We all have them. Friends. The good kind, the bad kind and maybe even a few besties if we are lucky. Perhaps we fall into some of those categories as well. We are grown women and as time gets away from us because of business or kids or chasing goals, we can sometimes start to suck at being a friend.
When I was in 5th grade my bestie moved away to Louisiana. I wrote her at least twice a month all the way through high school. We continued our long distance friendship for years. Think on the level of Beaches movie letter writing and we even had the cute booth pictures to go with it. Sky and I didn’t get to see each other often. She wasn’t my shoulder to cry on the daily, we didn’t agree on boy bands (she loved NKOTB, yuck!), we didn’t even get to see each other but maybe four days out of a whole year.
That being said, there were three things that I could always count on from her. The fact that I could count on these qualities made our friendship surpass any other friendship that I had in my own city.
We may think we suck at being a friend because we don’t have time or we may be limited in other ways, but the truth is, that is not was makes us suck at being friends.
Here are the three things we can practice in friendship to make us a quality friend no matter what.
DO be open minded. DON’T judge.
We are different, and that’s amazing and exciting. We have different perspectives, lifestyles, and attitudes. Your friend is a feminist and you love good old fashion male chivalry. Don’t be judgmental. It is really quite simple. Perspectives are angles in which we view things. Your friend is a different perspective, an angle, if you will, that you don’t have. This makes you see better. Hearing her take on the political matters in foreign lands is not an opportunity for you to judge or disagree. It is an opportunity to listen to a perspective that otherwise we wouldn’t listen to if it wasn’t coming out of our friends mouth. Friends don’t have to agree on everything and it is important to remember that. In the end, the fact that we don’t like or believe the same things is actually a huge win in friendship. I will give you a micro example: Perhaps your friend might not see Johnny Depp as the perfect hunk that you do, but you agree that George Clooney puts the fox in silver fox! You’ll be grateful for that when the two of you run into Mr. Depp, and he’s all yours! You get the picture.
DO make plans. DON’T be flaky.
People meet, have a great time, and say “let’s hang out sometime!” – And often, that’s where it ends. Be proactive. If you have a relationship with someone, make and KEEP solid plans to hang out and grow the friendship. Don’t make excuses. This is flaky behavior. Being able to count on someone is extremely valuable and such a powerful thing when you are a person that does exactly what she says. This requires effort, but isn’t a real friendship worth it? I always wonder if I had not written Sky like I said I would. She has since told me that my letters helped her in her transition to that new school, her new life. She said that the fact that I always did what I said made her trust me more than anyone else and that in turn made her want to be that kind of friend to me too. Follow through when you do make plans, it could mean the world to that friend.
DO be enthusiastic. DON’T be a one-upper.
You’re finally having brunch with your friend after a long game of texting tag because you both are successful and busy boss babes. Be happy. Show interest in what your friend has to say and get pumped up about her promotion! Make sure you’re not turning everything your friend says into something concerning you. It’s so easy to do, just try to refrain. She says she has been working non stop on a project for three days. You say you have not had a day off in 3 months. She says her little one is finally potty trained and you say your kid was practically potty trained when they were born. Yeah, don’t do that. If you do feel the need to share, make sure you’re not doing it to feel big, and word it in a way that doesn’t make your friend feel small.
Friendships are important and whether you live in the same city or not, you can be a quality friend. Those are the toughest to find. So let’s raise our mimosa filled glasses to friends that don’t suck and may we continue to be one of them!