No joke, we have some of the most AMAZING friends ever. I am constantly in awe of what awesome people God has blessed us with. Friends are absolutley a gift from God, but we also have a part to play in becoming a good friend, having healthy expecations, and finding good friends.
Last week, I wrote about how to BE a good friend. To find a good friend, you first need to BE a good friend.
Here, I want to discuss how to find a good friend: qualities to look for in a good friend. (By friend I do NOT mean the people that follow/like your profile on social media. Although there should be some discretion there too.)
I am not talking about qualities that qualify someone to receive your kindness. As Christ followers, we should be kind to all. But we should be wise and use discretion in who we allow to be our good FRIENDS: people that we allow to know intimate or even semi-intimate details of our lives. People that we actually spend serious time with and for. We need discretion in this area for two main reasons: One, because we are called to “guard our hearts above all else, for from it flows the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23. And two because friendships are something that should be cultivated, not just something that happens.
So, here are 7 things to consider to help you find good friends:
1. Do they love Jesus and (at least try to) make decisions that would be pleasing to Him?
Sanctification is progressive. The Bible is our baseline for behavior that is becoming of a Christian, but even beyond that, there will be things that God tells you are not beneficial to YOU. God has asked me to be more set apart and more focused the longer I walk with Him. There are things that were permissible for me to do 10 years ago that are not ok now. Not all of your friends will be on the same level as you. It may be ok for them to do some things that God has told you are not ok for you. But there needs to be a basic thought process of “is this_____ pleasing to God” in their major decisions and daily habits. If there is not, you will have a hard time building a quality, sustaining friendship on any level.
2. Do they tell the truth?
If you lie to one person, you might just lie to every person. Truth tellers can be trusted. A false witness cannot. I can still love you from afar if you tend to lie, but you will not become one of my good friends and certainly not an inner circle friend if you are a habitual liar.
3. How do they portray themselves on social media and to the general public?
Is looking cool or sexy more important than being truthful or encouraging? If so, it is going to be hard to build a quality friendship. Social media presents a whole new set of challenges. While some people (us included) use social media mainly for business and ministry purposes, you still need to make an effort to be genuine and authentic in all posts and interactions.
4. Do they talk badly about other people (aka gossip)?
If someone badmouths other people to me, then they will most likely badmouth me to other people. Consequently, I am not going to trust them with sensitive information or pieces of my heart that they could seriously hurt me with if they betrayed my trust.
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Prov 20:19
5. Are they kind to people who can give them nothing?
It’s one thing to be sweet to a brand rep who might give you free stuff. It’s another thing to be kind to your waiter and the little old lady struggling to open the door at the store. How you treat people who can do nothing for you speaks volumes about your character.
6. Do you LIKE them? Do you connect?
There will be people in our lives that, on paper, we should be BFFs with. We are interested in a lot of the same things, laugh at the same jokes, go to the same church/school/whatever but we JUST. DON’T. CONNECT. And that’s okay! God has not called you to be the bestest of buddies with everyone AND their Mama. God has called you to sacrificially love everyone and their Mama. There is a difference.
7. Do they make an effort too?
Friendship takes work. It takes an effort to intentionally connect with people. It takes work, time, planning, and resources to build a genuine and ongoing connection with people. If you want more than a very surface level friendship, it will take more than a surface level effort. The friendships that we have maintained for years have been ones where BOTH parties make an effort to cultivate the friendship.
Pray with me:
Lord help me to love my friends well. Give me wisdom, discretion, and prudence about who I should pour into as a friend in this and every season of my life. Father, I ask that you would help me to be a good friend to the people that you’ve given me as friends and I ask that you would continue to provide me with Godly friends.
What about you? What are the top qualities that you look for in a friend?