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Etiquette Tips to Maintain Your Friendships

Nurture your relationships by showing respect to pals you care about.


Women sitting on sofa watching a movie in a cozy loft apartment
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Have you ever noticed that some people are nicer to complete strangers than they are their good friends? Take a look at your own relationships and consider the value of the people who have been there for you. They may be close friends you’ve known since childhood, or they might be someone you have lunch with at work. Whatever the case, show them the respect they deserve by following the basic rules of proper etiquette.

Here are some ways to make sure your friends know how much they mean to you:

  • How to be on time – Avoid Being late – Your friend’s time is as valuable as yours, and you should honor it.
  • Respect Personal Space - Everyone needs a little elbow room, including your friends. Don’t crowd them, or they may push back.
  • Avoid Arguing About Politics - If you know your friend holds an opposing political view, keep all discussions on the facts and don’t say anything that would cause hurt feelings later.
  • Follow the Golden Rule - This biblical concept is especially true in friendships because these are the people you should treat as you expect them to treat you. This includes encouraging them, offering sympathy when needed, and being on time for get-togethers.

Understanding why proper etiquette is important will make you want to use it with your friends. There is never any reason to be rude to someone you want to keep in your life, so think before you speak and avoid doing anything to jeopardize your relationship. At times you will disagree, but you can do it respectfully and without name-calling. When you make a mistake or say something hurtful, be ready with a sincere apology.

Basic etiquette tips for friendships:

  • Healthy Arguing – Learn the proper way to argue and still remain friends afterward.
  • Don’t Expect to be Included All the Time – You might feel left out sometimes, but being friends doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. On the flip side, knowing the signs of your friends intentionally excluding you will help you recognize your standing in the relationship.
  • Acknowledging Others - Never take credit for your friends’ ideas or good deeds, or you risk losing their trust.

If you spend enough time with your friend, one or both of you will make a mistake. Don’t expect perfection, or you are sure to be disappointed. If you are able to find humor in the situation, you will have a private joke that can bring you even closer over time.

How to handle a friendship etiquette faux pas:

Friendships at work are different from other relationships, but they are still valuable. Whether you banter with the person in the cubicle next to you or you enjoy lunches with your coworkers, exercise good judgment and maintain proper etiquette so you don’t risk damaging something you treasure.

Tips on etiquette with workplace pals:

Our Friendship Guide has listed more tips on following proper etiquette with your pals here: Friendship Etiquette Questions.

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