Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you be a good friend?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) November 19th, 2009

I’m not talking about what you think a good friend does. I’m asking you to tell on yourself. What do you really do with friends that you think should be labelled as being a good friend?

Please tell a story about a time when you were a good friend. What did you do? How did your friend respond? Do you think your idea of being a good friend is the same as your friend’s idea?

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23 Answers

erichw1504's avatar

Good friends share, because sharing is caring. Unless it’s another person, that could get ugly.

I’m a generous person, so it makes others happy when I can give them whatever they need at a reasonable cost.

Judi's avatar

My friend accidentally ran over her dog with her car. She loves animals more than anyone I know.
I went running to be by her side. Was just there.
The same friend, owned an aircraft rental business and someone died in one of her airplanes.
I went running to be by her side. Was just there.
When her mother died.
I went running to be by her side. Was just there.
When her father in law died.
I went running to be by her side. Was just there.
When my husband’s father died she told me, “I don’t know how to handle things. I’m not a good friend like you are. I don’t know what to do.”
I told her, “You’re here aren’t you?

faye's avatar

I’ve just been there, mostly listening. and I’ve taken care of nitpicky things while a friend is suffering.

hearkat's avatar

I listen and do not judge. I offer my opinions and advice, but don’t nag if it isn’t taken (aside from the occassional nudge or eyebrow raise). I allow them to just be themselves and place no expectations.

I was the first person that one of my bffs came out to… years before he came out to his family or our other mutual bff. The three of us were in 1st grade together, but he and I actually didn’t develop a friendship until after we were out of High School. The other friend and I were pretty close all through the years.

Sometimes I am brutally honest, but ultimately that makes for a truer friend. I don’t play games or hold anything back. I don’t lie, but I can keep a secret (3 years passed before the one bff came out to the other, and she kept asking why he didn’t keep in touch with her. It was uncomfortable, and I told him so; but I respected his confidence).

I also can ‘get’ what somebody means, even when they’re struggling to find the words; and I can ask questions to help them look at their situations from other perspectives. I can find a way to phrase what they’re trying to say sometimes better than they can.

A friend I met much more recently also appreciates my honesty… I’ll tell him if the needs to trim his nose hairs, for example. He also feels comfortable discussing issues from his past that he has revealed to very few others, again, because I am able to empathize and I do not judge.

Basically, I am the kind of friend I hope others will be for me: honest, compassionate and loyal.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I listen, I advise when asked, and I will drop whatever I’m doing if a friend needs me. I don’t care what it is, I don’t care where I am – I will be there for you if you’re feeling down and you need someone.

DominicX's avatar

One of the most important things that I do to be a good friend is: listen. I have friends that I do like very much, but their listening power is sub-par. They’re not doing it on purpose but they don’t seem to realize that they’re not as effective. I really try to listen to people as much as possible and I try to help them when they need help. I hate to say “be there” because it’s so cliched, but it really is true. And of course it can be expressed in a variety of different ways, verbal, physical, etc. And this isn’t just when they’re down and sad, this can be when they’re up and happy too and they want to be with someone.

One time I recall was when the boy who was to become my boyfriend legitimately asked me how to have more friends. Of course that’s a gigantic thing to ask and of course I didn’t know what to do right away, but I truly felt like I wanted to help him and I knew that if he felt comfortable asking something like that of me, then it meant that he viewed me as a good friend. And so I did help him. I listened to him, I listened to a lot of things he told me, I helped him out and I do believe it was successful.

Additionally, I always try to listen as much as possible to other people (listening isn’t just sitting there with no expression—I communicate understanding as well), which is often more than some of my friends. Not trying to brag, but the difference is noticeable.

Judi's avatar

I laugh at my husband because he is an outgoing Character, often not letting people get a word in edgewise. It always cracks me up when we leave a party and he says, “So and So was really nice!” It is usually someone who listened to him the entire evening. Listening IS Key.

J0E's avatar

I try to be comedic relief when they need it.

madsmom1030's avatar

My husband would tell you that generally I am very laid back, sweet, nice and kind. But there are times when you may have to be assertive to help someone that you really care about. I went to the UofA for my BA. I had a very close girlfriend that I even lived with for most of undergrad. We are two very bright and determined women. We dated two friends from the same fraternity and when everyone found out we were going to be roomates that all took bets on how long that would last. they thought we would end up arguing and not liking each other. we fought one time about our different tastes in music and looked at each and just laughed because we knew neither one would ever win the argument and never argued again. We were always there for each other.

It was our last year and we were all getting ready for grad school entrance exams- lsat for me and mcat for her. She called me one day while I was in my lsat class and told me that her SO had just dropped her off at the dorm, gone downstairs gotten into his car and she heard a gunshot. She tried to do CPR but it was a GSW to the head and he died. It affected all of us very deeply because there were no warning signs at all.

The school had a paper and of course it was front page news the next day. I was very involved in our student government and well known to students, faculty and the administration since I was the academic affairs dir and represented the students in many different ways. which meant i also knew most of the reporters for the school paper including the editor. Someone gave me a heads up that they had stumbled on her name and were planning on putting it in the paper. she was having a very rough time- moved off campus back to her parents house and we all took turns going to class with her so she wouldn’t be alone. the last thing she needed was her name in the paper. I trooped right down to their office and went to speak to the editor. asked him point blank if they had found out her name. he said yes and they were going to run it the next day. I told him not a good idea that she was having a hard time dealing with it, trying to finish school and prepping for the mcat. he of course came back with freedom of the press and wasn’t budging. finally I just said- freedom of the press shouldn’t be used to potentially harm another person that one person had already died and his name in the paper was hard enough. she didn’t choose to be involved in that situation. I only had one card left to play- I said well here’s the deal you can leave her out of the paper and finish your year as editor successfully or you can put her name in the paper and find a group of people that would make you job as editor very challenging as far as stories and interviews from us and that I had a reputation at many levels filled with admiration and respect. For me i just felt it was the right thing to do- he ended up leaving her name out of it, i helped him with some stories and he eventually said that he wished he had a friend that would go to bat for him like that.

definitive's avatar

I believe you have different levels of friendship and different expectations of friends. So you reciprocate what is expected of you in that particular relationship. I have girl friends who I have known socially for years who I generally just see when I go out. Then I have friends who I have known since leaving school who I don’t see very often but I’m able to pick up where we left off. I’ve recently found a best friend since I chose to end my marriage…we haven’t known each other that long but the closeness I have developed with her as a friend suprises me considering I have friends who I have known for years. As friends I know that we would drop everything as necessary… we don’t judge each other and I respect her honesty with regards to life/relationships etc…because I know what she advices is in my best interests and vice versa. Also we have both moved onto new relationships and sometimes struggle to get together…friendship is about understanding where people are at in their life and offering reassurance without pressure that you are there for each other…friendship is about maintaining communication…sharing your hopes and fears.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I listen when my friend needs to be listened to.
I will put a friend up for a bit who needs a place to stay and help them get the help they need.
I will see a friend perform in their show.
I’ll feed them on occasion.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Like others have written, I want to just “be there” for my friends. I’m physically isolated from my core group these days so my celly and computer are my lifeline to them. One common thread between us all is the stated feeling that no matter the passage of time, when we do get together physically, the feeling’s as if we’ve been in continuous contact, that we’re still in sync.

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t, under any circumstances, fuck them over.

Siren's avatar

I listen. I think it’s important in a friendship. I try to offer advice too if they ask for it. I don’t expect anything from my friends in return, just their company and good dialogue. When I do something or my friend does something for me, I don’t feel it should be an automatic give-and-take, but a help-when-you-are-able-to kind of relationship. That’s what I think a good friend does, and what I try to do to maintain a good friendship.

I’ve helped friends out financially when they have asked for it (and sometimes not asked). I have offered advice when they have asked for it. Recently I met a friend for lunch and paid for the meal, just a small gesture to let them know they are meaningful in my life. And sometimes during a busy day, I have spent more time with them than was practical for me, and they appreciated that I did that.

irocktheworld's avatar

Be nice and caring! You can’t be a better friend by being mean.You should care about the person and try to protect them with bad desicions but respect them anyway.You should listen to them and if they ever need you,go after them.Don’t spill secrets and care.I just lost a friend on fluther that was like a best friend to me and now it all sucks.I learned you have to respect what they do and say and hope for the best.

Iclamae's avatar

Listen, until some ungodly hour of the morning. Attempt to advise against destructive behavior (hanging on to some jerk, considering hurting yourself, etc). Watch girly flicks with.

A previous friend was stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship with her ex-best friend, who she did not want to lose. At this point he had completely broken her and was just ruining her ability to function by saying terrible things about her and to her. She had been suicidal before which fueled some of his ravings, calling her psychotic and threatening to ruin her image with her friends with it. For 5 months, I yelled at him, stayed up late to console her, talked her out of hurting herself, and just generally allowed the entire situation to consume me too. At some point, at the end of the 5 months, she snapped. Taking her life back but in a… not entirely healthy but not entirely destructive way.
This incident broke both our relationships with another female friend (the girlfriend of the guy) for different reasons and in the end, my friend told me she didn’t think we were friends anymore. I wasn’t surprised; my friends have often given me that kind of thing when in a stressful situation, but it did hurt. Our relationship was strained after that, finally ending a year later when her new lifestyle just went too far.

I have not yet found a friend who believes in the same definition I do. It’s caused me quite a bit of frustration and pain in the process, but I’m still holding out hope on some newly developed friendships.

nephrons's avatar

One time my friend went astray to the “bad” path, i stayed close to her for almost a year.. Finally when she realizes her mistake, i assured her, it is alright, what is important, “you came back to the right path, forget about it, and let’s pretend it never happens”..

ratboy's avatar

Once when I was drinking with a friend, I knocked over my beer. I was extremely pissed, but I only shot him in the knee rather than in the head.

noraasnave's avatar

A good friend stays in contact. I arranged to have lunch with each of my friends individually before going to afghanistan just in case I die here.

A good friend is there most of the time silently. I call my friends and just listen to them, I don’t call just to tell them about something awesome or bad happening in my life. I call just to listen sometimes.

A good friend is willing to learn to help. My friend was dealing with the tail end of all the feelings and emotions of a death. I went to my online college and found a book on death, dying and relationships so that I could better understand with what she was going through. It helped a lot with questions and thoughts that fostered the processing of feelings on her side and my side of the discussion.

SuperMouse's avatar

Three years ago, and about two weeks before I was scheduled to move myself and my boys half way across the country by myself, my neighbor called me at five o’clock in the morning. Her husband was in the hospital after a suicide attempt. I got a sitter for my kids and one for her kids and drove to the hospital. I then spent the next two weeks – while trying to pack and sell my house – shuttling her children and mine around while trying to provide her moral support.

When I arrived here I was miserable and my marriage fell apart. I went to her for support, she told me to f-off because I was leaving my husband. I haven’t heard from her since.

I’m not bitter though – can you tell?

499335508crazygrape's avatar

um well sometimes I’ll go to the mall and randomly buy them gifts like clothes or jewelery:)

rooeytoo's avatar

It is hard to say exactly what is entailed in being a good friend but they sure are hard to find!

justme1's avatar

I do everything I can for my friends, am always there for them whenever they need me. No matter what it is, I give whatever I can. I listen, and just be the best friend i can possible be

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