Healthy Living

How To Be A Good Friend

02/10/2017 03:34pm ET | Updated February 14, 2017

Throughout our lives, in the good times and the bad, it’s always wonderful to know you can count on a good friend. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that I treasure my own personal friendships greatly. They are some of the greatest stress relievers in my life.

In order to have a good friend, you must know how to be a good friend. As you go through your busy life, it’s important to stop and make sure you are doing all you can to hold onto those lifelong bonds.

Here are some ways you can be a good friend:

Create intimacy. In all relationships, bonding is everything. By being open, telling your story, and listening to the story of others, you learn about shared experiences, challenges, and what you have in common. You discover who that person is under her skin; how she views and experiences the world; her likes and dislikes; and, her interests and passions. This information connects you to one another and gives you a way to relate.

Listen and learn. Be respectful and value both yourself and your friend by recognizing that each one of you is a unique human being. When you give your full attention to another person’s story and life experience, you gain insight not only into the other person, but into yourself. The message you give to your friend is that you appreciate and value what she has to say, who she, and her passions.

Be authentic. Find your inner voice, your vocation, and dare to listen to it. Only the outcast can lead. By being yourself and respecting yourself, you will find others like you. By listening to that your voice, you will find not only a good friend who likes you for yourself, but also, your place in the world.

Leave a legacy. If you change the course of one person’s life for the better, in a sense, you change the world. The ripple effect of kindness is transformative. Finding a friend with common interests, passions, and values, can give you the support you need to recognize and acknowledge your own inspiration and your dreams. Value-for-value is how legacies are born. When you help someone, you lend value and meaning to your life, and that validation allows you to give value to others.

Show your friend that you care. Never take a friendship for granted. You must ensure your friend knows that you care about her, and that you will always be there for her. Text her out of the blue to let her know you are thinking of her. Send flowers or cards for special occasions and holidays. A true friend is someone you can count on to be in your corner, whether you are right or wrong – and you need to be that kind of a friend in order to receive that kind of friendship in return.

A good friend can be hard to find. When you find one, you must tend to your friendship as you would a garden: with love, with gentle care, and with great attention. A true friendship takes commitment, but it is always worth the effort.