Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

How to be a Best Friend Forever

How to be a Best Friend Forever

Adapted from How to be a Best Friend Forever: Making and Keeping Lifetime Relationships,copyright 2012 by John Townsend. Published by Worthy Publishing, Brentwood, Tn., http://worthypublishing.com/.

Your best friends shape your life, significantly influencing your choices and the kind of person you become as a result. It’s not just a luxury to have good friendships; it’s a necessity if you’re going to fulfill your God-given potential.

So make your friendships the best they can be! It truly is possible to be a “BFF” (best friend forever) to the people with whom God calls you into friendship. Here’s how you can be a best friend forever:

Build your best friendships on the right foundation. Every healthy and close friendship should have three elements: knowing, liking, and presence. Knowing involves gaining objective information about people (the details of their lives) and building personal experience with them to understand their thoughts and feelings. Liking means that you genuinely want to spend time with them because you’re personally drawn to them. Presence involves a mutual commitment to spend time together whenever possible, even when you each have to make sacrifices in order to prioritize being together.

Be aware of what draws you to certain people. Just because you’re attracted to certain people doesn’t necessarily mean that they would make good best friends for you. If you discover that you like a particular person for unhealthy reasons, becoming best friends with that person will lead to an unhealthy, unbalanced relationship. Pray for the wisdom to know which people are good for you, and which ones aren’t.

Enjoy more than one best friend. The word “best” in the friendship context doesn’t have to mean that one person has to be your top friend above all others; it can mean that you have the best possible friendships with several people who each contribute in unique and valuable ways to your life (and you contribute to theirs). Ask God to help you discern a few different people in your life with whom He would like you to pursue best friendships. If you’re married, make sure that your spouse isn’t your only best friend, because that puts too much pressure on your spouse and starves your marriage of the enrichment that friends can provide.

Look for friends with the same core values and learn from differences in context values. You and your best friends should share the same core values (the beliefs that guide all parts of your lives) in order to enjoy healthy friendships, so make sure that the people with whom you pursue best friendships agree with all of your own core values. But you and your best friends may have different context values (what you believe about how to live certain parts of your life, such as what principles you follow when parenting, managing money, or deciding how to vote in elections). Seek to humbly and respectfully learn from each other’s different context values; the process will help you and your friends grow.

Be proactive about investing into your friendships. You need to take the initiative to invest both time and energy into your friendships if you want them to reach their highest potential. If you neglect your friendships by passively waiting for your friends to contact you (which they may neglect to do), your friendships will suffer. But if you contact your friends regularly, you will enrich your friendships.

Risk being vulnerable in your friendships. When you’re vulnerable with your friends (openly and honestly sharing your needs, emotions, mistakes, and inner selves with them), you’ll add value to those friendships.

Give grace to each other.Just as God gives grace to you every day, you and your best friends need to give grace to each other to deal well with your imperfections and sustain your friendships. Accept each other for who you are and let each other know that you’re committed to the friendship no matter what. Encourage each other to deal with your weaknesses as problems that can be solved rather than as reasons for condemnation, guilt, and shame. Honestly talk and carefully listen to each other as you discuss your flaws and mistakes and help each other grow into the people God is calling you to become.

Foster openness and trust with each other. Make your friendships safe places for you and your friends to talk about what’s going on in your lives and how you all really feel about it. Do whatever you can to make your friendships better places for you and your friends to connect in deep ways.

Don’t hesitate to contact each other when you want to share something that’s happened in your life. Share both your joys and your burdens with your best friends. Your best friends will be happy for you when you have something to celebrate. You won’t be draining your friendship if you let your best friends know about a crisis you’re going through; they want the opportunity to support you through it with love, and your friendships will emerge enriched from the experience. Keep your best friends informed regularly about what’s going on in your life, and ask them regularly about what’s happening in their lives.

Use social media wisely in your friendships. If your friendships are going well, using social media is a convenient way to stay in touch with your friends often. However, don’t use social media for struggling friendships; spend more time face-to-face instead so you can best work out the issues between you.

Speak the truth in love. Be completely open and honest about yourself and about your friends when talking together, and encourage your friends to do the same. But be sure to let your friends know that you’re on their side and are not condemning them when you say something difficult about them or your relationships with them. Point out potential that you see in your friends that they may not have noticed they’re capable of reaching, and then help them reach that potential. Direct your friends’ attention to issues in their lives that are hindering their growth, and then help them pursue the healing they need to overcome those issues.

Spend both quantity and quality time together. You and your best friends must give each other enough good time together, or your friendships won’t grow to become what God wants them to become. Catch up regularly on the essential events of your lives, such as each other’s health, job, and family. Communicate often enough to stay emotionally connected to each other. If you’re having difficulty getting together often enough, schedule some friendship appointments in a regularly structured way (such as promising to meet each other for lunch every week) to help make sure that you really do get together frequently.

Adapted from How to be a Best Friend Forever: Making and Keeping Lifetime Relationships,copyright 2012 by John Townsend. Published by Worthy Publishing, Brentwood, Tn., http://worthypublishing.com/.

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, speaker and leadership coach. He has authored or coauthored more than 20 books, selling 5 million copies, including the 2 million-seller Boundariesand Leadership Beyond Reason. He cohosts the nationally syndicated daily radio program New Life Live, heard on more than 160 markets nationwide, with a listening audience of 3 million. Dr. Townsend and his family live in Southern California. Visit his website at: http://www.drjohntownsend.com/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.comto send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.



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