08/18/2010 12:40 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

13 Rules to Care and Feed a Friendship

l. Don't be the kind of person who buys a pregnant woman a belt. Think before you gift.

2. Non-negotiable: offer to accompany your friend to the biopsy and when asked to donate to her worthy cause, cough up.

3. If a friend goes passive-aggressive on you, work things out. If necessary, impersonate grownups.

4. If you're the passive-aggressive one, own and fix it.

5. If you're upset by something a friend does/says, react ASAP. The longer you ruminate, the more likely you'll explode, which will lead So-So Friend to think you are the creep while she steeps in denial about her questionable behavior.

6. Not every friendship is meant to last forever. The purpose of some is to teach a lesson. When a friendship starts to crumble, learn your lesson, and then think hard about putting the friendship on life support. Prolonging may ultimately cause hurt, while a gentle fade-out can be an act of kindness.

7. Should you intercept a call from a headhunter meant for your friend, don't chase the job.

8. Sing along: "I've lost the friends I needed losing, found others along the way."

9. The ability to show compassion is possibly the best trait of all and if coupled with humor, nurture that friendship with profound care.

10. Show up.

11. Show up again. Sometimes tit for consistent .75 tat is good enough.

12. Offer advice and opinions in the sweet spot between innocuous and judgmental.

13. If you review your friend's novel on Amazon or Barnes & Noble's website, go for 5-stars or don't bother. (You'd like to review my novel, "With Friends like These?" Why thank you!)

Your golden friendship rule? Do tell! Best rule in a comment wins a signed copy of "With Friends like These."