21 Essential Lessons About Friendship I’ll Teach My Daughter

Shutterstock / karelnoppe
Shutterstock / karelnoppe
My little bouncing baby girl will be 1 next week. As she transitions from squishy real life doll to an actual human child, I’m equally excited and worried about the friends she’ll meet in this world. I realize that she’ll look to her parents’ behavior for cues on how to act and interpret the people around her. Here’s what I plan to teach her:

1. A great friend looks out for your best interests.

She knows what makes you happy and supports you in finding it.

2. Friendship is a two way street.

If you find yourself putting in way more effort than you’re getting back, the friendship has become unbalanced. There are times when one of you may need to rely on the other more than vice versa, but this should not be the definition of the friendship.

3. Beware the attention seekers.

These are people who are bored with their own lives. They come up with unique, questionable ways to entertain themselves, sometimes dragging others down with them. Identify when someone is using you for her own amusement and steer clear.

4. Share, but beware.

You know how you love to share your Cheerios with your father, your dog and me? Well, that’s a beautiful thing. Unless the person you’re giving them to just takes those Cheerios without appreciation or giving anything back in return. So pursue your love of giving to others, but be mindful of being taken advantage of.

5. Don’t talk to most strangers.

Yes, new friends are strangers before you meet them. You can talk to strangers that are your own age as long as they are under the age of 5. I will need to figure out a way to teach you the difference between a potential friend and a stranger, as right now every stranger is your best friend. I love that about you, but it frightens me.

6. Be a great listener.

When you don’t know what to say to a friend going through a tough time, the important thing is just to be there. You don’t have to solve every single problem. You just have to listen.

7. Remember your close friends’ birthdays.

Send them a card. Do something more than post on their Facebook page. Remember how you feel when people reach out on your birthday.

8. Realize that some friendships are not built to last a lifetime.

It doesn’t make them any less meaningful or enjoyable. People change throughout their life and while spending 24/7 together in college may have been essential, it’s ok to grow more independent and want to explore separate paths.

9. A great friend does not become jealous when wonderful things happen to you.

They are there to celebrate and cheer you on.

10. When you find your first love, don’t ditch your friends.

Make time for both. You’ll be needing them down the road once you come up for air.

11. When you haven’t heard from a close friend for a while, make the effort to check in with them.

Even if they haven’t returned your calls in a few weeks and are being unresponsive to emails and texts. Everyone’s busy. Try not to hold a grudge. 99% of the time, it’s nothing personal.

12. Avoid friends that lie.

Even about little, insignificant things. Like how many states they’ve traveled to or how many airplanes their uncle owns. Finding out the truth about your friends is far more interesting.

13. Give big, long hugs to those friends that you desperately love and want to have in your life forever.

They are rare gems. And there’s never been anyone who objected to a big, long hug from someone they call a friend.

14. When you make plans to catch up, don’t be flaky.

Yes, people get sick. Work projects come out of nowhere and emergencies do happen. Let that be the exception. Value the friendship.

15. The best friends are the ones that are there for you when you’re at your worst.

If you’re at rock bottom and still have someone next to you digging you out, that’s a true friend.

16. If you find out that a friend has gone after your significant other behind your back, this person was never your friend.

He or she may come up with a variety of different excuses to explain how such a thing happened (if caught). Don’t buy it. Friends don’t deceive you. They stick up for you.

17. Avoid lending money to and borrowing it from a friend.

That always puts things in an awkward situation. If a friend covers your half of something, always pay them back as soon as possible.

18. If you do something that hurts your friend’s feelings, apologize and be sincere.

If your friend does something that upsets you, say something. Grudges are tiny little scars that live in your brain and enough of them can make you angry and jaded.

19. Be confident in the friendships that you’ve created based on the person you want to be.

Know that people judge you based on who your friends are. If they’re off doing crazy things, be brave enough to march to your own drum.

20. When out with your friends, always answer your cell phone when your parents call.

Except if you’re driving, which we will never let happen, and be prepared to get drilled with questions when you return home.

21. Do unto others and all that fun stuff.

When your friend just got dumped and wants to go out but it’s late and raining and you just want to stay home. When you’re busy at work but a friend asks if you’d mind reading over her resume. When a friend finds out she can’t move into her new apartment for a few days and needs a place to crash. Step up and be there. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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