Hudson’s How To: Be a better friend

In the socially competitive atmosphere of high school, people can often lose sight of what truly matters: being a good person. Being a good friend can be harder than you might expect since it’s easy to get caught up in your drama and forget to check in on your friend. It’s not uncommon to feel that you’re not being a good friend since many people hold themselves to too high expectations. Each person comes with their own set of baggage and scars from previous friendships and relationships which is why being vulnerable or compassionate can be tough. However, there are many things you can do to demonstrate that you care about your friends. 

Being a good listener is the easiest way to help your friend feel loved and to build a strong bond with them. This includes not interrupting people as they talk and letting people know you’re there for them. You can show you’re a good listener by asking the person if they would like to receive advice or just vent. This can help avoid conflict and show you want what’s best for your friend. Being a good listener doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your own problems to your friends or share your own opinions, it just means you also care about what your friend has to say.

Honesty is one of the most important things to obtain in a relationship and with that comes being ready to have tough conversations. If you constantly find yourself lying and wondering why you have such a hard time maintaining friendships, honesty is the answer to your problems. Having hard conversations for the better of you and your friends’ relationship shows you care about them and it can help rebuild your friend’s trust in you. Prioritizing the well-being of your friend before you make a regrettable lie can help you avoid conflict with your friend down the line.

Keeping secrets is one of the more difficult parts of being a good friend and coming from one of the worst secret-keepers ever, I can say confidently that it is the most important. Vulnerability can be very hard for people and it is crucial to demonstrate discretion when people open up to you. When told someone’s personal information the best thing you can do is encourage them to share this information with more people while not taking that opportunity away from them. It is important to remember that there are times when secrets must come out. An unwritten rule is that if anyone or anything is unsafe or at risk of harm then that secret must be told to someone who can handle the situation best.

Respect is a simple way to show your friends you care about them. Respect means not showing judgment in terms of how your friend expresses who they are and not judging their emotions. Providing a safe relationship for your friend to be themselves, have fun, and build trust is going to make you a good friend and respect will get you there.

Trust is huge in building a strong relationship with your friends. If you’re not able to trust your friends then the chance of them having trust in you is very slim and a friendship without trust is usually a problematic one. Some ways to figure out your trust level for your friend is to identify how they make you feel and make sure they trust you. Trust can’t be coming from just one side of the relationship otherwise it will lead to one person feeling worse than the other.  Showing trust doesn’t necessarily mean you tell your friend everything, it just means you are able to express your emotions and feel respected and not judged.

There is no perfect answer to being a good friend. In general, if you use your best judgment and embody these core values then I am confident your friends will value their relationship with you. Prioritizing respect and honesty while listening and honoring your friends’ secrets will help make you a better person and have more positive relationships. It is also important to make sure you trust your friends and that they make you feel good. All these things will in the end help lead to healthier friendships.