Other life skills

How to be a Good Friend

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to be a Good Friend

Why are there friendships that last a lifetime and others which fade over time? Simply because the basis on which we build a true friendship cannot be destroyed so easily, it allows us to maintain ties regardless of time or distance. A friend is not only someone with whom we can laugh and have parties or fun times, but someone we can count on at all times; good or bad, happy or difficult. They are someone we love, respect and value as if they were our own family. But how are you able to create and sustain that bond?

At OneHowTo.com we show you How to Be a Good Friend and build relationships that will endure both the rough and the smooth.

You may also be interested in: How to Choose a Good Friend

Steps to follow:


The first step is building trust. Trust is the foundation of any stable and lasting human relationship over time, so you should let your friend know that you'll be there for them, that you are willing to listen and that any vulnerability they expose will be safe with you.

Be as discreet and loyal to your friends as you would want them to be to you. Many of us find it difficult to share with others for fear of being reprimanded in some way, usually socially. If you betray this trust you might hurt the person and create an irreparable distance between you.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 1

If you want to be a good friend, then learn to listen. Although it is fun to share our adventures or experiences, listening to others is also important to establish a relationship of true and strong friendship. Constantly vying to be the centre of attention can grow wearisome and it will make you less perceptive to good advice or hearing someone else's problems. Human relationships are based on feedback and in order to be heard we also have to listen.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 2

Building a friendship only based on fun, parties, laughter and good times is easy. The hard part is to also be there when the other person is not feeling well, physically or mentally. If you want to be a good friend you have to be there for the hard times and the good.

Try to make yourself available in any way when you know your friend needs you, show your support, encourage them and help them overcome whatever it is which is upsetting them. Remember that if you provide a good and honest relationship for someone else, they will be more likely to provide support for you when you are in need. You will also need to be considerate of individual's needs as pushing people too hard when they are vulnerable can be counterproductive.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 3

Never talk about your friends behind their backs. If you have something important to say to them, do it to their face. Honesty is very important in a healthy friendship, so nothing is better than to be brave and confront this person if they have done something to hurt you rather than badmouth them to your other friends.

It is true that being sincere with our friends is not always easy, but good communication is fundamental in human relationships and certainly when you are wrong you would appreciate someone who is honest with you.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 4

Show how much their friendship means to you with simple gestures. To be a good friend it is important not to forget the small details that nourish a relationship, saying I love you from time to time, being there when they need you, remembering a birthday or a special occasion, being aware when they need something or during important times in their life.

If your friend tells you something it's because they want to hear your opinion and count on your support, so don't forget those little things that can really strengthen the relationship.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 5

We are human and we constantly make mistakes, so learn to apologize when you are wrong if you want to ensure a lasting friendship. If you ever said or did something wrong don't hesitate to apologise and mend any fences that this situation may have damaged.

Everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is knowing when to admit to them.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 6

If you like to apologise for your mistakes then you should also know to forgive your friend when they have done something wrong. Being a good friend also means having tolerance, patience and understanding. The other person, like you, can make mistakes, but that doesn't mean that this friendship is worthless or that your friend does not care about you.

Assesses the situation and accept forgiveness when you know that they are a good friend.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 7

We can't force other people to change, we shouldn't criticize them needlessly, enforce values which are incompatible with them nor hold their flaws against them all the time. True friends don't do those things, so respect your friend and treat them as you would want to be treated. You will see that in this way the friendship can last forever.

Never force the relationship, respect their personal life and their decisions and don't constantly criticize their actions. Friendship makes us family, but we are individuals with personal tastes and all deserve to be accepted for who we are.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 8

To be a good friend it is important to put in the time with others. No matter how far away or how busy you may be, you need to have some time to listen to each other and share. If you can't see them or go out, then feel free to call them, contact them on social networks or stay close through other means.

People who are loyal friends won't abandon them for a partner, or for other relationships, because of distance. Our lives are constantly changing, but if we care about someone we need to find time to give them the place and time in our lives that they deserve.

How to be a Good Friend - Step 9

Maintaining friendships is not easy, so you should want to start off on the best foot possible. Take a look at these articles on How to Choose a Good Friend and How to Identify a Fake Friend to get some advice if you are moving to a new place or looking for a change in your social dynamic.

If you want to read similar articles to How to be a Good Friend, we recommend you visit our Learning category.

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How to be a Good Friend