Halfway through our exploration of friendship, we finally land on the topic for which I have been eagerly waiting. A Good Friend. Or rather, how to be a good friend.
There are as many ways to be a good friend as there are people. In the exchange of friendship, each individual has unique gifts only they can offer. This uniqueness opens up exciting worlds of creativity in our friendship-ing. We’ll discuss some of these exciting elements more in just a bit, but for now, let’s start by focusing on some of the universal traits that make a good friend:
1. Seeing through Christ’s eyes. How we see people colors our every interaction with them. If we see our friends as deeply valuable, as Christ seems them, we will nurture and steward well our relationships. However, if we don’t take this view, we can subconsciously see people as existing for our benefit, disposable the moment we no longer need them. We must ask God to change our perspective; then we can properly start our friendship journey.
2. Being kind. Oh, how far kindness can go! A soft word when we want to speak roughly, consideration for a friend’s feelings, a gesture of goodness- these can go so far in a world of weariness and aggression.
3. Honoring. When we see others through Christ’s eyes, we honor them- in thought, in word, in deed. Rather than dishing out all the dirt on someone, we make them shine before others. We choose to bless instead of curse, to build up instead of tear down, to pray instead of gossip.
4. Being thoughtful. Being thoughtful means thinking about someone until you are full of thoughts towards them. Deep, I know. But when we really stop to consider this, it transforms how we meet others in friendship. When we are thinking about others, we think about their likes and dislikes, things that would bless them, and ways we can encourage them. Instead of cramming all sorts of confetti into our friendships and hoping that something lands, we can thoughtfully, skillfully select sure ways to bless our friends.
5. Listening. Oh, how crucial yet how neglected is listening. Poor listening- it gets such a bad wrap! “I have to sit here and shut my mouth and concentrate, concentrate, concentrate to what so-and-so is saying and I’m tired and….”- and so our thoughts on listening go, right? But it doesn’t have to be this way. So often there are rich depths of deep understanding waiting if we just listen, linger, and hush. God delights in a listening ear (see Proverbs) and He will help us learn to listen if we ask for His help.
6. Praying. Praying for our friends is one of the best ways we can love them. I have a friend who, without fail, always asks me at the close of our conversations what she can be praying for on my behalf. Knowing that she cares enough for me to bring my concerns before the Father speaks of the value she places on me. What an eternal gift.
7. Getting creative. Returning to where we started our discussion, it’s good to remember that we can have fun in our friendship-ing. Out of our unique giftings and passions, we can creatively bless our friends in ways they won’t soon forget. Writers can pen a note or poem, artists can paint a picture, the handy can help around the house or yard, the kid-friendly can give the gift of babysitting, the cooks can bake a batch of cupcakes, etc…. There are so many witty and merry ways we can let our friends know we love them! Why not brainstorm some today?