The Art of Being a Decent Friend

Welcome back, Stumbly fans!

This week I’ve thought a lot about the little things that make friendships tick and how just focusing on fixing even one little problem can improve a friendship a lot! Read on for some of the simpler rules of friendship etiquette…..

On Being Late…

No matter what year it is, people will always be late to things. And sometimes, that’s okay, it happens. But what’s not okay is for a pattern to develop and you find yourself being late over and over again.

I know a ton of people, and do I ever mean a ton, who have even begun to use lateness as a self-describing excuse! They’ll show up late and say something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m always so late to things.”

No. No, you’re really not. And if you are, you’ve got a problem.

Cherie Burbach, an expert on friendship, says, “The reason that being late is so rude is that it makes an unspoken statement that your time is more important than the person you are meeting, including that of your friends.”

The best thing to do if you are late, is just to apologize and try to do better next time. If you’re consistently late, you need to start thinking about why you’re always late and find ways to change it. Try leaving earlier, maybe. Think about how you would feel if you were the friend waiting at the diner waiting on you.

And my favorite piece of advice from my mother and grannies everywhere, If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.

On Saying Something Stupid or Rude

Another piece of advice, this time from Papa Riley: Do you ever think before you say something? 

And yeah, that’s always a question because that’s how Pops did it.

Basically, if you’ve said something potentially offensive and your friend is giving you the evil eye, just apologize. Remember that friends are a cool and necessary thing obviously, but don’t get too comfortable, know what I mean? Even though you play badminton with Jimmy’s grandma every Sunday, it doesn’t give you the right to comment on Jimmy’s weight.

Similarly, don’t talk sh*t behind a friend’s back. because when they find out, which they likely will as the rumor mill goes ’round, you’ll just come off as jealous or insecure. That, and your friend is likely going to cut you off. You don’t necessarily have to admit to them you gossiped, but find an adult-like way to handle the issue. If you catch somebody gossiping about a friend, grow a pair and stand up for them. Because I know from personal experience that it really sucks to hear that somebody was bashing you to a friend and they just nodded along.

On Taking Phone Calls

First off, always excuse yourself when taking a phone call. It’s not cool to take a private phone call around other people who are trying to enjoy themselves, particularly if you’re talking over the phone about a personal matter. Nobody wants to hear it. If you have a private place or corner to go to, then go there.

Also, if you’re spending time with a friend, consider not answering your phone unless you see that it might be something important.

On Interrupting

It’s called active listening and we’ve been learning this since the 1st grade.

Some people are angels and aren’t bothered by interruptions if they contribute to the topic of the conversation. But if somebody interrupts you with something that’s completely off-topic and focuses on them, that’s heckas rude right? Reason why it’s so rude is that it’s a common power play; it’s a way of telling the person they interrupted, “Yeah, nice story but I’m much more important right now.”

Don’t let people do this to you. It’s obnoxious, rude, and let’s be real, bitchy. Overall, it’s up to you; you know your friends and how they’ll react to being interrupted. Just exercise some caution.

Bottom line, if you pay a little bit of attention to how you interact with friends, you might make some interesting discoveries. You’ll find out who in your friend group is the attention hog, who is the insecure one, the one who always gets bulldozed over…..Then, you might find out how you fit in. And, best of all, you’ll be able to begin to really focus on being the best friend. 🙂

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