How to Be the Friend Everyone Wants to Have

If you want high-quality friendships in your life, you probably have wondered whether you’re the kind of friend people want. Maybe you hesitated in the past because you felt intimidated by a group of people, and maybe you thought that you don’t have what it takes to be friends with them.

If you can understand how friendship works, you can connect with the right people, for the right reasons. Here, I want to share with you some of the most sought-after qualities in a friend.

1. Volunteer Help In Times Of Need

CYT Be The FriendThis sounds like the most common-sense thing to do, but people seem to take it for granted. It’s not enough to lend a helping hand when you’re asked, you actually need to be pro-active about it.

When a friend, or a friend-to-be, needs help, that’s a great opportunity to deepen the relationship. They’re not likely to ask for it, unless they’ve known you forever. But, if you know they need help, and know you can deliver, then I recommend you go for it.

2. Build Trust From the Start

As I always say, “sharing secrets is a secret to making friends.” Friendships are based on trust. When you start to be open with people, they’re likely to start doing the same.

This shows a bit of vulnerability on your part, but you don’t have to do it all at once. You increase the “openness” with people as you get to know them and like them, and only if they, too, are opening themselves up as well.

3. Show Some Emotional Support

This is not about a tangible support, but rather a psychological and emotional one. Great friends support others in their group. They show positivity and confidence when it comes to your aspirations. They also assert that you’re totally capable of overcoming the challenges that life throws at you.

It sounds like a detail, but it’s not; relationships are about emotions. And if you make people feel great and you support them emotionally, they’ll stick around!

4. Speaking up for the other in his or her absence

This one is obvious but still very relevant. As much as people want to show that they don’t care what others think, they still care a lot about what you, as a friend, think of them.

Why? Because you’re a close one; you know them intimately; and therefore, they feel more vulnerable to your opinion of them.

Here, the rule is to speak of them positively in their absence. And never talk negatively to them about former friends, as that is a clear tell-tell sign that you’ll do the same to them if you’re no longer pals. Avoid criticizing people behind their backs, as much as you can.

Having said that…

I don’t pretend that this list is definitive; there is a lot more to friendship than a one-page list.

And to be precise, You don’t have to follow all these rules with people you’re just getting to know. These help you strengthen relationships, and transform acquaintances into friends. However, you don’t need to be a super good friend to anyone and everyone.

I recommend you increase your loyalty in a gradual way, as you get to know and begin to like the other person.

If you want to receive other tips on finding great people, beating shyness, making friends, and building your social life, I suggest you get on my Social Skills Newsletter.

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About Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders's Get The Friends You Want teaches you how to:
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Comments

  1. Yea, if they talk negatively about others, you’d have a hard time trusting they won’t be doing that to you as well. :)

  2. Lovely post. I am so lucky to have very good friends that I trust and that trust me. They may not be plenty but they are all that I need! Great read!

  3. The above four points are all good, however one problem is if you’re just getting to know new people it can be difficult to know when you know people well enough to go about these things.

    In order to volunteer, or rather for people to accept your help, they may need to know you a bit first and have already developed an element of trust. Otherwise they may be wary of what type of personality you have, or things you may say.

    With sharing secret it can be hard to know when it is too early to do this, as you want to obviously be able to trust that person with your secrets, and of course most of us would only share these types of things with people who would relate to our issues and experiences.

    I once had a work colleague who offered to talk to me in private if I felt I had any personal issues. However I never took up his offer, because he never really demonstrated that he really understood. He would usually relate whatever I said to some experience he had that was completely out of context, just not quite getting it, which became irritating

    Similarly, showing emotional support and speaking up a friend’s behalf can only come after you have known a person for a while, and are able to relate to their situation.

    These are all good things but for some people they’re going to struggle to find opportunities to use them. They’re things that require at least a bit of time to develop. They’re more for once you have casual friends, that you would like to know a bit better and develop a closer bond with.

    • Great comment, Chris.

      I agree, people need to know you a little bit before they open up to your help.

      When it comes to sharing secrets, I advise people to do it very slowly and gradually. (sharing big secrets too early gives a creepy feeling). At the same time, you should only proceed with that if they too are being open with their personal stories.

      You make a great point, as “helping people” or being supportive is a fine art. It’s very important for building relationships, but, like any other skill, it takes some practice. So, the sooner you start, the faster you’ll be good at it.

      Another great point about emotional support. However, people tend to be open to some *light* emotional support, even at the start of the relationship. It also shows what kind of friend you’ll be later when the relationship advances.

      Again, great comment Chris. As you probably know, some people already HAVE casual friends they have no idea how to turn into close friends. I hope this article helps clarify the way.

      Thanks again,
      -Paul

  4. Lending a listening ear without judging them is another tip that has helped me to develop better relationships with my friends as well.

  5. Very good article. It’s a great reminder about how we should interact with the people we care most about. The point about never talking negatively about your friends in their absence is something almost everyone forgets, or neglects, to practice. Michael Hyatt had an article of similar topic about always speaking of your spouse in the highest regard. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I agree that trust is so key to a relationship. Not just for building one, but also for a long term one. If you break that trust then it will take a lot of work to repair the relationship. As that one quote says, “It takes years to build something beautiful, which can be destroyed in one moment.”

    I also think speaking up for others is key. I have some good friends that I have a difficult time trusting because they are really negative about others and so it makes it difficult. Being positive helps people be more comfortable around you and more trusting!