5 Things You Can Do Today To Be A Better Friend

Your friend should know how much you adore them. Why put off tomorrow what you can do today?

What About Your Friends?

I've got a friend who has a friend who continues to make an epic fail move. Whenever my friend is going through something, rather than her friend asking, "So, what can I do?", instead, she offers up mini unsolicited TED talks about all of the things my friend could and should do to improve her life (sigh). All that ends up doing is irritating my friend and causing her to wonder why she keeps being vulnerable with that individual.

Watching those two with their communication ebbs and flows has amplified for me the importance of not being complacent in my own friendships with other people. Good thing too because I really do think that a lot of us make the grave mistake of thinking—which is more like assuming—that so long as we and another person have solidified a relationship, there's no maintenance—to a certain degree, daily maintenance—that needs to be required. That is also an epic fail perspective because being a good friend requires being nurturing, really learning more about the ones you care about and not waiting until special occasions like their birthday to let them know that you value them. Immensely so.

A lot of trials and tribulations have taught me that one of the best blessings in life is a true friend.

If you've got even one of those in your world and you want to do something to show them that you want them to feel, not just appreciated, but truly known by you, here are some things you can do TODAY that will remind them of just how important they truly are to you.

Tell Your Friend What You Like, Love and Respect About Them


When it comes to keeping a relationship thriving, one of the worst mentalities that any of us can have is, "C'mon. They already know how I feel." Umm, two things about that. One, they don't know if you've never come straight out and told them. Two, think if your significant other only affirmed you twice a year. Would that be copacetic for you?

Just like a romantic relationship needs some verbal praise from time to time, friendships do too. Just think of how good you would feel if, out of the blue, you got a call, text or email from one of your besties that said, "I just wanted to let you know that you are one of the most loyal people that I've ever met," or "Hey Girl, I didn't want anything. I was just thinking about how dope you are and thought I should let you know."

In a world where most of us see and hear criticism and negativity more than anything positive, trust me when I say that you'll do wonders for your friendship, as well as the overall energy field of wherever your friend is at the time, if you make the time to tell them what you like, love and/or respect about them. Don't put it off. Do it now.

Call Them to Schedule a Date


I once penned an article entitled "Why You and Your Friends Should 'Date Each Other' More Often". With the kind of hectic schedules and layered lifestyles that a lot of us have, it can be hard to even get in an uninterrupted 15-minute conversation with one of our homies. One way to remedy that is to schedule some time that is all about the two of you. It can be drinks after work, a date that centers around your love languages or getting together at one of your homes to plan a weekend road trip or a week-long vacation.

Dates aren't just a great way to get some much-needed quality time in. Initiating the date lets your friend know that they are on your mind and you love spending time with them. (Which will really go over well if their love language happens to be quality time.)

Randomly Do Something to Make Their Life Easier


One of my girlfriends is going through a rough time financially right now. Although I'm not rollin' in the dough, by any stretch of the imagination, a motto I have with the people in my circle is, "I'm single with no kids. It's always gonna be easier for me to figure it out than y'all." (The "y'alls" that do have a spouse and children.) Anyway, one day, when she called me to vent, once she was done, all I asked was "So, what do you need?" I think sometimes a lot of us are so used to not being asked that question that our knee-jerk response is to say "Girl, I'm fine." That's just what she did and so I asked again. "If you were 'fine', I wouldn't have heard all of that. What's up?" She took a deep breath and then, per my request, sent me a list of some things that I could choose from to help her with. I was more than happy to do it.

Now watch this. When another friend of mine (someone who doesn't even know my other friend) called to see what I was doing, I told her I was rushing because I needed to help a friend out with some things that she needed. An hour later, a Cash app notification popped up on my phone. My friend had a note that said, "For your friend." Dope.

Something that life is teaching me is a telling sign that you're in a healthy relationship with someone else is the fact that their presence in your life will make things easier. Not harder. Not more dramatic. Not even unnecessarily complicated. Easier.

That's why I can confidently say that I promise you that something that will really move your friend is you offering to do something that will take a burden off of them. It doesn't have to be monetary. Maybe it's picking up her kids from school so that she can get a mani/pedi (or take a nap). Maybe it's helping her complete a project. Maybe it's having dinner delivered to her house so that she doesn't have to worry about figuring it out tonight.

It really does bear repeating—good friendships make life easier to bear. Do something that will convey that for one (or more) of your friends today.

Send Your Friend a Thank-You Note


It really is sad—and by "sad" what I really mean is hypocritical—how many people teach their children the importance of saying "please" and "thank you" when they don't even do it themselves. Hey, don't take my word for it; there's science to back it up (peep "People Rarely Say Thank You When Others Help Them Out, Scientists Say" when you get a chance). It's unfortunate too because not only is not showing gratitude and appreciation low-key rude, it's how a lot of us end up feeling taken for granted in our relationships with other people.

Buck the system by sending your friend a thank-you note. An email is cool, but it is so much more personal to handwrite it and either mail it or give it to them the next time that you see them. Oh, and it will really warm their heart if your thank you is specific. "Thank you for when you treated me to the movies last week," or "Thank you for listening to me cry over him, again, the other night". It's amazing how cherished we feel when someone simply says "thank you" every once in a while.

Listen. Completely.


One of the closest people to me has a gift that I am totally in awe of. She's an amazing listener. I have truly never seen anything quite like her. She doesn't cut me off. If I'm physically in her presence, she rarely breaks eye contact. Sometimes, after I'm done talking, there is an awkward silence. Why? Because she's actually thinking of what to say before she responds. Communicating with her has taught me to be a better listener, by far.

An author by the name of Criss Jami once said something very wise—"It's not at all hard to understand a person; it's only hard to listen without bias." One of the wonderful benefits that comes with listening to someone is they feel understood; with that, they feel truly connected. Be a better friend today by hitting up a friend, asking how they are, and then make it a point to really listen to their answer. An act as simple as this can be extremely impactful. I can certainly vouch for that.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

The 5 Must-Have Friends Everyone Needs

10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships

Your Best Girlfriend Just Might Be Your Soulmate

How To Build A Squad of Empowering Friends

Feature image by Getty Images

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

Keep reading...Show less

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

In early 2022, the world felt like it slowed down a bit as people digested the shocking news of beauty pageant queen Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide. When you scroll through her Instagram, the photos she had posted only weeks before her death were images of her smiling, looking happy, and being carefree. You can see photos of her working, being in front of the camera, and doing what I imagine was her norm. These pictures and videos, however, began to spark a conversation among Black women who knew too well that feeling like you're carrying the world on your shoulders and forcing yourself to smile through it all to hide the pain.

Keep reading...Show less

Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts