SHERON PATTERSON/ RELATIONSHIPS EXPERT
Friends are important. They provide unconditional acceptance and understanding. Having a friend aids in recuperation from illness and can help release stress. A friend is a necessity even if you have a spouse, parents, siblings and children. They are essential for positive human interaction.
Yet, we sometimes struggle with being a good friend and maintaining positive friendships.
Here are a few pointers on how to be a good friend.
Listen. A good friend does not monopolize or seek to be the center of every conversation. She realizes that it is not always about her. She allows her friend the opportunity to vent, voice and express herself without interruption. Listening to another person is one of the ways to validate their importance.
Accept them unconditionally. A good friend accepts her friend without judging. Unconditional acceptance provides the friend with a needed safe place where she can be herself. It also can be a stepping stone for your constructive feedback later on.
Be there. A good friend is ready and available to her friend in the good times and the bad. A friend in need is a friend in deed. A shoulder to cry on, assistance when she needs a ride to work, or help babysitting, is what friends are for.
Be loyal. A good friend “has her friend’s back”. She knows how to keep matters that are shared between them confidential. She will not allow others to say negative things about her friend.
A few don’ts
Don’t smother you friend. Give her space. She may not want to do everything with you.
Don’t allow a friend to mistreat you. Anyone who mistreats (talks down to you, talks about you behind your back, lies to you or hurts your feelings) you is not a friend. She is a frienemy, (poses as a friend, but is really an enemy.)
Do not confuse friends with associates. Friends care for you and have your best interest in mind. Associates, such as people you know at work, school, or the gym, are persons you have casual, shallow relationships with. Do not expect them to treat you as a friend does.
LAURA THORNQUIST/ STEALS AND DEALS
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