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15 Signs That You Are Surrounded By Good Friends

15 Signs That You Are Surrounded By Good Friends

An old saying goes, “Surround yourself with the people you want to be like.” Successful people want to surround themselves with successful people. Optimists like to be around optimists. How can you tell if you’re hanging around with the right group of friends for you? Here are 15 signs that you are surrounded by good friends who care about you and not just what you can do for them!

1. Your friends listen to you.

A good friend can tell when you need an ear, or just to take the floor for a few minutes and talk something out. More importantly still, they help you determine where you have good, solid, actionable ideas and where they think you’re a little off base.

2. Your friends care about you.

Good friends take the time to ask about your life, your interests, and your opinions. They also take the time to be there when you need them, and want to help you be the best person you can be.

3. Your friends know when to throw a party.

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    There’s nothing wrong with blowing off a little steam, celebrating a milestone, or just making an event happen “because.” A group of friends who are really in tune with your needs know exactly when and how to party without taking it to extremes or getting you involved with anything illegal or uncomfortable.

    4. Your friends know when to end a party.

    Even the best party has to end eventually, and good friends can tell when it’s time to leave. If someone’s getting drunk and belligerent, or you’ve been yawning for the last half hour, they will understand it’s time to call it a night and leave gracefully.

    5. You feel like your friends have your best interests at heart.

    You may not always agree with what your friends say or their perceptions of a situation. However, they’re always thinking of what’s best for you in the long run. This can be a tricky line to walk, and sometimes you have an obligation to ignore the advice of others. Nevertheless, a good friend will be less worried about sparing your feelings than looking out for you.

    6. Your friends support you.

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      Even when you do something your friends don’t agree with, if they’re really good friends, they will support whatever you decide to do, within reason. They may not agree or like what you’re doing, like moving across the country to snag a good-paying job, but they’ll be there with the pizza and beer while you load up the truck!

      7. You always hear the truth from them.

      Good friends don’t lie. (Except on rare occasions of the “Does this dress make me look fat?” sort. Those kinds of lies don’t count, because they are intended to spare your feelings.) When the chips are down and you really need to be told the truth, your friends may hate it…but they’ll do it. This applies in situations like when your friends tell you maybe you’re partying a little too much or working too hard. If they tell you something like this, they’re speaking from the heart. You owe it to them and your friendship to listen.

      8. Your friends check in on you.

      A good friend cares about the people close to them. If they don’t hear from you periodically, they pick up the phone or even send an email. “Dude, where you at? Everything okay?” This doesn’t mean they constantly worry about you, because sometimes people get sick or busy and life happens. But they do take the time to let you know they’re thinking about you.

      9. Your friends know when to leave you alone.

      Sometimes you just want (or need) to be left alone. Work assignments, homework, or relationship woes can all leave you feeling like you just need a little downtime to work out your situation. A good friend understands and respects this. They’ll make it clear that they’re available if and when you need them, but they also understand that everyone needs alone time once in a while. Conversely, they also know you well enough to say, “Enough’s enough!” and drag you out of the house by your hair if necessary!

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      10. You don’t feel like you always have to reciprocate.

      A good friendship doesn’t come with a balance sheet. While you should always try to give as good as you get from your friends, that doesn’t mean you or they should feel obligated every single time. The point of a friendship is to be there as much as you can, when you can, to the fullest extent you can. Sometimes that means Jim picks up the beer, while you bring the pretzels. Sometimes Josh throws the party and you pitch in with the cleanup. Sooner or later in a good friendship, the books will balance naturally and intuitively, without either side having to do anything except be themselves.

      11. You can call your friends anytime you need them.

      Let’s put some rules on “anytime.” This does not mean three in the morning, unless someone is dead! Within reason, however, and during the hours when you KNOW they’ll be awake, you can call and say, “Hey…you got a few minutes? I need an ear.” If they say, “Not now, but let me call you back,” then respect that. If they’re willing to sacrifice time to help you out, it’s only fair that they should be able to do it on their schedule, especially for those who have “real jobs.”

      12. Your friends feel like they can call you when they need you.

      Part of being a good friend is being available, and this applies just as much to you as it does your friends. A friend who feels like you’re available for them when needed is more likely to be there for you when you need them!

      13. Your friends celebrate your victories and help you get over your setbacks.

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        Milestones deserve to be celebrated, and misery loves company. A good friend will congratulate you on your accomplishments and achievements without letting you rest on your laurels. Similarly, a good friend won’t let you wallow in self-pity when things go a little sideways. A good friend will celebrate or commiserate with you as appropriate, always asking the question, “So what’s next?”

        14. Your friends see you for who you are.

        We all wear masks and put on a show in our public lives, whether we choose to admit it or not. A good friend sees beyond the mask or the front and looks at the real person behind them. You can tell a good friend because they’re not afraid to call you out on your front, but they still want to be around you even when what’s behind it isn’t always the nicest, kindest, or best person. A good friend inspires you to be and do better than you are, but cares for you because of who and what you are.

        15. Your friends tell you when you’re making a mistake.

        No one likes to hear it when they screw up. That’s just human nature. However, a true friend is able to tell you you’re making a mistake without making a federal case of it. People who love you and support you even when they don’t necessarily agree with you are the kind of friends that are worth keeping, no matter where life takes you.

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        J.S. Wayne

        J.S. Wayne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle inspirations and tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on October 22, 2020

        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

        How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

        Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

        When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

        Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

        What Makes People Poor Listeners?

        Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

        1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

        Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

        Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

        It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

        2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

        This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

        Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

        3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

        It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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        I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

        If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

        4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

        While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

        To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

        My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

        Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

        Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

        How To Be a Better Listener

        For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

        1. Pay Attention

        A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

        According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

        As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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        I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

        2. Use Positive Body Language

        You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

        A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

        People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

        But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

        According to Alan Gurney,[2]

        “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

        Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

        3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

        I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

        Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

        Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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        Be polite and wait your turn!

        4. Ask Questions

        Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

        5. Just Listen

        This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

        I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

        I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

        6. Remember and Follow Up

        Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

        For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

        According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

        It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

        7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

        If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

        Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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        Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

        Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

        NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

        1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
        2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

        8. Maintain Eye Contact

        When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

        Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

        By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

        Final Thoughts

        Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

        You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

        And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

        More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
        [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
        [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
        [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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