I grew up in a broken home. It was 1999 when my father left and it’s been more than a decade since the last time I saw him. When I was in grade school, I was teased and bullied for being “fat”. Then came high school when we struggled financially because my mother had difficulty finding a stable job. College happened and I got my heart broken over and over in ways I had never imagined possible. Through all this, my friends stick with me and never left me hanging in the air. They were there for me against all odds, through thick and thin, no matter what. More importantly, they taught me how I can be the best friend I can ever be despite of my circumstances.
Here are 26 simple ways and lessons I’ve learned from our friendship through the years.
Appreciate all things.
Say “Thank you” when your friend did something for you regardless of whether it’s a big thing or a small one. You can also write them a short note on a post-it or send a quick email of your appreciation. It would definitely make their day.
Just be real and be who you are. You wouldn’t want someone who’s not authentic to the people around them right? Be open minded and strive to always improve yourself to be better each day.
Your friend would appreciate a brutal honesty than a lie. Ensure that you communicate the truth in a way that would not offend or hurt their feelings. Timing is important, too.
Date your friend.
Once in a while, ask your friend out. Go on a date with movies and food if the budget permits. Spending time together once in a while would strengthen your bond.
Be sensitive of their situation. When they’re feeling down, cheer them up. Offer words that would lift their spirits up and boost their morale.
Your friend is human too, like you are and would sure make mistakes and hurt your feelings at one point. When this happens, put yourself in your friend’s shoes and consider where they are coming from. Forgive them and give your friendship a chance.
Whether it’s your time and/or resources, always find a way to extend a hand without expecting anything in return.
Physical touch is comforting. If you feel like your friend needs a hug, hug them! There are times that words fail and your embrace would say it all.
Introduce them to your other circle of friends and family.
This would make them feel how proud you are that you have them in your life. It’s also an opportunity for them to meet new people and make new friends.
Join volunteer activities.
It’s awesome to do selfless things for other people, animals and nature while enjoying each other’s company at the same time.
Keep your promises.
Make only the promises that you can keep. If you are unsure, then do not commit. If you’ve already promised about doing something and then you find yourself in an unavoidable circumstance that may cause you to break your promise, explain the situation to your friend and apologize.
When your friend is talking, give your undivided attention. Stop whatever you’re doing and focus. Maintain eye contact and validate what is being said if necessary.
Motivate them often.
Be supportive of their aspirations, goals and dreams. If they are running a marathon, find time to run with them so they would feel your support and effort. Send motivational quotes through text, email or better yet, talk to them personally!
Never give up.
Your friendship would be challenged by many things along the way. Whatever happens, stick closer than a brother would.
Own up to your mistakes.
If you’ve committed anything that would put your friendship in jeopardy, confess it to your friend. Apologize sincerely to show how you value your friendship. Commit to an action plan to avoid doing it again.
Photograph the moments you’re together.
It’s not necessary to have a groupie all the time but make sure you take photos of your time spent together. Then have the photos printed so you can put it in your desk at work. You can insert in in a frame to put in your bedroom or in your wallet so it would feel like they’re with you wherever you go.
Quash the jealousy.
Your friends will also have other friends too, not just you. Do not make them feel bad about it.
Along the way, you may have some arguments and that’s completely normal. You are different individuals with unique ways of thinking. What matters most is that you respect each other’s point of view and opinions and continue being friends despite the differences.
Say “I love you”.
It may sound cheesy and all but it’s a word that they need to hear sometimes. It must be accompanied with actions in order for them to really feel and understand it.
Always give them the benefit of the doubt at any situation. If they lied to you or broke any promise, express your true feelings about it but give them a chance to start over again.
Understand their personality.
Every person has their own unique sets of attitude and attributes. Do your best to adapt to them.
Visit when you can.
Do not just be together through social media sites. Make the time to see each other in real life.
Write a letter.
I know we now live in the digital age but a written letter from time to time can tug your friend’s heartstrings greatly.
Xtra effort is a must.
Maintaining an epic friendship requires effort from each other. Always find a way to communicate in all ways possible.
Yield to some arguments when needed.
Sometimes, there are debates that you have to concede on in order to save yourself, your friend and the relationship you’ve built together. You may lose but you win by keeping the person you love.
You’ve got to be an agent of positivity. We all know life is unfair but always find the silver lining in every situation. This would make you a good influence to your friend.