How to Be a Good Friend?

Updated on October 13, 2011
S.K. asks from Chicago, IL
9 answers

Do you think you are a good friend? How do you make friends and maintain those friendships? Do you go out of your way to do things to people you care?
Have you lost close friends by not keeping in touch? How do try to regain those old friendships??

Too many questions, but I ask all this because I think I am NOT a good friend. I have lost a lot of real nice friends by not showing interest in maintaining those friendships.By not going out of my way to do one single thing for anyone. Once people move on and don't try to connect with me as much as they do, I miss each and every one of them. Let alone friends, I miss and feel bad for people whom I never cared much for as well. Once I realize people don't care for me as much or have moved on , I start wishing I were closer to them and try to get back in touch. But most of the time it doesn't work because people change and once they get a particular impression of someone it's difficut to change it. I really like my space and keep a distance initially(it's just how I am) when people try to get close to me. It takes me a while to get comfortable. Even if I am interested , I just end up procastinating meeting up or returning a phone call or stopping by to say hi. All these , I know, give clear indication that I am not very interested. I am now working on trying to go out of my way to show interest in making close friends and maintaining them.

But I fail to understand why I feel bad when people I never cared for/ acquaintances treat me differently. And why do I want to be friends with them now? when they reach out for me, I am not interested. I am always friendly with them not rude or anything, but definitely don't show any ineterst in getting closer. As soon as I realize they moved on , I feel bad and wish we were friends. This happens with lot of people. Am I crazy?? I think so.
How do I be a better friend I wonder. Or how do I stop these little things from affecting me?

I always find myself unhappy about such trivial things.My husband tells me I can't be truly happy until I know what I want in life. When people want to be friends, I don't show any interest. And when they don't , I am hurt and upset. I keep wishing I hadn't lost so many of my old friends. I tried to connect again but didn't work out. When they were my friends, I took them for granted and now I wish I did things differently. I want to make new friends. And am working on it.

Ah! Today is one of the days I feel lonely and sad because a co worker didn't stop by to say hi( always did and I hardly stopped by to say hi before) I know my mistake but I am feeling bad. And on such days , I feel I don't have any close friends. My husband disagrees. he says I have friends as long as I am willing to break ths invisble wall I build around myself and let people get close to me. So, maybe it's me who doesn't feel close to anyone. How do I change this? I need close friends and need my space too. How do I find the balance?

Anybody else who are like me? or am I the only one I wonder!

While I wait for the answers, I am going to call my friends , show that I do care for them before I lose many more :)

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

I'm here too. I wish so bad to have great friends that call M. up on a whim to just chat, they ask about my kids, we talk about life etc... but, I don't do that myself, so how can I expect someone else to do that with M.? My schedule with my kids is crazy and at the end of the day, I'm drained and haven't had a single adult conversation all day. How do other moms do it that you see yapping on the phone, hanging out at the shopping centers laughing and sharing great moments?

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answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I have a few very close old friends- some going on 25 years we have been through hell and back together- I dont have any "new" friends I have made a few through the years but to be honest it is difficult for M. to keep friends. My DH is a bit difficult to deal with so usually I just shy away from making new friends because my old friends know how to deal with my DH. He wont admit but had very low self esteem so in turn becomes extremely obnoxious and people just get fed up.
that didnt really answer your question though- With my good friends I call to check in at least a couple times a month always ask about thier day before laying your problems on them. But they are great to have when you just to let it all out. When they call I am there if they need M. I show up. That is how you be a friend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Maybe you need to be friends w/people who can make you the center of your universe? I say that w/all sincerity and no malice. You yourself said when people pay attention to you, you don't care, but when they don't pay attention to you or are gone, you take notice. The only kind of people who are like that are the ones who want to keep their world revolving around themselves. And I know alot of people like that who have alot of friends and seem to maintain those friendships.

When it comes to friendship, you make time for people who are important to you, even if you don't get anything back in return. Its what you want to learn from them - whether its their time, knowledge, wealth or food - that will draw you to them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I don't think I'm as good a friend as my friends are to M.. Most of my friends would drop what they are doing and help M. "right now". I'm not like that at all. Of course they all know I'm not like that, and sometimes they ask M. why they like M. so much, lol. I guess I make up for it in some other way. Im a good talker, not a good walker tho. So, I know how you feel. I don't like being inconvenienced and especially if it's because someone did something stupid and caused a problem that could have been easily prevented if they would have heeded my advice in the first place.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Sadly I also think I am a "bad" friend. It's not that I am not supportive or understanding but have a hard time commiting to doing anything so many of my "friends" have given up on including M. in stuff. I am so busy with my job, my family, household, husband,etc that I feel guilty spending any time I have with friends. I do feel lonely and although I still chat with them and see them I can't commit to anything. I don't have any close girlfriends and don't really talk to many of them about really in-depth topics. Our lives are very different now than they were when we were in our twenties and honestly I don't have the energy to keep up. I wish I did and I wish I was more committed to my friends like I was before I got married. It is hard because we are all so busy these days and trying to balance it all and maintain all of your relationships is tough. You aren't alone . . .


answers from Dallas on

I feel the same way. I find it really hard to make new friends and to maintain the ones that I have. For some of the reasons that you have listed but also becauses life just gets in the way. People are too busy. It was easier to make friends when I was younger and didn't have so many responsibilities. Prior to getting married and having kids, you are more focused on your social life and maintaining your friendships. But when marriage and kids come along your focus is redirected to your family. It's harder to maintain friendships as a result. We just need to make the time and lower the walls we have up around us. And to always remember that it's quality of friends that is important not quantity.



answers from Chicago on

Do other people actually call? I ask this because I consider myself a good friend. I have some friends that call M. religiously (we talk X times a month, on certain days, etc.) and I call religiously, but in the last 5 years, I've yet to meet any new friend that calls.

I honestly think people are too self-absorbed to give much thought to anyone, so why worry about what kind of friend you are? Do what you find natural, or else, you will just end up the friend calling no one who cares to return their calls.

Seriously, I think we all think other people aren't lonely, but loneliness is the natural state of life, if you ask M..



answers from San Diego on

I totally get that!!! I need my time, but I'm finding that I need my friends. As I get older I'm enjoying my friends more and more. The more vulnerable I am (and still don't disclose a ton) the better response I get. The more I give to friends (a select few) the more I get and the deeper the relationship. What is cool, is the deeper the relationship, the more honest I can be. Like, "I need a day for M.." Or, "I've got to spend some time doing ... but I'd love to get together next..." A good friend's response should be, "Right on, you take that time!"

Good for you for calling your friends in the mean time!!! When I start feeling lonely, I reach out: call, email, set up a fun outing. I did NOT know to do this for the first 35 years of my life. I really didn't know how.

I do know now that I can be friendly, interested in others AND reserved. I'm not easy to get to know, but I don't want a ton of friends and those that take the time and *I equally take the time to get to know them* I get to form a true connection. I don't mind my "invisible wall" but I think this trick is knowing when it is right and good and when it's not serving M..

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