10 Ways to be a better friend

Dec 10, 2009 at 2:12 p.m. ET

There's nothing like the companionship of your best girlfriend -- you know, that girl with whom you can swap any secret, whose closet you can raid and who will tell you that yes, you do look fat in that dress. But nurturing such a special relationship takes effort, especially when life, love and careers take you in different directions. This year, focus on becoming the Courtney Cox to your Jennifer Aniston.

Best Friends

Je t'adore, mon ami

To be a better friend, tell your best friend how much you love and appreciate her. Thank her for being in your life. This verbal acknowledgment is sure to make your friendship stronger and won't leave her to guess how you feel. Of course, words alone won't do the trick; action must accompany them. Can't seem to connect for a phone call? Send a quick ecard or written note to brighten her day.

My Life
  1. Let her know when she screws up – you may be helping to save her from a mistake.
  2. Remember the details. A true friend knows that you hate mayonnaise and your favorite color—and vice versa.
  3. Give her space. Being besties doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have separate lives.
  4. Keep your opinion to yourself – sure, give her a heads up if she is making a mistake, but let her make her own decisions.
  5. We all make mistakes. If you have a disagreement, hear each other out, come to a truce, and move on.

Face time

Regardless of how many texts you and your BFF exchange in a day, this form of communication cannot replace face-to-face time. An investment in real time together is an indication that, despite how busy you may be, you still matter to each other. Those moments shared sans screen will bring you closer -- plus, who wants to grow old and gray with an iPhone? When you need a shoulder to cry on, your Blackberry isn't quite as comforting as your bestie.

You, you, you

Even though your best friend loves you and wants to know all the dish on you, it can't be "me me me" all the time. One of the most important attributes of a best gal pal is her ability to listen. Learn to become singularly focused on her, asking her questions about her situation instead of sharing your experiences. Let her ramble even when she is being repetitive; keep your mouth shut and your heart open, always.

Be her #1 fan

Support your best friend in all that she does. Feel happy for her when she succeeds, and carry her through when she hits her roadblocks. Talk her up positively to other people and keep her in your thoughts. Look for her size when you're shopping. When you see something out in the universe that reminds you of her, send her a text to let her know. This will instantly bring a smile to her face.

Be there when life bites her in the booty

Being the BFF when times are good is easy, but showing up when her life is sucking is crucial. We know you're busy, but take a moment to call or show up at her door. The gesture will speak volumes. Although you may not have all the right words, right away, your presence alone will be the comfort she needs. Just show up ready and willing (without judgment) to give her whatever she needs, be it recovery from a cheating boyfriend or job search help after getting pink slipped.

NEXT: the top 5 best friend tips

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