I’m in a long distance relationship…with my best friend. She lives in Iowa. I live in Indiana. Yet somehow, I still talk to her more than anyone else. She is my rock. I depend on her more than anyone else in my life. And as many of you know, in October it will be 7 years since my dear friend Emily passed away. In the past 7 years, I’ve learned a great deal about what it means to be a friend.
7 ways to be a good friend:
- Always say how you feel. I would give literally anything to be able to tell Emily how much she meant to me- one last time. So now, I make sure my friends (and family) know how I feel about them. Noel is always there to listen to me complain about my toenails falling off from football, or the jerk in Target who judged me for buying all the Harry Potter DVDs and a tub of ice cream. So in return, I try to make sure she knows how much I value her friendship. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell her that I love her. It may go without saying, but I say it anyway.
- Don’t just hear, listen. It doesn’t matter what time it is, what it’s about, or how long I talk- she listens. And I do the same for her. She may not always know what she’s supposed to say, and I may not always know how to respond to her student teaching horror stories—but we’re there to listen. Sometimes in life, we just need to know that someone cares enough to listen.
- Make time to spend together. It doesn’t matter how close or how far you reside from your bestie, you have to make time to spend together. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of our daily life and resort to watching Netflix when we get home. But try to schedule out a night a week that you can just hang out and be friends. Noel and I will FaceTime each other and then do yoga, shop on Etsy, or cook. Spending quality time with your friends is invaluable.
- Show your support. It might sound stupid, but I am Noel’s #1 social media stalker. I talk to her quite often, but I still want to make sure she knows that I take interest in her life. If she posts a new picture of her recent school project on social media, I’m liking the shit out of it. You may not always agree with what your friends choose to do with their free time—but as a friend, it’s your job to support them…and not just on Facebook.
- Take time to show concern. Nothing makes me happier than when a good friend of mine reaches out just to ask how I’m doing. Show your friends that you genuinely care about their wellbeing and want the best for them. It takes 3 minutes to ask someone how he or she is doing.
- Remember the little things. Does your friend have a huge presentation coming up? Maybe a big review at their job? Maybe an anniversary with their significant other? Put that information in your iPhone calendar. If it’s important to them, it should be important to you as well. Take a small step to remember the little things.
- Don’t ever ask them what they want for a present. This person is your friend, no? Someone you hopefully know pretty well. Don’t ask them what they want for their upcoming birthday or holiday. You know what they will enjoy. Take 5 minutes to think about it for a second.
My friends are some of the most influential, amazing, and important people in my life. It’s not hard to be a good friend…and it’s well worth it.