Introverts and extroverts. Type A and type B. Single and married. Old and young. The popular and unpopular.
We all need friends.
But where to find them? How do we get them? Why do my friendships just seem so superficial?
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:” Proverbs 18:24a
So go ahead and put yourself out there. Have you seen what Middle Sister wrote about finding friends? Make sure to check it out here.
And now that you have acquaintances, let’s start developing real friendships.
1. Make plans in advance and stick to them.
Here’s a cool trick. We are all busy adults now. We can’t do stuff all the time. But if you can fit in three one-on-one interactions in a matter of 2 months, you can almost guarantee that you are now true friends. And true friends don’t need to see each other all the time to remain close. Isn’t that the beauty of friendship? Being able to pick up right where you left off even if it has been months?
So how to accomplish this? Make plans together when you see them- like date, time, and place. And keep it no longer than 2 weeks away. Write it down and don’t cancel. Keep this up a few times. If after the first time you feel as if it just isn’t really meshing, ask yourself why. Sometimes, I find that I struggle if we do a play date and the kids are too loud or keep interrupting us. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. If you know that no matter what it’s not going to happen, then don’t schedule another time. If you just feel as if you didn’t get to know her that well, suggest another place or time of day. Maybe somewhere solo in the evening…
2. Don’t judge them if they seem to talk a lot about themselves and their kids and jobs.
We all do this. Sorry. It’s just her way of sharing her passions with you. Don’t assume she is selfish because of this. She quite literally might have nothing else going on. Plus, it makes for great small talk initially. Roll with it. As you get to know each other better, deeper and more personal things will be discussed.
3. Ask about her life when you see her.
So as much as we love our kids and life, we need to be conscious of her. Before you run into her, try to remember the last thing you 2 have talked about. Maybe a kid’s soccer game or her job. Maybe a prayer request. Whatever it might be, ask about it when you first see her. This shows her that you were actually listening which is a rarity these days.
4. Avoid gossip
Don’t gossip about other people when you are together. I would even go so far as to say, don’t make friends with a gossiper. If you talk about someone else together, you can assume that your friend will gossip about you with others. And I don’t know about you, but I like to keep the peace. Just say no to gossip.
5. Ask for their advice
This is another little trick I learned a while ago. People naturally like you a whole lot more when you ask for their advice.
Just think about it. If you were asked for advice, that usually means that someone thinks you know more than her about that topic. That kind of gives everyone a little self-esteem boost. Plus, someone came to you. That means that she was comfortable enough to approach you with her own personal dilemma. So, ya, works pretty well. A quick way to open up the conversation and get that “acquaintance” to friend territory.
6. Never charge them for services, goods, etc. that you would charge others for.
I hope this is obvious. If you are in mid-level marketing, do not throw a sales pitch at a real friend. Believe me, I am sure they are all aware you are selling it. They will come to you with questions. If you are getting rid of clothes, avoid selling to them (or just sell it for cheap if that is what will make them feel better…). If they need a babysitter, suck it up and do it for free. One day when the favor is returned, you will see the value in it. Trust me.
7. Don’t take advantage of them.
We all have those times where we need a babysitter that day or a ride somewhere. And hopefully if we call on our friend, she can help us out. But this should be the exception, not the norm. If you routinely need something, give them enough time and try to exhaust other avenues first (using family…). If you don’t have family, rotate through friends. Please do not let your friend think that you are just friends with her because she stays at home and can watch your kids whenever you run to the grocery store. Also, in those rare instances, let her know that she is the best. Maybe bring her a coffee.
8. Say sorry.
When I have time to reflect, I will often realize that I said something insensitive or just plain stupid. Right then, I will text and apologize for saying it. Don’t wait, you will forget.
There is just something so meaningful when a friend apologizes. Saying sorry shows that there is genuine care there. It also shows that you care enough about her to humble yourself.
9. Remember their special days.
Write down birthdays, kids’ birthdays, and anniversaries. Do not just say “happy birthday” on Facebook. Everyone does that, even the people she hasn’t met… Send a personalized text. Maybe call her *gasp.* Maybe even meet up for a birthday coffee! I even had a friend once leave me flowers and chocolates on my door for my birthday!
10. Don’t be needy.
Oh, please. This will totally turn people off. Especially moms. We have kids who are always needy. We don’t need more neediness and guilt in our lives. But, I get it. Sometimes we just don’t feel satisfied.
A friend will not fill all the needs in your life. Jesus states in Hebrews 13:5, “ I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” He is the only one that can fulfill the emptiness in your life. He is the only One Who will never leave you, never tire of you, never need a break.
People are busy. So many friends work. So many friends have families and children. Their days are filled with a never-ending list of things to do. Don’t guilt them into not making time for you every day.
11. Be available to help.
Don’t ask if they need anything. Tell them you are going to help and ask which way they would prefer.
“I heard you are just so busy this month. I would love to help. Would you rather I babysit one morning or cook dinner for your family one night?”
When I receive a text like this, I jump at the opportunity. If someone just asks how she can help, I always say I am fine. I don’t want to inconvenience people. And if you are a true friend, helping out is a way we show we care.
We all need help from time to time. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states, “Two are better than one… for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath nor another to help him up.”
I have some awesome friends that I just want to brag on here. A few years ago we were robbed right before Christmas Eve and basically all the presents were stolen. Our friends came over that night with wrapping paper, tape, and so many toys for the kids so we could still give them an amazing Christmas. It meant so much to us. I cannot even tell you. Brings a tear to my eye. They completely went above and beyond. And they weren’t even asked for anything.
12. Pray for them.
There is nothing that will knit your hearts closer together than prayer. And not just that, but let her know you have been praying for her and thinking of her. Everyone loves receiving a text saying that she was thought of and prayed for. How awesome is that to get?!
13. Be real.
This is totally the most important piece of advice I have. Most people can tell right off the bat if you are being fake. This is probably the main reason why some people just cannot get past that acquaintances phase. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. When people laugh together, it brings them closer.
I love my friends. They really are the best. But I need to do my part to show that I care and appreciate them.
Do you have any tips for being a good friend? I would love to hear them.
Until Next Time,