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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

Freelance Writer

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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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