911 News & Resources Mobile Guide

How to be a Good Friend

  • 6 Friendship Tips

    Knowing how to be a good friend is the best way to make and keep good friends! These friendship tips include a summary of the emotional health benefits of friendship


    The emotional health benefits of friendship include a longer, happier life. Being a good friend makes your life more fun, interesting, and easy to handle! When you have just one close or best friend, your attitude and ability to deal with stress and problems is increased.

    Surprisingly, spending time with an intimate partner doesn't provide the same physical and emotional health benefits as a friendship does. Good friends offer a different kind of support than lovers, siblings, parents, or children.  Good friends provide a different level of understanding and communication. This positively affects your health, wellness, and attitude. Strong feelings of connectedness is another emotional health benefit of a friendship.



    The Emotional Health Benefits of Friendship

    Psychological research shows that stressed-out hamsters with skin wounds, who were paired with other hamsters, healed faster than those left alone to heal. The hamsters with friends also produced less of the stress hormone cortisol, which has negative effects on mood and immunity. You may not be a hamster, but the effects are transferable to human friends. If you're depressed, recuperating from an illness, or stressed, you'll heal and deal faster with friends. This is a huge health benefit of friendship.

    Researchers haven’t figured out exactly how, but friends boost your immune system. Good friends help you relax, take a deep breath, and remember what really matters. The connection and relationship you feel when you’re with your friends, boosts your feelings of hope, faith, and belief that things will be okay. Friends provide comfort and companionship, laughter and honesty. A strong support network can also keep you motivated as well as energized! This is why it's important to know how to be a good friend.

    A strong support network isn't just about emotions or feelings. A major emotional health benefit of friendship is moral support. Practically speaking, when a friend accompanies you to a doctor’s appointment or medical procedure, you’re more likely to experience lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate. You’ll heal faster and live longer. Without social ties or friends to keep you going, you’re more likely to experience negative emotions, more illnesses, or even an earlier death than normal.


    6 Ways To Be A Good Friend

    Spend quality time together. If you can’t go for walks or to yoga class together, then telephone or email your friend regularly. The conversations needn’t be long or personal. Those quick I’m thinking of you moments can go a long way in making a strong support network.

    Make friends a priority. Maybe you “should” clean the house, wash the dog, go grocery shopping, or watch tv. (Some people feel they should do that!). Give those “shoulds” the brush and prioritize your friendships. There will be plenty of time for those “shoulds” when you’re dead. For now, think about the health benefits of friendship.

    Be there for the good aswell as the bad. Show up for the funerals, the weddings, the surgeries and the celebrations! Be sincerely sad or genuinely happy for your friend. Include them on the good and bad in your life. One way to be a good friend is to be inclusive.

    Don’t keep score. Who called who last? Who bought lunch last? Who spent the most on Christmas gifts? Who forgot whose birthday? Who cares! If you have a good friend, cut a little slack. If your friendship really isn’t that great, then maybe you need to re-evaluate it. The health benefits of friendship will outlast the score-keeping cards.

    Notice the little things. The conversations that matter the most are the quick little ones that last only a few minutes. It’s not always the deep, long, heart-to-hearts, that bond friends together. It's the day to day minute of everyday life. One way to be a good friend is to have short, sweet conversations.

    Focus on the positive. We all have quirks and weaknesses. Focusing on your friend’s strengths and wonderful qualities will keep your friendship alive and strong. To be a good friend, forget about the things you wish were different.