Here's how to be a better friend
Fact: Quality friendships are one of the best things life has to offer. Maybe you've got that ride-or-die who's just like a sister, or maybe you're part of an energetic squad that makes you LOL every time you're together. No matter what your friendships might look like, we've got some 10/10 advice on how to keep your bestie bonds thriving, and we're going to break down two major tips to give you *everything* you need to know about being a better friend.
1. No emotional dumping
What is emotional dumping?
Emotional dumping is essentially putting anything you might be going through on your BFF's shoulders. It comes in many forms—texting her in all caps, "NEED TO FACETIME RN" without any explanation, calling her randomly after dinner sobbing or giving her the full list of why you're mad at your cousin over lunch.
Why is it bad?
One of the great things about having a friend is having someone to talk to when you're going through something. However, we often forget that our friends have their own things going on too. Maybe they just had a chem test not go their way. Maybe they just got into a disagreement with their mom and aren't able to shoulder your struggles on top of their own. If emotional dumping goes unchecked, it can create tension and bottled-up conflict within your relationship.
To avoid any unnecessary mishaps, it's best to pause before you send the text, make the phone call or let all the emotions out. Instead of the all-caps message, consider this: "Hey, I had a not-so-great time at the tutoring center today. Are you free to talk later tonight?" If you've had a hard week and just need to vent, instead of jumping right in at the lunch table, start with some small talk and then flow into something like, "I've been having kind of a rough week with my cousin, do you think we could schedule a vent sesh? It doesn't have to be right this second, but maybe sometime before the end of the week?" That way, you've given your gal pal an easy way to either say, "The floor is yours, get everything off your chest," or "You know, I didn't really sleep well last night. Can we talk about it on Thursday?"
2. No unsolicited advice
What is unsolicited advice?
Unsolicited advice is exactly what it sounds like—dishing out advice without being asked for it. For example, your bestie just came to you upset about how her crush totally ignored her today in English, and you respond with, "Honestly, if I were you, I'd take that as a sign that he's not interested." Eek, probably not what she was hoping to hear.
Why is it bad?
As seen in the exchange above, sometimes advice can come out way harsher than you might've intended and make your BFF feel worse about her sitch. Another problem with unsolicited advice is the possibility that maybe your friend didn't want any advice at all. As we learned in Tip #1, friends can be great outlets to feel your feelings. Your bestie could've just wanted to get her frustration off her chest and move on, but now you've got her second-guessing if her crush really likes her. Even though you didn't mean to complicate things, sometimes advice can make matters worse instead of providing clarity.
Basically, get consent before you hand out your advice. If your bestie says she wants to talk, ask how you can be there for her. "Do you want me just to listen, or do you want my two cents?" Another option is to wait for the green light. This looks like your ride-or-die ending her vent with, "Any advice?" or "What are your thoughts?" Even with the go-ahead, remember to be supportive of your friend. Veer away from advice that creates more drama or incorporates any negative opinions. If you don't know what to say, be honest and tell her that. It's better to be honest and supportive than to form rash advice that doesn't come from the right place.
Check out these other squad-inspired reads:
👯♀️ Dear Carol, I have to switch schools and don't want to leave my friends
👯♀️ Tell us about your bestie and we'll give you a TV show to watch
👯♀️ Dear Carol, How do I make friends when I'm new in town?
Going through friendship troubles? We've all been there.
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