10 Ways to be A Godly Friend in Every Stage of Life
Hi, my name is Jess and I’m the blogger of Short and Sweet Blog. Annette and I connected on Facebook and I absolutely love what her blog is about! A little bit about me: I’m a 23-year-old SoCal resident who loves Jesus. I graduated from a Christian university about two years ago, and have been married to my high school sweetheart for a little over a year. Like you, I’ve experienced struggles in my relationships, college, finding jobs, moving away from home, and in generally trying to figure out how to live my life well for Christ.
While I’m passionate about marriage and love sharing my thoughts about getting married young, I also am passionate about being a good friend to others. In this stage of post-grad, newly-married life, I’m still navigating how to be a good friend and balance my life well. You may not be in my same situation, but I think we can all work on being a better friend to someone! So here are a few tips I have on being a Godly friend, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
1. Keep in touch with friends who are far away.
Most of my best friends and family are in Oregon, which is where I’m from, so it can be really challenging to stay involved in their lives. Everyone is busy and it’s easy to let friendships slip when you don’t see your friends on a regular basis. But there is nothing like an old friend who knows you well. Make the effort to stay in touch with your friends through Skype, texting them, or calling them. Don’t give up on a friend just because of distance!
2. Make room in your schedule for them.
Similarly, make room in your schedule for friends! When you’re working or going to school or involved in church or play a sport, your schedule can fill up fast. But I encourage you to choose a few friends you want to connect with at the beginning of every month, and text them to schedule a time to hang out. Put it on your calendar so that something else doesn’t get in the way, and stick to it! Making time for friends is so important because you have the opportunity to invest in someone else’s life.
3. Forgive when they mess up.
Everyone will mess up at some point. Whether your friend is always flaking out on you, is constantly late, or poked a little too much fun at you one time, forgive them. We all have our issues, but loving others like Jesus means forgiving your friends even when they hurt you. It’s not easy to forgive, but your friendship will be stronger because of it.
4. Ask how you can pray for them.
My husband does a really good job of this - each Monday, he texts his best friends and asks how he can pray for them, and he will even follow up with them throughout the week. You don’t have to do it weekly like he does, but check in with your friends often and ask how you can be praying for them. It will mean a lot to them to know they have someone talking to God about their lives alongside them. And it’s a great way to know how to encourage your friends as well!
5. Sacrifice your time when they need you.
Life happens, oftentimes when we least expect it. Many times in your life, you’ll have the choice to drop what you’re doing and listen to your friend, or keep going because it’s inconvenient or not the right timing. But even if it’s inconvenient, a good friend puts other’s needs above their own. When your friend needs to talk about something important, take the time for them if you can, and if you can’t, make sure to schedule a time to talk to them later.
6. Keep them accountable.
It can be hard to call friends out on things. But the Bible calls us to do exactly that: “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). If your friend is doing something that isn’t pleasing to God, call them out on it in love. They may not appreciate it at first, but if they truly want to live like God does, they usually will thank you later. It takes courage to hold friends accountable, but it also makes your friendship so much deeper."
7. Be honest with them.
If you’re struggling with a sin or something else going on in your life, share it with a close friend! Although it’s easy to hide, it’s so much better to bring what you’re struggling with out in the open. That way, they can pray for you, encourage you, and keep you accountable. This goes for when you want to celebrate, too! Don’t hide your life because you think they may not be interested or you’re afraid of what they will say. Friendships are built on trust, and you can’t have trust without honesty.
8. Listen to them.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself half-hearing what a friend is saying, half-planning what story I’m going to share with them next. I encourage you to truly listen when your friend talks to you, instead of just hearing them. Give them eye contact, ask them to repeat things, empathize with them. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth - that should tell you something!
9. Do random acts of encouragement.
When I first started my blog, my friend from Oregon sent me a care package out of the blue. It totally caught me by surprise, and I was so grateful that she thought of me and wanted to celebrate this accomplishment with me. Whether it’s writing your friend a note reminding them how much you love them, sharing a bible verse, or even sending them a care package, make sure to encourage your friends on a regular basis!
10. Take the risk of making new friends.
I recently went through a period in my life where I felt really lonely - I had just moved, was newly married, and most of my friends were in another state. I had taken my friends for granted, and had no idea how to start making new ones in the place where I lived. Making new friends is like asking someone out on a date - it’s risky and you have no idea what to do with them in order to start a relationship. But take the risk! Ask a coworker to lunch, a classmate to coffee, or someone in your community group to hang out. You have no idea where it might lead - they might become your new bestie!
These tips are so simple and I’m sure you’ve heard them all before, but if you work a little bit at them you will become a better friend. I hope you can put some of these things into practice this week and that God blesses your friendships!