Good friendships are a thing to treasure. They are NOT a “dime a dozen” thing, and that’s really ok! We don’t really have time to spend an hour on the phone with 97 different people every week.
In this previous article, I wrote about the importance of friendship and broke down the different levels of friendship. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out.
One of the most common questions that I hear regarding friendship is “how to find good friends” and we will cover that. But here is the biggest factor in finding good friends:
To find a good friend, you first have to BE a good friend.
All throughout scripture, we see God calling us to serve before we are served. Paul instructs wives before he instructs husbands, he instructs servants before he instructs masters, he instructs children before he instructs parents.
Just as Jesus did not wait for us to get ready to deserve His sacrifice, we cannot wait for other people to be perfect before we start loving them selflessly.
Here are some ways that we have found helpful to prepare your heart and life for good friendships. In truth, all of your relationships will benefit from these practices.
Note: I’m not claiming to know it all; I am a student of friendship just like I am a student of marriage and all things Biblical. Take what I have learned and use it to make your life easier and your friendships better.
1. Take your heart to Jesus first
No person is ever supposed to be your everything. Ever. Even the best of friendships can be strained or destroyed by expecting that person to fill the needs Jesus was designed to fill. Taking your heart to Jesus first will keep you from putting unrealistic or unholy demands on a friendship. This will also keep you from seeking friendship from the wrong people.
2. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation
Talking to a complete stranger can be awkward. I get it. But conversation has to start somewhere. See someone at church or at work who you think you could be pals with? Strike up a conversation. Ask them how their day is going, about their weekend plans, if they have any pets or kids. Striking up conversations with strangers is like most things, it gets easier the more that you do it.
3. Learn to be a good listener
Nobody likes to hear you talk about yourself constantly. Not even your Mama. Ask open-ended questions about the other person. Then shut your pie hole and let the other person talk about their life, problems, and dreams some of the time.
Listen to hear, listen to understand. Don’t sit there and think about how you are going to respond while they are talking.
And please, for the love of real relationships, don’t check your phone or social media while a real live person is trying to talk to you.
4. Use what you are good at to serve
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
If you are gifted to do something, it is NEVER just for your benefit.
Are you a fantastic cook? Use your gift feed your hungry friends who love ALL your food. Are you good at putting outfits together? Great, help your friends to not look homeless. Are you good at seeing the potential and calling out destiny in people? Use that to speak purpose and passion over your friends.
Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status.
Romans 15:1 Msg
5. Tell the dang truth
There is no room in Kingdom living for lying or flattery. Don’t want to hang out tonight because you are tired? Just say so. Don’t make up an excuse. Being a truth-teller ALL the time will build trust in relationships like nothing else. Yes, the truth MUST be spoken in love, but a “white lie” is still a lie.
6. Celebrate their wins as if they were your own
Did your friend get the opportunity that you were hoping for? Refuse to let jealousy and envy take root by celebrating their win as your own. Are you still waiting around for your Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful while all your pals are getting married? Do your very best to celebrate them and their marriage wholeheartedly. I promise, God still has a wonderful story for you.
The timing or extravagance of someone else’s blessing does not ever detract from yours unless you let it.
7. Ask God for friends and pray for the friends that you have
I pray for my friends on a regular basis. I pray that God would bring the right people into our lives at the right time. I pray that God will provide Godly friends for my kid and youth kids as well. God cares about your relationships. Praying for friends enables Him to work on your behalf in this area of your life.
Pray with me:
Lord, help me to be a good friend. Help me to love those in my life, to not only love much, but love well. I ask you to create, heal, and bless the relationships that YOU want in my life. Give me wisdom and discernment about who I should pursue as a friend and what relationships I should invest my time and heart into.
In Jesus’ name,