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A good friend is hard to find. When we have one, we want to hold on to that friendship for as long as possible. And one of the ways we can do that is by being that good friend in return. So how does one learn to be a supportive friend?

Always Be There to Listen

When a friend is going through a difficult time, they are often looking for someone to talk to. They may need advice, but they may also just need to unload on or vent to someone who cares about them and their situation. Be that friend who is willing to be a much-needed ear when your friend is in need of it.

Give Advice When Asked for It

This is an area that one must be careful not to overstep. At times our friends may just want to talk. But other times, they may ask for advice. When a friend has asked you to share your opinion, feel free to do so. Before responding, though, ask yourself if your advice is building up your friend or tearing them down. Advice should leave a person feeling encouraged and not discouraged. This is the test you should give your words before they leave your mouth.

Give More Than You Receive

Giving of oneself more than you receive does not mean you allow yourself to be used or walked on. It’s simply a good rule to be sure that you are holding up your end of the friendship. No one likes a one-way relationship, and your friend will appreciate you returning their gestures, care and concern.

Don’t allow your friendship to slip into a place where you never return calls or invite your friend to functions. If you begin to rely on your friend’s invites and efforts to maintain the friendship, they may begin to feel used and resentful. When both parties attempt to give a little more to the friendship than the other, things tend to stay in balance and people are less likely to be hurt.

Don’t Judge

As easy as it can be to look at someone else’s life and think you have all the answers… make a choice not to judge your friend. You have no idea what life feels like from their perspective and you have no right to judge their thoughts and feelings. Be open to the fact that how they perceive life may be different from how you perceive it, without their way being wrong.

Be Trustworthy

When a friend shares a secret with you, no matter how big or small, you must be trustworthy. When something has been shared in confidence with you, it is not your right to pass it along or gossip. Know when to keep quiet. This would save many a friendship if heeded.

Don’t lie to your friends either. One of the quickest ways to shatter a good friendship is through dishonesty. Resolve within yourself never to lie and always to be honest. This is a great way to show your friend that you are committed to putting them as priority above your own convenience.

A good friendship is worth holding on to as tightly as you can. Be a friend who lights up the world of those who you love. Be a supportive friend and even though you may give a lot, you will get back more in return than you can imagine.

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