Etiquette Tips to Maintain Your Friendships

Women sitting on sofa watching a movie in a cozy loft apartment
Show respect to your friends for a healthier relationship. AMV Photo/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Have you ever noticed that some people are nicer to complete strangers than they are their good friends? It may seem backward, but most people are more concerned about making a first impression than being mannerly around people they assume will like or love them anyway. 

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.

Show That You Care About the Relationship

Although it's nice to speak highly of your friends, it's even more important to show how you feel. The person will feel more valued, and you're more likely to have a longer-lasting relationship if you put your good thoughts and feelings into action.

  • 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 focused on 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.
  • Stop phubbing: When you're with your pals, don't spend most of your time texting or talking on the phone. It gives the person the impression that you don't value her, and she might not want to hang out with you if you continue to do this.

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

While your closest friends are likely to see you at your worst, try to keep bad behavior to a minimum. Otherwise, you might find discover your pals pulling away.

  • Learn the proper way to argue and still remain friends afterward.
  • 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.
  • 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 Friendship Faux Pas

Everyone makes mistakes, so don't hold an occasional faux pas against your friends. By the same token, when you mess up, find ways to rectify the situation. Here are some tips:

  • How to answer rude questions: Even polite people slip up once in a while and ask questions they shouldn’t.
  • Etiquette tips for awkward situations: Be prepared to deal with an uncomfortable or embarrassing event caused by you or your friend.
  • Handling mealtime mishaps: There is no point in being upset over spilled milk. Follow the guidelines for dealing with it.
  • Smalltalk mistakes: Learn to avoid missing valuable conversation cues.
  • Be positive without being annoying: It's okay to try to cheer your friends up, but know where to draw the line.

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 for Office Friendships

Whether you only see your coworkers in the office or you hang out with them after hours, you can still consider these people your friends. Here are some ways to have healthy relationships with the people you see during the workday.

  • Bond with coworkers: Enjoy some fun activities to get to know your coworkers.
  • Business relationship etiquette: Develop and nurture trust with your coworkers, supervisors, and subordinates.
  • Be more likable at work: Raise your likability factor to attract friends at the office.
  • Etiquette in the office cubicle: If you are a cubicle dweller, learn to respect the boundaries if you want to earn the respect of your coworkers.
  • 10 tips for email communication: Follow some important rules when emailing your workplace friends.