Remember when you were a kid and had those matching friendship bracelets? One bracelet had the word “best” inscribed on it and the other had the word “friends.” I was fortunate enough to have an incredible best friend growing up who is like family to me even still and we shared many best friend bracelets together. But I still struggle from time to time with feeling alone and feeling completely disconnected. Adult friendships can be hard to maintain, especially when you work and have kids and so many responsibilities tugging at you. We live an era where the social media that is supposed to connect us all can leave us feeling more disconnected than ever. We live in a time where friendship is perhaps more essential than it has ever been, we long for community but through our words, actions and facebook postings we divide and separate an already broken community. In our attempt to be so self sufficient and so strong and autonomous have we cut ourselves off from one of the most life giving, beautiful things? The gift of friendship and community.
So if your feeling a little disconnected or lonely, I encourage you to read ahead and meditate on some of these points. It can be so hard to know where to even begin and how to start building friendships and community but I hope this post will be a helpful starting point. So let’s dive in and talk about how we can more intentional in our friendships!
- Remember who you are in Christ. When we remember our identity first and foremost as being fearfully and wonderfully made and infinitely loved by an amazing creator, we seek less the approval of others and seek instead to love others well.
- Seek to know and not just to be known. When we seek to know another person, we ask questions and we listen to understand, not just to reply. Friendship is about sharing our life and experiences together, not about showing off how “cool” we think we are. A healthy friendship is a mutual exchange of knowing and being known.
- Pray for your friends. Prayer connects us on a deeper level and allows us to be “in their lives” in a more intimate and thoughtful way. Also when you have been consistently praying for your friends, your more likely to remember to check in with them about how that test went or how their latest job interview went.
- Show grace whenever possible. Why? Because the world needs a lot more kindness, patience and grace. Assume the best about your friends, seek to help them in tangible ways, be present for them, practice forgiveness with your friends when they mess up or do something that annoys you. Trust me, it’s much easier to practice with your friends than your enemies 😉
- To have a friend, we must first be a friend. Intentionally seek out times to build your friendship and ways to be involved in their lives. Make time and create space for them. Take the initiative.
I know life is busy, I know it so well because I am in the midst of it and it feels like my world is turned upside down most days. But I have to remind myself that these are the things that matter and hold eternal value, people matter and I have to ask myself from time to time, am I living my life in a way that shows people matter? Or am I living my life in a way that says I matter and my possessions matter more? I don’t write this to make you feel guilty, but I write this to give you the reminder that I so often need myself. The reminder that our friendships matter and our lives can be so much richer because of the people we invite into them. I encourage you to think of someone different than you and befriend them. You will learn so much in the process and I promise there is so much beauty and joy to be found in friendships, we just have to nurture them just like we did in the good ole’ friendship bracelet days 😉