I have always been a “friend” person. I love having friends, and I like to have a lot of them. I scout out friends like some people scout out a spouse. I love to know people and be known by them, to share life, do things together, and just have fun. And since I was single for the first 20 years and 9 months of my life, I had plenty of time and opportunity to develop my friend making skills. Ironically, I never actually end up becoming friends with the people I intend to. For example, my first day of my freshman year of college, I spotted this loud, pretty, outgoing, confident, fun, popular, tan, blue eyed, blonde hair, every-guy-already-has-a-crush-on-her girl across the Quad, and I immediately thought to myself, “I will NEVER be friends with that girl.” I crossed her off my list of potential BFFs and moved on to others that were more my type, but of course, she ends up being my very best friend throughout our college years, the type that you become roommates with and share every ounce of your lives together.
Sometimes these things just happen unplanned. And I’m glad they do.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately; what a friend really is, what it means to be a friend to someone, and how to use words to describe friendship. So after much thinking and processing, I present to you:
10 Marks of a True Friend
A True Friend is someone with whom you enjoy their company. This can’t be downplayed; you have to know how to enjoy life together, laugh, have fun, not take yourselves too seriously, poke a little good natured fun at each other, and just have fun being together!
I think we all have that person (or multiple persons) in our life who love to spill all their deep dark secrets, problems, and drama to us (I call this emotional vomiting), but when you step back and look at the relationship, they know absolutely nothing about you, probably due to the fact they have never stopped talking long enough to ask. A True Friendship is one that is reciprocated, meaning that it is mutual, a 2 way street, where both people seek each other out, share with each other, and care about each other.
A True Friendship requires intimacy, meaning that this person can know the deepest parts of your soul, and protect that. You trust that they are for you and your good, that confessed sin will be kept confidential and not used against you. A True Friend is one with whom you feel safe to share your hurts, burdens, and shame.
A True Friend is empathetic; they will feel what you feel, rejoicing with you when you are experiencing joy, mourning with you when you experience sorrow, and you will do the same for them.
If you hang around any friendship for too long, it will start to get hard. I guarantee you that. People are difficult and messy. It is easy to want to give up on people when they fail you (and I promise you it’ll happen sooner than later). A True Friend will see you at your worst and still love you, knowing the depths of your depravity and sin, and choosing to stick it out anyway. They will offer grave and forgiveness when it is not deserved.
A True Friend is faithful, loyal, consistent, and dependable. You can count on them to do what they say and show up when they say they will. You take them at their word, and you trust them.
The best kind of people are those who live their lives to serve others, sacrificing their time, energy, money and plans for the good of someone else. These are the kind of friends you want to have; those who aren’t in it for selfish reasons, but who are always looking for an opportunity to give.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Your truest friend is the one who will tell you the truth, even when it hurts. They do this because they love you, and you trust they want to see you grow and be sanctified.
A True Friend will motivate you to be the best you can be. They see more potential in you than you see in yourself. They push you, challenge you, encourage you, and most importantly, they believe in you.
This last one is by far the most important. Without it, nothing listed above even matters. Real, true, authentic friendships must be rooted in the gospel; a mutual understand and agreeance with God, His Word, who we are in light of what Jesus has done for us, and a reckless abandon to love and serve Him. A friendship apart from the gospel is frail and fleeting in comparison to the depths of joy that come from a common bond and union together with Christ. Jesus gives us a purpose and a passion, and empowers us to thrive in good, healthy, life-giving friendships with one another, caring for one another in Christ centered community. And that is awesome.
To have a friend, one must first learn to be a friend. Real friendships don’t happen overnight; they take time, patience, understanding, misunderstanding, forgiveness, a lot of coffee dates, a road trip or two, heart to heart conversations, and a couple of fights to finally cement a True Friend, but once you have one, they are in it for life.
I am thankful to have a handful of True Friends in my life; the people who actually know me and love me anyway. I love you guys.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
Until next time,