How to Be a Good Friend
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How to Be a Good Friend

If you live and work in the New York metro area, there's a strong possibility that you live your life on steroids, figuratively-speaking. You move around at the speed of light, you multitask, you have to-do lists in a few places, you go from one barely-finished task to the next, and you feel stressed out a lot of the time. Is this a good way to live? Not really. Is there anything that you can do about it? Probably not, unless you're wealthy enough to hire people to assist you and most people aren't. There are ways to reduce your stress, many of which you already know. Of course, it stresses you out even more that you don't have time to employ the various ways of reducing your stress, i.e., exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, etc., however, I am going to try to keep this post positive. 

I find that one of the best ways of reducing stress is to have good friends with whom to communicate. What if you're new to New York? How do you make friends? One of the best ways to make friends is to join groups or to participate in activities that interest you. Good friends, usually, have at least one common interest, if not more. That's how they became friendly in the first place and, sometimes, it happens serendipitously. I met one of my very good friends in the street, in front of Bergdorf Goodman's a little over a year ago. It was the holiday season and we both stopped to take pictures of Bergdorf's beautifully decorated windows. We engaged in conversation and wound up spending a couple of hours looking at the decorated buildings on Fifth Avenue, especially Saks Fifth Avenue's fabulous display and, then, having coffee. It goes without saying that you have to be able to go with the flow to meet a friend this way, however, this woman has become one of my best friends within a fairly short timeframe.

Now that I gave you a few ideas about how to meet potential friends, I should tell you how to keep them. The best way to keep friends is to be a good friend. Being a good friend includes being kind, being supportive, being there when your friend needs you, being empathic, being helpful, wishing your friend well and enjoying his or her good fortune and, most importantly, making time for your friend. Most of us have friends who are great to be around when we're feeling either up or down, but some friends can't handle both moods. The people who make the best friends are those who are great to be around no matter how we're feeling. There are times when a friend of yours might need you, but you aren't available for reasons that are out of your control. That's okay, but you should try to get back to that friend at your earliest possible opportunity. I don't know about you, but I rarely, if ever, forget a kindness that I've received from a friend and I always try to return the favor in some way or other.

Friendship takes time and effort. If you take the time and make the effort, your life will be enriched for it and that joke that your friend just told you will make you laugh. How important is laughing? It is VERY important as it reduces our stress.