24 Little Things You Can Do to Be a True Friend
People share the small but meaningful things their friends do that make a big difference in their lives.
Be a true friend: Show up and listen
“I was having a horrible day dealing with job and divorce stress and my friend brought me ice cream. Just having her show up to listen to me whine was exactly what I needed.” —Tracy Clark
Be a true friend: Send a quick, thoughtful text
“I send random texts to my best friend, I just want to let her know she has someone in her corner hoping that today goes great for her.” —Niki Bailey. These are the types of close friends every adult woman should have.
Be a true friend: Rehash your inside jokes
“I once freed my friend from a giant lizard mob boss from an alien desert planet, with the help of my sister (who was also my friend’s girlfriend), and his big bear friend. Wait, that wasn’t me and my friend, that was Luke and Han in Return of the Jedi. Oops, my bad. But my friend and I are so cool we’re basically Luke and Han anyhow.” —Ted Williams
Be a true friend: Know their favorite treats
“My best friend always comes to see me when I’m sick. She even brought me Arby’s pink lemonade almost every day I was pregnant with twins and had to be in the hospital for weeks because she knew it was all I wanted to drink.” —Alison Marie
Be a true friend: Make a rough day better
“One of my friends and co-workers would bring me some of their dinner from the night before and leave it in the fridge at work when I was in the middle of a long trial, so I wouldn’t have to worry about feeding myself on late nights.” —Adrianne McMahon
Be a true friend: Share your Netflix account
“I came down with a horrible stomach bug when my husband was out of town. My best friend came showed up with saltines, sprite, essential oils, and—the best part—her Netflix password.” —Megan Simecek. Find out how to turn an online friend into a real-life friend.
Be a true friend: Babysit on occasion
“I have a great friend who will pick up my son from preschool if my baby is napping so I don’t have to wake her up. She’ll also just show up sometimes to pick up my kids for an afternoon to give me a break.” —Lia Flynn
Be a true friend: Bring them a birthday cake
“Today is my birthday and I know my friend is making me a cake. Sometimes when you’re an adult no one thinks to do that for you!” —Tamara Castellari. Surprise your bestie with these 54 gifts for every friend in your life.
Be a true friend: Be there even when you’re busy
“My friends are a bunch of super-moms and we’re all incredibly busy. But any time someone has a problem we’ll all drop everything to help her out. Sometimes friendship is recognizing that it takes a village and knowing that no matter how over-burdened we all are, we’re still there for each other when things get tough.” —Emily Pfeiffer
Be a true friend: Stop by with dinner for no reason
“My neighbor stops over once in a while after I get home from a long day of teaching with dinner or dessert to share. It is such a welcome happy thing to brighten my day.” —Jan Theobald
Be a true friend: Make up a holiday just for them
“I hate Mother’s Day. One year in particular I was struggling with it a great deal. After barely managing to get through church I got home to find, on my porch, a little gift bag full of treats and a note wishing me a ‘Happy Non-Specific Random Sunday.’ My dear friend knew I was in a hole and in a very sweet way brought me some love and giggles. It was a small thing, but it went miles in soothing my soul.” —Elizabeth Boehme
Be a true friend: Don’t leave without saying good-bye
“A friend of mine was moving to the other side of the country and even though she was crazy busy with everything she took the time to get someone to drive her to visit me, bought me flowers and said goodbye. We haven’t seen each other in person since but I’ve always considered her a true friend since that day, and I still cry when I think about her kindness and how much that visit meant to me.” —Suzi Fevens
Be a true friend: Do some dirty work
“I have one friend who every time he comes over, he does my dishes or sweeps my floor. He doesn’t ask (and if he did I’d tell him not to) but really it’s such a nice thing and makes my life easier. I’m a single mom and he knows I don’t have a lot of time to myself, much less to do chores.” —Carolyn Abbot
Be a true friend: Make them forget a bad anniversary
“My fiance walked out on me three days before our wedding. Now every year on the anniversary of the day I would have been married my best friend texts me a hilarious (and completely inappropriate) picture, reminding me I dodged a bullet. His humor makes a hard day better.” —Jason Woods. Make sure you know these 11 ways to move past a fight with a friend.
Be a true friend: Be present
“When my baby was in the hospital, my friend came to see us as often as she could and would bring me meals. And later on when I had to sneak off to pump [breastmilk] every few hours she’d come sit with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone.” —Kasandra Raux
Be a true friend: Have a weekly ritual
“My best friend comes over and we do each other’s nails while we lay in bed watching TV like high school girls.” —Shannon Hagen. Try these fun activities to do with your friends (that aren’t just getting dinner).
Be a true friend: Boost their self-esteem
“One night after teaching a late class, I found a sticky note on the window of my car. It read ‘You are beautiful inside and out’ with a little heart. I still don’t know which one of my friends left it for me but it is still on my dashboard and means more than anything to me!” —Jennie Berglund.
Be a true friend: Surprise them on a bad day
“My friend will show up and take my kids when she knows I’m having a rough day. By just showing up instead of calling, she knows I can’t tell her not to come!” —Courtney Clements
Be a true friend: Let your emotions out
“When my mom passed away, my little circle of friends brought me a mother-daughter statue and hugged me and cried with me. That meant so much to me.” —Sara Lybbert
Be a true friend: Offer a much-needed hug
“I have this wonderful friend who brought me chocolate and a much needed hug when I felt like I was falling apart awhile ago. It sounds like such a small thing but it was exactly what I really needed.” —Carrie Speed. If you’re not there to give an actual hug, try these 19 secrets for maintaining a long-distance friendship.
Be a true friend: Play bad cop
“My husband loves surprising people and my best friend knows how much I hate surprises. So she always gives me a heads-up when my well-meaning-but-forgetful hubby starts planning something for me. That way I still act surprised but I don’t have to deal with the anxiety or irritation of actually being surprised. But don’t tell him I told you!” —Anonymous. Check out these other 14 amazing things real-life friends have done for each other.