10 Ways to be a Better Friend

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We all have them. Some are wonderful, others are not that great. Some are close and some are distant.

I find people interesting; and sometimes intimidating because of how introverted I am. It’s a lot easier for me to write an email to someone than talk on the phone. Because of this, I have had drama in my life. Miscommunications. Hurt feelings. Messes to clean up. You’d think I’d learn. Speaking to people face to face is the best way to communicate. And that takes time. Time is precious.

But then again, we spend time doing whatever we feel is important.

Over the past few weeks I have been led to take inventory of my time, my relationships, and my priorities. I’m not really all that pleased with what I am finding.

I desire to be a good friend to people. Someone who can be counted on for unconditional help, integrity, and love. But what I desire and what I do are two different things. So I have been reading the scriptures, talking with God, and evaluating myself. I’m finding that there are some practical behaviors and actions I can do to help me improve the relationships I have with those around me. Maybe you, my Readers, would like to try some of these as well. I will warn you though. The last few weeks for me have not been easy spiritually. I’ve been going through some heart battles.

10. Treat people like they are family. Paul states in 1 Timothy 5: “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.” Families can be quirky, dysfunctional, and absolutely wonderful! When I am with my family I know that I will be accepted no matter what stupid thing I say or what I do. We accept each others’ failures and we rejoice in each others’ blessings. I need to do the same with those I come in contact with. I need to be slow to anger and quick to edify.

9. Practice hospitality even if the house does not look like Martha Stewart’s. I’m not saying I’m going to leave the toys and clothes out all over the living room. I’ll tidy up and wash down the counters, but the floors will probably only be swept and not mopped. And don’t look too close at furniture because there is going to be dust. I love to have people over! This past week we had a couple over for dessert and it was such a fun time. It took 2 hours, the kids were in bed, and my husband and I had a nice evening with other adults. Being a friend means spending time, even just a few hours, to make friendships work.

8. Be generous. The scriptures tell me that everything I own belongs to God. So if all of my possessions and money belong to Him, then I can use it, and should use it, to serve others. This does not mean be unwise and give away what we need to take care of the family. On the contrary, anything given away should be after the 10% tithe and after family needs and bills are paid (unless God specifically says otherwise). So if I have $100 free spending money per month and I see someone with a need, then I should be generous in my giving of a proper amount. Just giving isn’t enough though. I must make sure that I am giving with joy, and not a grumbling attitude.

7. Sometimes your presence is enough. There are times when just showing up to something is the best thing one can do for a friendship. Whenever I am invited to anything, baby shower, wedding shower, jewelry party, etc, I try to go. Sometimes I can’t, but I figure, if someone thinks enough of me to invite me, then I should think enough of them to go.

6. Be “all there.” This is a hard one for me. My mind likes to wander into a million different directions, but when I am with my family, or with a friend, then I need to give 100% of my attention to them. No Facebook. No email. No phone. No video games. I need to turn on my listening ears and pay attention. Not just with my mind, but with my heart.

5. Pray for the difficult people in your life. It’s hard to stay upset with someone when you are asking God to shower him or her with blessings. Try it. This has changed my attitude toward some people.

4. Serve others. No one likes to be in a place of humility, yet putting others first is commanded in the scriptures. When I hear of a need, then I must be willing to see if there is anything I can do to meet that need. This could mean driving out of the way, changing my schedule, giving up something, or sacrificing my time. This is a hard one for me. I battle my pride constantly, but in the end it comes down to my will versus God’s. And then I have to choose.

3. Smile. People enjoy being around happy people! But life isn’t happy all the time. So this means I need to learn what Paul means in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, rejoice!” Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If I am walking in the Spirit, then I should be tapped into the joy of the Spirit. If I have lost my joy, then I need to search my heart, figure out what happened, and ask the Lord to help me “get my joy back.”

2. Be Bold. Don’t wait for people to come to you. I want to do better at walking up to people, speaking to them, asking them how things are going, and reading them to see if there is a need I can meet. Perhaps it is just a smile and a hug that I can give, but at least that person knows I care enough to walk up to them and take five minutes to see how they really are doing. This is SO hard for me!! I’m afraid people be will inconvenienced by me, or I’ll say the wrong thing…but I think this may be a lie I have been telling myself for years. I need to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and love.

1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This simple Truth is complex in action. These words have become profound to me over the past few months. I have begun to actually picture myself in the “other person’s shoes.” Then I ask myself, “How would I want people to respond and/or react to me?” I ponder and pray. And then when God begins to reveal His will, it is magnificent! Ideas pop into my head that I never would have thought. The love for that person becomes stronger.

I have not perfected these 10 strategies. I have a ways to go! But I will say that, so far, reactions to the actions I have done are not necessarily what I envision. One time I was greatly blessed by a young lady in return for something I did. But most of the time I haven’t received a reaction from the person. And that’s hard because feedback is a good thing. But that is when I rest in the loving embrace of my Almighty Father knowing I was obedient to Him and that my treasures are in heaven.

And THAT is what matters the most.

What can you do this week to be a better friend?

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10 Ways to be a Better Friend — 31 Comments

  1. Absolutely wonderful post. Reinforcing our ladies’ Bible study, too! I want to print the 10 tips out and just have them where I can easily see them and do a quick heart check when I pass them by…

  2. Wow, what a blessing and treasure your post is. You seem to really have a heart for connecting with people, which we all need. May we keep discovering the joy of loving people as Christ loves us – not seeking approval for it (as I often struggle with) but doing it simply because we love God and people. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I grew up a military kid, we moved every two years or so. The one truth I learned about friendship was to be a friend first. Step out, lay my heart on the line and be the kind of friend I really need for someone else. Which…now that I think about it…sums up your last two points…
    Shallow fellowship is easy. Friendship is hard, and it gets harder as I grow older. Maybe it is because most people have established their close circles by now…I don’t know. But I do really love this post and I think someone who has the heart and insight to wroti it must be a good friend to have.

  4. About number 9: Remember that it’s okay for people to write in the dust on your furniture as long as they do not date it. πŸ™‚

  5. These are definitely a wonderful 10 commandments of friendship! I’d like to add one more…when people are at their most unloveable is when they need your love the most. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much…I will keep these close to my heart.

  6. These are great :). #2 is so true. While my hubby was deployed I was very lonely and prayed for friends. I learned that the best way to make friends was to listen to others and to be the one to invite people. Sadly there are few people that will invite us over but they will come when we invite them. Most friendships start a bit one sided. I have found that my best friends are the ones who invite me over too and listen too. Still, someone has to take the first step.

    I’m a hermit but I’m learning to get out of my comfort zone. Honestly, sometimes it’s painful and many times I DO say the wrong things. But if it’s meant to be then the friendship works anyways. I’m learning to throw aside first impressions….because I had bad impressions of some of my closest friends and I was SO wrong once I got to know them. You’re right….email is so much easier. I really have to push myself. My family picks on me for being the kid who always hid in closets or behind chairs. May we see people the way Christ sees them πŸ™‚ God bless & prayers for your journey! ((hugs))

  7. What a great list, I just “liked” it. I’m also an introvert (like a mushroom in the dark, ha ha) and prefer email to face to face or a phone call. I’ve had those miscommunications. I’m very direct and to the point. Not a lot of chit chat; this can come across as unfriendly. Email is cold. Great job!!! I am your neighbor on Wise Woman today. Kim

    • Kim, I just found your comment today! I’m so sorry I missed it!! Thank you for stopping by. Email is cold…and one can’t tell body language or voice infliction to know the motive of the words. Words can be so powerful!

  8. Great thoughts… I really liked #5. I found as I grew up, got married, had a baby– I lost the ability to have “friends” and my extended family filled that part of my life. We also move quite a bit, and it’s hard to maintain connections. Thanks for a great post!

    • Rachel, I just found your comment just now! I don’t know how I missed it!! I’m so sorry. πŸ™ I can relate to losing the ability to have friends. There are time when I wonder what adult women friendships should look like. I cannot imagine moving so often and not having connections. I’m sure that is hard!

Thoughts? Please share!