How To Be A Good Friend

I made this video because I noticed that many people struggle with finding good friends and some people seem to be unable to be a good friend. 

Good friends seem harder and harder to come by as we travel through life. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t at least one good friend out there that you can form a connection with.

The key to friendships is to start with yourself and in developing your capacity to be a good friend to other people in the first place. Once you know how to be a good friend then you will be equipped to find someone else who practices the same values of friendship.

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This video outlines a few tips on what good friends should be like and how you might evaluate your own ability to be a friend as well as the ability of your current friends.

Maybe there are some ‘friendships’ you need to end, and maybe there are some friendships you could begin cultivating so that they can become deeper.

As always, I am continuously growing and learning and so these are just some ideas on how to be a good friend that I thought that I would share. You’re welcome to share your own.

By Jared Chan

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Question: Are your friends ‘good friends’? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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Video Transcript

So I wanted to talk about, how to be a good friend. So before we get into it I just want to say, a lot of people, they might already think, I already know how to be a good friend and you know I know what a good friend is, you just live life and you know. But I don’t really see that when I look around when I look at people today, the friendship groups that people have today, they don’t look too friendly, to be honest. They don’t look really like what you would call a good friendship.

And so I was thinking about what really does make a good friend and the first thing I thought about was, you have to actually care about the other person. You have to actually value that other person and contribute something to their life. You know. Too many people today just want to take, take, take, take from other people.

Too many people today just want to take, take, take, take from other people. But the reality is if you’ve got nothing to give someone else then why is that other person going to stick around?

And that leads me to this other thought I had which was, in order to have good friends, you need to be a good friend yourself. And I think that’s where we have to start. We have to always start with ourselves. Am I a good friend? And if I am and I’m doing everything that a good friend would do, is the other person being a good friend to me? And that’s what you have to kind of work out because friendship involves more than just you. You could be trying your hardest and it’s not really working out and I think part of that is, is

Am I a good friend? And if I am and I’m doing everything that a good friend would do, is the other person being a good friend to me? And that’s what you have to kind of work out because friendship involves more than just you.

You could be trying your hardest and it’s not really working out and I think part of that is, is because the first thing I’d say you have to do to be a good friend is to allow your friends to be their best self.

There’s nothing worse than having a friend who’s always trying to put you down and who deliberately doesn’t listen to you, deliberately doesn’t understand where you’re coming from all the time, but yet they hang out with you for whatever reason, but they don’t actually allow you to be the best person that you can be.

So for myself, it’s like, for me to be a good friend with my friends I need to know, I need to allow them to be their best selves. I need to allow them to really shine and not put them down. Not have this idea that I have to be the greatest, I have to be better than them. We can actually exist together and I can value you for who you are no matter what you say to me. If you tell me you want to do something, I believe in you.

We can actually exist together and I can value you for who you are no matter what you say to me. If you tell me you want to do something, I believe in you. I believe and trust that you are someone magnificent and great because I’m not here to put you down, I’m not here to drag you down in life.

You have to allow other people to be themselves. That’s the first thing. To be a good friend you have to allow other people to be themselves. And that’s what I’ve really noticed. The people that I do not hang around as much, they’re the people who I feel I can’t be myself around as much. So that is a big key. Allow people to be themselves. Be open minded. Be willing to accept other people’s ambitions. Be willing to understand their grievances, understand their emotions, their thoughts and contributions. So that would be the first thing.

Now the second thing would be, to be a good friend is, evaluate what you’re actually giving them. What you actually provide them. When I did an audit of myself, I realized that I give other people a listening ear.

They are able to talk to me and I am able to listen to them and talk through and reason through different things that they’re going through. And that doesn’t mean that I’m solving all their problems, it means I’m literally just listening and talking with them, having a conversation with them, and they’re solving their own issues as they talk to me.

And that’s kind of what therapists do. I think it’s Carl Rogers. That’s the Carl Rogers approach to talking with clients. It’s this unconditional regard where you allow clients just to talk because talking is related to thinking and people don’t think that much so when they’re talking they are actually thinking out for the first time their thoughts and trying to sort it out. So when they talk they’re thinking through all the different issues they have and you’re just there to help them to talk to themselves. You’re there to talk with them but you are basically present with them in their issue, in their problem, and that is helping to reflect back onto them what they’re going through and that’s the whole idea of having a conversation with someone to help them through something.

It doesn’t even have to be a big thing. It’s just I had a hard day at work, that’s it. Now let’s just talk through that and how you feel about that. So I’d say being a good friend involves really listening and really talking through different subjects and actually caring about that person. That shows that you care about them because they see that you’re in the problem that they’re in with them because you’re talking about that problem with them. And you’re not just complaining all the time you’re actually fostering like I said that Carl Rogers approach of having that conversation and really helping them get through something.

There doesn’t always need to be a definitive answer for something. A definitive result or solution to a problem. It’s just that, you just talking with them will help them so much. I think people underestimate how powerful just talking with someone is.

And that leads me to my third thing is that. These days we have social media, we have all this different technology, and I really think it’s distracting us from just talking one on one with people. You have to get one on one with someone and really just talk with them.

If it’s in person or on the phone, those two are the closest mediums. On the phone if you’re busy, or if you’re far away, you can still talk to them one on one on the phone. But give them your utmost attention on the phone. Or ideally, in person. One on one in person having that intimate conversation with them.

It doesn’t mean you always have to be one on one, in fact, it’s probably good to be in lots of different situations to keep your friendship interesting and thriving and growing. But that one on one is really important, it’s like the therapeutic part of a relationship.

So to be a good friend you have to really be able to have that more intimate friendship. That one on one friendship. If you’ve got the type of friend who you only hang out with, with other people, they’re not really a good friend and you’re not really being a good friend with them. You know. They might be fun to hang around but you’re not being a good friend because you’re not developing that intimacy with them.

And so another part of being a good friend is making sure you’re there for them when a crisis actually happens. If something bad is happening. If your friend rings you up and says I’m depressed and I’m going to kill myself, you better be there for them, that is what a good friend does.

And that doesn’t mean that the person is abusing you all the time. You know you have to have some self-care, stuff like that. But you don’t use that self-care as an excuse not to actually help someone. Remember that you actually care about this person. They’re kind of like you’re chosen family. That’s how you be a good friend. You think of your friends as your chosen family that you actually care about. That you’ll help them get through crisis, you’ll help them get through things of pain and great struggle.

Because in return that’s what they’re going to do for you. They’re going to help you when you’re in crisis when you’re struggling. And so I think that’s a major thing. So many times there’s been people in the past where they don’t actually help you in a time of crisis. You know, and so I think that is something that shows their character. Who they really are.

Now another point to that, is that. To what I was saying earlier in the video is actually do an audit on yourself. What value do you bring to other people? So if a friend is there for you in crisis, you’re like okay that’s good, they’re my friend, but what am I giving to this person?

You see it’s a mutual thing, you have to really show up as a friend. You know. Are you there for the person? Do you actually care about them? Is it one sided? or is it actually mutual? Did they always pay for your dinner? Or is it like you kind of you both pay? Or is it like they always pay for your dinner because you are poor but you’re always there listening to them, always emotionally helping them, spending lots of your time with them. You see that’s a fair trade-off. Just overall you need a balance and you need to always think, what are you actually giving to this person.

Because if you’re not giving much to a person, no doubt, that relationship is not really that great. That friendship is not going to be as good as you think it is. So start thinking about what you’re actually contributing to other people with your time, money, effort. Depends on who the person is and what they need and who you are as well, what you can give.

But think about those things, that will help you to be a good person.

Now, another thing is. Respect and learn from your friend. There’s a bit of give and take. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake, that’s okay. We all make mistakes as people but a good friend will forgive a mistake, but a good friend will allow you to then grow back into the friendship together. You know you have a little bit of a riff-raff, you have a little bit of a problem but then you actually come back together and you actually make up for that and you actually change your behavior.

So you’re not longer turning up drunk at the back of someone’s house. I had a friend who would do that and I let him inside, whatever, and then I said to him, you can’t do this anymore. You can’t just think that you can just break into my back door at any time. It’s an invasion of my privacy. It’s really late and lastly, it’s actually rude. It’s rude to just think you can come through the back door. You didn’t come through the front door, you just tried to sneak through the back door, because we use to leave it unlocked a lot of the time, so he thought he could just sneak in and sleep there.

And so I thought that was very disrespectful and it’s not just that. This person has been very disrespectful on many many many occasions, and I kept telling him, you can’t do that, you can’t do this. And I gave him chance after chance, after chance, after chance. So a good friend will be lenient with you. And if he said, look I know I did the wrong thing. And it’s not just his words it’s his actual character. Changes and says, it’s not just words, I am sorry with my words, but I’m sorry with my entire soul, I’m actually going to change. I’m not going to turn up drunk and give you problems, I’m not going to abuse you and put you down anymore, right? I’m going to come and be a good friend, what a good friend should do. If he said that, that would have been fine, and if he actually had that character, but I gave him years. Years and years and years of this strange

I’m not going to turn up drunk and give you problems, I’m not going to abuse you and put you down anymore, right? I’m going to come and be a good friend, what a good friend should do. If he said that, that would have been fine, and if he actually had that character, but I gave him years. Years and years and years of this strange behavior and unfortunately I had to make that decision and go, probably not the best friend to have.

It wasn’t just me. A lot of other people I know decided not to be friends with this particular person as well. And it’s unfortunate, I still care about that person even to this day, but I don’t talk with them anymore because overall, they were taking, they were abusive at times, and they weren’t listening. They weren’t actually listening to what I needed as a person and what many other people needed for them to feel comfortable to be his friend to be around him. He wasn’t listening, he wasn’t growing. And

And just as everyone knows, you need to grow in a relationship with your loved one. With your spouse, or your partner. You have to grow in your relationships with your friends. You have to grow with your friends. You can’t just go, Nah I’m just me and you’re over there dude, I’m doing whatever. No. You have to listen to what people are saying.

Some people might not have that capacity and unfortunately, then, they are not going to be able to be a good friend and be in your life. Look. You don’t want negative people in your life, you want to cut away from that. And that’s the thing, that will help you to know who is a good friend.

You know who you don’t want to hang out with. You know you don’t want to hang out with someone who is negative, someone who is bringing you down, trying to make fun of you, doing all this strange stuff. You don’t want that. You want a friend who respects you, a friend who talks to you, a friend who gives to you, so that’s who you want to be.

You don’t want that. You want a friend who respects you, a friend who talks to you, a friend who gives to you, so that’s who you want to be. You want to be that as well, you want to respect people, you want to talk to people, you want to give to them, you want to listen to them, you want to change and grow along with your friends. That’s what you want.

And that’s really what I try to strive to do and I’ve found that there’s not that many people out there who have the capacity to be a good friend and the number one reason is because they don’t care, they don’t want to learn, and they don’t want to change at all. And that’s okay, just they’re not my friend.

And especially, they don’t allow me to be who I am. They don’t allow me to talk in the way I like to talk. They always have some strange thing like I’m too much or something because I like to talk about feelings and emotions, or I like to think about creative ideas, and that’s fine. Maybe we’re just not compatible as friends. They might be suited towards someone who’s more orderly or boring, someone who just sits down and watched TV, stuff like that.

Whereas I’m more out there. And that’s fine, a part of being a good friend is actually being compatible with other people. Finding the people you’re actually compatible with because you’re not going to be able to be a good friend with everyone. No matter how good of a person you are, you’re not going to be able to be a good friend for everyone, because not everyone will allow you to cultivate the good friendship component out of who you are.

Because I don’t think I really could be a good friend with everyone. Some people would just piss me off too much and it wouldn’t be right. But you know, it’s debatable if it’s their fault or my fault.

Overall, to be a good friend you have to care about the other person. You have to actually care about them and so you can’t really… You can cultivate that through being mindful and having mindfulness and thinking… *takes a deep breath* ‘What do I love about this person?’ And that actually works, I’ve done that a lot with my best friends, I thought, what do I love about this person? And it really invigorates this love and this craving inside of me to care more about that person and then my actions should follow through that.

And look, I’m not perfect but I always strive to be the best friend I can be and I think my strength is really listening to other people, talking with them on a one on one deep basis. You might have something else that you kind of contribute to other people with. You might contribute to them in many different ways.

One of my old friends that I use to have that I really loved. He lives in a different country now so we don’t talk as much. But he use to always buy all this stuff for me, all the time, and he never expected me to pay him back. And I was really poor at the time and he knew that I would never pay him back. But I would always… so that was kind of his gift… he would just go… oh we’re doing this… we’re doing this… and he loved to provide a good time for us to go somewhere and he’d pay and do all this different stuff. But I would be one of the only friends that he had who would actually talk to him, actually listen to him, and that’s the thing, you don’t just want to buy your friends, but it wasn’t about that, It’s about.. he wanted a good time and that’s what he had to give… and I had a good time and what I had to give was the element of listening and really understanding someone.

Identifying what you can give to people will make you a good friend. And just being aware of the dynamic of each relationship you have. That awareness of the relationships you have… you know, what do you contribute, what do they contribute… what are your personalities actually like, how do they work together? That awareness of all that. The awareness of the friendships that you have.

That awareness itself will make you a better friend because once you’re aware of something you almost have to kind of… you don’t have to you could ignore it but… almost inevitably if you’re a good person fundamentally… if you become aware of something then you’re going to try to do your best to become better in that area to fix that up.

Look. Thank you for listening. If you’ve got any tips of what you think makes a good friend leave it in the comments and I will release some new videos soon. If you’ve got any other ideas for what you think I should talk about in regards to friendships, relationships, then leave that in the comments and if they’re good I’ll make a video on those topics. So thanks for listening and I’ll see you in the next one.

 

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