Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

5 Ways to Know Your Friendship is the Real Deal

  • Jennifer Dukes Lee Author
  • 2017 4 Jan
5 Ways to Know Your Friendship is the Real Deal

Most of my deepest friendships were born in the light, but grew up in the dark.

I know it for sure when I think back to a really dark season in my life. I had been in a head-on car collision. It was a jarring moment that rattled me emotionally, while also leaving me with an injury that took months to heal. Four days after the car accident, my father-in-law died of leukemia.

It was the perfect storm of trauma. Our family needed a life raft of people to buoy us.

Those days are a blur, but this is what I remember: the faces of friends. I remember a few special women who were there—these friends who bandaged my leg, who knew they could walk into our house without knocking, who saw us at our worst, who helped me hobble to the gravesite, who brought gifts for our daughters, and who had this keen ability to make me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry.

They showed me what it means to have friends who are the real deal. They showed me what it means to have “framily”—good friends who become like family.

Finding framily isn’t easy. Some friends are scared of your darkest dark and bolt when things get scary. Others can’t quite move past the small talk. Or they are unwilling to be vulnerable. Even worse, a few might disclose your personal business, abusing your tender moments of vulnerability.

It can be difficult to know if a friendship is the real deal. So, how do you really know if a friend is genuine?  

Maybe it's the way she completes your sentences before you finish. Maybe it's that trust you have in one another, deepened by years. Or the way you've seen each other at your worst—and survived it. Maybe it’s how you both know if the other needs a Bible verse, or just a hug. 

Here are five ways you can know for sure that your friendship is the real deal:

1. Real-Deal Friends walk in when everyone else walks out.

Crisis has a way of showing you who’s a nice acquaintance, and who is flat-out framily. Sometimes the ones who actuallydo show up will surprise you. They’ll barge in with hot chocolate, Kleenex, and a willingness to sit down in the middle of your mess. You’ll be brought to tears by the unlikely friend who you suddenly know is the one you needed all along.

You, too, can be that kind of friend, surprising someone, just when she needs it.

2.  Real-Deal Friends lift one another up.

Remember the story from Exodus 17? Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a hill during a battle. When Moses held up the staff, the Israelites had the advantage. When Moses’ hands grew weary, he had to lower his staff. It was then that the Amalekites surged ahead. So Aaron and Hur did what framily does – “they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset” (Exodus 17:12). You guessed it: The Israelites won.

Real-Deal Friends are the Aarons and the Hurs. They hold up their friends in the midst of battle.

3. Real-Deal Friends don’t compete with you; they celebrate you.

It’s the pits, when something great happens in your life, but you hear crickets from the bleachers. Real-Deal Friends aren’t envious when your dreams come true. They are the first to cheer you on.

“Encourage each other and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

4. Real-Deal Friends know when to make you laugh.

I love friends who cry with me. But when I was in that dark season, I needed friends who knew when a good laugh was in order. Real-Deal Friends know that the God who created your tear-ducts also created your smile.

5. Real-Deal Friends pray for you.

It’s so reassuring to receive a text like this at 7 a.m.: “I woke up this morning with you on my mind. So I lit a candle, and I prayed for you.” Real-Deal Friends pray, even when they have no clue what’s going on.

Are you a Real-Deal Friend? If so, pray for your friends. Many of them are fighting battles you don’t even know about.

YOUR TURN: How do you know you have a friendship that is the real deal? We’d love to hear in the comments. Share this post with your Real-Deal Friends on Facebook, to let them know what they mean to you.  

RELATED RESOURCE: For an in-depth look at what it means to be (or find) a “Real-Deal Friend,” pick up a copy of Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement.

Jennifer Dukes Lee is on the (in)courage writing team and a contributor to Craving Connection. She is also a blogger, speaker, and author of The Happiness Dare.

Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

Publication date: January 4, 2017

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