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Are you a good friend? Here are 5 ways to be a better buddy

Posted at 6:34 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 06:34:56-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Happy International Day of Friendship!

Yes, July 30th is a day to celebrate fellowship among all humans (the UN declared it in 2011). But how good of a friend are you?

Before we get to our helpful check list, take heart. Having good friends is good for your health. Seriously!

The Mayo Clinic says friends can boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve self-worth, and help you cope with traumas – like death, divorce, and job loss – among other benefits.

But it’s all about give and take.

In today’s Living A Better Life, we focus on how to sharpen your friendship-building skills.

5 WAYS TO NURTURE GOOD FRIENDSHIPS, according to the Mayo Clinic

Like flowers, friendships can wilt if you don’t cultivate them.

Mayo Clinic staffers have some suggestions for nurturing good friendships.

We hit the streets of Detroit for some help in spelling these recommendations out. Here are 5 of them:

1. Be Kind

It seems like this one would go without saying, but it’s worth a reminder. How?

“Just by being a trusting, loving person. Just caring about each other’s needs,” said Joe Echles of Detroit.

Ross Glatzer – a San Francisco native who’s working in Detroit for part of the year – agreed.

“Like the old Golden Rule…treat others as you want to be treated,” said Glatzer.

2. Listen Up

The art of listening well is not lost on your good friends. So, put your whole body into it!

“The eye contact, your tone, your body language -- all of that. [It] gives the person the idea that you’re listening and that you’re interested in what they have to say,” said Carla Rivers-Johnson of Detroit.

When they listen back, you can tell. And giving advice is not necessarily needed. Offering an ear is often one of the most supportive things you can do for a friend.

3. Open Up

Sharing what you’re really feeling and going through will build bonds with a friend.

“If we open up, you show that vulnerability. And through vulnerability, you can grow -- help each other grow through life,” explained Joe Echles of Detroit.

Jeremy Cooper of Southfield said opening up is vital to a good friendship, and it’s a process.

“It’s that safe place that you have with somebody else that you can talk to and you can open up,” he said.

4. Show You Can Be Trusted

Being dependable and reliable is the groundwork for showing you can be trusted.

Sarah Holton of Dearborn said it’s simple.

“Just being honest with the person and telling them the truth,” said Holton.

Keeping your friend’s sensitive, personal information private is key.

“You should keep the confidentiality. So, make sure that you don’t go out and tell their business,” said Ericka Brant of Eastpointe.

5. Make Yourself Available

Sometimes this can be tough with our hectic schedules, but true friends will appreciate the effort and be understanding if you can’t chat daily with them or hang out all the time.

Catherine Johnson of Detroit recommended, “Stay in contact with them. Don’t ever give up on them. If they're going through some stuff, call them. Be like, ‘you alright?’ You know? That’s what I do.’”

“Me and my friends – we struggle with that,” said Lakisha James of Southfield. “But we just try to make sure we check in. We don’t get mad if we haven’t heard from one another because we understand.”

Being understanding is a big part of a beautiful friendship. And showering your friends with attention every now and then is a good way to keep the bond growing.

Of course, you can always cultivate new friends or nurture old ones. This will give you a health boost with positive vibes for years to come!

For a link to the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions on how to meet new people and sow the seeds of friendship, click here.