1. Recognize the specific ways you might be showing selfishness in your friendship. Ask yourself if you are so caught up in your personal needs and desires that you can barely see your own selfish behaviors. Then, ask yourself why you’re being selfish. Consider what you might miss, in the relationship, by not giving of yourself.
2. Focus on your friend’s well being rather than what you aren’t getting out of the relationship. When the emphasis in your mind is on creating happiness for your friend rather than for yourself, you shift your priorities in a way that allows you to be a less selfish friend.
3. Visit a good therapist or counselor if you’re healing from loss or trauma and need to talk out those feelings; otherwise, you might emotionally wear out your friend. Your friend might seem okay with your need to frequently talk about your issues, but take stock of the time you’re focusing on yourself in comparison with the time your friend vents about his or her problems. If you’re monopolizing the conversation most of the time, start asking questions to get your friend talking, and become a better listener.
4. Allow your friend to choose at least some of the activities that you do together. These may not be activities that you are interested in, but by participating in them you show that you care about your friend, and you become a selfless friend.
5. Invite your friend over for a meal or dessert once in a while, if you’re not doing this already; lunch out at restaurants is fine, but sharing your intimate home environment and cooking for your friend shows your willingness to give time and energy to the relationship. Prepare your friend’s favorite dishes. Your friend might start having you over, too.
6. Spend time with your friend whenever he or she needs you. When your friend is going through a tough time, don’t put off a lunch date until it is most convenient for you; demonstrate that you will set aside your responsibilities and leisure time, within reason, to listen and help during those times you are needed most. Don’t cut the time short when your friend needs you to listen or help out in some way-give your full attention to be a less selfish friend.
7. Be content with the amount of time your friend offers you. If you help and listen to your friend more frequently than he or she helps and listens to you, recognize that you can derive joy from giving when you approach it with the right attitude. See your relationship as a gift that grants the opportunity for personal growth in the emotional maturity department.