10 Ways To Build Lasting Friendships

When I was in my younger years I often wondered if I would have Best Friends later on in life. Guess what? I do. I have incredible friends in a range of friendships from bare acquaintances to BFF’s.

Have you ever met someone and immediately said to them you’re going to be my best friend.  Of course not!  Being a friend is a deliberate process.  It’s about spending time together. Getting to know one another. Sharing ups and downs and in-betweens.  Supporting them, praying for them, sharing with them, accepting them… That’s what grows strong friendships.

It’s nice to have friends that share interests and hobbies.  However, if we surround ourselves with exact copies of ourselves it gets really boring.  One of my BFF’s shares few commonalities with me, except a desire to grow closer to our Jesus.

In building strong, lasting friendships there are a few things that really don’t matter.  Age is one of them.  Yes, people of our own age share similar likes and experiences but those of other age groups have much to teach us.  Friendships cross many boundaries. Things like status, education, marriage, distance, can be overcome when two people say let’s be friends.

There’s a beautiful contemporary Christian song that points to the fact that God gives us our friends.  God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes really says it all.  Check out these lyrics:

God gave me you for the ups and downs

God gave me you for the days of doubt

For when I think I’ve lost my way

There are no words here left to say, it’s true

God gave me you.

What does God say about friendship? Check these verses out:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-6

So, here are my 10 Ways To Build Strong Friendships:

There’s a Kroger commercial that ends with a woman saying, “My momma always said if you want to have a friend be one.” Nothing more needs to be said, does it?

Not all of my friends are women.  Men add a richness to our lives that is unique in its own way.

Blessings to you and yours!
Marie
First posted in October of 2016

5 Ways To Improve Any Relationship

I often think about being the best wife, friend, teacher, worker… I can be.  Perhaps I can do more, be more, give more… Certainly all of the above but there are some very practical, down to earth ways we can show those around us they matter most.

friends-1149841_960_720

I believe the #1 way to improve friendship is to take yourself out of the running for 1st Place.  Narcissism destroys more relationships that any other personal characteristic.  Anytime we think we matter more, in any way, than the person we’re relating with ruins any chance of building up the other person.  Jesus said it best when He said, ‘love others’ in response to what is the greatest commandment.

Steven Covey, in his book First Things First, makes it clear that we must know the wants and needs of the other person to become successful.  In our relationships, we really need to know what another likes or dislikes.  Remember anything we might think is fun may not be enjoyable to someone else.  Get to know your friends, husbands, co-workers.  Talk to them.  Discover their hobbies and interests.  The best relationships take the desires of the other into account first.

When you’re building friendships and relationships don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  If it’s more than one-sided the other person is just as interested in you.  If your friend says let’s go see a dirt bike race and you really can’t stand the dust then tell them.  Remember, if your friend is truly interested in creating an awesome relationship they’ll find someone else to go with and both of you will discover something about the other.

That leads us to trust.  If a friend chooses to do something with another person do not put a guilt trip on them.  Building relationships with other people adds more to the friendships you already have.  Learning to trust others is a huge growth issue.  One does not need to know everything that their friend is doing every moment to build a strong relationship.

kindness-710209_960_720Last, but certainly not least, choose kindness.  In Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, the moral is, a kindness is never wasted.  Perhaps something you’ve done in the past will lead to its reward in the future.  True kindness, like love, is based on wanting what is best for the other person.

 

Sometimes, when I read a list like this, I think I have to do everything.  Not so!  Even choosing one of these suggestions will make you a standout, awesome friend.  Go for it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Befriend

I’ve often given thanks for the many friends God has placed in my life in this season.  Some younger, some older, some wiser, some funnier, some really awesome people who have made life so much more interesting.

51o6devkiml-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Until I read Befriend by Scott Sauls I really hadn’t thought of all the other possibilities for friendships.  Those who are bullies, minorities, poor, rich, vulnerable, strangers, refugees, disabled, dysfunctional …

God weeps over things gone wrong in this world (pg. 102). I’m sure He places mishandled, forgotten, ruined relationships among those things that have gone wrong.  He loves us more than we’ll ever know as long as we’re on this earth. He does not pick and choose among sinners and the righteous…He simply loves and He expects us to do the same.

Friendship is vulnerable and inviolable.  Friendship is risky and worth the risk.  Friendship is comforting and uncomfortable at times.

The following quote sums up the emphasis of this book:

Real friends not only agree but disagree;  real friends not only applaud each other’s strengths but challenge each other’s weaknesses;  real friends not only enjoy life together but struggle through life together;  real friends not only praise one another but apologize and forgive one another;  real friends not only rally around their points of agreement but love and learn from their points of disagreements… And when everybody matures and grows, everybody wins. (pgs. 4-5)

This is a very powerful, thought-provoking book.  I highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their Blog Network Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”