Being called a true friend is a great honor. Most people don’t usually gain this status unless they prove their worth. There could be a variety of reasons why an individual might believe you to be a trustworthy person, but how do you consciously live up to your reputation? Here are five ways to show your friends that they can continue to count on you with full confidence.
Listen to what people say
They say that a good listener is a good friend; that sounds about right. There’s no way anybody can count on you if you don’t listen to what they are telling you. Many people act like they are such great listeners, but everything their friends tell them goes in one ear and out the other. You have to retain that information so that you can react to what is being told to you. For example, if a pal is counting on you to mail a package for him the next day, but you don’t head to the post office until the next week because you weren’t listening, you’ve just messed up big time.
Have good morals
When you want people to trust in you, you need to be sure that you know right from wrong. Having a strong moral foundation is not absolutely necessary to be a dependable friend–but it surely helps a lot. You might have a friend who wants to confide in you about her troublesome romantic relationship. Naturally, you would assume that she doesn’t want anybody else to know about her situation. Keeping her secret shows that you are trustworthy, but an immoral person might go out and spread the news over a social networking site for all the world to know. When you can make good judgment calls and show discretion in sensitive situations, many people will feel safe relying on you.
Offer help when people seem to need it
To be a good, reliable friend, you should be considerate to people’s feelings. Showing that you care is a huge sign that tells your loved ones that you are really there to support them. For example, if your friend is crying over a break-up, console her, and hand her a tissue. If a buddy drops all his papers because he’s rushing to catch the bus, give him a hand so that he can make it in time. If your mom just came home from the grocery store with a lot of bags in her arms, run out to carry some for her. It’s doing little things like this that most people really notice when they are considering asking you to do them a favor the next time they need it.
There’s nothing more despicable than lying to a friend’s face when all that he or she wants is the simple truth. Being honest is the root of being trustworthy. You tell it like it is, and don’t beat around the bush. This is what a true friend does, given that there are better ways to deliver it than others, even if the truth hurts. More often than not, you will be asked to give an opinion on some matter. Did you like my speech? Do I look fat in this dress? Should I stop seeing that cute, cocky guy? Should I break up with my hot but psycho girlfriend? These are just some examples of questions you should always give straight answers to. While you might be tempted to lie to prevent hurting a friend’s feelings, you won’t help them in any way by doing so.
For people to count on you, you must be dependable. That means being available to help out whenever others need your help. Nobody wants to hear excuses all the time. If your friend asks you to pick them up from the airport at 7pm, but you don’t show up until 7:45pm, you are not reliable. If you volunteer to help a buddy move out of his apartment on a certain day, then text him that morning that you can’t make it, you’re not dependable. If your mom asks you to do certain chores around the house five days a week, but you only get them done twice weekly, she can’t count on you. Being a reliable simply means living up to your promises. If you can’t fulfill your obligations, then don’t offer.
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Stephanie May is a contributing writer at How Do I Become A … ?, a terrific resource for career opportunities.