5 Ways To Be An Amazing Friend
By: Alex Halenda
We all know that friend, the one who gives us a great feeling every time their name pops up via text or in the feed. The friend who inspires us and fills us up with good faith in humanity again and again. What is it about them, some special charisma? Some angelic quality that can't be explained? As fun as that is to daydream about, more likely this friend exhibits these 5 simple qualities, and YOU could too!
So here is how to be an Amazing friend:
1. Put Down Your Phone and Give Your Full Attention
Whether you made a date or you are just running in to a friend you care about at random, give them your full attention. The days when you planned to be together are crucial, make the effort to be fully present. When you're fully present and focused with your friends, they can feel it! You listen better, notice more of the nuanced expressions, and can engage in a way that makes you both feel more connected, and respected. If you're just running into your friend, take the moment to be fully there, even if it's just for a hello and goodbye. Your kindness will stand out and be uplifting and memorable.
2. Remember The Small Stuff
When you're really paying attention, this comes naturally! You notice the small things your friend says that reference a greater desire in his/her heart, or some little detail or event from their family or work life, the name of their crush, or their grandma! When you remember these things and bring them up in future conversations, it shows your friend you were listening and that you really cared. It tells your friend that what they have to say and what goes on in their life, is important to you. Another plus is if some times goes by and you end up having a similar experience happen to you, you have one more thing you can relate over.
3. Ask Relevant Questions
This one should be easy now! It requires you do number 1 and 2. Bring your full presence, and put in a little effort to remember things you know about your friend. If you journal, I would even jot down a couple notes about what you spoke about with your friend. I heard about a man who wore a computer on his body for 20 years, he typed everything he heard and said, as it happened, every day. He said it drastically improved his relationships, because he remembered things that were important to his friends and business partners. Now, I'm not saying you should go that far, but it helps if you write a couple things down. Then you can spark conversation with a few follow-up questions. Most likely, you'll learn something as you keep that topic or the story of their experience in your thoughts, and it helps build trust that your interactions are mutually meaningful.
4. Be Generous and Sharing
I was recently reading a book of Yogananda's talks, titled Man's Eternal Search. In this book, Yogananda talks about how to make a good impression on those around you. He tells a story of how he was at the grocery store with a friend, he picked up two pineapples to buy, only one was much bigger than the other. When he checked out at the register, naturally he handed his friend the larger of the two pineapples. This simple act, showed his friend that he cared for him, enough to place his friend's benefit (even in the case of pineapple) above his own. When you share what you have, whether it is your time, your food, a ride, or a story, your generosity (when it is appropriate and authentic) is a huge way to express your care. Funny thing is the love that you show through giving and sharing, often comes right back around to you. SO enjoy!
5. Be Understanding and Uplifting
When your friend is having a rough day, try not to take it personally. As best you can try to take a mental step back, but a big heart step forward. Remember that it's most likely not about you, and this is a time when your friend really needs your understanding. Try to look at things from the wisest version of yourself, and leave all blame out the window. Depending on the person, lifting their spirits will look different every time. You might not get it right the first time, and that's ok. For one person it might take recognition of their feelings, and relating to that with a brief story of your own. For others, it might just mean taking a long walk and enjoying the breeze, or taking a swim. And still for others, it might take a good laugh, a theatrical relating to their situation and an outlandish pretend solution. There's no perfect way. For me, if I'm not quite sure, I'll ask, what do you feel would really cheer you up right now? Then see what I can do. Even still, being uplifting is something you can do even when your friend is not feeling down! Whether you make a habit of celebrating each others successes, or make the effort to see the positive things in life and share them, finding ways to be consistently uplifting is good for everyone.
Well, there ya have it. 5 ways to be an amazing friend! Hope these words inspire you and help you be the friend that makes friends dance! With a lot of love, and a lotta Buddha!