to Be a Better Friend
By Susie Michelle Cortright
a friend isn't just something that we do. It
is a skill that every one of us can learn and
improve upon. Here are eight ways to be a better
One: Like Yourself
The first step in having a good relationship
with a friend is to have a good relationship
with yourself. When we genuinely like ourselves,
we become more attractive to other people. We
have more to offer others because we are not
constantly focused on our own image and reputation.
We become better friends because we don't cling.
We are secure enough to spend time with a friend
because we want to, not because we need to.
And relax - the journey to self-acceptance is
life long. Practice it in small steps along
Two: Choose wisely
Relationships among true friends take a steady
dose of time and energy - two resources in limited
supply for all of us. Identify the friends with
whom you wish to create a closer bond. It's
perfectly okay if not all of your acquaintances
make the list. The closeness of your connections
is far more important than the length of your
Three: Make the time
Friends are important in many ways - so much
so that these relationships often take on a
life of their own. You owe it to yourself (and
to your friends) to make these relationships
a priority. Carve out some quality time for
Four: Make the first move
This is where I have trouble, and I know I'm
not alone. If you want to improve your relationships,
put your fear of rejection aside and start taking
more risks. Invite your friends to lunch. Organize
a new playgroup. Invite them over for dinner.
Too often, we fail to follow up with our friends.
Don't miss out-just make the first phone call.
Your friends are just as anxious to get together
as you are.
Five: The Golden Rule
Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.
Stated another way: "To have a friend,
be a friend." Focus more on being interested
than on being interesting. Be enthusiastic and
energetic. Avoid complaining, gossiping, and
Six: Sweat the Small Stuff
Make your friends feel significant by remembering
small kindnesses. Notice her new haircut. Remember
to ask about her mother-in-law's surgery. Send
flowers or a simple email when you know she
needs it most.
Good listeners are hard to find, and honing
your skills can be a long-term project. A few
tips: Slow down. Try not to finish your friend's
sentences. If you catch yourself planning your
response while your friend is still talking,
gently remind yourself to focus on the speaker.
Show her you are listening. Maintain eye contact.
Offer nods and murmurs that indicate you understand
her point of view. Minimize distractions. Ask
questions. Be careful with advice. Assume your
friend wants to just vent her frustrations,
not ask you for a plan of action. Avoid the
phrase, "what you ought to do is..."
Offer your opinion only if your friend specifically
asks for it (and you believe she will benefit).
Eight: Be loyal
We all need someone in our corner. If your friend
isn't there to defend herself against gossip
or criticism, speak up, and know she would do
the same for you.
Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of More Energy
for Moms and the publisher of Momscape.com - a website devoted
to helping moms enjoy motherhood. Visit her at http://www.momscape.com.
And click here to learn how you can join her exclusive community,
devoted to personal growth for moms: http://www.momscape.com/energy