11 Ways to Be a Better Friend

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Great friendships don’t just happen (and they can’t be bought!). They must be built and nurtured.

“Hey Mom, can I have some money?” said my friend’s young son.

“What do you need it for?” she replied.

“I need to give it to Tommy so he’ll be my friend.”

Bewildered, my friend explained that a true friend cannot be bought, and a friend who requires money for his or her companionship is no friend at all.

Understanding the value and qualities of a good friendship can be a lifelong endeavor. As we mature, we discover it isn’t like a business transaction, barter, or quid pro quo, but it’s a relationship built on mutual trust, brotherly love, and joyful companionship.

As Dr. Stanley says in his message, “Thinking through Your Friendships,” great friendships don’t just happen (and they can’t be bought!). They must be built and nurtured. He goes on to share these 11 ways we can invest our time and energy into cultivating strong friendships:

  • Spend time together. This is the most important ingredient and the only way we will truly get to know each other.
  • Talk to each other. Through conversation we learn more about the other person. As the relationship progresses, the interaction becomes more personal and open.
  • Cry and laugh together. Close friends are willing to share their hearts with each other in both the joys and heartaches of life.
  • Share accomplishments. Promotions and successes are a reason to rejoice together.
  • Share trials. True friends stay close in times of trouble or pain and faithfully bear each other’s burdens.
  • Be thankful. Realizing what a blessing friends are, we should be generous with our gratitude, letting our friends know how much we appreciate them.
  • Be thoughtful. Everyone wants to feel loved and remembered. We can reach out to friends with letters, calls, texts, or small gifts.
  • Show tolerance. We all have flaws. We must be willing to overlook a friend’s words or actions and freely grant forgiveness.
  • Touch. Another important ingredient in friendships is appropriate physical touch, whether it’s a casual handshake or a hug.
  • Be transparent. Deep friendships require vulnerability—letting the other person see who we really are. If we try to cover up and appear perfect, we limit the relationship.
  • Be truthful. This is essential for trust. Friends need to know that some conversations will be kept confidential and that they can believe what the other person says.

Have you been a good friend? As it’s been said, “Money might make you wealthy, but friends make you rich.” Invest your time and energy in good friendships and cherish them, for they are often like diamonds—treasures hard to find.

Written by Linda Canup

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