I had my own gig designing...well, everything: websites, logos, ads, brochures, video, etc. Always got asked to do something for free because it “might lead to something else”.
Did it a few times, nothing came out of it, then when I wanted to charge for something the person was outraged and basically stopped talking to me.
If your friend owns a business, don't ask for a friend discount or for some free products, a great friend is one that pays full price to support their friend. Real friends don't take advantage of their hardworking friends trying to make a living. Real friends try to help them out on their journey.
That has happened to me so many times it stopped bothering me. People think nothing of asking their friend the designer to work for free. I started telling people that their design was going to take me an hour, cutting my grass takes an hour. If they'll come cut my grass I'll spend that hour working on their project.
NOBODY has ever taken me up on it including the two friends with lawn care businesses. These days I just say no, I'm too backed up with paying work.
If you are the only one trying to maintain a friendship, they aren't your friend and your time and energy would be better spent somewhere else.
If someone is clearly depressed, prefers alone time, or needs your help before something bad happens, this is not the tip for you to follow. Please reach out to that person and let them know you care.
But if you have friends who you consistently try to make plans with, they decline or take a rain check with a "oh we'll have to hang out soon" and never get back with you, yet you see them out with other friends all the time, then yes, this is very applicable. You deserve better friends.
If you really want to connect with someone, take them for a long, scenic walk. Not being face to face takes some of the pressure off, and the scenery puts you in the right mood to open up.
Don't ask people if they're free on a certain date without specifying why you're asking. Simply asking "are you free on Friday?" comes across like you're tricking the other person into doing whatever it is you want them to do.
If you constantly vent your problems to someone, make sure to also call them when things are going well. Good listeners can sometimes get overwhelmed, and it's nice to hear positive news. To add to that, also make sure you're available to let them vent their problems. Relationships are a two way street.
If you have a chore that you actually enjoy, never tell anyone you enjoy it.
You'll do that chore for the rest of your days, even if you stop enjoying it.
You get no credit for doing that chore, since it’s really not even a chore, right?