Be the Friend Everyone Wants to Have
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The Go-to Gal1 of 9
By Alison Singh Gee
Ever notice how there's often that one woman in your circle of friends who stands out? Others gravitate toward her, admire her and would be everyone's first pick for maid of honor. So how does that one friend become the best friend? Glo talked to the experts to find out what it takes to turn yourself into the ultimate pal.
Have a Vision2 of 9
If you wish your circle of friends had regular Sunday brunches filled with Mimosas and chatter, then be the one to make it happen. "Leaders have a vision of the world they want to create, and lead by convincing others to believe in that vision too," says Eva Ritvo M.D., a psychiatrist in Miami, Fla. Find a great restaurant and take the initiative to get a date on the calendar. (If you don't, then who will?) But, remember, you want to be a pal, not a puppeteer—your crew doesn't need to mirror the one from Sex and the City to be legit. Encourage get-togethers but let the group grow naturally.
Remember Birthdays3 of 9
"A birthday can serve as an annual reminder to reconnect with someone you may have been meaning to call," says Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Sara Kenney, L.C.S.W. But you don't have to lavish a big, expensive gift—or any gift at all—on the birthday girl. According to Kenney, research shows that the simple act of getting in touch on birthdays (or any significant date) is enough to keep old friendships going, even when you've been separated by both time and distance.
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Let It Shine4 of 9
Maybe you've perfected the art of the martini or know how to make a throw pillow in three easy steps. If you offer to share your skills, then "you both gain," says Kenney. Remember to let your pals shine too. Coordinate a monthly club where every woman has a chance to demonstrate her expertise. "Sharing skills is a great way for everyone to get to know and appreciate each other better," says Kenney. "Your friends will value that you cared enough to pull this all together."
Cut the Rumors5 of 9
If you keep conversations gossip-free, Kenny says you'll keep your friends from wondering if you talk about them when they're not around. If a pal starts churning the rumor mill, take the high road without coming off as holier than thou. If she asks if you've heard that so-and-so is cheating on her boyfriend, "you might say, 'Ouch! Those situations are so complicated for everyone involved,'" says Kenney. Then, she says to switch gears. Try something like: "Speaking of, did you know that she's working with Habitat for Humanity this weekend? I've been wanting to do something like that myself."
Show Up6 of 9
Part of being both a leader and a good friend is about "showing up when you're needed, not just when you need or want something," says Kenney. "Friends need to know that friendship runs both ways, and it's a relief to have a friend you can count on when you're in need." Remember to be there for the good times, too. Cheer from the audience when your friend wins an award, or get the group together for drinks to celebrate a pal's promotion. These are the moments that will bond you for life.
Ask for Help7 of 9
Altruism is hardwired into us, and we get positive rewards biochemically from our brains when we do something nice for someone else. This good feeling goes both ways, says Kenney. "When we can do something good for someone who has helped us, it underscores that a relationship is reciprocal, and not just one person doing the 'heavy lifting' all the time," she says. "Asking for help every once in a while keeps things feeling balanced, and good, to both friends." Plus, leaning on your friends from time to time reminds them that you, too, are only human.
Speak Up8 of 9
If you have an issue with a friend in your circle, then find a gentle, positive, honest way to let her know what bothered you. Don't keep hurt feelings inside because you think that's going to keep the peace. You'll just feel resentful, and that will eventually poison your relationships, not strengthen them. "A good friend can hear what you have to say and respond appropriately," says Kenney. "Even if she is initially defensive, she will come around. Remember, if someone doesn't know that there's a problem, she can't fix it."
Welcome Newcomers9 of 9
A new friend will bring perspective, experience and style all her own, which can recharge the group dynamic." By introducing new friends into your circle, you show your generosity of spirit and keep new energy, interests and ideas flowing through your group. "Being open to new experiences allows us to learn and grow," says Kenney.
NEXT ON GLO: What Your Best Friend Won't Tell You