Have you ever thought about how good of a friend you are? Friendship skills are critical to maintain and grow your relationships in your life. Below is a free printable worksheet to help you reflect on your skills and to set goals to improve your abilities. Read through the following ideas to further understand each skill.
While you’re brushing up on your friend skills, take a look at 5 Steps to Making New Friends.
5 Skills for Meaningful Friendships
1. Reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate!!
If there’s anything I learned from the last few years, is that friendships should be balanced between the people.
- Making plans – Take turns making plans to go out or having your friend over. If people are always the ones making the plans, they will become bored or resentful. It does take effort to make the plans and arrange everything but it’s part of having friends.
- Sharing interests – Take turns doing what the other person wants to do. They have taken the time to plan and to ask you to join. It’s worth a shot to try something new and build your friendship stronger.
- Helping each other – Supporting your friends is an important part of a friendship but you don’t want to be the person giving all the help. Then it feels like you are being taken advantage of. Also, remember to accept the help from your friend. They wouldn’t offer to help if they didn’t want to help.
2. Effective Communication
This is the basis for all relationships so shouldn’t be a shocker that it’s on this list.
- Conversations – Whether it’s talking, texting or emailing, make sure you’re doing your part in a conversation. There’s nothing worse than getting a ‘k’ (or worse a ‘kk’) back after you compose a full text or email. Make sure that you’re holding your own and adding to the conversation.
- Listen – Let your friends vent and tell their stories. They will be there when you need to vent!
- Body Language – Read your friends’ body language to understand if they’re feeling uncomfortable, sad, anxious, etc.
- Be Honest – Your friend is going to ask for your opinion and you owe it to them to give them your honest opinion. Tread lightly but be honest.
3. Be Positive
- Congratulate your friends on their achievements. Be genuinely happy for them and tell them. It will make both of you feel better.
- Compliment your friends – Compliments can come in any size or shape! Simple compliments include commenting on their new haircut, new jacket, etc. Other compliments include commenting on their positive personality traits, their career achievements, their efforts for a cause, etc.
- Make the best of things – People want to be around people that can continue to be in a good mood even if things don’t go as planned. No one wants a Debbie Downer in a group.
4. Be Thoughtful & Respectful
- Make time for your friends – Everyone is busy but making a couple of hours to meet a friend lets the friend know that they are important.
- Be on-time – Being on time for outings shows that you value your friend’s time. If you’re going to be late, send a text or call them to let them know.
- Be dependable – If you make plans, make every effort to be there. Yes, there will always be circumstances that you have to cancel, but don’t make a regular habit of it.
- Make an effort to know what’s going on in your friend’s life and reach out to them (sick kids, doctor’s appointment, work meeting, family event, etc). If your friend tells you about something on a specific date, put it in your calendar and check in on them by calling, sending a text/email. Your friend will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Also if you see something on social media, send them a direct message or text to connect.
- Know your friend’s goals & support them (career, family, health, etc). Be happy for your friend for moving towards their goals.
5. Apologize & Forgive
Absolutely this is difficult but it’s important to have tough conversations when you need to. I had a long-time friend and we had some differences over a couple of years. We sat down for one uncomfortable coffee for 1 hour and talked it all through. At the end, we understood how it all came to be, apologized and moved on with our friendship.
The other option would have been to hold a grudge and be civil when we do see each other. That would have been many hours of uncomfortableness instead of just the 1 hour coffee date. Plus, we were able to let go of all the anger which is a much healthier way to live.