We all want to be a good friend. By how do you walk the fine line between being supportive and being an annoying buttinski?
Here are a few tips:
1. Avoid giving unsolicited advice.
This is probably the number one way to get on your friends’ nerves. We all have that one friend who is always trying to tell us what to do, even when we didn’t ask for it. While it’s great that they care about us and want to help, it’s often stuff we’ve thought of and rejected, and we wish they’d shut up.
2. Mind your own business.
This goes hand in hand with number one. Just because you see your friend doing something you think is wrong, that doesn’t mean it’s your place to say anything. If they’re not asking for help, then butt out.
3. Be respectful of their time and space.
Your friend has their own life! You may think that since you’re such good friends, they should always be available to hang out or talk on the phone, but that’s not fair. Everyone needs some alone time, and if your friend is busy, don’t take it personally.
4. Don’t gossip about them behind their back.
OK, they’ve rejected your advice, and it ticks you off. So you get right on text and get in touch with a common friend, and you start venting about how wrong they are and how you don’t understand why they’re making that choice. STOP. That is not being a good friend. If you have something to say to your friend, say it to their face. Or shut up.
5. Respect their privacy.
You know something you shouldn’t know. They didn’t tell you. Now you want to help. Well, we have some news for you. If your friend wanted you to know, they would have told you. So don’t ask them about it, don’t bring it up, and for the love of gosh, don’t tell anyone else.
6. Avoid being judgmental.
If your friend is having a rough time, they need your support. But if all you can do is criticize, you’re not being helpful. Try to be understanding and compassionate, even if you don’t agree with their choices.
7. Don’t be a yes-man (or woman).
If your friend is messing up, or making a bad choice, don’t enable this behavior. Now, this doesn’t mean tell them what to do. But don’t actively help them ruin their life, or the lives of others. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you should betray their trust by blabbing to others what they’re doing. But you can gently steer them back on track without being preachy.
8. Hang in there during the tough times.
We all have our ups and downs, but a true friend will be there for us during the tough times as well. Sometimes this just means being quiet, supportive and present, nothing more.
9. Don’t try to fix them.
This goes back to unsolicited advice. Often, when we see our friends going through a tough time, we want to help by “fixing” the problem. But the thing is, we can’t fix other people. We can only offer support and be there for them as they work it out themselves.
10. Be yourself.
This is the most important one of all. Be genuine, be honest, and be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, or pretend to be something you’re not. Just be yourself, and let your friendship develop naturally.
By following these tips, you can be a good friend without being annoying. Just remember to be respectful, understanding and supportive, and you’ll do great!
Content by Audere Magazine. Image by Pexels.