“Sometimes we underestimate the value of true friendship until we hit a crisis”. I wrote these words in August 2018. Before the pandemic. Before our lives were tipped over in the worst possible way. Little did I know how deeply they would resonate 18 months later. If there is one thing we have learned since then, it is the true value of our friends (and family).
One of the reasons I started The Wateringwell was to have a place where women could meet and encourage one another. This post is to encourage those of you who feel left out and alone and to inspire others to look out for the lonely. And may we all be intentional in remembering to tell those special friends in our lives, just how much they mean to us.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24
5 Reasons why we need true friends
I specify true friends because this is not about work colleagues and casual acquaintances. This is about those friends who are near and dear, a part of your inner circle. One of the saddest things for me is to know somebody is lonely and doesn’t have the comfort of true friendship.
Why do we need them?
- We need friends to laugh with; people where we can comfortably be ourselves and laugh until tears stream down our faces.
- For companionship. A friend helps us overcome loneliness. Even if they don’t talk, when words are not enough, a genuine friend will sit with you, just to let you know they are near.
- To give us honest advice. The Bible says our friends are more important to us than family. It doesn’t mean we love them more, it means they can have a greater influence on our lives.
- For the support. We all know the old saying: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” A true friend is reliable and dependable through tough times as well as the good.
- For encouragement. A friend can boost your confidence and lift your spirit on those down days.
What does friendship mean to you? Do you have a friend or friends who fit any of these descriptions?
10 Characteristics of a good friend
Friendship means different things to different people and that is perfectly ok. Regardless of why your friends are your friends though, there are still some key qualities to value in a true friend.
- Trustworthy. You can be completely vulnerable with her, she knows your weaknesses and has seen you at your worst, but she remains your closest ally.
- Caring and empathetic. She is there to support you through the tough times and beyond.
- Dependable and reliable. This girl has your back. Chances are you have been through something which tested the strength and loyalty of your friendship and you know that you can rely on her, no matter what.
- Positive. That part of a friend that allows you to laugh, have fun and look on the bright side.
- Active listener. Somebody who will listen attentively.
- Loyal. You know this friend will not go behind your back to hurt you.
- Accepting. She knows who you are and what you are all about and won’t ask you to compromise your principles, as long as they are not harmful to you.
- A good influence and commitment to your well-being. This friend can be trusted to speak the truth and give you a sound perspective.
- Forgiving. Everybody has those moments when they mess up. Friendship means not holding a grudge.
- Generous. Not necessarily money, but of her time and herself
Generally, the people in your inner circle will have all or at least some of these qualities. Of course, there are many more but people with these qualities are special. Treasure them.
What destroys friendships?
Following on from the characteristics of a good friend, are the contrary behaviors that can and will destroy friendships. The Bible gives us good, sound advice in this area.
- Gossip. Guard your tongues at all times, and this is especially relevant where friends are concerned. If it is not to help or build up, then rather don’t say anything at all.
“A gossip separates friends.” Prov 16:28
- Unforgiveness. By this, I exclude cases where a friendship is toxic and it is advisable to walk away.
“Whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Prov 17:9
- Jealousy and pride. Allowing meaningless pursuits and worldliness to stand in the way of friendship.
“Do not forsake your friends.” Prov 27:10
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.” Prov 22:24
What draws friends together?
We begin to form friendships from an early age, and over the years, they grow and evolve and carry us through some of the most trying times of our lives.
When we meet people initially we are drawn to them because of common interests or values, and like-mindedness. They become part of your larger social circle. These friends are important because you generally relax with them and share good times.
But then there are those friends who you draw closer to because of a special bond. We may be drawn to them through history, where we have shared something deep or special. Or maybe we have been on an amazing holiday together. It could be a myriad of different reasons. These are the friendships that span decades and distances.
One of my dearest friends today, was with me when I got the call to say that my brother had been shot. We met at work and decided to do a road trip out of town to attend a decor show and see friends. I didn’t even know her that well at the time.
The morning I got the call, I was too numb with shock to do anything, but she sprang into action. She made decisions, important calls and stayed calm in the storm. I will always treasure her for that. In one of my darkest times, she had my back and has had ever since.
What your friends say about you
I don’t mean what they say about you, but how they reflect you. Who your friends are, says much about who you are as a person. Another reason to choose your friends wisely.
Most of my closest friends are strong, determined, and opinionated women. I think what I love most about them is that I know exactly where I stand with them. They aren’t afraid to tell me the truth and for that, I love and admire them. They know my flaws and weaknesses (they’ve told me : )) but they are still my friends and I value them highly.
A word of caution
Many of the qualities mentioned in this post, come naturally to us as women. Being a true friend is one way that we stand out as Memorable women.
However, as much as we desire to be that true friend, not everybody feels the same way. Giving freely of our time and emotions can leave us vulnerable and susceptible to being taken advantage of. Approach new friendships with caution and don’t be afraid to put boundaries in place if necessary.
Reflect on your list of friends. Is there somebody who you could/should call to chat to? Better still, can you meet up with them for a cup of tea or coffee? Reach out to at least one person this week. Then try and continue to do it at least once a month, with one person on your list. More often would be great, but you also don’t want to put unrealistic pressure on yourself.
If you meet some friends regularly, consider other people who you don’t see. There may be that one person who comes to mind who would appreciate your call.
Make a friend feel special today. Tell someone you value them. Take the time to thank a special friend for what they mean to you.
If you need prayer, somebody to chat to, or advice, you are welcome to:
- Email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send me a private message on Facebook
- Post your request in the comments section below