How to Be the Kind of Friend You Wished You Had

By: Kristen Clark

I remember crying alone one night in my room feeling sad because I desperately wanted more friends. Deep down I wished that somebody would take a genuine interest in building a deep friendship with me.

Even though I was surrounded by people in my family and church, I still felt left out. I still felt alone.

Have you ever felt that way?

Most of us long for deep friendships.

And that’s normal. God created us to be relational beings. God designed marriage, family, siblings, friends, and community for a reason. We are relational because God is relational (Genesis 1-2).

Longing for deep, meaningful, and vibrant friendships is a normal part of being human. However, even good desires can become selfish if our motivation is wrong. When we’re feeling lonely and left out, chances are we’re focused solely on what we’re not getting. We’re focused on our expectations of others.

The reason I was struggling that night is that I was focused on how other people weren’t reaching out to me the way I wanted. But what I didn’t realize that night, was that I wasn’t reaching out to others either.

Before we can expect other people to be a good friend to us, we need to first be a good friend.

If you’re in a season of life where you feel like you’re lacking deep and meaningful friendships, you don’t have to stay there any longer. Instead of waiting and wining, I want to challenge you to be the type of friend you wished you had. Just ask yourself, “what kind of friend do I wish someone would be to me?” When you answer that question, choose to apply those same actions toward pursuing a friendship with someone else.

Instead of waiting around for good friends to find you, choose to be a good friend right now. Here are 4 simple ways to pursue friendships right now.

1. Pray for them.

First, pray and ask God to provide good friends for you. Next, instead of getting upset and angry at certain people who may not pursue a friendship with you, choose to redirect your thoughts to be more productive by praying for them. Whenever that person comes into your mind (you know who they are!), stop and silently pray for them.

Praying for other people helps to take our eyes off of ourselves and what we don’t have, and instead puts them back on Christ. Instead of dwelling on selfish thoughts, use that same energy to lift someone up in prayer.

2. Reach out to them.

We can’t change how other people treat us, but we can change how we treat them. Instead of sitting around waiting for someone to reach out to you, choose to proactively pursue friendships.

Text some friends and invite them to hang out. Call someone specific and invite her to coffee. Reach out to a girl you don’t know very well and invite her over for dinner. Get the ball rolling by pursuing friends in the same way you wish they would pursue you.

3. Ask them questions.

One of the best ways to build good friendships is by asking good questions. Get to know the person you’re talking to. Don’t wait for someone to initiate a conversation with you. Instead, be the one leading the way with questions. Here are some good starter questions:

  • What school do you attend?
  • What are some of your favorite hobbies?
  • Do you attend church? If so, which one?
  • Do you like to read books? If so, what are some of your favorites?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  • If you could have one wish fulfilled right now, what would it be?

Those are just a few examples of starter questions you could ask to get to know someone a little better.

4. Follow-up with them.

In order for friendships to grow, they have to be maintained. This requires someone in the friendship to initiate further interactions. If you want to continue building specific friendships, then continue reaching out and inviting them to hang out. This could look like anything from going to a coffee shop together and chatting, doing a book study together, signing up for a 5k and training together, hosting a party together, or a million other things.

The more you pursue intentional time with someone, the more opportunity you will have to build a deeper friendship.

I hope you will see potential friendships differently from this point on.

You have all the opportunity in the world to pursue, build, and maintain good friendships. You just have to choose to be the kind of friend you wish you had.

Let me know what you think by answering one of these questions below.

  • What do you find most challenging about building friendships?
  • What can you do do this week to initiate a new friendship?

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  • LJH

    This is so good! I feel like the art of friendship and hospitality have been somewhat lost in our culture. So many people want the “friendships” they see on social mefia, but don’t know how to attain even one good friend. Women are so relational and if you have an absence of true friendship it can make you feel like you are drowning. Thank you for sharing this, Kristen!

  • Cheney

    This is so good! Girl friendships and knowing how to pursue being a Godly Christian Encouraging Friend to others can be such a struggle. Thanks Kristen!

  • Shanae B

    Great list, especially #1 and #4! When you get older maintenaning deep friendships is harder because of where everyone’s lives go (marriage, job; living in another town, state, or country). Thanks for sharing!

  • Bella

    I really enjoyed reading these guidelines. They’ll be super helpful to me as I pursue friendships.
    I have a question, though. How would you reach out to a be a friend to someone who has been your friend once (meaning you wouldn’t need to ask all those ‘get to know you’ questions), but who has in the course of time drifted away and is now in need of friends, but does not know it?

    • L Atkins

      Bella, I know a few girls like this. Honestly there isn’t much you can do. You can reach out and try to get together. Try to remember what the main foundation of your earlier friendship with her was, and then use that foundation to build again (if it’s still there). Two things to do as a priority: let her know that you’re there, even if she doesn’t want to meet up with you and pray for her. Besides saying the prayers, you can offer up all the little sacrifices that you make each day for her.

  • Dani

    This is something I’ve thought about a lot, things that I wish I could apply in my life. For a long time, I’ve wanted girls my age to be friends with where I live, as much as to have friends as to be a friend. It’s definitely a vital thing in anyone’s life!

  • J Huot

    Love the post! Ever since I moved to CA three years ago all of my good friends are now long-distance and most of the time we don’t connect. I’ve been wanting to have solid, deep friend relationships for a while and this post reminded me of where to start. Thank you, Girl Defined!

  • tfrohlich

    It has always been hard for me to be the first person to reach out and be vulnerable, in order to get to know someone better. I can send a message to someone who I would like to get to know better and let them know that i thought of them.

  • I really needed this right now. All my friends are in other states so I rarely get together with really good friends, and when I do, it’s at the National Bible Bee once a year…Thanks for writing this!

    • Abigail White

      I agree that this post is something I needed! I don’t really have any close friends outside of my family, so it can be challenging for me. Annalysa, I wanted to let you know that I’m doing the Bible Bee this year! Although this is my first year doing it, I would love to make it to the Nationals to be with like-minded Christians. It would be fun to get to know you somehow, or maybe I’ll see you at the National Bible Bee!
      God Bless You!
      Abigail White

      • Hi Abigail! So thrilled you’re doing Bible Bee this year – I hope you love it as much as we do!!!!!!!! 🙂 How did you hear about BB?

        • Abigail White

          I have friends who do the BB. They told me about it. If you check your inbox, I sent you an e-mail that tells you about it in more description.:)

    • Rachel M

      I know what you mean, Annalysa! I’m surrounded by people at church and coop but my best friends are Bible Bee people. Thankfully we have a couple of them here, but the majority is 1000-5500 miles away from us. I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself, so I was really encouraged to see this as the first thing that popped up.
      It’s so hard because the only people who really seem to take some interest in me and what I have to say are my family and people two plane flights away, but I’ve been realizing that if I really want relationships with the people here (that I love dearly even though they may not feel the same way about me) I need to be the one reaching out to them. I’m not nsturaly someone who reaches out to people, so it’s an issue I’ve been praying about a lot recently. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the article!

      • Abigail White

        Hi Rachel! I’ll keep you in my prayers. I struggle with truly getting to know people, especially if they’re shy, because I’m shy myself. I usually have to push myself to say things or talk to people. ( For some reason I find it easier to “talk” to people over the internet.) I’m so excited to hear about other people who are doing the Bible Bee since I’m doing it too! Where do you live?

        Thank you Girl Defined for this! You are a blessing to a lot of people!

      • I wholeheartedly agree with you, Rachel!!! I miss everyone so much – please tell me I’m not the only one that’s already ready for December!!!!!!!!!!!!! (In respect to BB, anyway) It’s hard to reach out to those who aren’t as interested; I’ve tried!!!! Love you and miss you!!! 🙂

  • Angel

    I so Needed this 🙂

  • Dee

    i needed this so much. thank you and God bless!

  • Erika

    I really want some friends… thank you for this! I find what’s challenging about building friendships is that people usually have other good friends they return to instead of reaching out to new friends.
    I am usually a bit of a shy girl so this week I will try to just reach out/talk to a new friend 🙂

  • Lilly Shyree

    This post was exactly what I needed. I keep seeing a couple of my good friends with a A LOT of friends… at least it seems. But I know I need to be a better friend myself and not expect others to just call me up to do something fun. I need to be iniciating!

  • Chelsea Ejimakor

    The most challenging thing about building friendship is not having enough information about your new friend. Nice article Kristen.

  • Karissa

    Thank you Kristen for this article! This most challenging part about building friendships is fear… Fear of them not liking me. Fear for myself being too vulnerable. Fear of not doing the “right” thing.

  • Rachel

    This post was so authentic and beautiful, Kristen!

    I am a Christ-following young adult who has been following you guys (mostly on YouTube) for a while now. You always share great content that is very authentic, relevant and inspiring. Please don’t take this the wrong way–I am not trying to be one of “those” people online…I am trying to kickstart my own blog. I have been at it for a while, but have not yet learned the art of making my posts public. If you would, may you please spend some time checking out my blog here,, and offer some words of advice on how to get to the next level? My heart is to encourage people and meet them where they are at. I do plenty of this in “real life,” but I would like to broaden my audience.

    Thank you, Kristen!

  • Jessica

    Thank you for this article! I have realized being an introvert, I always waited for the extroverted and outgoing people to find me and start the conversations and the friendship! When I got to be in my late teens, I realized I needed to be the kind of friend I wanted and was determined to become a good friend by asking questions, being the one who reaches out first, and just sharing my life with other girls who were in my life. It did not come naturally to me at all, and I always had to get over the hump, and really reach out of my comfort zone. People started to say things like, “we should really be good friends!” or “you’re pretty nice, and fun to talk to! Let’s hang out more!” Though I was happy to hear that I was making headway and progress in my relationships, over the next few years, I felt like I was always the one reaching out, and there was NEVER a return. I would see my friends and they would say, “give me a call anytime, I would love to hear from you!” I would call, and text and they would respond, it was just only ever a respond. I began to wonder, why they always wanted me to call them. Why couldn’t they call me too if they thought about me or if they had not heard from me in a while? If I got busy and life got in the way, I might go a few weeks without reaching out, and they would wonder why not, but never told me till I finally got the chance to reach out again. It just usually feels one way for me. It’s still a struggle even now at 25, as I really do not have one single friend at this time that reaches out to me first. It’s always me, keeping up with everyone, trying to make them feel special, let them know I am thinking of them, sharing my life, and fun things, scriptures or quotes and am pretty much always the one planning things. Being a natural introvert, it gets tiring and sometimes I even wonder if it is worth it. I mean I have my sisters, who I love very much, and we are like best friends!!! We do everything together, and I sometimes even find I enjoy hanging out with their friends better then my own. Not like we all have different friends, I am just really talking age-wise and such…. All my younger sisters are natural extroverts, they do the same things I do, and they don’t seem to have the same thing going on….I want to continue being a good friend, and I want to be an encouragement, and I know I am, because people tell me I am, but it’s still tiring. I don’t want to grow weary in doing good, and getting a return sometimes would be nice! I know my strength comes from Christ, and that is where I always get my true satisfaction. I am encouraged by this article to pray more for my friends! I think that would help! Oh and the other thing that is a bit confusing to me is, Guys always want to be my friends like crazy and seem to always be interested in my life and want keep up with me. That just seems a little dangerous to me, as I think getting close to guys without being in an intentional relationship is not right. I have always kept personal close friendships with guys at a minimum keeping those relationships in a group setting until I feel the time is right with permission from my parents and much prayer to be in an official relationship. But it gets hard when they are really interested in being friends, and I happen to get a long with guys better anyways….So, its just all a confusing struggle for me…A learning experience and things I am continuing to work through…
    Any thoughts on this would be most welcome and hopefully encouraging for me!
    Blessings Kristen and Bethany! Thank you for taking the time to answer your calling to reach out to other girls and encourage them!

  • Nicola

    But what happens when your the one who is making all the plans? I get that you have to reach out and make and want to their friend. But with me it seems that I am the only one who makes the effort to make the plans. If I don’t message them then we don’t see each other for a very long time until it’s a birthday or until they eventually want to meet up!! How do you not get demotivated and just want to give up?

    • Ruth Jackson

      I have the same exact problem. Part of it is because I moved and while I still want to maintain friendships from back home/college, they don’t seem to have the time to reach out to me. As for the friendships I’m starting to build here, I’m always left out. I’ll make plans and they already have plans. I’m also at the age where everyone has a boyfriend or is married so they definitely don’t have time to hang out with me. It’s hard and I haven’t found a solution either. I’ve been focusing on my career so that takes a bit of my time anyway. I have felt like giving up many times but then I remember God didn’t create me to be alone. He wants all of us to have companionship. That’s why he made Eve for Adam. My church family is great but most people have a Significant Other and/or live far from me so it’s been tough but I appreciate the pastor’s wife making time for me here and there. My only suggestion for you (and me too!) is to keep searching. We can’t be the only ones in our area feeling the same way.

  • Morgan Greenlee

    I can reach put more to my old friends and new friends

  • Jessica

    Hello! I had commented on this post! Does anyone know what happened to my comment? 🙁 It disappeared.

    • Shanae B

      Either it wasn’t loaded properly or it contains content that has to be approved by the site first.

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