“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” ― Helen Keller
My mom used to tell me that there is a big difference between “acquaintances” and true friends. I like to say that there is a difference between the people who are good-hangs, and our ride-or-die (ROD) partners for life!
The RODs get us through the tough times and are there to celebrate our best moments. We laugh and we cry, quite frequently at the same time.
When I was a kid, we used to call our very closest pal our “BFF” – Best Friend Forever. That was back when we only had one best friend and nobody else could come between the two! Ever!
Unless one of you moved away, liked the other’s boyfriend, or decided they needed to upgrade their position within the social hierarchy. All legit reasons.
If, for any reason, our BFF position became available there would be an open enrollment period where other gals could apply for the highly coveted role. Of course, a shadowing period was required before any official announcement could be made regarding the change in status.
Today we call them “besties” implying more than one best friend exists. We have learned that best friends change throughout the different phases of our lives, and that there is no reason to limit ourselves to just one.
This week I took some time to take inventory of my relationships including my best buds. It is important to me that my friends are supportive of me and that I support them right back.
Here are some things I like to think about when considering how to the best, best friend ever.
1. Boost Their Confidence
One very easy thing you can do immediately to help your girlfriends is to boost their confidence. It’s not difficult and you can do it immediately.
Just give your friends some compliments! Both men and women love to hear that their hair looks nice, you dig their shoes, or that they are sporting a nice smile.
I don’t wait to be impressed by someone before offering an adulation. I go out into the world purposefully intending to find things to complement others on. It spreads light and joy into the world and in turn surrounds me with gratitude.
Compliments are a shot of dopamine because people are often too busy focusing on the negative in their lives instead of the good things the universe is throwing their way.
Selfishly, if my best friends are filled with joy than I am more apt to get some of that back.
We are our sister’s keepers! Make sure your friends know you think they are amazing!
2. Give and Accept Support
There are a couple ways to offer support.
The easiest to checkoff the “being a good friend” list is to simply listen to their crap and repeat phrases like “I know, girl. You should not have to deal with that. That is horrible. I’m so sorry.”
It may sound as if I am asking you to be insincere. I am not. Our friends just need us sit next to them and listen as they unload.
That’s how you treat most of your friends, but for the ride-or-die levels we need to step it up a bit.
We need to support them by actually doing things to help them out.
A BFF may do one of the following:
Pick up her kids when she’s in a bind – even if you are sort of in a bind too
Go see that movie the you aren’t really into just because your bud wants to see it
Meet her at the gym after her workout with some juice or a protein shake
Buy every single thing her kid is selling
Facebook stalk the dude she’s into and get CIA-level deets to make sure she’s safe
Do not forget to encourage her to accept help, as well.
While you are at it – maybe ask for and receive a little help yourself, friend.
3. Share Ideas for Managing Stress
Has your best friend ever turned into a manic lunatic who is suddenly smoking and making random accusations against her daughter’s school friends?
Are you sometimes unsure if either she has not slept in a couple days or if her recreational drug use is more serious than you thought?
Best friend code says that you let it go for a week or so but then step in if she is unable to get her shit together.
Take your girlfriends to yoga, meditation or a kickboxing class.
How about walking the trail or going to one of those trampoline courts that are supposedly for kids? They are so much fun! Take a kid or two with you, then ditch them and have a good time with your gal pals.
There are so many healthy outlets and ways to deal with stress.
Close friends can see when we need to let off some steam before we can.
4. Get Honest
Having someone that can be flat-out honest with me is monumental. It means the world for somebody to tell me like it is even when they know imma get pissy straight off.
Once one of my guy friends told me I had to “trim a couple.” That did not sit well.
I am certainly not endorsing that type of candor. We are women and we all know where the lines are, right?
Call each other out when you see things straying off course. A more realistic example is, “Hey. Why are you being such a bitch right now? What is going on?”
Best Friends Forever understand that our pals are just trying to ensure we are being the best versions of ourselves.
5. Be Their Biggest Cheerleader
Be there to encourage your friends throughout all of their endeavors.
Whether they are risking it all and swinging for the bleachers on a new business venture or trying to lay off the vino for a minute. Make sure they know you are right beside them and are proud of the work they are doing and choices they are making.
Having a no-wine Monday? Okay, me too.
Perhaps you have noticed that they need to loosen up a bit. Go dancing! It’s Prince night at the club – drag their butt out and have some fun together! Bring the rest of the crew and whoop it up.
Think out of the box and get out of your comfort zone. Together.
I believe it is very important for us to continually push past our fears toward personal growth. This includes how we have fun. It brings a greater sense of purpose, lowered cortisol levels, better immune function and more efficient sleep.
6. Practice Acceptance
Finally, I would like to discuss acceptance.
I know it sometimes feels like you and your bestie share the same brain, but the truth is no two people on this planet are the same.
We all think and react differently so it is crucial to have your friendship exist inside a judgment-free friendzone.
Be accepting of your friends and be open and willing to hear what they have to say about their choices and beliefs.
Even if we do not agree with everything. When we listen without prejudice we are able to learn new ways of looking at our own beliefs while gaining clarity and conviction.
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With gratitude, Brooke