Become a Better Friend

I didn’t always know how to get close to others or how to maintain strong relationships but I have learned to become a better friend. I was a bit introverted for a long time and I only had a couple friends. I have grown to extend my circle of friends a bit and hope to continue doing so, I will need to practice what I preach in this blog now that I find myself living in a new city. There’s no magic number of friends you should have, but my hope for you is that by using these tips you will find yourself surrounded by loving relationships and grow closer to the friends you already have.

Show up- If you spend months not talking to each other you can’t build a stronger connection with your friend. Even if this is a friend you used to have a strong bond with, over time it will fade more and more unless you take the time to communicate. Knowing that spending time with friends is the key to growing a friendship makes it easier to see what you need to do. If you were to rate the best ways to connect with your friends and list them in order from lowest level to deepest level of communication, would texting be one of the best ways to connect?

Not a chance! Texting, in fact, is one of the lowest forms of communication in my opinion right next to emailing and Facebooking. Now I’m not saying that texting isn’t a useful tool, it is and in this busy world it makes it easier for people to respond at their convenience. That said, your whole relationship shouldn’t revolve around texts.

The point I’m attempting to make here, is we need to set aside quality time with our friends. Texting will be a much harder way to build, deep, meaningful relationships. So pick up the phone or better yet spend some time with that friend. So you can laugh for real instead of “lol” and “haha” with your phone. Our society has gotten used to not really reaching out as much as we should so start today. You’re using your phone already to text, give someone a call instead.

Some tips that can help:

  •  Tell your personal assistant (Siri) to make a reminder in your phone to call your friends. If this is too high-tech leave yourself a little note or put it on your to-do list.
  • Schedule a regular time to get together, once a week or every other week depending on your schedule. Consistency is very important and you’ll find the routine to be rewarding.
  • Make a memo in your calendar for your friends birthday’s of other special events in their lives, so you never miss their special day.
  • Another great idea is to get your friends address’s and add them to their contact in your phone so that you can write letters. There is something so powerful about receiving a letter in the mail from someone who cares about you. So few people do this that it makes it extra special when someone takes the time to do this little act of love.

Listen- Sometimes all a person needs is to feel heard. If your friend needs to vent or talk through an idea with you. Give them a calming space, sit quietly and allow them the opportunity to really open up to you without thinking about what you are going to say next, or bombarding them with questions or advice… Instead, just be there. Nurturing and lovingly. You will be amazed at how close they will feel and how thankful they will be that you were there to listen because everyone needs t be heard from time to time.

It’s the little things- Sometimes the smallest thing can make a world of difference. Nothing touches the soul like a thoughtful compliment that has nothing to do with the physical but with the spiritual. For instance, instead of always complimenting your friend on something from the outer realm (like their style, their hair…) go deeper and complement them on something more meaningful to you (you brighten my day just by being in it or I feel so comfortable with you and love the way you make me feel cared about, you have a beautiful soul and I love how you share it with people) you can obviously say anything you feel but just be aware of the cliche outer things here and remember what compliments people have given you that really touched you.

I also love surprising friends with little gifts. Just meaningful little things. They often don’t cost a lot but mean a lot to the person you give them to. It could be something you made too. I had a friend give me a handmade birthday card a few years ago and I never forgot it, it was a simple way that he showed he cared.

Be there as life changes- Change is inevitable and some of these changes are very tough. Friends who go the distance understand this and remain. Real friends are the ones who celebrate your successes more than you do and even when times get tough they hurt with you. Through marriages, losing loved ones, moves, career struggles, promotions. the birth of children—they are always there for you.

I will be honest, there have been times in my life when I didn’t know how to be a great friend. I was struggling so much and I did it privately, thinking I was being strong. The truth is, I was too afraid to open up and expose my struggles and disappointments. I thought being so raw and vulnerable would make me feel weak and worse. It wasn’t until my world crumbled all around me, literally, I found myself picking up pieces of a mirror that fell off the wall during the lowest period I had experienced in years and then I realized I hadn’t taken the time to build the relationships I desired to help me through this. I hadn’t even developed a relationship with myself like the one I spoke of in this blog: Connecting with Yourself. For years I had put my worth in the hands of others. I didn’t yet know how to love myself, after a rough childhood full of being bullied and bullying myself it was tough to like myself. I was devastated during this time, out of work, leaving a bad relationship, when I had just moved in, having maxing out my credit cards to do it and worst of all I was feeling utterly alone.

It took being so vulnerable and having my heart broken to have it open again. It felt as though a metal casing around my heart, that kept me feeling numb for a long time, had been broken open. Suddenly pain was, in a weird way, a relief to feel it was better than the numbness I had been feeling. I started reaching out to people, unafraid. I had nothing to lose anymore. I found beautiful souls who helped me heal. Those few friends, I now feel deeply connected to. It took me a while but I slowly I found my way out of the pain and realized how important it is to be a friend to yourself and to others.

We don’t have to feel alone. In fact, if you are feeling alone, you aren’t even alone in that feeling. Many people would love to be your friend and I hope that this blog becomes like a friend. The goal of this is to share experiences and grow together. Works full of spiritual truth are alive with light. They fuel the fire we have in us so that we can feel it’s warmth and then share that LOVE with friends all across the world, friends like you.

To give is to receive, become a great friend and you will gain a dear friend; friends become family.

Kaden JamesComment