Do you find it difficult to find true friends these days?
As a Christian, it can often feel difficult to find a support system that will stick by your side no matter what. But it is truly possible!
The key to making and keeping real friends is to first be a good friend yourself. If we work to improve ourselves first, then we will find it easier to find others who we can truly connect with!
If you’re looking for true friendship, then this blog may have some advice that will help you find the friendship you truly desire.
What It Means to Be a True Friend
My friend Becky and I have been close friends for many years. We met in elementary school, but as time went on, we spent less and less time together. Especially when she got married and started having kids.
Naturally, her focus needed to be on her growing family, and that took up a lot of her time. I was more flexible as a single woman, but I often assumed that there was nothing we could do about our different schedules.
Then one day, Becky said she wanted someone to meet with to pray every week. She had just had something difficult happen in her life, and she wanted someone to hold her accountable to studying the Word and seeking God in her pain.
So, we started meeting at 5:30 on Tuesday mornings at a Starbucks nearby. It had to be that early so that I could get to my job at a local school on time.
Well, little did I know that about the time that Becky’s difficult season had some reprieve, I entered a difficult season of my own.
I was so glad that she had put this weekly meeting into place. For months, I felt like I was the only one talking because I was so upset that I hardly made time to listen to her.
But she was patient, and because of her support, that painful time in my life eventually got better.
How to Be a Good Friend
So, how can you have a close friend like that, someone who offers help and receives your help in return?
First, you have to learn how to be a good friend yourself!
Here are 7 tips for how to be a good friend and how to find a true friend:
1. Remember that thoughts are seeds.
Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.”
Think about the thing you want as if it has already happened.
It will not help you to plant seeds about “It is so hard to have a close friend,” or “I am so alone.”
You will reap more of the same if you go in that direction. So, start telling yourself, “I am a close friend, and I am good to close friends,” or “Close friends are coming.”
Plant those seeds in your life, and you will create an entirely different harvest. One that you want.
Hint: You don’t have to fully believe it before you start telling it to yourself.
Which brings us to our second point.
2. Anything great happens by faith.
In Hebrews 11, we read some amazing stories about heroes in the Bible era, but none of their stories happened because they had a perfect plan in place.
They happened because they had faith.
So, when you plant new thought seeds in your life, let yourself believe them in faith. It doesn’t have to look like it makes sense or is possible.
God is pleased when we just trust Him.
3. Intention plants seeds, but action waters them.
You can plant all the seeds you want, but if you never actually do anything, your harvest won’t come.
Start taking some simple actions to water those seeds.
Like Becky came to me and asked if we could start meeting regularly, go to someone and ask them if you can start meeting regularly.
Becky was taking a risk in asking me to meet her at 5:30 AM. She knew I could easily have said no.
But if I had, she just would have moved on to the next person who came to her mind.
Do not give up. Reach out.
4. Be willing to listen unevenly.
Remember when I said that Becky listened to me for weeks and weeks with very little talk time for herself?
Well, I am forever grateful that she did.
And a few times over the years, she has been the one needing to talk the most, and I did not have much space to share.
But believe me, it has never rivaled that one time I monopolized the conversation.
If you insist on having even or equal share time, your friendship will not thrive. Be willing to listen unevenly when necessary.
5. Know when to go with the flow.
Romans 12:2 tells us not “to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.”
So, be aware that your friend is trying to be transformed on a daily basis, just like you are. Be patient.
Even as an accountability partner, you do not have to point out every area in which she needs to change. Give her some room to grow.
You can take everything to God in prayer on her behalf, though.
6. Know when to go against the grain.
Okay, confession time.
I was really self-centered in college, and I lost more than one great opportunity because of it.
Back when Becky and I were sophomores on the same college campus, she proposed that we mentor about four freshman girls. I told her I was all in.
And I showed up for the first prayer meeting. But I ditched them on every one after that.
And this was in the time before cell phones, so I didn’t even let them know where I was or why I wasn’t there.
Becky must have been so embarrassed in front of those girls week after week.
Each time she would ask me about it, I would tell her it was a fluke and that I planned to show up at the next meeting. And I did plan to, but I never did.
Eventually, Becky called me out on it and said what I was doing was not good. I was hurting her and hurting the girls.
She told me I was no longer going to be included in the group and she didn’t expect me to try to be there anymore … because I wasn’t trying.
It hurt, but it was true. I’m glad she knew when to go against the grain.
Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Well, it doesn’t feel good when someone sharpens you, but it does mean that they are a good friend.
7. Love their people.
If you are going to be a good friend, you need to exhibit a committed, unconditional love for your friend’s people.
You can imagine that from time to time in our morning coffee sessions, a situation with another friend or family member would come up for discussion and prayer.
When Becky or I were frustrated, we wanted a safe and trustworthy place to express ourselves without the worry that the other person would hold a grudge against that loved one.
There is nothing I could ever say about my other friends and family that would make Becky love them less.
That is a comfort to me. And she knows she can count on the same feelings from me.
We love each other’s people.
Finding and keeping true friends can feel really difficult and scary when we aren’t sure where to start or even if they’re out there.
And it can feel even more uncomfortable when we just don’t feel like we fit in with this world.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to fit in and you weren’t called to!
God will send you a friend who is true, honest, and supportive. All you have to do is ask!
Pray for your friends and start strengthening your own friendship skills. Learning how to be a good friend now will help you find good friends and create relationships that last a lifetime.
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