Everyone longs to have a lifelong buddy they can count on through thick and thin. But some forget that in order to have such a relationship, they need to be that kind of companion to others. True friendship is a two-way street that involves some give and take. Like nurturing a garden, you’ll likely get out of it what you put into it.

In a technological world where many people have an easier time making social media posts than speaking face-to-face, friendship can seem challenging. If you aren’t sure how to develop and maintain those important personal relationships, you may be overthinking things. Try to be the type of person you want others to be for you, and your relationships should blossom. Here are five simple ways to be a more thoughtful friend.

1. Be There Through Good and Bad Times

It doesn’t take much effort to be a “fair-weather friend.” When everything’s going well and the relationship is all fun and games, it’s easy to stick around. The real test is whether you can be there through the unpleasant parts of life’s journey. Take a moment to analyze a past relationship that didn’t withstand the test of time. Did things fall apart because one party abandoned the other when they were going through something hard?

The above scenario is fairly common and can doom new friendships before they truly begin. If you’ve met someone who’s worth keeping in your life, make sure you stay by their side through tough times. Visit and send them get well soon gifts when they’re stuck in the hospital. Be a voice of reason when they’re about to make a stupid decision. Forgive them if they lash out at you unfairly because something has gone wrong in their life. By sticking with them when the going gets tough, you prove yourself to be a thoughtful companion.  

2. Don’t Be Judgmental

When someone you care about makes a decision you wouldn’t make, it’s hard not to be judgmental. However, you probably don’t understand all of the factors contributing to that person’s choice. You may not see the underlying pain or confusion they’re going through. Since you haven’t personally walked in their shoes, it’s important to reserve judgment and try to be understanding.

If you think your buddy is about to make a catastrophic decision, it’s important to lovingly offer advice. Let them know why you’re concerned about the direction they’re headed. Be honest and fervent, but let them know you’ll care about them no matter what. Accept that their choices are theirs to make, even if those choices temporarily lead them in a direction you can’t follow.

3. Make Time for Each Other

Thoughtful people tend to make time for relationships and things they care about most. If you’re constantly telling your buddies you don’t have time for them, they’ll get the message you don’t truly care. Eventually, they’ll most likely stop reaching out and you’ll be left without their companionship. That can leave you feeling depressed and very alone.  

There may be times in your life when you’re overly stressed and feel like you honestly don’t have time to devote to others. But you may be overlooking the incredible stress-relieving benefits of quality relationships. Researchers have found that friendship can alter the way you perceive stressful situations. Those who have good relationships tend to feel less threatened and more capable of tackling challenges. So instead of ditching your buddies when you’re feeling overwhelmed, prioritize spending time with them when life gets hard.  

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable

It’s difficult to befriend someone who keeps their thoughts and feelings heavily guarded. Lasting relationships are almost always built on the foundation of mutual trust. You need to be able to share your genuine thoughts, feelings, and history with the most important people in your life. In return, they’ll feel like they can safely share those things with you.

Thoughtful friends allow themselves to be vulnerable and confide in each other. Don’t be afraid to expose your thoughts and emotions to your companion when the time is right. When they confide in you, listen carefully and be supportive. Make sure they know your relationship is safe and that you’ll always have their best interests at heart.

5. Cheer Them On

Have you ever had a “frenemy” who pretended to care about you but was secretly in competition with you? Did they seem jealous at every promotion, vacation, or success you achieved? If so, you know firsthand how damaging such relationships can be. Commit now to never being that type of person yourself.  

To become a more thoughtful companion, always cheer your buddies on. Encourage them to grow and accomplish new things. Instill confidence in them so they can become the best possible version of themselves. Above all, never compete with your chums or make them feel like you’re trying to bring them down. True friendship elevates all parties involved and never defines the relationship by a winner or loser.

Thoughtful people tend to have an easier time developing meaningful personal relationships. The Law of Attraction is based on the philosophy that like attracts like. That means you’re more likely to attract good companions if you’re a good companion yourself. Use these simple tips to become a more thoughtful friend and strengthen your interpersonal relationships.