|Image by Will Richardson|
- Keep your promises. Don't ever make a promise that you can't keep -- or at least don't make a habit of it. If you say you'll hang out with a friend and a legitimate conflict arises, explain the situation and trust that the friendship is strong enough for the no's as well as the yes's. If you just cannot go, give your friend a gift and tell him or her sorry. Nobody's perfect, and it's okay if you skip out on a promise once in a blue moon, but don't make it a regular thing. If this is recurring over time then you will probably be seen as not trustworthy as you can not be trusted to be committed to someone such as your friend.
- Be dependable. Being dependable is one of the most important aspects of being a good friend. Your friend will need you for support, especially in hard times. Nobody likes a fake, and nobody wants one for a close friend. It's hard to rely on a person who doesn't behave in a consistent and trustworthy way.
- Apologize when you've made a mistake. If you want your friends to trust you, then you can't act like you're flawless. If you know you've made a mistake, own up to it instead of being in denial.
- Be honest. If you want to be a good friend and to have people trust you, then you have to be honest about your feelings, about your friends' actions, and about how you feel about your friendship. If you're honest about how you feel, that will open up direct lines of communication with your friends and will make them more likely to open up to you. If your friend hurt you, don't be afraid to talk about it; if something is upsetting you, don't feel too shy to open up to your friend about it.
- Don't use people. If one of your friends suspects that you're just using them, then they'll drop you like a hot potato. Good friendships don't arise from hoping someone else's popularity or networks will rub off on you.
- Be loyal. If your friend tells you something in confidence, keep it and don't talk about it with anyone else, just as you'd expect your friend to do for you. Don't discuss your friend behind his or her back, and don't spread rumors about the confidences they've imparted to you. Never say anything about your friend that you would not be prepared to repeat to their face. Be loyal to your true friends and be prepared to defend them if your new friends, or people you barely know, start gossiping about them.
- Be respectful. Good friends show respect for each other by being openly and mutually supportive. If your friend has certain values and beliefs that don't align with your own, respect his or her choices and be open to hearing more about them. If you want your friend to trust you, then your friend should feel comfortable voicing opinions that you may not agree with, or discussing a new perspective with you.
QUALITIES OF A GOOD FRIEND
WAYS TO BE RESPECTFUL
- Are you a good friend? Which good qualities do you have?
- Which ones don't you have?
- Which qualities do you appreciate more in a friend?