This week has been full of happiness. Music with friends. And eventful dog walks.
Being surrounded by people I love reminds me how important it is to be a good friend. And yes, it’s good to remind yourself the basics, because let’s face it, we all are guilty of getting caught up in our daily routine.
1. Be yourself.
Your friends were attracted to you for a reason. Hopefully those reasons are because they like you for being you. If not, they’re not truly friends. (sorry to be so harsh) One of my great friends always reminds me, “You are who you are.” I said “reminds me” because I struggle with sharing my opinions or disagreeing with someone in fear that it might hurt their feelings. Truth is, friends respect differences and appreciate honesty – so long as it’s constructive.
2. Be genuine.
Let’s face it, we live in a capitalist society and it’s easy for people to slip into the one-upping mentality. But friends should be genuinely happy for each others successes, offer sincere advice, be present and appreciate each other. Being genuine suggests bringing each other up, not to be jealous and bringing your friends down.
This is my favorite. Hearing other people’s points of views, perspectives and thoughts are the best! It can be an awesome way to build relationships, to grow and to understand. It can also serve as a way to challenge your own thoughts and opinions.
4. Ask questions (and really care about the answer).
The cool thing about friends: You’re typically drawn to them because you find them interesting! So instead of talking about yourself the whole time, ask what’s going on in their world. Dig deep. Ask how their parents are, their kids, work, what their latest interests are, whatever. This is how you can connect the best.
5. And finally, don’t pass judgement.
For instance, last night I took my dog for a walk. For me, it was exercise. For her, it was time to potty and sniff things. The first 1-1/2 miles were great. Then came the kids and their fireworks. My 64-pound English Setter froze. Refused. To. Walk.
I had several options: 1) Drag her, 2) Carry her, or 3) Call my husband and see if he could pick us up.
I tried all three. But not in that order. First I begged her to walk, tugging lightly on her leash. She didn’t budge. Then I called my husband. When I got his voicemail, I hung up and hoisted her up. Instead of her typical resistance to being picked up, she lovingly snuggled her head into my chest and let me carry her with “ease” on and off the 1 1/2-miles back home.
The cool part about this short story is that my dog exhibited all traits important to being a good friend. She was scared of fireworks and didn’t fake it. She was genuine with how much she appreciated me picking her up to get us home. She listened when I asked her to sit. Okay, she didn’t really ask questions (slight language barrier) – but moving on to #5, I didn’t judge her. She was scared and I did everything in my power to help. That’s what friendship is.