The Five Rules for Being My Friend

 Guest Contributor: Heather McKim 

I was talking to my daughter the other day. She is ten and usually has a lot to say. This is a good thing of course as I get a lot of information from her and open communication with my daughter is always something I’ve encouraged.We started talking about things like ‘frenemies’ (a term I don’t like or understand very much) and it got me to thinking, we need to value ourselves more. Perhaps something we should start doing, whether we are seven or seventy seven is come up with a list of some much defined rules for being our friend.

Some may say this sounds snobby or snooty, but I think it sounds like we value ourselves enough to put parameters around what we find acceptable and unacceptable. Many of us, especially in this day and age of digital connection have stopped valuing ourselves. Not only have we stopped doing it, but we stopped knowing how or even what this means. It’s become a world where we try to become what we see on social media. We use platforms such as Instagram as a measurement of our own self-worth. Social media has become a tool by which all of us (young or old) determine how successful we are in life.
Recently I read a horrible story in the newspaper, where a man had been abusive and eventually killed his wife. This woman was a successful doctor and well revered. To the outside world she and her husband lived an enviable life. Expensive trips, running marathons, climbing mountains and enjoying life to its fullest. In reality their life was much different. If we post a photo of ourselves and nobody likes it we feel worthless. If we post a personal decision, preference or like and someone doesn’t like it, we question our values. This often drives us to do things we know are wrong or really don’t want to do, all in an effort to be liked an accepted. 

Here’s the thing though, that’s not cool. If someone does not accept you for who you are and puts ‘conditions’ on your friendship, then no matter how much we think we want them to like us and be our friend, they never will be. Frenemies is a term that bothers me because it refers to someone who acts like a friend but really is not. For instance, they might tell you that sending them private pictures or your deepest secrets will make them like you more and maybe in doing so they will be your friend. Not only does it not end at one private picture or one secret, once shared with someone like this 100% of the time it is no longer private or a secret. 

Whether you believe this or not, you are an interesting, unique and valuable being. You need to believe this. You have your own personality, likes, dislikes, experiences and beliefs and that is awesome because all of those things make you who you are. It also makes you tremendously valuable. You should never do something for someone that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, no matter how much you love them or how much you want them to like you. The thing is, if those people actually cared about you they would never put you in a situation that made you feel this way.
I encourage you to create a list; a list we call here in my home “The Five Rules for Being My Friend”. Your list could include things like “Respect my Beliefs” or “Don’t talk behind my back”.

Some of the rules to being my friend include:

-1-          Be genuine. Let me also be genuine. I do not want to have to hide parts of myself from you for fear I will be judged. I want the same for you.
-2-          Always support me, even when I’m not there. You may not agree with everything that I say or do, but if someone is putting me down as a person and you are present, not only do I hope you let them know how wrong they might be, but also let them know that talking about me in such a negative way in front of you makes you feel uncomfortable, and remove yourself from it.
-3-          Honest friends. Be honest with me. Have I done something wrong? Am I making a bad decision? Did I say the wrong thing? Be honest with me but not derogatory; love me through my mistake.
-4-          I need to be able to laugh with you and be silly and also to cry on your shoulder and be sad, and sometimes I need to do these things together at the same time.
-5-          Friends who make me feel safe. Safe to say how I feel, what’s going on, what my grievance of the day is. 

Although these may be some of the rules to being my friend, I also extend the same to those that are in my tribe, it’s important that I be the same type of friend to them.
Write this list out and stick to it. You owe it to yourself. Membership to your friendship club should not come free.  Mutual respect is what true friendship is all about. As for social media, don’t always believe what you see. Often the people with the cleanest homes have the messiest lives.


  1. Good bad or ugly I usually say what I feel. It has meant losing whom I thought were friends. It has meant people being angry with me. I am that person who wears her heart in her sleeve and it is only in moments of extreme stress that I show the stoic side. Not because I am in control but because I feel I have lost control and being stoic is a coping mechanism I developed in my dark years. Great blog. Thank you for sharing.


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