In my short time of living on this earth, I have learned time and time again to not expect anything from anyone. No one in this world owes you anything. Not your brother, not your best friend, not your teacher. And while I think it’s important to be independent and not rely on anyone else, I think like should be full of people who care about their friends as much as they care about themselves.
While I totally think it’s okay to be selfish here and there and to always do things in your best interest, I think it’s equally as important to be a good friend through thick and thin. You should be there for your friends in there time of need whether they expect you to be or not. You should always be in touch with your friends and know what’s going on in their life and how they are feeling. Really, it should be easy. If you really value a friend, it shouldn’t be so hard to reach out every once in awhile and simply ask “how are you feeling?” and it shouldn’t be such a hassle to ask your friend out for a little birthday dinner to celebrate the big day. Friends shouldn’t expect anything, they should just be there.
Friendships are easy to maintain as long as two people put in the same amount of effort. If one friend is always reaching out to the other to make plans or to even just communicate, the other friend should reciprocate. It’s a relief honestly to rid friends that seem uninterested in having a relationship.
And while I stand by no one owes me anything, not even my friends, I don’t want friends in my life that feel like reaching out to me and understanding me is work and a responsibility. I want friends in my life who are there for me and do things for me because they want to and because they care about me as much as I care about them. It’s very unfair when you value a relationship, whatever the relationship is, more than the other. It’s unfair when all you want is the best for someone, but you can’t help but notice them falling into a very dark hole. It’s unfair when you are trying so desperately to keep a relationship going for someone you’d do anything for without question, but this person has completely changed and not for the better.
However, what I’ve learned is that people will always let you down, and that’s okay. Letting someone down doesn’t make someone a bad friend or a bad person. What makes someone a bad friend is picking fights when your friend should be happy, and constant canceling of plans last minute just because you’d rather be doing something else, and not answering text messages just because you didn’t feel like it, and not caring about your friends problems because you have too many of your own.
When I encounter bad friends, instead of dwelling on a broken relationship. I let the relationship go and surround myself with my better friends. New people are everywhere and so are better friends.
Now am I the most amazing friend out there? Absolutely not. But I do care about my friends with every fiber of my being. And as time goes on, I’ve gotten lazier about maintaining friendships which is mostly due to the fact I feel like friendships I have to work to maintain aren’t friendships that belong in my life. People grow a part and that’s okay. If a friendship is meant to last, you will both reach out to each other and keep in touch. It won’t only be a one way street.
So what can I do, and maybe you all as well, do to be a better friend?
Pay attention to your friends– When you’re with your friends, be with your friends. Don’t call your boyfriend or FaceTime your friends. For me, this is especially essential with my friends back home since my time at home is so limited. When I’m with my friends I’d like to have their full attention and not be ignored so they could talk to their boyfriends and other friends they see constantly.
Have compassion– It’s important to do your absolute best to understand your friend and where he/she is coming from. Keep in mind your friend’s emotions and fears and quirks before getting angry with them
Don’t judge– Although you might not always agree with the decisions your friend makes, the best thing you could do is not judge them. It’s okay to be honest that you don’t support the decisions your friend might be making, but you can’t stop your friend from doing what he/she wants. Your friend needs to live and learn. The best thing you could do is be there for your friend to talk to, without judgement.
Show gratitude for your friends– I don’t think gratitude is something that needs to be shown with money. I think it could be as simple as shooting your friend a quick text saying you miss them, or making them breakfast in the morning. Even just telling them how grateful your are to have them as a friend is something.
Be reliable– yes, we shouldn’t depend on anyone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be someone your friends can always count on. If you make plans, stick to them. If your friend is going through a hard time, be there. Be someone your friends can depend on.
Always be there– Always be there for your friends whether if they have something super exciting going on in their life or when something awful just happened. Be there for your friends even if they’re getting married and being a bridezilla or acting bratty trying to get there birthday party to be perfect. Just be there.
Talk about issues maturely– If you have an issue with a friend, be an adult about it. Don’t text paragraphs in your group chat about how your friend is a total bitch or is a shitty friend. Don’t argue with your friend because you’re so great for your small acts of kindness and they do nothing. If you value your friendship and if you are mature in the least bit, you will realize blowing up about something that probably won’t bother you in two days could actually ruin your friendship. Instead if something is truly bothering you, call up your friend and tell them calmly and without blame on them and praise on yourself, what it is that is bothering you.
Be there for that person in the same way you’d hope he/she would be there for you- If you wouldn’t want your friend to bail on you or ignore your messages, don’t do that to your friend. We learned this in kindergarten so I don’t know why this is so hard. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Love your friend even for his/her worst qualities– No one is perfect. We all have imperfections whether it be our snarkiness, an annoying fear or phobia, or bad habits. But if you value your friend, these bad qualities shouldn’t matter to you and you should be understanding.
I think you know when you found a true friend when you guys are able to lose touch for awhile and be able to pick back up like nothing has happened and when your friend is always there to support you no matter how much time a part. Time changes people. People change people. When we get involved with new crowds we begin to learn things about ourself and find that we clique better with our new friends rather than our old. Sometimes we also realize that there are friends out there who will treat you better and value more than your old friends ever had. People come and go out of our lives, but it is all with reason. There are people out there who will want to always be there for you. Value these people as much as they value you. These are people that belong in your life.