15 Simple Ways To Become A Better Friend

Be the friend your friends deserve.

how to be a better friend Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels via Canva

When it comes to friendship, there is always room for improvement.

Most of us grow up believing that we already know how to be a friend — and many of us are right. But life can get in the way and, suddenly, you're sitting there wondering why you and a close friend are so distant now. It happens, and although it's not always your fault, you were a bad friend.

Has a friend ever been disappointed in you? Did you know the reason? What did you do to make it better, improve yourself, or take steps to become a better friend in light of the situation? These are important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to learn to build stronger relationships, especially friendships.


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Learning how to be a better friend is not as difficult as you might think. Like all relationships, friendships require effort. If you notice you've been slacking in the friend department, it's time to put in some overtime on your friendships and be a better buddy to the ones you care about.


Here are 15 ways to be a better friend and improve your friendships.

1. Show up.

If you heard that your friend was in an accident or is going through a bad breakup, this is the time to be there for them. Show up and try to lift their spirits. Your presence will show them that you care and want to help them through their situation.

On the other hand, they could be celebrating a new relationship or job promotion. This is another kind of occasion where your presence is paramount! If nothing else, you will definitely make them feel supported by going out of your way to be with them, which is something that will deepen your bond.

2. Express your gratitude.

Did your friend do something nice for you recently, like showing up at your place with food and drinks to make you feel better after a rough day or help you clean your apartment? Thank them. It can be something as simple as lending you their ear, which we too often take for granted from our friends.

For all these and many other reasons, show your gratitude to them. Don’t forget to show immediate acknowledgment and vocalize your appreciation because these things really matter a lot.


3. Maintain balance.

Friendship is a two-way street and it's important to do your part. This can be hard for those who always know how to be there for their friends but somehow don’t know how to ask a favor in return. But friendships can quickly become toxic if there is an imbalance in the way two people give to each other.

Figure out if your friend is always the one who listens to your rants and not the other way around. If that’s so, make it a point to ask them about their day, work, and relationship troubles before you start discussing yours. This way, it's not all about you, and your friend can feel appreciated and loved.

4. Don’t judge.

Judging your friend is the fastest way to alienate them. Instead, try to be more empathetic and see things from their point of view. Why did they do something? What led them to do that?

Having more empathy can help you understand where they are coming from and make them feel like you are willing to hear their side of the story. They'll certainly appreciate your effort.


5. Practice active listening.

Being an active listener demonstrates sincere concern for your friends' thoughts, feelings, and experiences, creating a sense of being valued and understood. This empathy strengthens the bond and trust between you, making your friend feel comfortable sharing without fear of criticism.

Additionally, honing your active listening skills allows you to discern subtle cues and emotions, enabling you to offer well-suited responses and support when required.

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6. Be empathetic.

Research indicates that practicing empathy is a reliable method to enhance friendship. A 2017 study conducted at Stanford University suggests that having empathic friends can significantly reduce stress levels.


While empathy is largely an instinctive quality, it can also be cultivated by paying attention to visual cues. Developing the ability to view the world from various perspectives and respecting differing viewpoints, even if contradictory to our own, enables us to empathize more effectively with others.

7. Be open-minded.

By being receptive to diverse perspectives and ideas, you create a non-judgmental and inclusive atmosphere, allowing your friends to feel comfortable expressing themselves freely.

This openness fosters trust and deepens the bond, as friends know they can share their thoughts without fear of criticism. Having an open mind lets you understand your friends' experiences and emotions better.

8. Say sorry.

Acknowledging your errors demonstrates humility, courage, and a genuine commitment to the friendship, as you are willing to make amends. Try not to think of saying "I'm sorry" as a weakness, because it most certainly is not.


Having the capacity to own up to your mistakes and apologize when necessary is undeniably one of the most impactful ways to improve as a friend.

9. Be resourceful.

Resourcefulness elevates your friendship to a higher level, letting you provide support whenever your friends need it. Your problem-solving skills and ability to come up with innovative ideas is beneficial in helping them overcome obstacles.

By being dependable and trustworthy, your resourcefulness strengthens trust and deepens the bond you share. Ultimately, a resourceful nature makes you a proactive and caring presence in their lives.

10. Be a source of positivity and encouragement.

This can have a profound impact on your friendship. Celebrate their strengths and help them see the best in themselves. Focus on uplifting and inspiring them.


Your positivity and encouragement will not only strengthen your bond, but will also contribute to their overall well-being and confidence.

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11. Be flexible and understanding.

Life is dynamic and circumstances change. Being a better friend means being flexible and understanding when your friends' priorities or commitments shift.

Recognize that they might have other responsibilities and might not always be available. Avoid holding grudges if plans change or if they can't respond immediately.

12. Be sensitive.

When you are sensitive to your friends' emotions and needs, you show genuine concern and empathy, strengthening the bond between you. Your capacity to understand and relate to their experiences allows you to offer solace in difficult times, making them feel cared for and supported.


Additionally, sensitivity helps you communicate with kindness and consideration, avoiding hurtful actions and fostering a more nurturing and understanding friendship.

13. Respect boundaries.

Respecting boundaries is crucial in any friendship. Everyone has different comfort levels and personal boundaries, and being mindful of them demonstrates that you value your friends' feelings and autonomy.

Avoid prying into sensitive topics unless your friend willingly shares, and always seek consent before discussing something private. Be attentive to their emotional cues, and if they seem reserved or hesitant to discuss something, give them the space they need without pushing further.


14. Communicate honestly and openly.

Open and honest communication forms the foundation of a healthy friendship. Encourage your friend to express themselves freely, creating a safe space for open dialogue.

If conflicts or misunderstandings arise, approach them with empathy and a willingness to listen, without becoming defensive. Avoid blaming or accusing; instead, focus on understanding their perspective and finding a solution together.

15. Take your friendship seriously.

Taking a friendship seriously means investing time and effort to nurture the relationship. It means actively listening, being present, and showing genuine interest in your friends' lives. Taking the initiative to reach out, offering support during both good and challenging times, and being reliable are essential aspects of valuing and cherishing the friendship.

Remembering important milestones, being trustworthy, and respecting boundaries are further indications of the commitment to maintaining a meaningful and long-lasting connection. So take it seriously.


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Mehruba Chowdhury is a writer, former Editorial Intern and contributor to YourTango. She writes about relationships, pop culture, and astrology, and has been featured in The Onyx Review, BORGEN Magazine, Ravishly, Medium, PopSugar, and MSN.