We need friends of all ages. Older friends tend to help us in ways younger ones can’t, and vice versa. If you’ve got a younger pal, here are a few ways you can be a big support:
Don’t judge – ask questions
When you see your younger friend making the same mistakes you did when you were her age (dating the same deadbeat dudes, bothering with toxic friends, etc.) resist the urge to tell her she’s doing it wrong. Instead, ask her questions and try to help her figure out her own way. Judging your friend’s choices won’t help her get on the right path, but getting her to talk it out might. Make sure she feels like she can talk to you, even about the stuff she’s not proud of, without being criticised.
Set an example – don’t criticize
Everyone needs to vent sometimes, and that's part of what friends are for, but at the end of the day being an example of the right thing rather than criticize the wrong thing is probably a better strategy for dealing with tough stuff. So, rather than complain about how the person you’re seeing is being a total sketch bag, you hate your job, whatever, deal with it like a boss and show your friend how you’d want her, or any of your friends, to deal.
Show genuine appreciation
Make sure your friend knows the specific ways she’s awesome. We all need to hear about our strengths. It’s confidence boosting and encouraging. Being able to leverage those strengths in your 20's is helpful.
When she asks your opinion, tell her the truth
If your friend wants to know what you think about something, it’s because she’s looking for help. Be a perceptive listener and help her figure out what she wants to do, not necessarily what you think she should do. She's the one who knows her own life best, after all. Friends are for helping us clear the fog in our heads that make it hard to see the right decision.
Offer to be a reference, if you can
If you and your friend have worked on a project together or have any work experience together, being able to act as a reference can be a huge help. Asking around for references is hard and can be discouraging, especially if you don't have that much experience in your desired field. Offering if you can is a helpful gesture.
Now: be inspired by some of our favourite celeb galpals who make us want to join forces with more fierce ladies. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, you make the world a better place.