The first step to maintaining healthy friendships is to realize that you really do NEED friends.
Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived gave this vital guidance, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
That means that we make each other better. It seems pretty important to God that we have good friendships. The Bible is full of examples of this.
Think about the amazing friendship of Jonathan and David. Jonathan warned David that his life was in danger at the hands of Jonathan‘s own father, King Saul. This warning allowed David to take action and avoid harm, and ultimately this act of true friendship allow David to take the throne.
Friends look out for each other. They should have each other‘s back. Your friends are the ones who will be there for you when everything in your life is falling apart.
The second step is to be friendly and willing to meet new people. The Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly barbers . . .” Proverbs 18:24
Put a smile on your face, stick out your hand and meet new people. Opportunities abound for making new friends if you’re willing to actively pursue new relationships. Get involved in a local church, join a social organization, volunteer at the local schools or another nonprofit organization. These are all great ways to meet new people and do good in the community at the same time.
The third step to building relationships is to make yourself vulnerable even at the risk of being rejected. The reality is that not everyone is going to like you. And, you are not going to like everyone.
Look for people with similar interests or a common background. If you don’t connect with someone, just move on. You will certainly find several good friends if you keep working towards making friends.
You will find a fourth step most helpful if you make it a natural part of your life: put others needs ahead of your home. The Bible gives this vital guidance: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Have you ever met people who want you to listen to all the details about their life but then they never bother to ask about yours? Be interested in other people. In humility don’t try to “one up” their stories. Just listen, smile, and ask genuine questions. Get to know them.
If you want to make friends, it is vital that you get interested in other people. Discover their story. Dale Carnegie writes, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people then you can make in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
You might find it helpful to evaluate how you talk with other people. Are you genuinely interested in others or does every conversation revolve around you? Did you make yourself the hero of every story? Do you find it necessary to talk about your successes and achievements? Are you trying to impress people or relate to people?
If you really want to make friends, get interested in other people. Learn about them. Listen to their stories and ask questions. If you listen and genuinely care about others, you’ll have more friends than you can handle in a short time.
Story by Timothy Neptune, lead pastor of Venture Church in Naples, FL.