Making friends at school can be tough. It’s easy to get caught up in different cliques and some of your peers may even gossip about their “friends.” So, with all of this going on around you, how can you be a better friend to those you care about? Empathy and compassion can go a long way.
Listen More, Talk Less
How much time do you spend talking versus listening in a conversation? The most important part of being a good friend is to listen. Try not to get distracted while talking to a friend. Before you interrupt or ignore them, put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone was on their phone while you were trying to talk to them?
Whether they’re just telling you about their day or sharing something personal, put your phone away, listen, and empathize. Practice active listening by asking questions, nodding, and making eye contact.
Tell Your Friends You Care
Many people feel really awkward and uncomfortable sharing their feelings about their friends. But it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable! You may be surprised at how happy it will make your friend if you simply tell them how much you value their friendship. A simple hug and a “Thanks for being such a good friend!” is sure to brighten their day.
Reach Out First
Have you ever gotten caught up in a downward spiral of negative thoughts when you realize you haven’t heard from a friend in a while? Thoughts like ‘They must not like me’ and ‘They probably think I’m weird,’ have a tendency to overrule all logic in moments like these. Don’t assume that they don’t care about you just because you haven’t talked in a while.
Put yourself in their shoes. What’s going on in their life? Are they studying for a big test? They may be going through a tough time with their family or mental health. They might just be busy.
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you haven’t heard from someone in a while. A simple check-in text just to say hello can quickly turn into a hang out. Plus, a friend who is going through a hard time might not want to ask for help. Reaching out first can not only improve your friendship, but it may help them get through a difficult time.
Be Honest With Your Friends
Real friends don’t talk behind each other’s back. If you want to be a better friend, you should always be authentic and genuine. Many people have a hard time being honest if something their friend does hurts their feelings. Instead of addressing it with that friend, they’ll talk to someone else behind their back, or drift away from the friendship. Don’t be that person. If a friend hurts your feelings, all you have to do is tell them nicely. Your friend probably has no idea they hurt your feelings and will also feel hurt if you distance yourself with no explanation.
How To Be A Better Friend Everyday
Think about what you value in a friendship. Try to be the friend you wish your friends would be. Whether that means listening more or being more honest with them, we should always try to treat our friends the way we want to be treated.
Emotional intelligence can help you learn how to be a better friend. In fact, it can improve all of your relationships. You can learn these and other skills by becoming a LeadYouth member.