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10 Lessons in Being a Good Friend

My two daughters teach me things every single day. The trials and tribulations of motherhood are beyond challenging. At ages 13 and 16, you can imagine how their hormones are running rampant, with the intensification of emotions. I totally get that they’re in limbo, wavering between wanting to still be that young child and yearning to be the full on adult. But at the end of the day, I look at them for who they’ve become, and I know one thing for sure. I’m the luckiest mom on the planet. The choices they make, the friends they have and the mistakes they learn from (not always) make me realize that what we talk about together as mother and daughters resonates with them. These ten things are important lessons for my own daughters and things I’ve shared with them along the way. I only hope that they go through life keeping these ten lessons in mind, no matter what obstacles confront them.

1. Good breeds good – As hard as it might be, learn how NOT to hold power over someone or others who’ve hurt you. Carrying a heavy heart or a grudge will only make you a bitter person, and those people who’ve hurt you or have done you wrong don’t have that much power over you. Let go of that negativity that no longer serves you and bring in good people into your life. If you practice being a good friend, you’ll realize your tribe surrounding you is good also!

2. Learn how to lift others up, rather than focus on their weaknesses – Celebrate your friends’ achievements rather than their failures. Confidence can make or break anyone. To point out someone else’s strengths and not being critical says a lot about you as a true friend.

3. Don’t follow those who you know don’t make good choices - The popular crowd is not necessarily the right crowd. Going down that road can cause serious mistakes, and you might find yourself in the danger zone.

4. Pay attention to the manipulation card. - Girls do this quite often and it is the hidden aggression in girls that has tremendous power. There are covert ways that girls manipulate to gain control. Be cautious and in-tune.

5. Have your friend’s back – It’s often hard to hear when someone speaks poorly about a friend. Stick up for them without passing judgment or agreeing with the nay sayers. It shows how much dignity and loyalty you have, as well as knowing that you’re mindful and not going along with those who throw your friend under the bus.

6. Take ownership when you’re wrong – This is probably one of the most challenging (especially for teenagers!). Admit when you’re wrong. Owning up to something you’ve said or done that has hurt your friend shows character, honesty and sincerity. Being apologetic shows incredible virtue.

7. Not every friend is perfect – Neither are you. Have a social circle of different friends that have unique qualities. If you have unrealistic expectations, then you’re setting yourself up for getting hurt. The saying “nobody’s perfect” is not just a saying. Realize that friends make mistakes too, just like you do.

8. Don’t let drama follow you – Every girl experiences some sort of drama at different stages of life, whether they’re involved first hand or surrounded by it through other friends. Don’t be the drama queen or the bystander/sidekick that stirs the pot.

9. Treat others how you want to be treated – An age-old saying but it couldn’t be further from the truth! Have respect for your friends. Try to avoid the “just kidding” or "no offense but..." remarks, since those comments can leak truth to something you said even though you said you didn’t mean it.

10. Give freely – Don’t give just when you’re asked - Giving doesn’t always mean with gifts. To lend your ear, to help, to comfort, and to just “be there” in good times and bad are what makes you a special friend. It may not always be a convenient time for you to give to a friend in need, but she/he will appreciate your unconditional love and support. Be that kind of friend.

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