Through my life there have been a lot of times that I’ve been a bad friend, and I think that goes for everyone. We all make mistakes and I know that I’ve definitely learnt a few things from the times I’ve been a bad friend. The friends I have now are the best I’ve ever had so I’ve learnt from my past mistakes and am trying to be the most supportive friend possible, I thought sharing a few of the things I’ve learnt might be able to help someone else or at least be a good reminder to myself of what I’ve learnt!
Learn about their interests!
No one expects you to master the same things as them, but learn the basics about the things they’re interested in so that you can at least talk about it. For example, one of my friends really loves magic the gathering, and there is no way I’m about to start playing it but I know a few bits about how to and what its all about so that when she wants to talk about it I know what she’s talking about and can actually contribute to the conversation. Its definitely easier when you’re interested in similar things, but its not hard to just learn a few bits about what they’re into so that they can talk about it! If they’re a good friend they’ll most likely do the same for you.
Keep away from jealousy.
Everyone gets jealous from time to time and its fine, but its important to not let it get involved in your friendships. I know that can be difficult and I have an example for this one too. Recently, one of my friends mothers surprised her with the news that they’ll be going to New York. Who doesn’t get jealous of a trip to New York?!? When she told me I did what I think is quite possibly the most mature thing I’ve ever done. I took a few quiet minutes to focus on ignoring the jealous feelings and instead focus on how excited and happy I am for her. MY BEST FRIEND IS GOING TO NEW YORK! HOW AWESOME IS THAT? It didn’t take long for me to feel super hyped up and excited for her rather than jealous and thats a lot nicer than just being jealous.
Give and take.
I think we’ve all been in those friendships where the other person exclusively either gives things to the friendships, they’re forever talking about their issues and their life or they just listen to you but don’t give anything about themselves. Neither of those is going to build a strong friendship. I know it can be hard to open yourself up or be there to listen to your friends if you have things going on too, but thats part of what friendship is for. Having friends means having people who support you and who you offer support to and in my opinion its what really helps you to know each other well and stay strongly together.
Don’t let yourself ruin a good thing.
I’ve had a lot of friends who I think are much better/cooler/smarter/whatever than me and if they don’t pay me enough attention or they’re too busy or god knows what else I’d give up on the friendship and think that they just didn’t like me or I wasn’t *whatever* enough to be their friend. Its bullshit and its self sabotage. People get busy or have stuff going on or any number of other things that happen to make their lives more hectic and if they’re a good friend, you just need to wait for their life to calm down a bit. Just be there for them rather than distancing yourself and ruining what could continue to be great.
There are, unfortunately, lots of times that these snippets of advice don’t stand, there are lots of friendships I’ve been in where the best thing for both of us was to just stop being friends. Its always difficult when thats the case, but not everyone is meant to be friends and thats fine! Obviously don’t take this post as gospel, figure stuff out yourself too and asses your own situations but I really do hope this is helpful to someone!