Here are 10 questions to ask yourself.
Do you refrain from telling the truth even though it’s needed?
Your friend asks your opinion on an outfit for a job interview. Do you tell her she looks great so you won’t hurt her feelings? You can be more helpful if you say, “I really want you to ace this interview and if we tweak your outfit a bit it should do the trick!”
Are you impatient when your bestie won’t get to the point?
She’s upset, she needs you, but she’s a drama queen. A good way to handle this is to use a coaching technique: “How about in five minutes we’ll figure out what you need to do?” Give her a (smaller) moment.
Is your empathy tank only half-full?
When a friend is betrayed, don’t dismiss her feelings with a brisk platitude like, “He’s a jerk!” He is, but better to say, “I know you’re hurt, but we’ll get through this together.”
Did you promise not to tell but can’t keep a secret?
You’ll betray a confidence and if the news breaks, you’ll lose a friendship. Instead, think about what being a great friend means and zip the lips! If you can’t, three little words help: “Don’t tell me!”
Are you too bossy?
Should-ing people, as in “I really think you should do this,” is about pressing your agenda forward. Instead, try, “I have a suggestion. If you’re interested, it might be helpful.”
Do you waste someone else’s time?
A luxury of good friendship is time to chat, text, or Skype, but you may be overstepping an important boundary. Don’t overstay the welcome of a friendship by hanging on for too long. Be a mindful friend.
Do you enable your friend’s worst impulses?
Don’t volunteer to help spy on her ex, tell her to buy that Chanel bag on her admin assist’s salary, or urge her to confront her mother-in-law. Help empower your friend to make the best choices.
Are you an ATNA?
ATNAs are All Talk, No Action. Do you say, “I’m there for you, you can count on me” but when the going gets tough do you always have a ready excuse? Being there for a friend means exactly what it says. Be there.
Are you enabling a cheapskate?
Some people don’t like paying their share. If you have a friend who constantly leaves her credit card “at home” or never carries cash, tell her about Venmo or Zelle. Offer to teach her how to use them. No one likes a Scrooge and you’ll be helping her out socially.
Why not save that friendship?
Sometimes a friendship just doesn’t work anymore, but if you value the friendship, you can do something. Be honest but take the time to talk and try make things right. A real friend is a rare thing, not to be easily cast aside.