“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” — Walter Winchell
Friendship is a tricky thing. One day it’s amazing- the next baffling. And dear daughters, girls tend to face even more unique challenges in the friendship department. So– we wanted to write a guide on how to be a true friend. Because it takes work. You’ll make mistakes, Lord knows we do! And learning how to navigate friendships will serve you for the rest of your life.
There’s an important foundation to friendship you must first understand. We believe we are created in God’s image. ALL people. Therefore ALL people must be treated with respect and kindness. God designed us to be in relationships. We weren’t created to be isolated and alone- NO! Throughout the whole Bible– from Genesis to Revelation– we see God’s desire to BE WITH his people. From the design of the temple in the Old Testament, to the coming of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament- God created opportunities for people to BE IN relationship with Him. Not only does God desire for us to be in relationship with Him, he designed us to be in relationship together. To work, to learn, to grow– it’s all done better together. So– in our friendships, it’s important to remember that Biblical foundation so that we can act in a loving way.
So with that in mind– there are five guidelines we use when it comes to true friendship.
1: You can’t be everyone’s best friend.
Certainly you can be ‘friendly’ to all people. BUT it’s simply impossible to be in a deep friendship with everyone. And a second thought here– friendships shift with time. Some friends are deep and throughout life they shift spaces. THAT IS OKAY. Growth means change. A few years back your dad and I tested a theory. What happens if we don’t “initiate” the friendship. We have a LOT of friends– I know you know– most nights we’ve got people coming over for dinner. There’s a power that comes from sharing a meal together. But we decided to wait and only “respond” to friends. You know what we learned? Who our real friends were. If they cared– they’d initiate the text. They’d reach out. They’d check in. We learned something through this little experiment– pay attention to those who reach out. That shows something about their character. SO– with that in mind– BE A FRIEND WHO CHECKS ON PEOPLE. When you have a thought about a friend- stop and text them! Reach out. Initiate friendship. Don’t live in isolation.
2: People Connect Differently
Ariella, you are the most extroverted extrovert the world has ever seen. But dear Aliza, what do you do when there’s a ton of people around? You need some space in your room. BOTH ARE AWESOME. Don’t make assumptions that if people don’t respond the way YOU would that they are rude. Give people the benefit of the doubt. And when you have an issue- GO TO THE SOURCE. Don’t ask others about it. Be real. Be Genuine. One of our favorite professors at College was teaching us about staffing kids’ church for volunteers. Kids connect to different adults, he said. Don’t staff a room with people just like you– or you won’t connect with all the kids.
There’s so much truth in this that can be applied to all areas of life! Make note of how people connect. Accept them for the way they were created– and know that it’s okay if your differences mean you aren’t besties.
3: Share interests with your friends.
One of the most unique things we learned through opening the coffee shop is the vast amount of knowledge we can gain by simply asking people what they are doing. We’ve learned about vintage buses, baking secrets, how to lay concrete and all kinds of crazy things in between. Share your interests with your friends. Real friends will inspire you to follow those dreams. And they will support you– SO YOU ALSO SUPPORT your friends! Go to their games, watch their concerts, answer questions– debunk the myths. Whatever it may be, engage with them. This can lead to some of the most valuable elements of friendship.
4: Choose your Inner Circle of Friends wisely
NEVER compromise your values when choosing that inner circle of friends. The saying– show me your friends and I’ll show you your future– it is the truest truth ever spoken. Be careful who you allow to sit at the table of your deep friendships. FOR THEY ARE SPEAKING into your life. Also– the way you see a friend treat a different friend IS an indication of how they will treat you. Pick wisely. AND STAND UP. Be the real friend. Yes. It might mean you loose a friend. That is a truth of life. Does that hurt? YUP. Will it be worth it? EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
Storytime: I was in high school and my circle of friends was super solid. But one fall, one of my friends started to be distant. Concerned for her, I went to the guidance counselor– EVEN though she specifically told me NOT to. BUT I knew she needed help, and I didn’t know where else to turn, and with my parent’s advice; I sought help. Initially she was FURIOUS– she even wrote me a letter saying she’d NEVER be my friend again. We were in band and sports together. I was devastated. BUT over time, She got the help she needed– she even thanked me for being willing to lose the friendship to help her. Our friendship repaired and we stayed connected all the way through college and were even in each other’s weddings. Was that easy? Nope. Is it possible that it might not have worked out? Sure. But behave in a way THAT YOU CAN LIVE WITH. Friends will come and go. Be wise.
5: Let Jesus Lead You.
Friendships matter. If you aren’t sure– pray about it! Ask Jesus to show you. He will answer you. It may take time– but it is so worth it to find true friends and to be a true friend. You won’t always do it right. Ask for forgiveness. Learn. And continue to develop true and deep friendships. It truly can change the course of your life!