How would you define a good friend? Do you consider yourself to be a good friend? It’s easy to judge or criticize the quality of a friend someone else is, but how often do we evaluate ourselves?
In order to have friends, you need to be a good friend first! Nobody wants to be friends with someone who complains all the time or only talks about themself. Or maybe you know someone who expects you to drop everything for them, but if you ever needed help, they would be the last person there for you. I’m sure a couple of people with these characteristics have come to mind. Do you enjoy those friendships? Most people would not! Obviously, there are seasons of life we all go through, and sometimes you need to hear your friends out through the hard times. But the ones who are always complaining and bringing everyone else down can be toxic!
It’s important to not only evaluate your friends but also to evaluate yourself. Are you the friend people dread spending time with? Are you the obligation friend or the one people are excited to see? The good news is there are ways to become a good friend. I want to share these tips with you today!
1. Live out the golden rule.
We have all probably heard the golden rule. Luke 6:31 (NIV) says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” But how often do we self-reflect on how we are treating people? I want to challenge you today to reflect on ways you are a good friend and where you can improve.
Being a good friend means focusing on other’s needs. Ask them about their day. Pay attention when they are talking; don’t just be thinking about what you will say next. Really take the time to listen to your friends! Trust me; they will notice when you are actively listening. Try to remember things about their lives as opposed to going through the motions of a conversation. If you struggle to remember things or it’s a friend you don’t see often, make a note in your phone of what they have coming up. Do they have a big work presentation? Write the date down after the conversation, and send them a text wishing them good luck on the day of the presentation. Do they have a lot of decisions to make in the near future? Next time you see them, ask them how they have been doing with those decisions.
You don’t have to remember everything and ask about every single detail, but it’s nice to make a few notes and to follow up with your friends. They will feel like you really care! Life is busy, and it’s hard to keep up with everyone, but good friends are so important to hold on to. Make sure they know you care about them. Something as simple as a follow-up text after seeing them is always nice too!
If you want others to take an interest in you, first you need to take an interest in others. People love to talk about themselves! Think of someone you can reach out to this week. Simply asking them about their day will be an encouragement!
2. Walk in Love.
We can do all the right things, but if we aren’t walking in love, we won’t accomplish anything. You can check all the boxes in a friendship, but if your heart isn’t there, you won’t be a good friend.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
—1 Corinthians 13:3-8 (NIV)
Paul mentions many good actions that can be done, but without love, they are nothing. Your heart has to be in the right place! If you are doing something out of obligation or duty, people will know. Your friends will recognize that you don’t really care, and they won’t want to be invested in the friendship.
In order to be a good friend, we must love others. First John 4:19 (NIV) says, “We love because He first loved us.” John 3:16 (NIV) states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
God loves you so much that He sent His Son, His only Son, to die for you! He wants you to have the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. Take a moment to think about how great God’s love is for you! It’s way greater than any earthly love we can give to one another.
The Bible tells us that we are to love because God first loved us. We are to emulate the love that God demonstrates to us to our friends.
What does loving your friends look like? It’s not always easy! Loving your friends means supporting them, being there when they need someone, and speaking truth to them. Sometimes it can be hard to tell them the truth, but a good friend will always be honest! Is your friend going down a path they shouldn’t be on? Have a conversation about it. Don’t let them keep going on to avoid confrontation or for fear of how they may react. A real friend will speak truth and help her friends stay on the path God has for them.
Another way to love your friends is to be supportive. Is your friend overwhelmed and busy with work? Make them dinner and give them a night off from cooking. If they have children, offer to watch their children for a little while so they can run errands alone and knock out stuff on their to-do list. Find ways to encourage your friends that are things they need help with. If something comes up, ask how you can help!
3. Find the right friends.
“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).
The people you surround yourself with are critical to your success in life. Sometimes, you can be doing everything right, but you just aren’t surrounded by the right friends. Learning how to recognize toxic friendships, or “sharks” as I refer to them in my book, Shark Proof is an important part of having godly friendships.
On the surface, your friends might check all the right boxes. Maybe they have the perfect houses, have the best meals, their kids all wear cute matching outfits, and they seem to have it all together. But when you spend time with them, all they do is gossip or complain. That’s not a healthy friendship! Don’t have friends for status or so you have someone to spend time with. Not having close friends will be better than having troublesome ones! You don’t want to be surrounded by people who are constantly discouraging you and tearing you down.
You might be treating your friends well and being a good friend, but they just might not be the right friends for you. Having the right friends is so important! If you are looking to meet godly women, get involved in your local church. Find a team to serve on. Position yourself in the right places to meet good, godly people. And pray! God will send you the right friends when you seek Him!
Friends are such an important part of life, and we all need them! If you are looking to connect with godly women, join The Happy Life Social app HERE. It’s a social media platform where you can connect with other women and be encouraged!