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6 Things That Make A Great Friend

6 Things That Make A Great Friend

Friendships come and go. But what is the real friendship? For me, real friendship is when it goes away but then comes back. Think of a best friend in high school who moved to another country or state to study. You try to stay the same way with each other by regularly calling, facetiming, and updating each other on Facebook or Instagram.

But slowly, you notice that the communication is getting less and less. And as more time passes by, you find yourself not knowing much about this other person whom you used to call your best friend. After a year of not being in each other’s lives, you meet gain and suddenly everything seem like the way they used to be. No animosity, no unfamiliarity, only feelings of comfort in hearing each other laugh and share stories. That is what real friendship is to me. But what does it really take to be a great friend?

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1. You acknowledge that people need space to grow.

We are all wanderers on this planet and no two persons’ destinies are the same. We grow in many different ways and walk through many different paths. And even though paths might separate, they can meet again; when those paths meet, you don’t resent the other person for going away. You appreciate it and recognize that this new person might have turned out to be a better person than before.

2. Everything is natural.

Like in a romantic relationship, friendships need to be natural. When you are with a great friend, you don’t feel the need to come up with a plan on what to talk about. You don’t feel uncomfortable in moments of silence. You can be yourself and the other person brings out the positive side of you.

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    3. Your friendship stands the test of time.

    You probably got married and the other person decided to go to grad school. On your child’s third birthday, your friend comes and celebrates with your whole family. Then when your friend got married, you were chosen to be one of the bridesmaids even if you lived far apart. This means that real friendships go over several different stages in our lives.

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    4. You think about the other person and hope that everything is well.

    You might be really busy with work after you had moved to the big city. But in between those busy moments, thoughts of your friend enter your mind and you quietly wish that everything is going well on his or her side. You call or text to make sure that everything is ok.

    5. You keep your lines open.

    Nobody is too busy to talk to a good friend. Whether you are out on the subway or standing in line at the grocery while towing two crying babies, you can still answer a call or call a friend back. Or even email back. Communication is easy with technology. After all, when you need help or someone to talk to, it will be your turn to make a call.

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    6. You share.

    Information, time, a phone call, or a picture. It doesn’t matter what you share, what matters is that you do. If the other person is unemployed and you see a job posting, you pass the information on. You do not hold back if you know it would help the other person. Or if you know the other person will like or enjoy it. You share without expecting anything in return.

    There are many other ways that someone can be a great friend. In the end, these will be the people that are there for us to listen, hold our hand when we are lost, and appreciate us as a person. And to be a great friend, we need to do the same things in return.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via static.pexels.com

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    Sarah Bonander

    Writer, Human Resources Professional

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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