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How to be a great friend

8 May 2018

We share this planet with billions of people, some of whom we proudly call our friends. They can be many, or a mere handful, yet we value their friendship whether it's for a short time or a lifetime.

Being friends is a two-way street. Look after your friends and they'll look after you in return; the result can be a great friendship that is long and enduring.

Here are some tips on how we can all be a good friend. Even children can do some basic things to ensure that their friendships are true and meaningful.

Don’t forget who you are

Sometimes the urge to make friends can make us want to change who we are. But you shouldn’t feel that you have to give up a part of yourself in order to make friends with others. Not only will this mean that your friendships aren’t genuine, but you’ll be missing out on meeting people who think the real you is awesome.

Be thoughtful

In a good friendship, you think about the other person’s rights and feelings, as well as your own. You also try to understand how they might be feeling, and you treat them with kindness and concern.

Accept that we’re all different

Try to recognise and accept that everyone is different, and that we all have our own sets of values and interests. You don’t have to like or share everything your friends do. Treat everyone with respect and understanding, regardless of the differences between you.

Be a good listener

Listen to what others are saying, rather than focusing on yourself. If someone is telling you something that’s very personal or very important to them, don't interrupt them with a story about yourself, even if it's relevant. Let them finish what they’re saying and then try to respond in a helpful way.

Try not to trash-talk

It can sometimes be hard to resist building friendships based on a shared dislike of someone else. Be aware that this can make you seem like an untrustworthy friend, and the situation could backfire if you’re not careful.

Some of the most incredible friends you'll ever have may be people you might never have considered meeting or with whom you felt you had nothing in common. Yet, this is the beauty of friendships: you never know what will happen, and all you can ever do is try.

Reach out logo

ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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