15 Ways to be a great friend

The surest way to have great friendships is to be a great friend. The bonus is that the skills you develop will translate well to your love life. In that spirit, we offer the following simple yet powerful ways to be a wonderful friend:

• Build trust: For all relationships—friends, lovers, coworkers—consistent demonstrations of trustworthiness form the bond that holds people together.

• Be there: Show up, physically and emotionally, for all of your friend’s important events (and unimportant ones, too).

• Practice positivity: Optimism beats pessimism hands’ down—and your friend will benefit from your upbeat attitude.

• Initiate consistently: Don’t wait for the other person to text or call you—take the initiative yourself.

• Cultivate transparency: Openness begets openness, so share from your heart and you’ll receive the same.

• Affirm differences: Celebrate the other person’s unique beliefs and lifestyle, even when they happen to conflict with your own.

• Learn the art of listening: Focus on your friend’s words with open ears and an open heart.

• Give generously: Pick up the tab, send a gift for no reason, offer to help move. A generous spirit will come back to you in unexpected ways.

• Make the time: Overcrowded schedules crowd out friendships—and very few items on your schedule are worth that.

• Empathise: Let your friend know you understand and relate to what he/she shares with you.

• Peel the onion: Make the effort to dig deep into the other person’s life to discover what lies below the surface.

• Accept the ebb and flow: Friendships go through times of closeness and times of distance. Stay committed throughout.

• Compliment often: Identify the areas of your friend’s awesomeness and mention them whenever possible.

• Apologise when you blow it: A sincere apology is the quickest and surest way to smooth over rough patches.

• Create new memories: Meeting at the same old coffee joint to catch up is fine, but friendships are deepened through shared adventure and discovery.