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10 Things True Friends Don’t Do

10 Things True Friends Don’t Do

A person’s belief system is often a direct reflection of who they spend their time with. To ensure a positive social environment built for your success, make sure the people you trust the most aren’t guilty of these ten things true friends don’t do.

1. They don’t gossip behind your back.

True friends distance themselves from unnecessary drama. If a close one spreads rumors or shares secrets that you asked to be kept private, then they aren’t a true friend worthy of your trust.

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2. They don’t resort to personal attacks.

True friends aren’t in the business of making you feel bad about yourself. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. They focus on your similarities, not your differences. They speak of your qualities, not your shortcomings.

3. They don’t start pointless arguments.

True friends know that there is nothing less productive than starting an argument you can’t win. “Reading that status update sure made me rethink my entire existence,” said nobody, anywhere, ever. A true friend should be willing to accept a person as they are, whether they agree or not. This isn’t to say you can’t have friends you disagree with (in fact, I highly recommend it as it puts things in perspective). But if you’re going to argue, do so respectfully.

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4. They don’t interrupt your every word.

True friends aren’t so obsessed with themselves that they aren’t interested in how you feel. A fair and balanced friendship can’t exist in a situation where one half does all of the talking and none of the listening.

5. They don’t discourage you from pursuing your goals.

True friends are willing to offer feedback without mincing words if they feel it is necessary for your personal development, but they don’t do so in a condescending or hateful fashion. Instead, they offer constructive, helpful advice that inspires you to become a better version of yourself.

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6. They don’t look down on you for your past.

True friends aren’t concerned with your past, no matter how colorful it might be. If you’re courageous enough to reveal a few skeletons living in your closet, a true friend shouldn’t think any less of you; instead, they should offer you comfort and support, expressing an appreciation for your willingness to open up.

7. They don’t abandon you in social situations.

True friends are emotionally intelligent enough to know that bringing a friend to a party where they don’t know anyone, and then proceeding to throw them to the fishes, is a very inconsiderate thing to do (especially if said friend happens to be an introvert).

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8. They don’t get jealous of your success.

True friends don’t waste their time in a pit of jealousy when something good happens to another person. They know it is much more productive to be happy for other people’s success (and maybe even take some notes about how they did it), than it is to be pout and play the “Why didn’t they pick me?” game. Less complaining, more hustling.

9. They don’t judge you or try to “fix” you.

True friends know it’s silly to try to “fix” a person while their own inner-houses are in disorder. As Jesus Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Recall that Jesus spent most of the Gospels hanging out with the very sinners people love to judge today instead of the moralizing Pharisees, who were so blinded by judgment that they couldn’t take an honest look at themselves and their own faults. True friends can admit that they themselves are far from perfect, so it’s a bit absurd to expect anything more from another person. You might not be perfect, but you are good enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. They don’t take your friendship for granted.

True friends don’t see a relationship as a short-term fling that can be tossed aside when it becomes inconvenient, but rather a long-term commitment of high importance. A friend worth having isn’t only interested in doing fun stuff like drinking Tequila shots, playing miniature golf, watching goofy videos on the Internet, riding roller coasters, lounging on the beach or dancing at the club; they are also willing to help you through difficult times by doing things like supporting you after a death in the family, and encouraging you to put yourself back together after a brutal break-up or unexpected job loss. Will Smith captured this top trait of true friends when he said, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

Featured photo credit: three friends woman in urban contest via shutterstock.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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