How to be a friend.

23

I have some really great friends who speak life in to me. One in particular is only a little over half my age. She is wise, gifted and talented in areas that I am certainly less than. She sent me a text the other day and told me that I should write a series about friendship. This is exactly what she said- “I believe you are the perfect person to teach about Godly friendships. You have been hurt and burned but you didn’t let that eat up your ability to be a good friend to others.” She went on to say,

“there are so many female friendships that are toxic, temporary and/or surface.”

What is TRUE friendship? What is it and what is it not? How can you be a good friend. Join me as I explore the qualities of a true friend.

I took that and ran with it. I’m always open to blog post ideas.

Honestly I’ve thought about doing a friendship series before, but I dismissed it because I didn’t feel qualified. Which honestly that’s so stupid. I bet Jesus wants to just slap me upside the head sometimes. This series is about what I’ve learned along the way. As I’ve studied and prayed, I’ve learned things and have been refreshed. So if you pick up a nugget at some point, well that will make my heart a happy one.

Before I get started let’s get this out-of-the-way.

I’m not perfect.

There have been times in my life that I’ve been a really good friend and times when I’ve been a really bad friend. I am not an expert at relationships. But, I’ve been a friend or been given friendship for over 35 years. Although Webster would call that an expert according to the definition, I don’t call myself that. So, now that that’s been said, let’s move on shall we?

I’ll go into more detail later in this series, but temporary friends in your life are okay.  Temporary friends aren’t a bad thing and they do serve a purpose.  You’ll also have surface level friends. That too is okay and not a bad thing. For now, let’s dissect the simplicity of friendship.

What a friend is vs. what a friend is not.

What a friend is.

What is a friend anyway? Wow what a loaded question. Simply put, a friend is someone you can trust with anything, someone you can rely on for anything and someone with whom you can share anything. You can do or say anything without the fear of being judged.

Anything.

They are there for you. Even during the hard times. But they also know when to give you space, and they don’t make you feel bad for wanting it.

They just get you. And they love you for you.

You.

One of my favorite biblical examples of friendship is that of Jonathan and David. In 1 Samuel 18 it says that they became instant friends and had an automatic bond. As their friendship grew, they would have done anything for each other. Jonathan protected David from his father Saul. He opposed his fathers selfish ambition and believed that David should be the true King. Not only that, he was next in line for the throne and knowing this, he laid down his rights to the throne so that David could be promoted to King instead.

I mean wow.

Hello, friendship.

Friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships you'll ever have. #friendship Click To Tweet

How to be a friend

What a friend is not.

I searched “friend” on google and one of the things it said was this:  “a friend is someone associated to a networking site.” This made me giggle. I would say that this is definitely what a real friend is not.

Here are some other ideas:

  1. They don’t talk behind your back to another friend. They distance themselves from unnecessary drama, especially when it involves you. If your name comes up in conversation, their lips are zipped. And not only that, if they’re a true friend, another will know better than to even bring your name up.
  2. They don’t attack you personally during an argument. They speak of your qualities, not short comings. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. Even if they are speaking truth to you, they are still kind.
  3. They don’t interrupt your every word because they know it’s not about them. They listen and they’re not worried about what they’re going to say next.
  4. They don’t look down on you because of your past. In fact, they’ve forgotten every bit of your past.
  5. They don’t get jealous of your success. They celebrate achievements with you. They are not only genuinely happy for you, they’re taking notes so that they can better themselves.
  6. They don’t try to fix you. They accept you as you are because they know that they are far from perfect.
  7. They don’t take your friendship for granted. They treasure you and know that it could be gone in an instant.

 

Friendship

How to be a friend.

Let’s be honest. Friendship can be hard, y’all. Being open and honest and putting yourself out there is hard, especially if you’ve been burned. In life we have to take risks. Even in friendships. I’ve been burned and I’ve had my heart trampled on. But, I know I’ve also burned and trampled on others’ heart.

I think it’s so important to always look at yourself before finding the faults within another person.

Look within before casting the blame on another. Always put yourself in their shoes. 

Look within before casting blame on another. #friendship Click To Tweet

Ask God for discernment. Let’s face it. There are toxic people in this world. There have been friends come and go in my life. Some at the fault of my own, but some simply because they were toxic. This doesn’t mean that they were “bad” people or that Jesus loved them any less. They were just toxic for me. There was a time in my life that I  I was literally fighting for my life and for my family. I had to focus solely on them and couldn’t invest anything in another relationship. I had to let a friendship go otherwise I could have lost everything. I had no other choice. I’m not sure that she will ever understand the enormity of what I was facing, and today it mourns me that I no longer have that friendship.

Always give the benefit of the doubt. I think this may be one of the most important qualities to have in a friendship. The only way this can be done is to drop your pride. Pride destroys friendship #pride Click To Tweet

Communicate. If something is bothering you talk to them about it. Don’t let it festure. That will only make it worse. Genuinely talk to them. It might be hard, but it’s so worth it! And speak truth. Tell your friend the truth about your feelings!

Always see the best in them.  A real friend will never think less of you. They know you’re not perfect, but they accept you as you are love you to pieces. A real friend never questions your motives. And they don’t “expect” one thing from you other than love and acceptance.

Stand by your friend through adversity. Ask for discernment. Sometimes standing by your friend may be silently distancing yourself. Sometimes it may be playing an active role in their life. This is where discernment is so important.

Let’s go back and talk about David and Jonathan for a minute.  Jonathan turned his back on his own dad in order to stand by his friend David. Jonathan knew that his dad was a wacko. He knew his dad was wrong!Sometimes, you have to stand for what is right, regardless of the ties that bind. And in Jonathan and David’s case, it was Jonathan’s family. Jonathan stood by his friend because it was the right thing to do!

There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. John15:13 #friendship Click To Tweet

A friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships you'll ever have.

Do you have friends that will lay down their life for you? Even if it’s just one friend, that’s okay! Honestly you guys I don’t have many close friends. I have a couple. Sometimes, people who have “tons” of friends are the most lonely.

I want to leave you with this: when you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world, Jesus is standing right beside you.

He’ll ALWAYS have your back.

He’ll ALWAYS stick up for you.

He’s ALWAYS seeking out what is best for you.

He’ll be your very best friend if you will let him!

Next time I’m talking about How to Confront a Friend. Make sure you subscribe below so you won’t miss a post!

I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. Also leave any prayer requests. I love praying for you!

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

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  1. Deb Wolf says:

    There are so many good points here, Shannon! Discernment is huge. You’re right – friendship can be hard. But the good ones – wow, they are a blessing!!

  2. Shannon,
    I love this, dear friend. This is timely and I really needed to read this. Sometimes, I’ve been a great friend. Sometimes, not so much. This speaks to me. I’m excited I read it this morning. I’m looking forward to more in your series on Friendship. Thank you for linking up to Open Mic Monday at Cisneros Cafe. Have a blessed and beautiful week.

    #sharingonTwitter
    #sharingonFBpage

  3. Leigh ellen says:

    Shannon,

    In the midst of the most difficult time in my life, my dearest, closest, most treasured friend walked out of my life. I have never been able to understand why and the grief I’ve walked through after losing her has been paramount.

    I can totally identify with your statement, “…today it mourns me that I no longer have that friendship.” I, too, mourn over my dear friend!

    What I would give to have her back!

    Looking forward to your series!

    Sweetest blessings to you!

    • Shannon says:

      Oh I’m so sorry Leigh Ellen:-( Friendships..can just be hard, can’t they? I think it’s important, though to kind of take a step back and wonder to yourself, was there something going on in her own life maybe? Maybe she couldn’t deal with both? (Your difficulties as well as hers). Who knows the answers but God! I’m praying GOd will doubly bless you with another friend!He knows your heart and He knows your desire! I’m sending a huge hug your way this morning!

  4. Lisa notes says:

    Timely words for me! I just had breakfast with a friend who used to go to my church. We’re committing to remain friends even though it won’t be as convenient now to see each other. The Spirit connected us years ago, and why break that bond now? Thanks for sharing this encouragement.

    • Shannon says:

      That’s so great Lisa! I agree..why break the bond? And just because you won’t see each other every week does not mean you still can’t keep in touch!

  5. These are crucial principals for a healthy friendship. It’s applicable to women of all ages. In fact, I just sent it to my 14 year old daughter. We can all learn and grow in how to be a good friend. Love it!

  6. MELANIE REDD says:

    What a great and practical word today, Shannon! You have shared so much wisdom here!
    I love the list of what a friend is not. This is powerful!
    I’m sharing your post today – happily!
    Hope you have a wonderful Monday~
    Melanie

  7. Dawn says:

    Shannon, This post is packed full of wisdom. I know that I could be a better friend. I love how practical your ideas are. This is going to be a great series! Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Crystal says:

    So much good here! I still feel like I’m learning to be a good friend:)

    • Shannon says:

      Crystal…Me too! I think we all are…but that is with everything! I’m still learning to “adult.” LOL

  9. Oh, Shannon, friendships are so tough! All relationships are, but those girlfriends have unique twists and turns to them. Your tips are so good. Giving the benefit of the doubt is one that stuck out to me. Or giving grace. I try my best at remembering birthdays and special occasions, but sometimes I have been in seasons of overwhelm and forgotten. The friends that know my heart and know how badly I feel for the mishap, give grace, and love me just the same, are true friends!

    I’m so excited to see where you go with this series! Our hearts for ministry are so aligned! I’ve been praying about a series on friendship for the fall!!! ♥

  10. Lux G. says:

    We have Jesus as our ultimate example indeed. 🙂

  11. How wonderful, looks like God is drawing our hearts to importance of friendship. ..I have been studying about it preparing for a 4 part series on my column I’m a newspaper. I was thrilled seeing this on the link up 😉
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and biblical wisdom.
    Blessings to you.

    • Shannon says:

      Friendships either encourage or discourage and I’m so glad you stopped by today! I look forward to reading your article Ifeoma!

  12. Sorry about the mobile phone automatic spell check errors 😕😕

  13. Kiim says:

    THIS “They are there for you. Even during the hard times. But they also know when to give you space, and they don’t make you feel bad for wanting it. They just get you. And they love you for you.”

    I love what you had to say about friends. I’m blessed to have many that fit this definition and I’m eternally grateful for it! I just shared last week about why we need women in our tribe who have our backs and this compliments how I feel exactly! Thanks for sharing at #lifeislovely!

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