Tag Archives: friendship

what true friendship looks like, a shared post

A Millennial’s Guide to Meaningful Friendships by Christine Organ, shared here

Being grown-up, out of college and independent is great. Really, it is. But let’s be honest, entering the “real world” also comes with several hard truths.

There is the hard truth that nothing—and I mean nothing—can prepare you for being a parent. The hard truth that we might be turning into our own parents—and that it isn’t necessary a bad thing. The hard truth that college did little, if anything, to prepare us for our first job.

And there is the hard truth that, after you’re out of school, there are new rules and new ways of interacting—and friendships often take a whole lot of work.

Marriage, moves, children, increasing responsibilities and changing priorities all make it more difficult to sustain friendships that were once so easy to maintain. Common interests, shared living quarters and an abundance of free time all made friendships seem so much easier and natural in our teens and early twenties.

And as obligations and responsibilities increase and free time decreases, friendships can run the risk of falling further down the priority list. Unless, that is, we recognize the rules have changed and that we must change, too.

So here are a few tips on how to build and maintain meaningful friendships during the turbulent times of your twenties and thirties and beyond:

Find common ground

Commonality is easy to find when we’re young. We go to the same school, we share the same extracurricular activities, we love the same music. But as we get older, differences become more numerous.

Some friends get married earlier than others, some have kids later than others or not at all. Some people go back to school, while others jump right into their professional career. All of these differences can begin to add up unless you choose to find common ground—shared beliefs or social causes, a shared past or simply your mutual respect for each other.

Be authentic. Always.

In our teens and early twenties, labels get thrown around like red solo cups at a frat party. Athlete. Nerd. Slut. Christian. Hippie. Fortunately, as we move into our later twenties and thirties, our lives become a melting pot of complications and divergent obligations and as we begin to realize that we cannot—and should not—fit into neatly packaged, labeled boxes of preconceived stereotypes.

As this happens, authenticity becomes more important than ever to being a good friend (not to mention personal happiness, as well), since it is impossible to have a real relationship if one or both people are pretending to be something they aren’t.

Be vulnerable

Vulnerability is uncomfortable. There is no way around it. But to be authentic, you must also let your guard down and let yourself be vulnerable. Although vulnerability creates the possibility of disappointment, vulnerability also breeds intimacy and opens our hearts up to infinite goodness.

Become friends with your family

As they say, friends are the family we choose for ourselves. But family can also be the friends that we choose for ourselves. After all, they’re always going to be related to you, so you might as well find ways enjoy the time you’ll spend together.

Let go of any sibling rivalry. Get over the fact that Mom and Dad might have gone to your sister’s volleyball games more often than your drama club meetings. Stop being jealous that your brother got into an Ivy League school. You just might find a really good friend somewhere in there.

Focus on what you can bring to the friendship, rather than what you are getting from the friendship

Whether it is humor, a shoulder to cry on, a bottle of wine or solid advice, focus on what you can bring to the friendship, rather than what you can take from it.

Forgive easily

Even though we might be more mature, responsible and levelheaded, it is important to remember that we are all still human, each with our own flaws and shortcomings. Friends will disappoint you and let you down. And, at some point, you will probably disappoint others. Forgive them. Forgive yourself.

Get out there

Making new friends is a lot like dating—you just have to get out there. Introduce yourself. Endure awkward first conversations. Struggle through that awkward getting-to-know-you process. Most friendships aren’t just going to drop into your lap—you sometimes need to proactively look for friends.

Know when to let go of a friendship

This doesn’t mean that you need to “break up” or stop communicating, but it is important to know when a friendship has run its course and is no longer worth the personal investment so you can focus your time on the ones that are worth it.

Let go of the past

You are not the person you were in your teens and early twenties, and neither are some of your old friends and acquaintances. Understand that people can change. An acquaintance that you may have had nothing in common with while you were in college together may now be a potential friend due to new interests and maturation. Keep an open mind and let go of the past.

Put in the time

Like all relationships, friendships take time and energy. As a result, the quantity of friendships might need to decrease in order to maintain quality friendships.

Find your communication tool

Communication methods differ for different friendships, so it is important to find the optimal communication tool for each of your friends. With some friends, it might be frequent emails. With another friend, it might be less-frequent, but longer, telephone conversations.

Whatever the method, just find the communication tool that works for the relationship and keep at it.

Do good together

Whether it is volunteering for the church fundraiser or serving a meal at the local homeless shelter, few things can cement a friendship like doing good together.

Practice intentional hospitality

Open your home. Open your heart. Open your mind.

Remember birthdays

Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy to keep track of friends’ birthdays. But it is nice to celebrate more than the Facebook birthday. Pick up the phone and call your friend on his birthday. Send a card. Make lopsided cupcakes. Just do something that makes your friend feel extra special.

Don’t let online friendships replace real-life friendships

Sure, it is easier and more convenient to email or text, but there is not replacement for in-person, face-to-face communication. We live in a Facebook-ready, photoshopped, Instagram world, and we run the risk of using status updates and 140-character sound bytes as our primary means of communication.

While technology certainly makes it easier for us to keep in touch on a regular basis and might be the appropriate communication tool most of the time, personal communication is essential. Pick up the phone. Meet for coffee. Write a letter. Hug, laugh and cry together. Be there for each other. Not just in virtual way, but in a real-life way.

13. the gift of friendship

girlfriendsFriends

Without them, life would be a miserable, lonely existence based on the mundane tasks of day-to-day living.

Come to think of it, life would be that way without Jesus too.  

I’ve learned a bit in my short life here on earth. I may not have fit in when I was a child (I still don’t and that’s okay), but I am and will be forever grateful for those individuals who said, “You’re weird and I like you. I’m here for you” and proved it by their actions. (By the way, you’re weird too, but that’s okay *insert mischievous grin…)

One truth: God loves relationships.

Relationship, companionship and friendship are the lifelong desire of every single person, from life to death. It is a God-given drive and emotion stemming from Eternity that is in every human heart (Ecclesiastes 3.11).

Friendship is a wonderful gift sent straight from the heart of God. There are several references to friendship in the Bible, from the dawn of creation to the end of time.

I recall God walking through Eden with Adam and Eve each day, building upon their relationship with him and with each other (Genesis 2-3).

I contemplate Enoch, a man who lived 365 years walking in close fellowship with God when one day, he simply vanished (Genesis 5.23-24).

I ponder the moment when God called Abraham friend (James 2.23).

I mull over Moses, who was given the opportunity to watch God walk by (backside only, of course – Exodus 33.11).

I think of the relationship between David and Jonathan: They shared a great love and deep respect for each other (1 Samuel 18-20, 2 Samuel 1).

There are many more. Jesus also calls his followers his friends (John 15.9-14):

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” – Jesus

Awesome

Inspired

Friendship

Friendship is risky. To be known, truly known, is to risk being hurt, but friendship can be beautiful, and worth the risk.

Friendship is beautiful. God gave it to us and he knew we would need each other to get through this life.

C.S. Lewis wrote about a common thread when it comes to friendships:

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Think about your friends for a moment. What do you have in common with each one? What is each relationship based on?

I’ve got friends at work where the only thing we have in common is our work and a love for cheesy humor on Pinterest.

I’ve got friends at a local coffee shop where the only thing we have in common is our love of coffee.

I had friends in high school where the only things we had in common were a love of movies and board games.

But, when it comes to my Christian friendships… There isn’t anything deeper.

Those friendships take on a special quality:

The bond of Christ.

We are all enhanced by those relationships and they often run much deeper than your typical run-of-the-mill friendships based on coffee and movies (or books, for that matter). 

Through the bond of Christ, you can have a deep, meaningful friendship with someone who has very little or nothing in common with you. That bond is all that matters. He or she is your brother or sister in Christ; they’re family. We risk. We trust. And with that trust, we’re able to have healthy conflict, to build off that and still be okay. What a blessing!

Friendship is one of the ways God takes care of us. We need all the things friendship entails: human contact, encouragement, companionship, love, honesty, loyalty, understanding, and so many more things. Building those friendships is a wonderful way to encourage and lift others up in the Lord.

  • Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4.9-10
  • May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude or mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15.5-6
  • Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6.2
  • Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, but the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice…As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27.9, 17

As Christ-followers, we’re commanded to carry one another’s burdens, share in each other’s joys and sorrows and be there, to encourage, to speak truth into, to love, etc. The list goes on.

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Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t want in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. – Albert Camus

I’ve always liked that quote, but, when I put it in the light of my friendship with God, it doesn’t make sense.

You see, Jesus is my friend. He is my past and he’s in my past, following me wherever I go, although I’m never truly leading. He is my future; he offers to lead my every step, if only I would let him, rather than venturing off on my own to explore something that captures my attention in the moment. And He is my present, always walking beside me. He’s all around and, what’s more? He’s my friend.

Jesus died to restore our friendship with God. Sin disabled our ability to remain righteous and stand in the presence of the Living God. Prior to Christ’s sacrifice, God’s love and justice would consume us in our weakness. Now, his blood covers mankind and those who choose to follow him have the wonderful ability to live in close fellowship with God.

Notice: It’s a gift of choice; not something to be earned.

Friendships take a lot of time and effort to be all that they can be but it’s worth it. Those Christ-centered relationships will be lasting relationships, not just here on earth, but stretching on into eternity with him at the forefront.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to sin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18.24

I’ve been deeply blessed to have a close-knit group of Christian girlfriends. Now, we typically don’t all get together at the same time, but when we meet up (whether one-on-one for coffee or what-have-you, LifeGroup or a women’s event at church), that time is so rich and precious. We all vary in age and come from different backgrounds. Those differences (along with our similarities) make us stronger and better able to navigate and cope with the trials of life, individually (based on the advice and counsel of someone wiser) and as a unit.

And the same goes for my brothers in Christ. You’ve all done such a marvelous job in protecting the hearts of your sisters and encouraging them in their own walks with Jesus.

You know who you are and I am so thankful for each and every one of you. God has enriched my life with the blessing of friendship. So thank you for allowing him to use you in not just my life, but every life yours touches.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart…all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1.3-8

How about you? Are you the type of friend you should be, especially to your brothers or sisters in Christ? Are you doing all the things you should be doing: lifting burdens, being there, etc.?

If not, how can you improve in that area? And what would that look like?

Ask God to touch your heart with the truth of true friendship and to show you what it means to be a friend in Christ.

Article: 5 Things Single People Wish Married People Knew

I was browsing through my email this morning when I stumbled across this article published in Relevant magazine. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Yes…there are times when I will feel like a third or fifth wheel, but that is my own doing. (Granted, some actions/situations do not help, but don’t think about it. Just be.) No one else can make me feel inferior…I choose what I feel. That’s the beauty of it.

So, please, married friends, siblings and distant relatives, make note of this – not just for me, but for all of your single friends and make the choice to bless rather than exclude.

The article, if you’d like to read more, can be found here.

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“As I weathered Valentine’s Day this month (again) as a single woman, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to say to my married friends about what it’s like to be unmarried at 36 and living alone in a married person’s world.

First of all, I’m very happy when I see my friends enter into and build healthy, happy marriages. This is a beautiful thing, something to which, many of us as single individuals aspire to.

And I understand that it can be difficult to know what to say or how to treat those of us who have not yet gone to the chapel. So as I reflect on my station in life, especially as it relates to the empty fourth finger on my left hand and the desire I have for marriage, there’s a few things I’d like my married friends out there to know. Not to guilt you or chastise you, but to help you, like you help me, see life from a different point of view.

It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company.

1. Single people make good friends, too.

I can remember times when I first moved to a new town and I heard friends (all married) talk about the fun things that they had done together as couples. I remember wishing that for once, they would invite me to come along! It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company. Invite me along, even if I’m the only one without a date.

2. Please don’t assume you know how I feel.

As an unmarried person, I may or may not be struggling with my singleness at the moment, so if you want to know, ask me. Don’t assume that because we spoke once and I was really struggling in my singleness that I’m forever pining away for a husband. And don’t assume that because we once spoke about how I’m pretty content in my single status that I’m always going to be content. Instead of assuming, ask me.

3. Singleness looks different in your twenties than it does in your thirties.

Because you may have spent a period of time—long or short—being single does not mean that you understand what it is to see your peers and even your nieces and nephews get married before you. The experience of singleness does not remain the same over time.

4. Dispense your formula for finding a mate with care.

“It” may have worked for you and 10 of your friends, but from what I know about love, and especially finding and marrying—and staying married—isn’t formulaic. Chances are, I’ve “tried” your formula and it hasn’t “worked.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear your advice, I just hope that you’ll listen to me before you offer it.

5. There are days when singleness feels unbearable, and days when it feels empowering.

If you catch me on one of the bad days, offer to help me do yard work, buy me chocolate, take me out for dinner, or watch a chick-flick with me. Remind me that companionship doesn’t always come in the form of a romance.

Your friend may be single, but they don’t have to be alone.

There are other days when singleness feels empowering. On those days, I feel pretty good about managing a home, a car, a job, my bank account and social situations flying solo. Please don’t talk to me about how my independence is intimidating to a man. That’s so 1950s.

It may seem that I’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for how you can approach your single friend when it relates to their single status in life. But the reality is that he or she may be single, but they don’t have to be alone. And for their sake, and for what they have to offer to you and the rest of the world, I hope they won’t be.

You can help them to know that they are a valued member of a community, and not just because they “have all that free time on their hands.” Cut them a little slack, and do them and yourself a favor by treating them like what they are: normal.”

 Written by Ashley Alley cc. February 22, 2013. Relevant Magazine.

Friendship

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.  Proverbs 17:17

 

Friendship is a gift of God, it is precious, it is priceless, and it is to be cherished. A friend is one with whom you are intimately acquainted, one with whom you can associate at any time or under any circumstances, one with whom you trust your confidences. A friend will love you when you’re unlovable, lift you up when you are down, encourage you, laugh with you, cry with you, and even challenge you to rise above life’s circumstances.

According to Proverbs 17:17, a brother is even closer than a friend.

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

As a member of the Family of God, we have a Friend and a Brother; He was not only born for adversity, He was born in adversity. He’s our precious companion, our intimate acquaintance, our cherished associate, and our trustworthy confidant. He even loves us when we’re unlovable. He’s our Brother; we’re joint heirs with Him. The closer we draw to Him the stronger the family resemblance and the more we look like Him, act like Him, and talk like Him—His image can be seen in every aspect of our lives! Because of His sacrificial love toward us, we share a kinship which denotes a blood relationship and a family resemblance.

We have a Friend and Brother in Jesus Christ today. He is truly precious, priceless and to be cherished. Take time to thank Him and acknowledge Him for all that He is to you in every way, not just today but every day. And, remember…He’s there at any time, under any circumstances, ready to lift you up, encourage you, laugh with you, cry with you, and challenge you to rise above life’s circumstances. He’s closer than a friend…He’s a brother!

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!”