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How to Be the Type of Friend You Wish 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 type 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 this week to initiate a new friendship?

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