1. Spend time together. If you can’t go for walks or to yoga class together, then telephone or email your friend regularly. The conversations needn’t be long or personal; those quick “I’m thinking of you” moments can go a long way in making a strong support network.
2. Make friends a priority. Maybe you “should” clean the house, wash the cars, go grocery shopping, or watch tv (some people feel they should do that!). But give those “shoulds” the brush and prioritize your friendships. There will be plenty of time for those “shoulds” when you’re dead. For now, think about the health benefits of friendship.
3. Be there for the good and bad. Show up for the funerals and the weddings, the surgeries and the celebrations! Be sincerely sad or genuinely happy for your friend – and include them on the good and bad in your life, too. One way to be a good friend is to be inclusive.
4.. Don’t keep score. Who called who last? Who bought lunch last? Who spent the most on birthday gifts? Who forgot whose birthday? Who cares? If you have a good friend, cut a little slack. If your friendship really isn’t that great, then maybe you need to re-evaluate it. The health benefits of friendship will outlast the score-keeping cards
5. Notice the little stuff. The conversations that matter the most are the quick little ones that last only a few minutes. It’s not always the deep long heart-to-hearts that bond friends together -- it's the day to day minutiae of everyday life. One way to be a good friend is to have short, sweet conversations.
6. Focus on the positive. We all have quirks and weaknesses; focusing on your friend’s strengths and wonderful qualities will keep your friendship alive and strong. To be a good friend, forget about the things you wish were different.