How to Be a Good Friend: 10 Ways to Deepen Your Bond
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When was the last time you spoke with your BFF? Friendship offers a world of benefits, including a much-needed mental health boost during tumultuous times.
Considering the value that such relationships add to your life, it makes sense to pour time and energy into deepening your bond. Here are 10 ways to be a good friend that will make you and your BFF even more joined at the hip:
1. Check In Frequently
While friends can go years without speaking to each other, a good one remembers to check the weather on more than rare occasions. It takes only 90 seconds on average to respond to a text message.
Instead of ignoring that “Hey, how are you?” from your old college roommate, take the time to reply, “Great, and you?” If it’s not the best time to message, program an automatic response to let them know you’ll get back to them soon. Otherwise, it seems like you’re either ignoring them or are stuck in the world’s longest budget meeting.
2. Listen Without Judgment
When your BFF has trouble with their S/O, your first instinct might be to reply with, “Dump the bum already.” However, doing so could shut down conversation — relationships are multifaceted, and your friend might need to work through one conflict, not file divorce papers.
Instead, learn to listen without making judgments or offering advice. It’s okay to use reflective statements to help your friend put names to their feelings, such as, “Gosh, you must feel so frustrated.” However, unless they specifically asked, “Should I stay, or should I go?” don’t come off sounding like a know-it-all.
3. Lend a Helping Hand
Does your friend need to pack up and move unexpectedly because their landlord sold or foreclosed due to COVID-19? Instead of merely clucking your tongue, pick up a cardboard box and help them pack.
Try to do so without hoping they’ll return the favor — even if you secretly wish they will. Instead, have fun helping your friend clean out their closets. Who knows? That tags-on blouse that made their complexion look ghastly could flatter your skin tone.
4. Keep Their Secrets
When your BFF confides a juicy secret, it’s human nature to want to share it with your spouse. Preserve the sanctimony of their confidence by applying the “mums the word” rule and keeping it.
Spilling secrets could ruin friendships, especially since you probably share similar circles. If both your spouses belong to the same bowling league, your friend could find out secondhand that you spilled the beans. They’ll never quite trust you again.
5. Keep Your Promises, Too
You swore you’d help your BFF make favors for her wedding reception. As much as you despise floral arranging, you should stick to your word.
Again, the matter boils down to trust — your friends need to know they can count on you. If you can’t stand kids younger than five for more than 10 minutes, don’t offer to babysit your BFF’s toddler on date night and then bail.
6. Admit When You Make a Mistake
Nobody is perfect, but sometimes, when you make a mistake, you react defensively. However, responding to your friend’s dismay that you spilled red wine all over their white shirt you borrowed with a statement like, “Well, your cat chewed my yoga mat,” won’t strengthen your bond.
Instead, admit it when you mess up — everybody does, and real friends forgive each other. Better yet, offer to go shopping together and pick up a new blouse for your BFF.
7. Adopt a Hobby Together
One of the best parts of friendship is encouraging each other’s growth. Why not sign up to take a pottery class or master Spanish together?
Hobbies give you and your BFF something to do besides gripe about office politics or the challenge of finding a decent mate. Plus, it’s a blast at parties when you’re the only two who can speak sign language and signal each other from across the room.
8. Make Little Inside Jokes
What’s so funny about saying, “I hope you have a fabulous day, ma’am,” to the woman who cut you off in the express line with well over the 15-item limit in her cart? Your best friend knowing that the saying is code for, “You can go kick rocks” and chuckling — that’s what.
The best parts of marriage — little inside jokes — apply to friendship, too. Go ahead and get matching mugs with your favorite sayings on them. It will cheer you through dark office days.
9. Go on an Adventure
Think of how excited your puppy gets when going on a car ride. You can experience that emotion by booking a road trip with your BFF.
Pick a spot you always wanted to explore, such as California’s Highway 1. Then get your oil changed and hit the open road in search of adventure with your friend.
10. Keep Girls’ and Guys’ Night Sacred
Let’s face it — as close as you and your BFF are when you’re single, things tend to change when one of you gets hitched. How can you prevent falling out of touch?
Keep your girls’ or guys’ night out sacred. While you might not meet up for drinks at the local singles bar any longer, planning an evening just for the two of you once or twice a month keeps your bond cemented.
Learn How to Be a Good Friend With These 10 Tips
If you want to be a good friend, use the 10 tips above. You and your BFF will feel closer than when you first met years ago.