How to be a good friend, part 2

Dear Daughter,

Yesterday I wrote about the reasons why you should stick with your friends through thick and thin. Today, I’d like to add to that by giving some practical tips on how to be a good friend.

Disclaimer: I am doing this as much for myself as I am for you. I do not claim to be a pro at any of the following items. I just know what I, you, everyone should do to keep a friendship thriving. Whether we practice the below items or not… well, that’s what separates the women from the girls.

So, based on my observations, trials and errors, here are some things to remember:

1) Don’t gossip. This is soooo much easier said than done. There will be times when a friend will drive you absolutely crazy, and all you want to do is vent about it. (By the way, lots of people, including myself, try to pass off gossip as “venting.” It may sound like a better word but it still means the same ol’ ugly thing: talking badly about someone behind their back.) Just assume that when you gossip about a friend, she’ll find out about it. Think about the consequences of such a scenario. Likely not good. So, as my mother used to tell me, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

2) Have her back. If someone else is talking trash about your friend, especially if she’s not around to defend herself, stick up for her. Gently tell the person that you care about your friend and don’t want to participate in the slander. Point out your friend’s good characteristics; give the person another point of view. They may start to see her in a different way, once they know what you see in her.

3) Don’t ditch your friends for a boy. So many girls make this mistake. I’ve made it. It’s tough… when you’re single and having a blast with your girlfriends every weekend, and suddenly you enter a relationship and have to share your time, it can be a difficult balancing act. Especially as you get older and closer to marriage. But there is a way to maintain your friendships and a healthy relationship at the same time. You may not see your friends as often as you used to, but still involve them in your life as much as possible. Call them, meet up for coffee once in a while, have a girls night once or twice a month. There are at least three benefits to this: a) Your friends will appreciate knowing you’re still there for them; b) you’ll like having some girl time; and c) your boyfriend will respect you more, knowing you don’t need to be around him 24/7.

There are many other ways to be a good friend, and I’ll share more of them with you as time goes on. None of this is easy, but the more devoted to your friends you are, the more natural it becomes to apply the items above. When you grow close enough to a person to treat her like family, you won’t want to gossip, you’ll adamantly have her back, and you won’t be able to fathom ditching her for a boy. I can’t wait to see you develop such a close bond. There’s nothing like it.

Love,
Mom

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