Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” -C.S. Lewis
The art of truly being a good friend is one that requires effort and practice. I know I can look back at my own life and see times that I did friendship well and other times where–I regret to say–I failed miserably. I’ve been blessed by friends stick by me and will help me through anything and deeply hurt by the betrayal of others I thought would aways be there. I cannot think of a single girl I know that hasn’t been deeply wounded at some point by one of their girlfriends. We should be each other’s advocates but all too often, we are instead each others’ greatest adversaries.
As Christian women, we especially should be demonstrating a different type of friendship. We should be building each other up! Instead, I feel like our “friendships” all too often become a competition of who’s prettiest, who can land the right boy, etc.–and we don’t even realize it. Even if that is not a struggle for you, the truth is that in the busyness of life, it is so easy to let our friendships go into “default mode”, just letting them exist and failing to treat them with intentionality.
We complain that we don’t have “true” friends that we can trust–well, are we being true friends? If someone tells you a secret, keep it. If someone is having a down day, encourage them. Maybe one of the reasons that friendships are so hard for us is that we go into them selfishly, looking for what someone else can give to us, instead of looking for the ways we can give to them. We want people to be genuine, faithful, intentional, etc, right? Well, we need to be those things ourselves.
I guess what I’ve been learning lately is that having the sort of relationships I want actually starts with me. You want genuine friendships? Great. Be genuine yourself! You want people to be faithful to you? Be a faithful friend yourself! It’s the oldest cliche: “Do unto others as you’d have them do to you.” But it is a cliche for a reason: it’s true.
So, next time you find yourself discouraged or frustrated in friendships? Try thinking about someone else. Search your own life; do everything you need to to become a good friend. It isn’t a magical formula. Yes, unfortunately, sometimes people you love are still going to hurt you. Furthermore, there are going to be times you do fail at being a good friend, but I truly have found that it is in seeking to become a good friend that God will bring the greatest treasures of friendships into your own life.