Have you ever struggled with developing friendships? Last post we talked about whether it was worth it to develop close friendships. If you missed it, you can catch up here.
We need quality, healthy friendships. We were built for it.
Proverbs 27:17 NIV
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Our own faith blossoms as we witness another's life in Christ.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
John 15:13 NIV
Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Last post I shared about one of my iron-sharpen-iron friend, Donna. My friend who believes in me no matter what, who shares truth with me, who helps me be my best self and who lets me be me.
How did we develop these close friendships?
Well, it doesn’t happen over night. The key word is - Developed.
For us, our friendship developed through years of volunteering in the ladies ministry together at our church. We had many late work nights together, conferences, and ladies events and now Quill Society - our writers club.
We’ve had many hours of Bible studies, coffees and chats together. We have proven our friendship as it’s grown through good times and bad.
We’ve built trust through the years and now can be vulnerable.
How do we develop friendships?
1. Be Careful Who You Hang Out With
Proverbs 12:26 NIV A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
The righteous–that’s you– (2 Corinthians 5:21) are instructed to choose our friends cautiously.
Now, we love everybody–but we choose cautiously who we let into our inner circle.
Ask: Does this potential friend share your same values of Jesus?
You don’t have to believe everything the same. But, you do want to be in agreement on the beliefs and character that matter most to you. Otherwise, it will be a constant battle.
Ask: Does this potential friend build others up with their words? Or, do they tear others down?
If they tear others down with their words behind their back, they will most likely do it to you some day. This is an indicator that they are not a wise choice.
2. Explore Without Commitment
If you have someone that you think you would like to grow closer with, you can explore this friendship to see if it’s a good fit.
You might join a Bible Study this person is in, or ask them out to coffee to chat.
This is a safe way you can explore their values and to see if you click.
If you don’t click, no worries, you can still be friends, but you don’t have to spend large volumes of time with them.
It’s kind of like a date. Just because you go on one date with someone, doesn’t mean you have to marry them.
3. Spend More Time Together
If you’re clicking and you want to develop your friendship further, find ways to spend more time together.
A fabulous way to built this type of relationship is through value-based activities such as Bible Studies, volunteering together, or meaningful conversations.
True friendships are built over time. This give both of you the chance to prove you’re trustworthy.
Vulnerability is built through openness.
Openness is created when you trust.
Trust is built over time.
When we are brave enough to be vulnerable, we help others feel safe enough to do the same.
To start creating trust, you can share a small sensitive thing. Then, watch what your friend does.
Most likely, they will reciprocate as they feel comfortable. Now, it’s your turn to prove you’re trustworthy.
How should you respond to their vulnerability?
This isn’t the time to give the five reason’s they’re wrong. It’s a time to create open conversation and understanding. It’s a time to create an atmosphere of unconditional love.
In these times, you will learn if this potential friend is going to be trustworthy. You’re going to learn whether this is a friendship you want to continue nurturing.
If it’s not, again, no worries. Move on. It’s okay.
But, you may just develop a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Prov 18:24 NLT
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
If you desire a close friend, what is your next step to find or develop this friendship?
Or, what’s your best advice for us to develop friends that “stick closer than a brother”?
Uninvited - Study Guide by Lysa TerKeurst
Uninvited - DVD set by Lysa TerKeurst
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