Ten Free Ways to be a Better Friend

Posted on 08/13/2012

Charles Caleb Colton once said, "True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost." Friendship Week is the third week in August, a reminder of just how important our friends are. And treasuring them doesn’t have to cost any money at all. Here are ten free ways to be a better friend.

Commit to It Being a better friend may not come naturally. It takes commitment, just like those New Year’s resolutions or weight loss goals. If you really want to be a better friend, make it a priority.

Remember Birthdays and Anniversaries
These days Facebook makes remembering birthdays pretty easy, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan for special days. Print out this free birthday calendar from Lemon Squeezy and write down your friends’ important days so that you can call, text or at least email to show you care.

Memorize Those Details
The fact that your friend hates bananas and loves 80s movies starring John Cusack may not seem that important, but when those little details are remembered friendships flourish. It feels good when someone knows you and your interests.

Express Yourself
Don’t assume your bestie knows how much you care. Let them know with simple words or a heartfelt note.

Share the Little Things
Even if you and your friend don’t share a zip code you can still share the little things. Compete against each other in a free game like Words with Friends or Scramble with Friends. It’s an easy way to connect in a fun way throughout the day.

Listen Fully
We all want to be heard, but listening takes work. When your friend talks, commit to being a good listener. And yes, that means setting down your Smartphone and eliminating other distractions.

Make Small Gestures
Showing you care doesn’t require cash. If you know your friend is having a rough day or going through something difficult, simply leave a nice post on their Facebook wall or send them caring a text.

Don’t Judge
When your friend opens up, be ready with the best response. Experts say listening and using phrases like “That sounds tough” or “That must have felt horrible” are far better than trying to fix the problem.

Send Random Cards
Cards don’t need to be reserved just for real holidays—make up a silly reason to spread some cheer with a free ecard like the ones found at someecards.com. No need to give your cash to a card company in order to make your friend feel special.

Hand Out Compliments
Love your friend’s new bracelet? Did they share a cute photo of their dog? Compliments can be worth gold, even though they cost nothing to hand out. Just make sure they are genuine.

By Alison Storm
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