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How to Be a Good Friend

Friends are not easy to come by…and a good friend is like a precious gem, to keep and to appreciate!

Friendships are precious and all of us need good friends to enrich our lives. But to get good friends, you need to be a good friend.

Here are ten tips to make your friendship a memorable one that lasts and nourishes both of you.

  1. When your friend is in trouble, you should be to sense something is wrong. Reinforce your support and wait for them to open up.
  2. It is important to be sensitive to their feelings. It is nice to be funny and comical, but if a problem is serious, your antennae must be tuned in to their pain. It is very important to know when to take matters lightly and when to sit down and talk serious issues over.
  3. When your friend specifically asks for help, make sure that you can. In case it is difficult, make it clear from the beginning that you cannot help them in any way other than by giving moral support and an ear to listen to their troubles. If you can help, explore the extent to which you can contribute.
  4. Your friend maybe going through some very bad times. Make sure that they know that they can talk to you about it anytime, anywhere. Do not leave them stranded in their darkest hours of despair.
  5. Any relationship needs regular validation. Make sure that you friend knows that s/he is important to you so that they genuinely feel wanted. Be dependable, don’t ditch them when you’ve promised to meet them and share liberally.
  6. Any relationship has boundaries. It is important to respect these limits and stay within them. When you trespass beyond boundaries, it can lead to unpleasantness.
  7. Be honest with your friend. Do not force your decisions about their life on them. Encourage them to talk about their problems and help them to arrive at a solution that is best according to them… Avoid saying ‘I told you so!’ when their decisions go wrong.
  8. Being a friend does not mean that you should live in each other’s pockets. We all need space.
  9. Good friends can pick up exactly where they left off. Remember, an apology can go a long way to straighten out misunderstandings. Being frank does not mean that hurting another person. Advise is only that: advise. Criticism should be constructive not soul destroying.
  10. Help each other to break bad habits. All of us tend to pick ourselves up, and yet we fall again and again. Let your friend know that you have noticed that they are smoking too much or drinking or being unfaithful…. Avoid being judgmental, but offer support to break bad habits.
  11. And never ever be clingy. Being jealous and not allowing other friendships to flourish can destroy good friendships.

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Padmini Natarajan calls herself Dame Quixote for she is forever tilting at windmills! A storyteller, poet, columnist, blogger, editor and journalist, she has specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. She has worked for over 15 years as Part-time Language Editor and Writer of manuals, curriculum textbooks and other material with an E-education organization, EZVidya/Chrysalis that is aimed at empowering Teachers, Students and Parents. She taught Vedic Heritage at Kalavardini to children from the ages of 3 to 14 and written and directed skits and plays. She won the Gourmand Special Jury Award in Paris in 2009 as co-author of ‘Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine’. Her book of short stories - ‘Crossroads: Stories from South Indian Lives’ - has good reviews on Amazon. Padmini has been concerned with paying it forward with her involvement in organizations like Sneha, a suicide prevention NGO, Canstop, Cancer Support group and many women’s organizations. Her other passion was acting, on stage, TV and screen. She is a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff, a music maniac who listens to Golden Oldies and has a strong Facebook presence. Nowadays she is an armchair activist and world traveler from the safety of her home. Quite the hypochondriac, she is exploring spiritual enlightenment through Vedanta and loves to spout philosophical thoughts to unwary audiences.