Let's talk F.R.I.E.N.D.S
"Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future."
"Your network is your net worth."
"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."
"You become who you spend time with."
"You are the sum of the 5 people closest to you".
I’m sure you’ve heard one of these quotes at least once if not a few times in your lifetime. They ring alarmingly true for some people, and for others, they don’t quite make the cut for friendship criteria ... they’re just sayings that people say.
Have you ever stopped to think, and I mean really think about your friendships and the sort of friend you are?
Well if not, maybe it’s time to get thinking ...
Friends play a vital role in our lives. They’re people who were once strangers, but once invited into our lives become people with a great ability to influence us and shape our world, morals, and values.
Friends come into our life during specific seasons and sometimes for specific reasons. Some friends you’ll have from childhood or from your teen years. Some mutual friends can quickly become your closest friends and some friends aren’t even really your friends... shocker!! (Check out episode 2 "frenemies" on The M Word podcast, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Ok ... back to friendships ...
The people you choose as friends is important, but why?
Friendship should be a breeding ground for truth, open expression, joy, constructive criticism, love, support, and transparency. Your friends should motivate and inspire you. Your circle should be well rounded and supportive. Friendship; real friendship is about quality over quantity. Always.
Spend time developing your friendships as you would spend time developing yourself. If you become like the people you're around, then wouldn't you want to be around the best type of people, people that help you to become the best possible version of yourself. It's important to spend time nurturing healthy friendships. Friends are a real blessing. They're the family you get to choose. You should take some time to let your friends know just how much you appreciate their presence in your life.
Friendship should be natural and somewhat effortless. You should have friends that allow you to be your authentic self. I can't imagine being friends with people who don't allow me to be myself or act naturally. Friendships should be mutually beneficial and should have a bit of give and take.
And while it sounds great to have friendships that bring joy, love, unforgettable memories and laughter that can reduce you to tears, you should also take time to assess when some friendships just aren't working. Sometimes we find it hard to let go of people we've had in our lives for a long time. But, it's not healthy for either party to hold unto a friendship that causes more stress than joy. You just have to ask yourself whether the good parts of the friendship outweigh the bad.
So that being said, pray to be a better friend. Pray to be a friend that is supportive, encouraging, loving and helpful. Pray for wisdom and discernment to act carefully when you feel like some friendships have outlasted their season. Naturally, there comes a time when you start to outgrow people. Friendships fizzle out and sometimes it’s not anyone’s fault; you’re just not the same people you were when you first became friends.
Here's a warning for you - Be aware of the frenemy!. The friend that isn't necessarily against you, but their support doesn't exactly champion you either. The friend you thought would be in your corner supporting you might not be cheering for you publicly or even from the sidelines, but God will surprise you with support from the unexpected. Be open to making friends that at first glance might not be the type of people you thought you'd connect with. God can bring anyone into your life to be a blessing, just as He can remove people in your life who were only there to be a lesson.
Tips from me:
Focus on being a better friend to the friends you currently have.
Don’t be the friend that absorbs all the energy out of the friendship. Friendship is a mutually beneficial agreement.
Learn your friend's love languages so you can actively show them love in the way they receive it best ( you can take the 5 love languages test online).
Making friends sounds easy, but some people really struggle to connect or make lasting friendships. If that's the case for you - either you struggle to make friends, you want to become a better friend or get some tips on how to handle people, I’d recommend reading this book:
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.
Some takeaways from this book:
"Become genuinely interested in other people."
"If we want to make friends, let's put ourselves out to do things for other people - things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness."
"The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement."
"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
Get yourself a copy of this book. It's great for understanding how to maintain friendships and deal with people in life.
Key takeaways from me:
Pray to be a better friend;
Nurture your friendships;
Assess your friendships and when its time to put some friendships to rest;
Pray for wisdom and discernment concerning friendships.
So ... remember those quotes you read at the beginning .. think about whether they are true for you, and whether you want to measure your friendships against them. Whether or not you care about the truth in them, they do prove to stimulate thought and assessment concerning friendships.
If you consider the amount of time you spend with your friends, it makes sense to make sure you're around the right people for you.
A lot of things can be learned and you can learn to be a better friend and nurture your friendships in such a way that brings more joy in your life.
Scripture on friendships
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."
"Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence."
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
"Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers." Proverbs 18:24
Sending love and positivity your way
*I do not own the video in this blog post*