For many of us, this has been a strange year. Vacations have been canceled, highly anticipated concerts have been postponed, and casual trips to the movies, nightclubs, and even leisurely Saturday brunch dates with friends haven’t been possible. As we strive to stay healthy during this pandemic, one of the hardest aspects to deal with has been the inability to simply hang out with our friends.
Luckily, we live in a time in which we have options like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts for safely interacting with our friends. These remote connections have placed a new importance on the qualities of a good friend. What are some of these qualities? Active listening, communicating honestly, and exuding positivity. Here’s why those qualities are so important.
We’ve all been there: Your friend is talking to you while you’re scrolling on your phone, and you’re only half-listening to her. All of a sudden, you hear very clearly: “Did you hear what I just said?” Now, when actual face time with friends is rare, it’s time we push aside distractions and become active listeners.
VeryWellMind.com offers five tips for improving your active listening skills:
- Really listen—and keep listening—to what your friend needs to say.
- Restate what you are hearing.
- Ask your friend how she feels about what she is saying.
- Focus on your friend; minimize your focus on how you had a similar experience.
- Help your friend brainstorm ideas for solutions; don’t just offer advice.
Honesty is one of the most crucial qualities of a good friend. The best friends can be trusted to give honest advice, whether the person is struggling with a life-changing decision or just wants to know if a new dress is really as flattering as the salesperson claimed. Good friends keep confidences, don’t lie to protect feelings, and give sincere compliments. If you are looking to strengthen a friendship, practice honesty in all you do.
A good venting session can be therapeutic every once in a while, but nobody likes a Debbie Downer who only exudes negativity, worry, and pessimism. Our favorite people to be around are often those who are optimistic, grateful go-getters. Those friends are always sharing fun stories, recalling hilarious memories, and offering up adventurous excursions. Right now, negativity is overtaking headlines, workplace chatter, and social media feeds. When you exhibit an upbeat, happy personality, you can become a lifeline to a friend in need of an emotional boost.
Staying connected with your friends may look different during this time of social distancing. But you can strengthen your relationships by exhibiting these three qualities of a good friend: active listening, honesty, and positivity. Your friends will appreciate your efforts!