the listerabellum is the small but very active section of my brain that does nothing but make [mostly worthless] lists all day. today’s topic from the listerabellum: how to be a
good friend less bad person in general.
1. communicate with the people that matter to you even when something terrible isn’t happening in their lives. i love girl #2. like, for realz, love her. since she moved to chicago, i have done an amazingly awful job of communicating with her outside of the douchiest forms of communication (i.e. “hearting” her posts on instagram, and the like). and this isn’t just limited to my lack of meaningful communication with my blogmate (and one of my favorite people), this is true of myself (and most of the people i know) in general. my co-best friend (girl kelly, who has probably been mentioned on here before a time or two) and i have crafted and sent postcards back and forth to each other for many, many years. in the last year, i have completely stopped this less-of-a-bad-person approved practice until recently when i realized what a jerk i was being. gk has kept it up despite my lack of response because she is, on the whole, just a glorious example of how to be a good friend. i only speak to/see some members of my family when someone dies or gets married or i need an address to send (celebratory or sympathetic) flowers to. that is bad. the bottom line is, it shouldn’t take getting cancer to get you to send someone an actual letter through the mail or pick up a phone or get on a plane. show people you care without clicking a fucking mouse.
2. cook food for and with friends. getting together for a beer (or seven beers, in my friend group) is fine, but some of my very favorite get-togethers involve food. planning a meal, going to the store, procuring supplies and cooking and eating food with a group of people you care about is great. do it regularly. weekly. twice a week with two different sets of friends, whatever, but do it more often than you do now.
3. send real mail. yes, yes, i talked about this in number one, but really, send actual mail. with stamps and writing without anything that plugs in or has internet capability. buy stamps. make weird little collages and drawings and turn them into postcards. buy trinkets and packing tape. design stationary. pick a signature “you” thing to do, but do it. real mail is the best. USPS for the win.
4. call people even when you aren’t lost. i don’t even know if this needs explaining. i feel like the vast majority of non-business. non-doctor, non-mediacom related phone calls are directionally motivated and even those are diminishing due to fancy phones and siri. call people occasionally just to talk to them with your mouth and listen with your ears. i bet there is someone you love whose voice you can’t quite remember anymore. doesn’t that make you hate yourself a little? take preventative measures!
5. give presents. they don’t have to be big or expensive. hell, you don’t even have to buy them, you can make presents. but give little nonsense, thoughtful gifts every once in a while. actual things are best as opposed to giftcards (which are just disguises for money… what are you saying? that your loved ones are WHORES?!) and wrap those little gifts. remember: every time you buy a giftcard and “wrap” it in a bag, a kitten dies a horrible death.
6. acknowledge birthdays outside of social networking.
7. support your friends. your friend is deeply involved in a charity group? google it. learn about the organization, if it sounds like something you also care about, support that cause! if it isn’t your bag, at least now you know more about what your friend is up to. your other friend is working on a project? pledge to his or her kickstarter or volunteer to help with it. your brother is making a movie? let him smash your front living room window, rearrange your house and take your storm door off its hinges (it is still off its hinges, btw, max), see if he needs you to obtain and dye a dead cat that he won’t use in the actual film. or some less specific example. know what sort of things the people you care about care about and help them out if you can.
8. tell people what they need to hear not what they want to hear. if someone is doing something stupid (like an aspiring male model… get it? “doing”… no? ok) let them know. whether it is a possibly abusive relationship, a really bad haircut, an addiction issue or bad business venture (“investing my 401k in pagers, yo, because they’re coming back”), tell your friends when they are making mistakes. they may not listen to you, and occasionally you may be wrong, but at least you’re being honest and giving real advice.
9. avoid borrowing money, but if you must, pay it back, asap.
10. listen. stop talking. stop waiting for them to stop talking so you can talk. listen!
11. say nice things. this is not the opposite of number 8. do not say fake nice things, say real nice things. if your friend looks really pretty in her new dress, tell her (or him, we don’t judge here). compliment people on their skills, attributes, new haircuts, talents and accomplishments. it’ll make them feel good, even if you think they should be damn well aware of how accomplished and awesome they are*.
12. when your dear friend asks you to write a blog post immediately following her witty, engaging, dramatic, well-written, three-piece revelation about her recent cancer diagnosis, you write that fucking blog even though you worked until one in the morning and don’t feel very witty or engaging and…and stuff. because, you want to be a less bad person! yea! don’t let the terrorists win!
snuggles and hugs are also good for being a better human.
*i have a ridiculously large number of insanely talented and accomplished friends, but dz has his accomplishments so nicely documented and easy to google for reference purposes, he wins the in-paragraph example link. (he doesn’t read this anyway, so it’s ok, it won’t go to his head).