned are the fundamentals of a healthy relationship.

 

I think it's fine to feel jealous and fine not to be happy or proud but not fine to act on the negative feelings to the detriment of the other person. I think it's highly unusual and perhaps not even normal never to feel jealous and always to feel happy and proud for another person.

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The best way to be a good friend, is, in my opinion, to be truly present when you are with them. It's not about gifts, or the things you do, or even the things you say... but if they feel like you're really with them when you are in their presence... that makes a world of difference to people, even when they can't quite put their finger on it.

 

Listen to and focus on them when they talk. Give them positive affirmation. Give them tough love when they need it. Remember things they have told you. (Which means... no tuning out when she talks about her boyfriend or her manicurist or stubbing her big toe.)

 

The single easiest way to make friends (and keep them) is to be interested in other people. Really, truly interested.

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^^^ pretty much what you said. when i feel like one of my friends is not listening to me its one of the most hurtful things. I have a very hard time opening up to people in general and when i take that big step to saying hey im struggling, i just need someone who will listen or even if i share my happiness and they come off like ..oh cool kinda of attitude, it really puts a dragger into my chest.

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