Friendships are one of the most beautiful relationships on earth and finding friends that love and support you can be such a rewarding experience.
This was an area I struggled with. By the time I was 8 years old, I had experienced betrayal from a few kids I thought were my friends. After these incidents, I became jaded about friendships and wondered what all the fuss was about.
Though, over the years, I’ve realised two things about friendships:
- We all need friends.
‘No man is an island’ nor where we brought to this world to live in isolation. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10(ESV)
- Not everyone will be your friend.
This is the truth and you should be fine with it.It’s okay not to be everyone’s friend. This doesn’t mean we fail to respect the opinions of others or we treat them abominably. Not at all. Our call to love goes beyond labels.
Our friends become a part of our lives and are usually the people we turn to in the great and not so great moments. This means the sort of friends we keep determine so much about us, from our personal lives, to work, our values, our interests and more. The key thing here is the quality of our friendships.
Knowing all of this, you would think we would take better care with the sort of friends we have and keep, right? Wrong!
I know and admit that I’m guilty of this. I have started and kept friendships that I had no business in and with people I had no connection with.
What Your Friends say about You
You may have heard this popular quote by Jim Rohn – “you are the average of five people you spend the most time with.”
I certainly agree. If we hang out with pessimistic and lazy people we are likely to become pessimistic and lazy. Same way if we hang out with successful and hard working people.
Yet again, it’s easier said than done.
Some of us became friends as young girls playing together in school or at home. At that point, our areas of interest were the games we played but as we grew and learnt more about ourselves (found our identity), we may have realised that we were different and wanted different things in life.
If you’ve ever been in that situation, what did you do? Did you hold on or let it go?
As Christian women, we have to be a bit more intentional about the friends we keep, knowing the impact our choices can have on our lives. This may mean taking the time to think through and probably making a few difficult decisions.
The Friendship Starter-Pack
When you think of your friends or people you will like to be friendly with, what comes to mind?
Are there certain character traits, interests or values that draw you to them or is it usually accidental?
Maybe, you feel they should be: funny, caring, smart, and accessible.
There are several Bible references about finding the right friends. For one thing, the Book of Proverbs is chock -full of wisdom on how we should start and build the right friendships. We are forewarned to choose our friends wisely and not hurry to enter into these relationships.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Finding Friends: What you need to do
Here are five questions(backed by Bible references) you should ask yourself about that person who is or could be a friend:
What sort of company do they keep?
We have been called not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly nor seat with the scornful(Psalm 1) but with the wise and to delight in the word of the lord. The sort of discussions, interests and preoccupation of our friends will likely affect us, for good or bad.
“Bad company corrupts good character”.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Are they reliable?
Do they keep their promises? Can you hold them to their word? I know no one is perfect and there will be many times we will be unable to keep to our word. But more often than not, can you honestly say your friend is reliable and they are usually there for you?
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Are they hot tempered? Do they complain a lot and are often angry with everyone?
Two traits you will not find in the fruits of the spirit – anger and complaining. Yet, they are so easy to fall into. The danger is that where we spend time with people who exhibit these traits, it not only steals our peace and joy but we may also develop these traits.
“Do all things without grumbling or complaining“.
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered, do not associate with one easily angered or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”
Do they cherish knowledge and look for opportunities to grow and develop themselves?
I generally believe that seeking wisdom is the cornerstone of every pursuit. It is usually the driving force of our growth and development. So, where we have friends who are always looking for opportunities to grow, that will likely rub off on us.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!“
Walk with the wise and you would be wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
Do they accept you and love you as you are or do they always point out your weaknesses?
A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17.
We all want to be open and comfortable around our friends. But if this is difficult, if you feel you are always trying to impress them or be someone else, then it may be time to take a critical look at that relationship.
“Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they are down.” Romans 12:15
Finding Friends – In Closing
Friendships are supposed to be symbiotic relationships, we are not in it because we want something but because we know there will be love and support if we ever needed it. Which means these questions apply to us as well. We should work towards being amazing friends.
“and as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them”.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honour.”
I do hope these questions have been helpful. What other factors do you consider in your friendships?