With any good relationship, it is about the give and take. It entails a little bit of effort from both parties, to nurture each other, support each other and importantly be respectful of each other.
In a social media world, the essence of friendship has been somewhat lost. So, we wanted to dedicate an etiquette guide on what a good friendship looks like, to serve as a reminder of how to be a good friend and equally how you too should be treated.
A relationship can often seem like a seesaw where, at times, you’re giving more than you’re getting in return and vice versa. But overall, it should seem like there is equal effort. You should only be putting into the relationship what you’re getting in return.
If your finding that you’re giving more overall, whether it is time, money, emotional support or a bit of all three, its perhaps time to re-think about the relationship and instil a little balance. It may mean you putting a little bit of distancing between you until its either acknowledged by the other party or simply as a little barrier to protect yourself.
Acknowledge the tough times and do what you can to be there
If you’ve got a friend that seems to be going through a tough time, don’t give a reaction on a social post or a generic comment. Be sure you contact them privately. Initially you can send them a message to see if they’re up to speaking and then by phone if you don’t get a response or if they seem willing to discuss it further. A little bit of effort when they’re going through a tough time really shows that you’re there to support, even if you don’t talk every day. If you can, offer your help in other ways too whether it’s to help with babysitting, cooking or cleaning, even if they don’t take you up on it, its sure to be remembered.
Also, what happened to the good old days when you’d send a card it someone was sick, a bunch of flowers for someone in hospital or just a little mark of acknowledgement. As the saying goes, and its just as applicable to you as the reader, it’s during your toughest times that you’ll know who your true friends are. We’re social creatures so when we’re going through something it can feel really isolating.
Keeping in touch
Like everything else, it can be helpful to schedule in a catch-up with friends. Whether that’s to talk on the phone or to meet up and have lunch. It may be once a week, once a month or every couple of months but making time to keep up with each other’s lives in an important element of friendship.
Think about what and how you say things
Everyone is busy but from time to time, you need to really show that you’re there for your friends. If you’re always pre-empting a reason you can’t see them or support them, they’ll soon stop getting in touch. It goes back to that first point, if there isn’t that element of give and take and it’s just a one-way street, you’ll quickly lose your network of friends.
Once you’ve compiled a message to a friend, consider how it would be interpreted if you received that message from a friend. If you’d be happy with that, its safe to send.
Don’t belittle them
Their problems may not seem significant to you, but its significant to them. If they’re opening up to you and sharing tough times or moments, but you’re simply not interested and you show it, you are not a good friend. Again, if the shoe was on the other foot, how would you feel? You’d want your friend to be supportive and there for you whatever you were going through. Don’t make them feel inadequate or worthless- which is what will happen. It’s a serious knock to someone’s confidence.
Listen to what they’re telling you
Hands up if a friend asks how you are and despite giving a response, they completely ignore what you’ve said? I guarantee this has happened to all of you at least once. Women notice these things. When you’re busy or going through a tough time, it’s somewhat understandable that you may not be completely focused on what a friend is staying to you but if you ask how someone is just as a precursor to get what you need from the friendship, that is not cool. Really pay attention to the other person, ask questions and respond to what it is they’re telling you. It’s just good manners.
Is anything we’ve covered here surprising to you? Can you relate to this at all? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences and thoughts with us in the comments below. Are you a stickler for good manners too? You may like some of our other etiquette features, check them out in our further reads.