How to be a good friend

You and your friends may be genuinely interested in spending quality time together, but if you’re not clued up about how to be a good friend you might send out the wrong signals and begin to drift apart. But don’t worry, The Mix has put together a checklist for how to be a great friend.

A group of young people is sitting around a table. They are discussing how to be a good friend. This is a wide-angle image.

Like yourself

How to be a good friend 101? Be a friend to yourself. Start with a bit of self love. Think about the positive things you bring to a friendship. Really take the time to get to know yourself and find out what brings you joy. Once you have that joy and happiness in you, it’s easy to give it to your friends as well. But remember, this doesn’t mean you need to hide your feelings if you’re genuinely upset – a true friend will support you through your ups and downs.

Choose your close friends well

Don’t stretch yourself too thin. While it’s great to have loads of people you know and like, it’s even better to have a select few that you spend more time with. A relationship with a close friend can often be more valuable than a hundred acquaintances. That way you have people who truly love and care for you for who you are, down to your very core. 

Make time for your friends

Don’t abandon your mates at the first sign of lust because they’re the ones you’ll run to if it all goes wrong. Problem is, if you’ve vanished off the planet for a few months previous to this they may not welcome you back with open arms. If you are on the receiving end of this, tell your mate directly, as subtle hints tend not to work. Make sure to emphasise the need for quality time together, preferably WITHOUT significant others. 

Treat them as you wish to be treated

When you look up how to be a good friend we’re pretty sure this is the first thing that pops up. It’s  a pretty simple one, but you’d be surprised at how many people neglect it. Basically just think about things from their point of view. Give them the respect and care that they deserve. Take the time to give them a call. All these small things can genuinely make someone’s day. 

Make them feel wanted

Just like with lovers, where you may give surprise gifts, special dates and candle-lit meals, making your friend feel special can help make your bond stronger. A lot of people worry about friends actually wanting them around, so reminding them that they are a true friend is always a lovely gesture.

Deal with problems

It is better to bring up problems before you get to the point of a massive row, even if it might feel uncomfortable. Regardless, make sure you have a rational discussion and always apologise for the role you played in the issue, even if it’s minor. Most friendships go through a tough time now and then. Being mature enough to forgive and move on is the secret to building good friendships that last a lifetime.

For more advice about how to manage falling out with friends, see this article.

Be a good listener

This is a two-way thing, don’t expect them to be genuinely interested in your rants when you’re having a tough time if you have no desire to help with their dilemmas. As is the case with many of our tips for how to be a good friend, think about how you would feel in their shoes and try to do right by them. If you find yourself bored by their concerns and can’t be bothered, ask yourself if this is one of those rare true friendships or maybe just a casual acquaintance. 

Build a foundation of trust and loyalty

These are essential parts of true friendships. You don’t have to share everything, but if they do, make sure you don’t blab to everyone else too. How would you feel if they did the same? Being able to trust someone with your deepest thoughts and feelings is really important when developing a close friendship.

Support them

If you expect them to be there for you when you fall, because you will, you’ll have to be there for them too. Even if you don’t feel like it that day. This could be a simple thing like taking them for a walk so they can vent, or doing them a practical favour when they’re in need. If you ever need a reminder on this tip, just listen to the Friends theme song.

Admit when it’s over

Even if they were a great friend before, sometimes the spark just fizzles. If you start to bore them and vice versa, only get together for social media, and find it a chore to text them, then call it a day. You shouldn’t constantly feel uncomfortable in a friendship. Remember, you can’t find a soul mate in everyone you meet. It’s totally okay when friendships grow apart, just means that you’ve each done some growing individually and need to explore other places and people separately. 

If you want some more advice on what to do when a close friendship ends, head here.

Next Steps



By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 06-Nov-2021