For some people making friends is easy, but keeping them is hard. Some people keep their friends, or most of them, forever. And, some people find it hard to make friends at all. Everyone is different, and you might even find that some people are easy to be friends with while others are difficult.
The thing is, you can’t reflect on what the other person is doing right or wrong. You need to look at who you are as a friend. If you are putting out “good friend vibes” you’ll attract good friends. If you’re not a good friend, or just not a good friend when certain people are around, then you’re going to attract more friends who might be negative people in general or even fair-weather friends who are only around when things are good or when things are bad because they love seeing other people miserable.
If you want to be a better friend who attracts better friends, follow these tips:
Give, Don’t Just Take
All relationships, romantic or otherwise, should be about equal amounts of give and take. If you’re always asking for things from your friend, but you’re never there when they need you for something, you’re not being a good friend. The same goes for the opposite. If you have a friend who is always taking from you it’s time to speak up and then reevaluate the friendship. Nothing is meant to last forever, so it might be time to dissolve that friendship.
Communication is another thing that is a must in every kind of relationship. If you aren’t open and honest with your friend you could be instigating a communication breakdown. When you’re going through a bad time you can’t expect them to just know things are bad- you need to tell them. If you don’t and they’re not there for you, that’s on you and not on them. They aren’t the one being the bad friend. Your friends shouldn't have to grill you to get information, and you shouldn’t have to play 20-questions to get it from them, either.
Be Helpful, Not Hateful
Never say, “I’m just being honest” or “I’m just telling you this because I want to help you/I care about you.” These statements always lead to trouble. If you’re saying something honest, a good friend will know you’re being honest. If you have to spell it out it shows you might not be completely honest.
Aside from that, offer helpful advice, not hateful advice. This is your friend—speak to them with kindness in your words. Yes, they say “the truth hurts”, but as a caring friend, you should find a nice way to bring up hurtful things. It’s not that difficult. It's not "sugar coating," it's called tact.
Put Selfishness and Jealousy Aside
You are both people, human beings who make mistakes, so act that way. Don’t be selfish if your friend is a little extra needy from time to time. On the other side of the spectrum, don’t be a jerk when your friend has some good things going for them and you don’t. Real friends are there for you in your happy moments and in your sad moments. They don’t judge you and they definitely don’t try to make you feel bad for being happy or worse for being sad.
Be There, Even When You’re Not Wanted
Sometimes we push people away. There are all sorts of reasons we do this as human beings. Sometimes we just need to be alone to recharge, sometimes we’re fighting demons other people can’t see, and sometimes we just feel like we don’t want to burden other people with whatever it is that’s going on in our lives.
Make sure your friend knows you’re there, even when they don’t want you around. Send them a reminder that you’re there as a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board to vent to, and someone to just sit silently with when they’re feeling alone.
We need friends. They keep us going.