My ace. My BFF. My sister from another mister. My roll dog. My boo! Whatever you call them, there’s no study needed to show that everyone needs friends. Friendship is a mechanism of support that challenges us to be our best selves while encouraging someone else to do the same. From betrayal, to meltdowns, to major victories, I’ve gone through it all with my friends. And from my experience, these are the 4 habits everyone should practice in order to maintain their current friendships and/or develop new ones:
- Listen – Most people think they’re good listeners but really they’re not. If you find yourself zoning out or thinking of what you will say while your friend is talking, you are NOT listening. Listening requires an openness to thoughts and opinions outside of your own. Some people have problems listening due to the fear of seeming weak, while others confuse listening with being in agreement. However, listening does not reflect timidity or concord it simply gives the other person the right to express their truth. Listening is a must in any relationship and without it, it’s only a matter of time before someone will feel neglected and check out.
- Be Honest – Honesty is easy when you have good news, but not so easy when you have bad. The difference between a friend and a random who loves to listen, is knowledge. “Friends know friends” and therefore holds them accountable. As a good friend you must listen to the heart of your friend and when something arises that contradicts what their heart expressed, you must address it. Honesty is not being mean. Honesty is not discouragement. Honesty is love. Honesty is reminding your friend of who you know them to be and to encourage them when it’s hardest for them to remember.
- Pray – I have to admit the first two habits are a piece of cake compared to this one, because this one involves more than just you and your friend, it involves God. Instead of continuing to beat your friend into submitting to their best selves, there comes a point when you have to stop talking and start praying. Discussing their issues with other people helps them none. Worrying night and day about their welfare helps them none. God, being their creator and father, knows them even better than you. His involvement is the best thing you can offer. There’s no better intercessor, no better prayer partner, no better armor bearer than a true friend.
- Repeat – Now for the hardest part! The test of a lasting friendship is your ability to repeat the first 3 steps…yep just like the Lamb Chops song, it doesn’t end (yes, it goes on and on my friend). You know you are a good friend and have good friends when the aforementioned steps have been practiced over and over again. It’s perfectly normal to get tired and even frustrated, but committing to become a good friend is one that never goes unrewarded. As the bible says to gain friends one must first show himself friendly. In life you experience good and bad days. With friends by your side, the good days are made great and the bad are made better. Friendship truly is a blessing.
So, based on these habits, would you consider yourself a good friend?