Hey friends, long time no chat! I’ve been busy working on my secret project, but I’m hoping to share with you next month what it is! Thanks for your patience since I haven’t been around much on the blog. I promise it will be worth it!
Today I’m sharing a post I wrote a while ago for another blog, but I wanted to share it here since it’s no longer available. And I think it’s pertinent to where we are all at right now because we all need a friend, and we can all be a good friend to someone else.
This week I was reminded about the importance of friends, especially those who know you at your best and worst. It’s easy to remain surface-level with people, but I challenge you to dig deeper into your friendships, especially with people who you admire, respect, and trust. I hope these tips help you be the kind of friend that someone needs right now!
- Keep in touch with friends who are far away. Most of my best friends and family are in Oregon, which is where I’m from, so it can be really challenging to stay involved in their lives. Everyone is busy and it’s easy to let friendships slip when you don’t see your friends on a regular basis. But there is nothing like an old friend who knows you well. Make the effort to stay in touch with your friends through skype, texting them, or calling them. Don’t give up on a friend just because of distance!
- Make room in your schedule for them. Similarly, make room in your schedule for friends! When you’re working or going to school or involved in church or play a sport, your schedule can fill up fast. But I encourage you to choose a few friends you want to connect with at the beginning of every month and text them to schedule a time to hang out. Put it on your calendar so that something else doesn’t get in the way, and stick to it! Making time for friends is so important because you have the opportunity to invest in someone else’s life.
- Forgive when they mess up. Everyone will mess up at some point. Whether your friend is always flaking out on you, is constantly late, or poked a little too much fun at you one time, forgive them. We all have our issues, but loving others like Jesus means forgiving your friends even when they hurt you. It’s not easy to forgive, but your friendship will be stronger because of it.
- Ask how you can pray for them. My husband does a really good job of this. He regularly texts his best friends and asks how he can pray for them, and he will even follow up with them throughout the month. Check-in with your friends often and ask how you can be praying for them. It will mean a lot to them to know they have someone talking to God about their lives alongside them. And it’s a great way to know how to encourage your friends as well!
- Sacrifice your time when they need you. Life happens, oftentimes when we least expect it. Many times in your life, you’ll have the choice to drop what you’re doing and listen to your friend, or keep going because it’s inconvenient or not the right timing. But even if it’s inconvenient, a good friend puts other’s needs above their own. When your friend needs to talk about something important, take the time for them if you can, and if you can’t, make sure to schedule a time to talk to them later.
- Keep them accountable. It can be hard to call friends out on things. But the Bible calls us to do exactly that: “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). If your friend is doing something that isn’t pleasing to God, call them out on it in love. They may not appreciate it at first, but if they truly want to live like God does, they usually will thank you later. It takes courage to hold friends accountable, but it also makes your friendship so much deeper.
- Be honest with them. If you’re struggling with something else going on in your life, share it with a close friend! Although it’s easy to hide, it’s so much better to share what you’re going through with a friend. I’ve found that this is so freeing and helps release fear and shame. That way, they can pray for you, encourage you, and keep you accountable. This goes for when you want to celebrate, too! Don’t hide your life because you think they may not be interested or you’re afraid of what they will say. Friendships are built on trust, and you can’t have trust without honesty.
- Listen to them. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself half-hearing what a friend is saying, half-planning what story I’m going to share with them next. I encourage you to truly listen when your friend talks to you, instead of just hearing them. Give them eye contact, ask them to repeat things, empathize with them. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth – that should tell you something!
- Do random acts of encouragement. When I first started my blog, my friend from Oregon sent me a care package out of the blue. It totally caught me by surprise, and I was so grateful that she thought of me and wanted to celebrate this accomplishment with me. Whether it’s writing your friend a note reminding them how much you love them, sharing a bible verse, or even sending them a care package, make sure to encourage your friends on a regular basis!
- Take the risk of making new friends. A few years ago, I went through a period in my life where I felt really lonely – I had just moved, was newly married, and most of my friends were in another state. I had taken my friends for granted and had no idea how to start making new ones in the place where I lived. Making new friends is like asking someone out on a date; it’s risky and you have no idea what to do with them in order to start a relationship. But take the risk! Ask a coworker to lunch, a classmate to coffee, or someone in your community group to hang out. You have no idea where it might lead – they might become your new bestie!
These tips are so simple and I’m sure you’ve heard them all before, but if you work a little bit at them you will become a better friend. I hope you can put some of these things into practice this week and grow in your friendships!