How to ACTUALLY be a Better Friend

I’ve realized recently that boredom was the main reason for my current state of apathy. So I set two goals for myself 5 minutes ago. First, before the summer ends I need to volunteer somewhere I don’t want to and second I need to be a better friend.

Then I started Googling things to do to be a better friend (sad in the first place) and most of the output was all the same. “Be there for them.” “Be loyal and trustworthy” “The Golden Rule blah blah blah etc.” I was looking for concrete examples and the internet spit back weak ass jargon. I agree that all of that is important but people don’t say “actions speak louder than words” all the time just to hear the sound of their own voices.

So here are some solid actions that both you and I can do to make our friendships better:

  • When you go to your friends house and make a mess, make it a point to clean up both your mess and one more thing you didn’t even cause before you leave.
  • If your friend produces something (A film, album, online video, book, thoughtful tweet or facebook post, mass email, personal email, sends you a link to a Youtube video or link on the internet, an original piece of art, a product they create and sell, a concert they are in, etc)  LIKE it, COMMENT on it, BUY it, REVIEW it, GO TO IT EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO, give constructive criticism even – let them know what you think without them having to ask you, they put time and effort into something and they really care what their friends think of it. If you spend time and effort on them they will be more inclined to spend time and effort on you.
  • Set up gift/behavior rules for events and stick to them. When buying for birthdays know exactly what the spending limit is. Don’t be the douche buying something for 500 bucks when everyone else spent the designated 20. If your friend wants a free drink or meal or whatever (within reason) on their birthday/anniversary/any celebration having to do with them DO IT with a SMILE on. – Also find out their birthdays ASAP and put it on your calendar for the next year. Make this a habit every January 1st so you never forget a birthday. Also x2, keep track of who came to your birthday specifically for you (not to only hang out with friends) and make a bigger effort to go to their birthday gathering the next year.
  • When a friend says they are low on cash BUY a meal for them and serve it if possible. Don’t ask if they want you to buy it, it will make them sad. When the food comes make it clear that its not charity. This is something nice you decided to do because you know they would do it for you as well.
  • Ask them about a subject they love to talk about. If they love their car, notice when they do something new to it and ask them to explain it in detail and then subsequently CARE about it. Whatever they love, take an active interest.
  • If they go away on vacation – note when halfway through the trip is and check in on them. It shows you miss them.
  • Team up against common vices. If you both want to lose weight, do it together. If you both want to quit smoking, talk about how you’re going to do it. Be each others rock. When one of you fails you both fail. When one of you wins, you both win.
  • If your friend gets broken up with do NOT say “there are more fish in the sea” and then buy them a drink…okay, maybe do that but don’t do JUST that. Once you get them to leave their bed make a plan. Take them to paintballing, mini golfing or driving range, capture the flag, Frisbee, a cooking class, a hibachi grill restaurant – Something ACTIVE so they don’t have the time to wallow and they know you’re willing to go the extra mile, when they want to talk they will but in the meantime, keep them busy without getting them drunk or laid by weird strangers.
  • Memorize their favorite snack food and quick drink. When they are having a hard day, bring it to them. Mine is an Arnold Palmer Half and Half and a small Hawaiian Pizza in case you didn’t know.
  • Memorize their least favorite relative. When they have to go to a function with that relative make sure to say something like, “I recall you talking about that person. They sound like a jerk. Feel free to text me about all of the jerk things they do in the near future.”
  • If you know one of your friends gets headaches or has chronic pain, always bring a few ibuprofen/Tylenol/Advil in case they forget. Same works for joint pain, rainy days, and Bengay.
  • If you make yourself a drink and they say no to having one with you, bring them water anyway. Everyone should drink more water.
  • Lend them a kidney if they need it…hey…some people need kidneys.
  • If you live with friends and leave the house before them in the morning, text them if it’s raining so if by chance they don’t look out the window prior to walking out the door (I do it all the time) they wear the right clothes for the day.
  • If they lose all of their phone numbers and need you to text them to put you back in their contacts – after you write your Name and Number put something fun at the end, like what animal would you steal from the zoo if there weren’t any consequences or how many waffles it would take to make the statue of liberty look like it was a beehive…you know, something fun.

This list is a work in progress. If you have more ideas leave them in the comments section or just text me about it and then ask how my kidneys are doing. (They are fine…for now)

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