Friendship has always been super important to me. I believe that the relationships that we have with our family and friends are really our legacy. This incredible picture above is just a portion of my family. The experiences and life energy of friendship with family and others are really our most important treasures. When evaluating what is important in our lives, I don’t think many things are more meaningful than the investment we make in the people in our lives.
Sincere friendships can come from relationships within our family, our work, our church community, our physical community or just a random encounter. Sometimes it seems that the friends we made in high school or college were the most intimate connections we are ever going to create. As we grow older, ground for growing relationships and the time investment in camaraderie changes. For one, we often find ourselves more physically distant from friends. In our younger years we gathered physically for long days involuntarily due to school and activities. As we mature we establish independent spaces and often fewer opportunities to connect with friends. Often marriage, kids and work commitments consume all of our time. Friendships have to be a priority or they just do not happen.
Because Biblical direction guides my life, I find the importance of friend as a gift from God. Throughout the scriptures, friendship is highly valued and modeled. Proverbs 18:24 talks about how an unreliable friend will ruin you, while a quality friend sticks closer than a brother. Friends create a bond where two are better than one. (Ecc 4:10) You might have seen the slogan “better together.” When two friends are walking together in life and one falls, the other one can pick him up. Friendships such as David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, along with Paul and Timothy demonstrate just a few of the bonds in scripture. Notice the variation of age, education and status in the best of friendships.
Below are some of the best secrets behind establishing friendship and maintaining friendships.
Here are 10 ways to make friends:
How to MAKE friends:
- Like other people. If you value and enjoy others, it is evident immediately. If you think about others first, people know. If you are all consumed with self conscienceless and insecurity, it might be impossible to demonstrate emotional intelligence toward others. Look outward more than inward. Consider the value of other people and enjoy others. Spend time getting to know their story. Context always brings understanding. Show kindness daily. Relax. Usually your interest in others coupled with your kindness will attract others to you.
- Show up. This seems obvious, but it is not common. Think of it backwards. When you have something to celebrate, don’t you want to be celebrated? If life is sad due to death of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis or job loss, you need your friends to show up for you in real and tangible ways. So, if you want to have friends, you must be a friend. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Luke 6:31)
- Start Talking. Start listening. The first step in getting to know someone face to face is to speak to them. Perhaps you offer a kind word, an interested question or a comment regarding a common interest. This may be all you need to jump start a friendship. More important in this suggestion is to listen. A good question is one that invites the recipient to respond which invites
- Join a group or club. Take a class or learn a new skill. Commonality is one of the fastest ways to build friendship. Do more of what you actually love doing.
- Say “yes” to invitations. Sometimes you have to show initiative. Originating the adventure is a sure way to grow friendship possibilities. Be quick to say yes to an invitation. Be spontaneous. Build margin into your everyday so you can be flexible to say yes.
- Be prepared for rejection. This seems odd in a list of how to make friends, but it must be stated that the journey of finding and making friends is littered with failed attempts. The statistical reality is that you have to put yourself out there to try and fail as well as try and succeed. The growing in this area will create wisdom and discernment as you discover what values you are searching for in a great friendship. Your scouting should also develop maturity in knowing who to be cordial with and who to invite in as a close friend. As adults we tend to be isolated and more fearful of rejection.
- Invite people in. As you see by the picture at the top of this blog, food is a great centerpiece for gathering. When you feed people, they will come. You don’t have to do complicated although it is wise to work on your hospitality skills. Preparedness might include keeping cookies, ice cream, coffee, tea or soda on hand to ready you for an unexpected visit. Picking up food to take to your home to share is deeply appreciated too. Readiness might also include bulk cooking, cooking and freezing an extra dish for an easy company meal. It is really the hospitality more than the food that shows friendship.
- Volunteer. Working together creates fasts bonds. We usually volunteer for something close to our hearts. Focusing on others creates a more meaningful life. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
- Ask your friends to introduce you to their friends. Much of a successful life is achieved from networking. If there is someone you would like to meet and you have a mutual friend, don’t be shy. Ask your friend to make the introductions. The same goes for you. Introduce your friends to each other. Start a book club or a supper club.
- Keep your eyes open. Old friends are wonderful, but new friends are equally as fabulous. Be on the lookout for a person that you might meet today that will be a new friend. Being friendly is the only way to have this encounter.
Once you make a friend, you really need to keep your friend. While this is not rocket science, it does take intentionality. Living a life where you embrace your everyday with intention is one of my best encouragements for a fulfilled life.
How to KEEP friends:
- Keep your friend’s confidence. What do you have in friendship if you do not have confidentiality. If someone asks me about a friend regarding something that should not be shared, I simply say, “Why don’t you ask ______, it is really not my story to tell.” I am a vault. You cannot get juicy gossip from me. I don’t want personal information shared about my life without permission. Do you? If someone is talking about others, you can guarantee they will be talking about you!! Don’t hang with people like that and certainly don’t be that person.
- Loyalty. Gossip separates friends. (Proverbs 16:28) It just that simple. Some people are left with no friends because they are not friend material. For the person who finds themself in this state, I highly encourage them to run to a counselor and be open to change.
- Honesty. Friends must be honest with a heart full of good intentions toward each other. Without honesty, you are left with deceit and selfish ambitions.
- Be on time. Punctuality shows respect for others. Being late is rude. If you struggle with this, make it a priority to work on changing immediately. Late people are not considered for leadership, responsibility and often fun invitations.
- Show up. Be present. Celebrate a friend. Comfort a friend. Stand beside a friend. Show up for good times and bad. Showing up with a hug and kind word makes you a stellar friend. Bringing food or thoughtful gifts gives you extra points. If you are new in friendship, look for ways to create history with a person who you have selected for friendship. Life’s extremes are opportunities for proving genuine friendship.
- Find ways to help your friend to be successful. I Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us to encourage our friends and build them up. This takes intentionality. Think of one friend who you can help. Speak kindly about this friend to others in public and private. Brag on them. You may know something unlovely or damaging about their past. Put on your loyalty and speak well of them on purpose. Help a friend get a job. Network for a friend. Help with a move. Keep the kids so they can go out for a few hours to recharge. Send a song to a friend struggling with cancer or caregiving. Celebrate big when there is any reason!
- Remember their birthday and celebrate your friend. This is more important the older and busier we become in life.
- Stay connected. Text. Call. Visit.
- Plan activities. Hospitality is a lost art. Invite your friends over to your place. Plan playdates if you have children. Plan double dates. Plan small and large parties. Build your own activities. Don’t wait for life to happen to you.
- Be the friend that you want to have. Simple. Are you comfortable in your own skin? Are you a good listener? Would you pick yourself for a friend?
To make and keep friends, be a friend whose heart is full of good intentions toward others.
One last thought is to aim for quality over quantity in friendship. Select five good friends to be committed to do life with regularly. Don’t be always taking. Don’t be always giving. Find balance. Find healthy, walk-beside people to embrace as friends.
If you implement one or more of these ideas, I would love to hear how it goes. You can reach me at email@example.com.
Here’s to wishing you to joy and blessing of friendship!!
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