How to Be a Good Friend (And Signs to Avoid Being a Bad One)

How to Be a Good Friend

Note from Vincent: This article was originally published on August 12, 2013. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good friendship these days and re-reading this, I found myself still standing by what I said. Bumping this one to the top to make sure it gets read again today.

You might be a terrible friend and not even realize it. That should scare you. Really, it should!

You know what? Right now you should be sweating profusely, pacing the floor, and asking yourself whether or not you know how to be a good friend.

Sometimes our actions and the words that escape our mouths stop going through a filter. Then eventually we’re not even conscious of how horrible we are as a person/friend/lover/whatever.

We get so used to our friends that we become insensitive to the things we say and do. Sure, that level of comfort can be a good thing, but at the same time a lot of ugliness can start leaking out. It could be a reflection of the person you really are, but I’m not going to get into all of that.

Check out some of the signs below and see how many of these apply to you. Note that these don’t automatically make you a bad friend, but they’re still things you should be conscious of. Don’t worry, I cover how to be a good friend directly under this one (it’s also more comprehensive.)

Signs You Might Be a Bad Friend

  1. You project your own negative qualities onto them.

    After a while you start assuming that because you think a certain way, your friends and others do too. For example, if you’re prone to talking about others behind their back then you’d assume everyone else does the same. Eventually, you begin to blame others and talk about how they went and did something even though they never did. This gets annoying and yes, your friends do notice this.

  2. You start criticizing or blaming them for everything.

    You feel like nothing is your fault and you’re always right. Everything wrong is because of them. Then you start letting them know, even non-verbally, how you feel about the situation. This is how you lose friends.

  3. You only spend time with them when you need something.

    When you reach for the phone it’s never to see how they’re doing or to get together and have fun. There is always a reason to call or text. It becomes so habitual that every time you call or text, their response is “What do you need?” If that’s a common response you get from multiple people then you’ve got a clear warning sign.

  4. You evade all responsibility, leaving them to handle it all.

    When there’s work to be done or responsibilities that should be divided you just sort of sit in the back and relax. Teamwork goes out the door because you’d rather be doing something else (or nothing) than to help out. What’s worse is when you walk away when the going gets tough. Soon enough, you’ll be the one your friends will be evading.

  5. You never think about how they may feel.

    Your words hurt like knives and you might not even know it (or care,) because you have a disregard for how they may feel. You don’t stop to wonder how your decisions, actions, and words may affect what your friends think. Sometimes it’s the lack of action that hurts them most. So many things to be mindful of! Are you losing track?

  6. You have the need to “one-up” them.

    Although this doesn’t always mean you’re a bad friend, it shows some flaws in character on your part. You could begin to wear down the friendship if the other person feels like you constantly show off or downplay their accomplishments. People have enough insecurities and self-esteem issues as is. Don’t make them feel the same way around their own friends.

  7. You don’t listen to what they have to say.

    Their opinions mean nothing to you and it’s usually drowned out by your own stories. You fight for time to speak and when they are talking you’re usually tapping your feet impatiently for your turn to talk. Oh and they know when you’re pretending to listen. Tossing in a question to make it seem like you care is insincere. What’s worse is when you ask them something only to interrupt them mid-answer so you can start talking.

  8. You never stick to your word.

    Come on. If you say you’ll do something, don’t go back on your word. Punctuality goes into this too. Don’t be the person who is consistently an hour later than promised.

How to Be a Good Friend

How to Be a Good Friend

  1. Make sure they’re okay the moment you sense something wrong.

    It’s easy to go overboard, but when tactful it can mean the world to them when you show you’re concerned. Send them a text, a phone call (even better,) or surprise them by showing up at their front door. Make an excuse to spend time with them. This doesn’t mean you have to shove advice down their throat. It just means showing you want them to be okay.

    Unfortunately, there’s no universal method to being caring without being too pushy. Instead, you’ve got to figure out what works best and adjust as needed.

    Some people are very good at hiding their negative emotions. Hopefully you’ve learned when they’re wearing a mask. Masks get heavy when you wear them for so long and sometimes you forget how to take it off. I used to put on a brave face when I was going through rough times. It sucked but having good friends around who knew when I wasn’t really okay helped a lot.

  2. Know when to be serious and when to be goofy.

    When it’s time to be serious, you get down to business. No goofing off. No cheap attempt at being funny to avoid the real issues. You may argue from time to time and that’s alright. It’s natural. Be mature and aim at finding common ground instead of trying to divert the attention elsewhere.

    There are times to be messing around, but it gets tiring for others if you don’t know how or when to turn it off. If you can’t then how can others trust you enough to share important things with you?

  3. Go the extra mile when they ask for help.

    When they ask for your opinion or help on something that means something. It means they value what you think. If someone hands you an essay asking for you to help proofread or revise it then go the extra mile. Bust out a red pen and start marking it up like crazy. Show them you’re as invested as they are.

    This means never half-ass things when it comes to your friends. These are your friends we’re talking about here. It’s a committed relationship and it sucks when the other person doesn’t put in effort to help when needed.

  4. Don’t give up on them during their darkest hours.

    Going hand in hand with the first point, you don’t give up. If they’re going through really difficult times then they may begin to close themselves off from you and your other friends. They’d say no to going out and hide from the world. This annoys some people and eventually they give up, but good friends keep trying.

    Sure, it sucks to be the one trying to pull a friend out of rough times and it does get difficult to not throw my hands up in the air with frustration, but damn it, I know they’re not going to be able to get out on their own.

  5. Make them feel wanted.

    This means you listen to everything they say intently. You show you like being around them. Hell, sometimes even say it outright. “You’re an awesome friend,” “It’s not as fun when you’re not there,” or “I like hanging out with you, you know?” You should be comfortable enough together to be blunt about it without feeling weird.

    Insecurity kicks in even when it shouldn’t. It doesn’t take a lot to show you care and re-assure them from time to time.

  6. Tell them, “I’ve always got your back,” at least once (and mean it.)

    Remind them that you’re friends for life by making sure they know you’ll always be there. This means keeping in touch or being there to cheer them up when they’ve got it rough.

    If you’ve never told your closest friends this then make sure you do next time your friends tell you about a problem they’re hung up on.

  7. Understand and respect boundaries.

    Know that you don’t have to be together 24/7. I need my space to recharge and I don’t always feel like hanging out with others. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them. Good friends aren’t pushy and don’t get upset because of an occasional “no.” In fact, good friends know how to pick up right where they left off no matter how long it’s been since they last saw each other.

  8. Be honest and constructive when needed.

    There’s a difference between being conscious of their feelings and letting them ruin themselves in the long-run. If they’ve developed a bad habit then kindly point it out and show you’re concerned. They’re picking up smoking? You care about their lungs. Drinking too much? Let them know you’ve noticed.

    For less serious examples, imagine their breath smells and they’re going on a date. Do you want them to crash and burn later or would you rather let them suffer an ego hit, fix their act, and get out there in full confidence? If you feel like criticisms are harsh, offer them tips on how to improve.

  9. Introduce them to others.

    Your social circle might be tightly knit, but there’s always room for expansion. Introduce them to people they don’t know just to show you’re not afraid of being seen with them. Remember, you want to be proud of being in public with them.

    It’s up to them to decide if they want to start hanging out with these new people in the long-run. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if they do. Fun is what you’re aiming for here.

  10. Jump to the rescue when asked.

    We all get in unexpected trouble and it’s good to know people who would jump to your rescue. My car’s battery died in a parking lot at 3 in the morning last month. I called people I knew would come to my aid because they were the type to help. Guess who I didn’t bother calling? Those who I knew would have an excuse.

  11. Don’t bring up uncomfortable subjects they dislike.

    This doesn’t mean avoiding subjects that are important and possibly life-changing. I’m talking about bringing up things that serve no constructive purpose but to annoy them or to just fill the silence. Which brings me to my next point…

  12. Be okay with gaps in conversation.

    Silent gaps will naturally occur in a conversation. Be comfortable with them. Don’t feel like you absolutely have to fill every single second with a sentence. It’s okay to be comfortable and just enjoy each other’s company.

    Especially as an introvert, I need time to recharge after spending time with a lot of people. I really enjoy my time, but I need to recharge my batteries on occasion. With that in mind, learn the real differences between introverts and extroverts. You may have the wrong idea.

  13. Be dependable (punctuality and keeping promises.)

    When you say you’ll do something, be a person that sticks to your word. That means being punctual, not going back on your promises, and ensuring that you’re viewed as a reliable friend.

    Being unreliable will make your friends think twice before asking you for something.

  14. Learn how to apologize.

    It takes a lot to admit you did something wrong. Don’t be afraid of admitting to your friends that you messed up. It happens to the best of us. Someone who can swallow his or her pride and admit they’re in the wrong is a great friend.

    Don’t know how to apologize? Check out this article, courtesy of The Art of Manliness.

  15. Know how to show you’re happy for them.

    We all get too caught up in our own lives and forget how to show appreciation. Sure, we know we care, but it’s difficult for the other person to know you do if you don’t show it.

    It’s easy to tell when someone is dishonest. “Wow, I’m so happy for you,” with an non-eager face isn’t very convincing. Be invested in their successes and show in your facial expressions that you really are happy.

  16. Show small gestures on occasion.

    It can be as simple as buying them something you thought they might like. I’d be thrilled if a friend of mine bought me a Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who. That would tell me a lot of things. First, I know they remember what I enjoy. Second, they were thinking of me. Third, they spent their hard-earned cash to let me know they like me. Awesome feeling.

  17. Start saying yes more often to your friends and make time for them.

    It’s not a good feeling to be turned down by your friends. Sometimes life gets in the way and that’s okay. After all, remember the point about boundaries. However, I know how easy it is to say no. It becomes habitual. It’s just so easy when you’re “not feeling it.” Make it a point to say yes more often to your friends when you can.

    You’re not that busy. Unless you’re absolutely certain there is no possibility of making room for your friends, you have no reason to have no time for your friends. It’s easy to convince yourself you’re too busy. Don’t buy into your own stories. Always make time for them because it’s easy to drift apart.

  18. Keep in touch and make sure you don’t drift apart.

    Life goes on and everyone has their own thing to do. Sure, picking up where you left off may be easy for you, but it’s just as easy to completely lose contact. It takes effort, especially when there’s a lot of physical distance, to maintain a good friendship. It’s a relationship that takes both sides to work.

Share this article with your friends and let them know you think they’re a good friend.

Or… Passive aggressively pass this onto someone you’re mad at.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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121 responses to How to Be a Good Friend (And Signs to Avoid Being a Bad One)

  1. Good shit Vincent. This was super comprehensive.

    Being impeccable with your word is so important. Punctuality is something I used to suck at severely. But like with all these other lessons, being a good friend requires some effort. You can’t automate that shit. So working a little bit harder to be on time is just a necessity of being a good friend.

    Do you think being an introvert plays a part when it comes to friendships? I saw what you wrote about re-charging the batteries, but I’m talking about an introvert not wanting to put in the work. It’s common knowledge that introverts like some alone time. But, I would think an introvert would have to utilize more will power than an extrovert. Especially when it comes to consciously putting in effort to better their relationships.

    • Being introverted definitely plays a factor. They have to put in a lot more effort because it’s not “natural.” Thinking about how an introverted like myself feels you realize that when we envision “going out,” sometimes we linger on the feeling of how tired we are when out and about. Then when we reach for the phone, whether to answer an invitation or form one, we think twice. That’s why it’s so easy to say no or to let friendships drift.

      I do think a lot of introverts understand the importance of a good friendship, but it’s draining. I totally get that, but once I realized I said no too often I began to start saying yes more. It’s gotten me into tons of adventures I would have otherwise missed out on if I had said no.

      • Very perceptive and highly informative and inspiring post. I was looking for something to help my nieces form friendships … this sure works for adults too. And your responses to peoples comments are very insightful to. Great work.

      • Regarding the introvert/extrovert dilemma I have found exactly the opposite to be true. The extroverts seem to be far more superficial towards their “friendship duties” compared to their introverted counterparts. As an introvert myself, I have spent many an hour contemplating what friendship is – what it does – precisely because of my social ineptitude. The extroverts I have known often spend little time in thought, discouraging self-awareness so that their ugly issues, flaws & emotions are frequently (and subconsciously) projected onto their dumbfounded “friend”.

        Of course this is my own experience/perception and in this disposable age, when most items filling one’s life are replaced within a decade (obviously most items are replaced far sooner), it would make sense that societal opinions regarding relationships would follow this trend.

      • Hey Vincent I’m sylas Howard and I go to resaca middle and I have a question for you what do I do when my friend and I get in a fight

      • Thank you for sharing about introverts. I am one, too. I have been saying yes more and I am so glad. I went to a fun party today. I met some nice people and enjoyed myself. I am recharging now. I am realizing that it is ok to be the way I am, but I just need to push myself a little when I hesitate after an invitation. Thank you for the great insight.

    • Introverts make better friends ?

    • I don’t have any relationships. And not knowing what the hell is going on makes me keep to myself. And maybe I don’t utilize my time best, but I’m stuck in my thoughts…it doesn’t help that countless scenarios are placed out there or acted out. Idk what to do about anything anymore so its easier to do nothing when all previous efforts failed and only resulted in someone else’s favor. I’m tired, mentally tired and Idk. Can’t fucking think. Tired of thinking, guessing, searching.

      • BRITTNEY J KEDROE July 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        Avi, I just wanted to reply to your post because I’m in a similar place as you From what I read I could be wrong but it sounded like you deal with heavy anxiety and I do too . It does get hard but understand that what goes on in your head is different than what goes on in reality . Meditation really helps I’m not saying it will stop the thinking and anxiousness but it will change your relationship towards your over thinking . Just don’t give up in the time you are keeping to yourself do some research , maybe try to find a therapist the way we can use our thoughts against us we can use them for us it’s the same energy it will take some time I can’t tell you how much but it will take sometime just don’t give up on yourself and for the meditation there’s an app called headspace that was recommended to me and since having it I’ve been learning to develop more clarity in my head which is helping establish more clarity in my actions . There are many meditations on the app you will have access to with their monthly fee but if you just want to try it out there is a free basic 10 days . Hope you get a chance to try it out .

      • That how i felt till i met someone who i came to love. When i realized i loved them it made me want to be more social while at the same time being energized by talking to her. It didn’t end out well but the friends i had made helped me stay energized afterwards.

    • I enjoyed what I’ve read on this page. Thanks for elaborating the difference between intro and extrovert.

  2. As usual Vincent, you have offered so much wisdom here. What sticks out to me is the fact that many people fail to recognize that there is work involved in building and maintaining a friendship. There has to be an investment from both sides in order for it to work.

    Maybe it sounds a little harsh, but I tend to weed people out who continually say “no” or who dictate the friendship on their terms. I look for people who say “yes” most of the time and who demonstrate they are willing to engage in a two-way street friendship.

    • Hey, Chris. Check out my reply to Kevin. It may help you see things from a different perspective. 🙂

      • Sure, I get that introverts will say no sometimes because of the energy thing. I am one, so I completely understand. But I typically won’t say no because I value the relationship over my own energy level.

        I’m referring to people who don’t want to work at building a friendship. I look for people are willing to engage and don’t have to have everything little thing their way.

        • Ah, I got you. I’ve shifted to a yes mentality as well unless I genuinely don’t want to go or if there are other obligations. Laziness is no longer a valid reason.

          As for the people you’re referring to, those are exactly the ones I am as well when I had that point on the list in mind.

  3. I recently discarded two people from my life for violating number 2 on your first list. ‘Always criticizing or blaming you for everything’. One was a girl I was dating (that counts right?) and the other is/was a long term friend.

    Sometimes you just hit the brick wall and you can’t progress your friendship any further. Something has to give and it’s better to cut your ties in my opinion than keep something there for the sake of it.

    Number 17 in the second list is also important, but only if it suits you. Never go along with what your friends want if it conflicts with what you believe in.

    Actually a lot of these points weave into each other in various ways – because that’s what a strong friendship is, it’s everything – a sum of many parts and if some parts fail and the foundation wobbles, then the friendship ‘house’ will eventually crumble.

    • It must have been difficult but that tells me a lot about you. You see things the way they are and you don’t let these situations continue on to drain you. Now that’s how you grow. It takes guts to do what you did. I’m sure others on the outside can easily antagonize you without knowing the details of what was going on.

      Oh definitely, Jamie. As always, I have more faith in my readers so I trust they understand the importance of not following blindly and going on full, 100% yes mode.

  4. Your list is fantastic, Vincent, but it also illustrates how difficult it is to find and keep good friends. I’d really rather have none than settle for mediocre friends who don’t cannot bring it. I will say that I’d much rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints when it come to friends. Fun is an absolute requirement for me;)

    Have a friendly Monday!

    • It’s VERY difficult. The worst feeling is realizing that some of your friends aren’t as great as you thought. That sounds harsh, as if to say I’m somehow better, but it’s just the lack of compatibility that seems to hit you like a rock.

  5. Hey Vincent, I’m digging it. I wish I had read this awhile back. If I had I wouldn’t have had the inspiration to write “Lessons from Down Below” post.

    On point as always.

    • It’s always easier with hindsight. Don’t worry, Chris. You’re much better off with what you know now so you got a chance to make a pretty sweet future.

      • Rereading this article once again – I read it at least once a week so I am able to be the best friend possible to all the people in my life!

        I’d like to pay special attention to the “one-upping” bit! That used to be something that I was horrible at. It stemmed from my then (now significantly improved, but shaky at times) self-confidence.

        If you always feel a need to one up someone it generally stems from the fact that you care what everyone thinks about you.

        There is some really killer stuff out there on how to not need people’s approval (future guest post perhaps??)

  6. Insightful and thorough list, Vincent, as well as important topic.

    I think there’s such a variety of personalities and orientations (in terms of how you process the world and your experiences in it) that it’s always fascinating how we end up with the friends that we have.

    There’s that Goethe quote that goes something like: “No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstood others.”

    My deepest friendships are often with people who, while we do share some commonalities, are very different from myself.

    I think there’s a lot to be said for opposite attracts. Like somehow we need people in our lives that give us access to what we don’t possess on our own.

    But those differences must be recognized and respected. The version of the Golden Rule that I like the best isn’t to treat others as YOU would like to be treated but to treat others as THEY would like to be treated.

    • I never really cared too much for the argument of whether or not opposites attract. It really isn’t absolute either way. Opposites work well together just as people who are very similar do. These patterns are attributed to our own personal experiences and observations. Then confirmation bias usually gets the best of us and we conclude it must be true. Just wanted to point out my thoughts on that whole thing.

      Spot on with your version of the golden rule.

  7. I used to be the high school girl with many friends, and now I am the 40something with very few. I like it this way as it allows me to be more attentive to my friends. I am also spending a lot less money than I used to just to be out with the crowd.

    I like how you mentioned so many points, Vincent. Thank you!

  8. I enjoyed the article, but I’d like to add my personal perspective.

    Here’s when friendship really changed for me: when I stopped using my friends to fill a void in my own life. For a good portion of my life, I made friends and hung out with people because it was something to do and because I wanted to have fun. This led to a lot of shallow relationships because I didn’t value people for who they were but instead for what they did for me.

    Things changed when I started to value people as individuals and develop mutually supportive, rain-or-shine type friendships. Creating meaningful friendships also took a lot of the pressure of social interaction away because my friendships were built on solid ground and mutual respect.

    One last thing I’ll add is to not be afraid to ask you friends for help. Doing so and being appreciative will actually build your friendship because you’ve shown that person that you need them.

    • Awesome knowledge you just shared with us, Scott. That’s very true that friendships are often used to fill a void, similar to relationship dating. Your mindset shift allows you to focus on finding higher quality individuals that you genuinely bond with.

      Hope a lot of people can learn from your comment.

  9. I sometimes feel the need to one-up people… actually most of the time, but I try to repress it. I have a lot of indecisive friends, so in the case that one of us has to take responsibility, it usually goes back and forth for so long that one of us just go like oh well, I’ll do it. And I’m very bad at keeping in touch, so that might flunk me for the sticking by people through thick and thin part. Some real food for thought in this post.. I don’t think I’m a very good friend at all by these standards.

    Also, I had a discussion with my friend about treating girl friends better.. as in gender bias. But it might come down to them being more comfortable asking for help. Any thoughts on that? Some people do have the “women are so fragile” notion really battered into them as they grow up.

    • Glad you’re not hiding anything here. You’re putting your ego on the line and being introspective, I like that. Hell, I’m not a great friend sometimes too, but remember that the first list is in no means definitive.

      Keeping in touch becomes difficult because a lot of us are a bit insecure. “Oh, I shouldn’t call or text… He’s probably busy. He’d probably find it annoying.” Now imagine both people are thinking this way? Nothing gets done.

      That’s interesting because I know a lot of people do grow up with that idea. It’s natural that us guys are going to be a tad more conscious of ourselves around women. Can you tell me a bit more about that though? It’s hard to figure out what you and your friend was talking about. Do you mean chivalry-type things like opening the door for them? Things like that you should do for everyone. 🙂

  10. There is a lot of wisdom here, Vincent. My new thing is to try to steer conversation as much as possible to the other person. I know that I’ll talk enough about myself and my problems – that is a given…if I try as hard as I can to make sure I focus on the other person I know we’ll both benefit.

  11. Hey Vincent,

    I like #18 – Keep in touch and make sure you don’t drift apart.

    It’s too easy to keep focusing on your own life that your close friendships start to drift away.

    Now let me get your opinion on this.

    It’s a lot easier to keep touch with a handful of friends. But once you have 10+ friends and some of them are from different social groups, it becomes a lot harder.

    How would you go about doing that?


    • Assuming you are all living somewhat near each other then the easiest way would be to introduce everyone to one another. Unless you think there’s a lot of clashing personalities and you know for sure they won’t get along, you can’t go wrong with hanging out as a huge group every now and then.

      Once they’re all familiar, you can decide whether or not you want to start hanging out more frequently as a large social group instead of as scattered multi-groups.

      • I’ve always been a one-on-one kind of guy, so I completely missed out on the obvious. Great point about blending the social groups and gathering everyone together as a way to keep in touch.

        Dating Coach for Tech Guys

        • Yeah, I know how you feel. Sometimes I prefer one-on-one as well, but groups are fun on occasion. It’s about finding what works best for you. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a shot to get at least one big group together and see how well it works.

      • On that same vein, what would you do if you still live countries apart from your closest friends and can only communicate through social media and email, yet not be close enough to interact with them? At the moment, I do not have money to pay for their flight tickets and accommodations here. As far as I know, they do not have clashing personalities to one another. W hat do you suggest I do then?

  12. Not general chivalry like holding doors. Things like really helping out no questions asked. For example putting someone up for a few days while they move, or physically help them move, teach them how to do stuff etc. I know a few people that do this for not too close girl friends with no ulterior motives,(most of the time) But if you were a guy you would need to be a damn good friend to even consider asking. Is the impression I have, although to be fair I never asked. Maybe it’s because they act more cheerful and polite when talking to women, so they’re not afraid to ask for help… like I mentioned earlier. Or perhaps it’s about reputation?

    • Ah, okay so now I understand what you mean. It could just be us guys psyching ourselves out. People are more willing to help than you think and all it takes is to ask. It’s difficult to say whether or not women get more yes because it depends on who you hang around, but I’d say the majority would have more success. A lot of us grow up being told to be extra-respectful towards women, so yeah I definitely wouldn’t be surprised. But really, it can go either way.

      Plus, you have to remember most guys do have ulterior motives or at least have some sort of desire. Although they’re not always conscious, it’s sort of there. Usually it’s males who have less experience with women and it’s these guys who hold every women in high regard because they don’t realize they’re just like us, people.

      Kind of went off on a tangent there, may get some disagreements, but those are some of my thoughts.

      Overall, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s just one of those things. 🙂

  13. Good friends are not easy to find. I like friends who don’t talk about themselves all the time but take time to listen to me and give support if needed. Sometimes you can feel closer to your friend than to your family.

  14. David Tran (Your friend from back home) October 10, 2013 at 9:00 am

    My first response to your article, my friend! I came here because I have really hurt a good friend recently, and I felt like I needed to come here to remember the foundations of a good friendship. My number one problem has always been the fact that I’m absent-minded and oblivious. I can say some really mean things and not even notice it or notice how it affects other people. There comes a point when I’m forced to step back and really think about why I am the way I am. I don’t like to think I’m a bad person, but I think I need to become more sensitive to others’ needs. I think perhaps what has happened recently to me was a huge wake up call.

    If I’m given the chance to make amends with this person, I’m going to remember to apply every concept you have touched upon here. Thanks a lot, Vincent.

    • Hey, David! Hope you’re doing well with school.

      Sorry to hear about your experience. But hey, you’re being introspective and you’re aware of your faults. That’s much further ahead than the majority who either are oblivious or delude themselves into believing there’s nothing wrong.

      Hope everything works out with your friend. I don’t doubt you’ll be able to make it up to this person.

  15. I’m a good friend but my friend is not. What should I do

  16. Joe, coooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Thank you for this article, I needed to find something like this.

  18. The thing is, I always fear I’m being a bad friend to one of my best friends who understands me probably more than almost anyone else. I always think I’m doing something wrong, because I suck at being social and am very oblivious, so I wonder if by accident I’m saying something mean when I mean to say something nice.

  19. I’m an introvert. I have few friends and just lately I’ve been internalising why this is. I’m so bad at being a friend! I can’t believe I never realised how bad i am at this before. I am lazy when it comes to being a good friend. I use my home life as a mum and wife and work as excuses not to do things but it’s mostly because it is so tiring for me to compete with crowds and extroverts. I have low self esteem so I tell myself that “oh that person doesn’t really want me to go to this or that with me anyway so I’ll say no and save them the trouble”.
    I’m also one of those people who interrupt the other person when they are talking! I’ve tried to stop myself doing that. I’m also the person who ends conversations abruptly without realising. This is why I’ve almost given up talking to people and I avoid chatting to peers at work some days because it seems to be a huge personality flaw I can’t shake. Sorry to have taken up so much space. Any more advice you have would be great. Personality transplant available anywhere?

    • Paula, I was the exact same way! There are plenty of times when I flat out don’t want to do anything out of half-laziness and half fear of being unable to compete with extraverts. I then convinced myself that I’m busy doing this or that to go. I’ve since begun the process of forcing myself to get out the door anyway because I know I’ll have a good time if I go and it gives me good “social practice.”

      As for thinking you’re not good enough to hang out with the other person you’re also lying to yourself. How could you possibly know that? There is literally zero evidence that they won’t enjoy their time with you. Even if you’re basing this assumption off of previous encounters with others you don’t know how you are NOW at this exact moment. Maybe your social graces have improved a bit? You won’t be able to improve them without practice anyway so why not?

      Hah,I still have the habit of interrupting people. I get so excited I just want to get my words out there. Again, practice. Don’t shelter yourself just because you’re convinced you’re awful at conversations. The more you get out there the better you’ll become.

  20. Sometimes being a super good friend is a disadvantage because some friends aren’t conscious to reciprocate and take advantage of your good friends ability.

  21. I’ve a friend and I truely do like her but the thing is she likes concluding things without knowing what happened. She doesnt take what ihave to say or the reason why I did something,she just take what she thought… Ifeel like i’m a bad friend to her,because everytime she says something she concluded idont entertain it ijust shut up. Am i a bad friend?

  22. Caley Thompson April 28, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve been doing pretty much everything on the “How to be a good friend” list, except for a punctuality problem (I’m late, A LOT). But outside of that I am constantly being the friend that will always be there in a time of need and the friend anyone can vent to and I won’t share their secrets with another soul. But somehow I always get picked last. Two girls are shitty friends to two of my best friends but they are more popular than I am so they can be two faced and still every single time a concert comes up they crapy friends get picked over me. EVERY TIME. They lie to my friends they talk crap about my friends to other people and yet my “friends” are still drawn to these girls. How do I get in on this friend “circle” because I’ve taken the nice girl route and I feel like i’ve been friend zoned by my friends?! I’m close with them in private and the occasional social media post but the moment things get exciting I’m left out. Sorry to anyone who read this, we’ve all gotta vent somewhere.

  23. Hi Vincent,

    I need to step back to evaluate how I’ve been treating my closest friends, because I’m only realizing now how they’re actually lacking my support. My first concern regards 17 and letting stubbornness and pride rule over saying “yes” all the time. But I’ve often felt my friend I’ve said yes to rarely gave me the same responses back. Is it still fair? Does it have to be 50/50?
    My second and biggest concern is realizing I’m not up to the task of supporting another friend in their darkest time and almost seeing how selfish I’m being for wanting a “break” just to gather myself together. I’m not handling it well, how overwhelmed I’m feeling over it at the moment. It feels like I’ve abandoned them, and fear it too late by the time I come back to them.
    Sorry for putting in two different concerns in one! But I’m also looking for help. I do want to save these friendships.

  24. I am a 13 year old chick and I take forever to reply to my best friend of 7 years texts lately (I used to reply in seconds). I haven’t noticed until she said
    “I guess 2 hours and 30 minutes is enough with talking for you.” I have got really injured and so I have been just loading up the homework and I am still trying to recover. The pain gets to such a degree I can’t get up! I don’t want to lose her… That would be the end of me and I don’t know how to keep her! I don’t talk behind her back and I am there for her always! I can’t figure out how to keep her. I am worried it will be the end of a beautiful relationship… Any advice at all?

    • Please reply! I need her more than anything and I can’t stop being her bestie… That’s a promise…. Please Vincent, help me fix myself

    • Hey Jessie, just explain to her what you just told me, you’re in a lot of physical pain and it takes you a bit of time to get to what you want to do. Just because you take a couple of hours to reply doesn’t mean you don’t want to talk to her.

  25. Hi Vincent, I have serious concerns about my ability to be a good friend which seemed to develop after I became a paraplegic at age 15. Now 29, I have no friends and I feel like I’m an outcast amongst my coworkers. I do feel like I’m both interverted and ectroverted. I put forth a lot of effort to grow friendships; asking to hang out outside of work, I tell them how they are the closet thing I have as friends. I do notice myself ” tooting my own horn”, but even the boss sees how I’m far more dedicated with a better work ethic then them. Although I can agree it’s unnecessary. There’s 5 in all, including boss, myself being the youngest yet I’ve been with the company the longest. The others range from mid 40s to late 50s. I feel they think I’m young, therefore dumb. I’ve tried all I can think of. Any advise?

    • Hey Nicole, it’s certainly a good idea trying to connect with co-workers but if that’s not working then it sounds like you’re going to have to try something different. Check out and attend some meetups that are relevant to your interest. I’ve made some great friends through there!

      • Vicent I am glad you reply all these people not an easy work at all, I think you really are a good friend. Yeah my first read your artical and I am also not very good at English so haha I had to check some word’s meaning but that’s not an issue, thanks for the artical now I know how I’m going to deal with my friend who’s been annoying me? thank you!

  26. Hey Vincent,

    Thanks for sharing. It’s a good reminder for us on how to be a good friend to those who matters in our lives.


  27. This is not what I thought it was. My whole being is falling apart, I need more than this to fix it.

  28. Hi, such great insights here, listening is an important factor too, this will reassure your friend to let him or her know that you care. Thanks for sharing. Great Read.

  29. Hi, I have a story to tell about friendship. Hope that you can tell me am I doing this right or not. I am a lesbian / tom.

    9 months ago I started to get to know a girl from an online website. We started to get and clicked with each other very quickly (messaged each other daily) and started to meet up after 2 weeks. Since then we have even meetups more frequently (at least twice a week) for the last 9 months.

    But things got a dramatics change after we have got our 1st serious argument 3 months ago. She started to treat me a little cold and started criticizing or blaming things on my actions and behaviors towards her making her feeling uncomfortable to be with me, but still we did go out together and still do enjoy the company. Just each time she will have things to criticize on and I just bear it with me as I really do cherish her. But things gotten bad last week where we had our biggest argument and she has been ignoring me.

    Within this 9 months, actually I have been doing my best liked when she needs company, I will apply for leave to accompany her, when she needs help to get the things she needed urgently, I will go search and get it immediately for her, when she needed a listener and brought her around when her colleague makes her sad. I really don’t know where did I go wrong for being a friend and in the end I have got that the saying from her that our mindset are not in sync and I cracked her nerves.

    Please advice what should I do. Am I a bad friend?

    P.S. : I do admitted that I do have feelings for her but I understand that she can’t accept me. Anyhow, I really do treasure her as a friend.

    • Hi Vincent, I would give up anything just to get her back. Many of my friends would say that she is definitely a bad friend which is just being a self-centered person. To me, she is someone whom did listen to me when I am being grumpy on things happening around me and did think hard to help me find solutions (though she might sometimes putting it in a hard way).

      Throughout this 9 months, actually we have been messaging without even missing a day. Honestly, I don’t think there will be a friend who will be there whenever you wanted someone to talk to but she is there all the time to listen to me.

      Please help me. It’s gonna be our 1st anniversary of the friendship in another 4 days. I really wanna celebrate that with her.

  30. Hi:
    Thank you for this post. I can never make any friends and I always wonder what is wrong with me. Hopefully I can utilize some of your advice.

  31. Janvi Bhambri July 18, 2016 at 2:08 am

    This helped me and my friend solve many of our differences:)
    Thank you so much..!!
    Its weird how we already know some of these basic points in the back of our heads and still end up doing injustice to them.. i hope to do what it takes to be a better friend and will be coming to this page more often to refresh what i just learnt today:)

  32. Holy crap ur legit!!

  33. Hi I’m not fit to be a good friend. My friends told me that I’m irritating them so they all left me . Being lonely is a worst thing . It destroys my studies. I’m in a boarding school so I feel like some what when I walk alone front of everyone

  34. Vincent, I’m a shitty friend and I need help.

  35. That was really helpful thank you so much. However, i think respect is really important in friendships.
    People can make wrong decision for them self but when they have a good friend by them to suport them and respect their opinions no matter what that can be helpful in a way. Is that right???

    And also when someone have something bad and they know it they need help to improve it. Doesn’t mean ,for example: that u go to them and say your “breath stinck go wash it” .. But u can remind them every time, yeah it will be boring but it will be nice to look after them …that also doesnt mean that u always need to do it for them.

  36. It is a very good article
    Thank you very much ?

  37. I apologised first. I wasn’t a suck up and I never intended to. I just didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I made sure every day or at least every week I showed how I care for her. She said that I was a suck up. It really hurts my feelings and I don’t know what to do. I met my best friend since 2014 and we are really good friends. We had arguments alot and a few hours ago we were still ok. Then just now, she said that i was a suck up. When I apologised , she said there you go. She meant that me apologising to her after calling me a suck up was what a suck up person will do.

  38. Its good its bcs me and my friend Dylan fell out today and I’m gonna make that right so me and my best friend never fall out again and me and him start a new relationship thanxs a lot about you helping me its helped a lot xx

  39. I’m Gaurav from India. One of my college friends doesn’t like me at all just because I act as a fake person. I try my level best but all in vain. At last I always gets insulted by him for being fake. He says that he never wanted to stay with me. He’s bearing me just because of other two friends live with me too. I don’t even know whether they accept me as their friend or not. He’s elder to me. I respect him a lot but I’m always unable to be a good friend of him. What should I do? Please help.

  40. Bella Davidson. December 6, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Hi, this was a terrific list. It explored many areas, but was also compacted very nicely. I’m glad you put that dr who reference in aswell, being the whovian I am? My friend and I are getting on really well, especially after I kept this list in mind.
    Thanks, it really was so inspirational and basically, life changing.

  41. I think the other thing too in the “age of social media”

    1) If you are out with real life people— turn off your notifications, and don’t look at your cell phone unless its a family member or an emergency call. This gets so old so fast. I’ve been out with people where they are so engrossed in their online conversation when I am out with them, it feels like they don’t want to be out with me. To add insult to injury, I’ve had people tell me what their online conversation was, as if that makes it ok. It doesn’t. To me turning away from the real-life interaction to something else is as bad as if you were having a good conversation with them and they suddenly saw someone more interesting across the room and just grabbed their stuff and then walked out with said person! It’s incredibly rude! Turn off your stupid twitter, whatsapp, telegram, you name it!

    2) Be active in the relationship. If you mention “hey i’d like to do x” then well I should be expecting YOU to call or plan that particular hang out if it was your idea. When it never happens it feels like the person didn’t really want it to. I’m always the “active” type but eventually even the active type gets really fed up with the non-actives who just passively sit there and let the other person do all the leg work.

    3) Make it obvious that you care. Some people are really terrible at this. Of course we all notice it around holidays or birthdays but what about besides those 2 events? I think that is where it counts the most.

    4) If someone is suffering from mental illness- check in on them. Even a kind word or a phone call can really make a difference. How hard is that? Oh wait, you have to put away your stupid phone/computer… phstt..

  42. You won muy guapo in our book Vincent. Thank you for your insight, I will now delete all my friends. They are evil and only checked off 11/18 from your good friends list.

  43. I have Some Feelings about this I have a Teenager Best friend How I can Handle without
    Making me Sad that she is always Busy with her life and that really Hurts me and how I
    Feel and not Speeding time makes me feel I am Always Afraid I don’t like to get hurt
    I want to tell my Best friend What I Feel that I Care about her And Our Friendship important to me I Don’t think to get into a Fight By yelleing at her with words

  44. Such a wonderful post.. As you describe in detail is very impressive.. and its all true.

  45. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative
    and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    The issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

  46. Vincent,

    I appreciate the the insight and wisdom you share in this article. I sent a link to this article to “friend” of mine (who I will only refer to as K), who commonly struggles with being a good friend (namely #2, #5, and #6 as identified in the Bad Friend section). After reading the entire article, K’s sole response to me was that I was being passive-aggressive for sending it to him in the first place and stated that I was the bad friend for doing so? K noted that your article mentions this at it’s conclusion.

    This caused me great concern and made me question my motivations? Am I being passive-aggressive? And if so, does this make me a bad friend? Either way, I re-read the article and was taken back when I saw that the conclusion also notes that when I passed the article on, I should have let K know that I think they are a good friend. But if K was being a good friend in the first place, how could I have called attention to the Bad Friend warning signs that I was seeing in K without being passive-aggressive? As K’s friend, how can I address this defensive behavior?


    P.S. In an effort to be a better friend to all people who’s name starts with the letter K (and avoid any confusion), I can say that this comment is only about you if your name starts with the letter K and: You are from a state beginning with the letter K, you currently reside in a town beginning with the letter K, you and your spouse’s names both begin with the letter K, and both of your children’s names begin with the letter K

    • in reference to Post Script: In case the above description actually applies to more than one person in this world, I will add that this comment is only about you if the location you work at ALSO begins with, you guessed it: the letter K.

      For those of you who think these commonalities of the letter K are extremely coincidental and not meticulously devised and motivated by sheer ego, then you obviously don’t know (K)edric!

  47. I’m hurting in my heart right now. I have a girlfriend who I love very much. We went to school together. She has had a lot of health issues; has been in the hospital at least three times in the past 7 months and I have been there for her, house sat and dog sat for her, which is also something I do when she goes out of town or on a vacation. It seems as we both have been short with one another lately. I’ve noticed her and she has noticed me. Today she wrote to me and asked me what my problem with her is, and that she will pray for me. When I had time, I called her, said hi, and let her know I received her message. Then I asked her what she meant. She said “I’m not going to argue with you.”. I said “I’m not arguing, I’m only asking and trying to communicate, and asked can’t we communicate?” She has a lot on her plate lately with leaving a house she has had for years, one that her husband and her son died in. She is also moving to another house and leaving this house. I “thought” I was being kind and letting it slide when she snapped at me. Apparently, according to her, I have been in a hurry and only my feelings matter and she is not going to apologize. She said she won’t bother me anymore. I wrote to her and said I will apologize, that I didn’t mean to hurt her, that I also felt she was short with me lately, that I won’t let her interfere with my joy and that I want her to be a part of her joy. I asked her if this means we are not friends anymore. I said if so, it is her choice, not mine, that I still love her. I don’t know what to do because she won’t talk to me. I let her know I feel hurt, and that I know we BOTH have feelings and we both matter. I didn’t know the right thing to say. We’ve been friends for approx. 53 years and we are on our 50th year class reunion committee together. Now I’m afraid to go around her and feel like not going. Help please. Pam

  48. Hi , Vincent my friend always tell me that I don’t know how to keep him company.
    So please can you help me with how to talk to him and keep him company

  49. The GrandMaster X July 28, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Thanks man…….im showing literally ALL signs of being a bad friend.
    Thanks a lot for this article, man.
    It’s worth in gold
    Semper Fi ??

  50. Some people say, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are, is it really, that your friends can determine who you are??

  51. This is a great article!

  52. First of all Good Morning admin These is a great article and helps to make a better friendship with other people


  53. Thenks I use this for my school project.

  54. wow I am 10 years old this is good stuff I kept this as a bookmark so I know how to be a friend thanks I really appreciate it

  55. This is a great article. It really helped me.

  56. Hey, so I’m getting told I’m a bad terrible friend. My friend is going through a really difficult unnormal situation – and I don’t know how to talk to her. I always repeat myself and get all quiet and try to force her to talk about the things, like her feelings. I don’t know how to handle the conversation and problems that she has, I try but I always repeat myself and it gets her annoyed and tired. And we always end up arguing about it. But I really do care and want to help her! I just am struggling to by keep on repeating myself, I am so lost and I want to fix it. I don’t want to fail her, but I can’t help it.

  57. Such a wonderful post!!! I couldn’t help but share it on a similar post on my blog! Here’s the link if you want to check it out!

  58. Wonderful article. It is really a great blog post about to True Friends. I found some interesting tips for Friends. So thanks for sharing it with us. I guess. I could add that a true friend will never hurt your feelings intentionally.

  59. Beautiful Posts! This makes so much sense
    While technology has brought us closer, perhaps it has made our relationships more shallow.

  60. * I am in no way trying to be rude this is just how it made me feel * I found this article because I was already paranoid about being a bad friend. this article kinda made me feel like sh*t and I can not stop asking my self if I’m even a decent friend. Am I doing this right do my friends hate me am I annoying! Just it’s all very much easier to type then to do

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