1 Peter 4:8-10 English Standard Version (ESV) – 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
“If you don’t give me a turn first, you’re not my friend anymore.”
The threat from a friend’s daughter hung over my son where they were playing in the backyard. I saw his shoulders drop.
After she went home, he asked me: “Why can’t girls just stay happy? Why are they happy now, and then sad and then happy again?” I chuckled (not very sensitive of me, I know). “Most of the time, I don’t know either my boy.”
Friendships between women can be a minefield. It is just something in our make-up that unleashes the crazy in us every now and again.
I haven’t always been a good friend. I hurt some friends over the years. Especially in school (shudder). And I still do. I am fortunate to now have an amazing group of friends who I can pray with, play with, sit in my pyjamas with, share jokes with or cry with. Each friendship unique and special.
But if my friendships are going to survive, I need to keep a few things in mind:
- Allow friends to be themselves
How? By being myself. When they see that I put on a mask, they will do the same. One friend once told me that she hated messy cars. Do you think I ever offered to take her somewhere in mine? No way.
My best friendships are with those who have given me grace for my failings and make it easy for me to say I am sorry.
- Don’t gossip
If a friend is always discussing other people’s secrets, I just know they are probably doing the same about me. Why? Because I did it myself and learnt a very painful lesson.
I used to be jealous when someone achieved a goal I had been working towards. Now my motto is: My day will come. And even if it doesn’t, I will still celebrate. Now you will find me cheering the loudest, no matter how big or how small their breakthroughs.
- Give thoughtful gifts
Some people buy expensive gifts. But the most precious to me are the thoughtful ones. Like a pair of leaf-shaped earrings I received from a friend who knew that Revelation 22:2 is my favourite verse.
An indulgent magazine or chocolate or tickets to a movie she wanted to see will go much further than Chanel perfume (in my book anyway).
Good friends listen. I used to process everything I heard through a “How can I solve this?”-filter. Some problems don’t need to be solved. They just need the salve of a listening ear to ease the ache. So: Shhh!
- Keep in contact
This, I am very bad at. Sometimes I am a bit of a hermit. I treat some of my friends like my family. If all is well, we don’t hear from each other, but if anything goes wrong, we are there for each other. Not the best way to keep a friendship alive. Call. Text. E-mail. Just do it.
- Go out with your friends once in a while
I am just as bad at this one. I see it as a luxury. But it really is a necessity as a mother and as a wife to connect with friends and to avoid becoming “Crazy Mommy”. Make the effort to build and keep a friendship.
- Pray for your friends
Pray with them too. Those who pray together stay together. My most precious friendships are with people I pray with.
- Don’t keep score
I am often oblivious that someone is keeping score in our relationship. How many times I text, versus how many times they do. The problem is, it is tiring. And it kills friendship.
So I don’t keep score and begin to be the friend that I would want to have. Even if they don’t reciprocate. I will be a good friend anyway.
Now- There are times when I walk away from a friendship that is destructive. When someone consistently places themselves above God or my family in my life and are selfish in their demands for my time. If you have prayed and tried everything and the person doesn’t change, I would walk away.
What if I have been a bad friend and don’t know how to make the first move to mend a friendship? Say sorry. Your friendship may not be the same as before, and trust will need to be built up over time, but you might be able to build a new friendship.
Our friends are precious. Let’s not neglect or sabotage our friendships. Let us purposefully celebrate and cheer and listen and pray and love.
Are there any friendships you have lost that you need to mend?
How can you be a better friend today?