We can all be a better friend and relationships are incredibly important---family, significant other, best buds, old friends---they all gotta be maintained. Hopefully these twenty tips serve as a nice reminder.
1.) Always be an engaging listener. If you catch yourself just waiting for your turn to talk, realize it, slow down, and start focusing on the people around you.
2.) You're always going to have friends who aren't going to take traditional career paths. Whether they're a DJ, F-list actress, or entrepreneur with a loony idea, support them. It's incredibly brave what they're doing.
3.) If a friend or family member asks you for money and you can afford it, gift it to them. Never lend and expect someone to pay you back. At the same time, don't let anyone take advantage of your generosity.
4.) If you tell a joke and it doesn't land, simply smile, shut up, and don't try to explain it.
5.) If someone you're close with is upset with you about something, never say "I'm sorry you feel that way" instead of "I'm sorry I did that."
6.) Apologies are about valuing your relationship with someone more than your ego.
7.) If someone tells you about one of their problems, sympathize with them, don't try to fix it.
8.) Never hire a friend at your work if you would be their boss. That dynamic is a bad one.
9.) If you gotta let someone down, never do it by email or text. Call them.
10.) If you have a problem with something one of your friends did, tell them face to face. Letting it build up inside of you is a bad idea, and you'll probably be better friends after talking it out.
11.) Don't be the person who can never make it. Find time.
12.) Give your buddies crap occasionally, but never about their waistline, hairline, or paycheck.
13.) Unless you're John Mayer, don't bring out a guitar and play for guests.
14.) If you borrow a car for a day, fill up the tank. If you borrow it for more than a day, fill up the tank and get it washed.
15.) Plan things. The older you get, the less social activities there are to fill up the calendar. Be the person who makes things happen.
16.) Never RSVP to an event, even on Facebook, if you have no intention of actually attending.
17.) Keep your expectations in check. Unrealistic expectations are the fastest way to disappointment.
18.) If a buddy of yours is good at something---plumbing, graphic design, etc---never expect or ask him to help you for free. Just hire a guy.
19.) Never be afraid to give gifts. The "congrats on the promotion---here's a nice bottle of whiskey" or "found this at the flea market and knew you'd love it" acts of kindness go a long ways.
20.) If you can't make the game or the concert, give the tickets to a friend. The'll remember the nice deed far longer than you'll remember the cash you got from a Craigslist deal.