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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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18 Responses to How to Be the Type of Friend You Wish You Had

  1. Jade says:

    Building friendships can be hard if you’re the only one initiating further interactions. At that point, the friendship can end up feeling one-sided.

  2. Rachel W. says:

    I might have an unusual problem, but I feel like there are SO MANY girls out there who need a friend. I try to reach out to all of them, but I honestly can’t follow up continually with them because then I would be spending all my time writing, emailing, and texting them. There are just so many of them! I used to be conflicted at church because there were shy girls who needed a friend, and then there were my close friends. I didn’t know who to talk to. I know that it’s better to have close friendships with a few friends than not-so-close friends with a lot of people, but how do I choose who to be close friends with? Do I even need to make that decision? I want to reach out to the younger girls, older girls, and shy girls, but I can’t be close with all of them. Any advice?

  3. Bonnie Lynn says:

    I wanted to let you know that this profile pic is of my Parents, lol, because I’m using my Mom’s tablet. I’m really a Young Adult, I promise! I didn’t want to confuse you, haha

  4. Galina says:

    I definitely have to agree with you on this… When I opened this article and saw the title, I truly was hoping to see what I am doing wrong that I am always the one initiating relationships…but when I looked at those 4 bullet points, I realized that I already do 2nd, 3rd, 4th for sure and I am usually the one initiating all of those steps…I just realized that I don’t do 1st bullet point truly and it’s been on my heard to simply pray for my friends vs me following up, chasing them down, reaching out…sometimes it’s a simple prayer that they truly need because we live in the spiritual world. So this article was another encouragement to start praying for my friends and not necessarily doing 2-4 bullet points so I don’t feel that I am always initiating 2-4th bullet points… Prayer for someone does miracles because it’s actually God is working Himself vs us trying our own earthly strength by reaching out and following up 🙂

  5. Shanae B says:

    Totally have been there.

  6. Shanae B says:

    Praying for people is definitely hard to keep up with. What would you suggest when you try to reach out to someone in your small group who acts like you’ve done them wrong, but you haven’t known them long enough to have done anything?

  7. Jenna says:

    It’s hard for me because I have friends, but not a close friend. My friends always talk about their “Best friend” and it’s hard knowing that’s never me.

  8. Elisa says:

    I know EXACTLY how you feel! I know that feeling when you wish you were someone’s BFF, but you know you’re not.

  9. Elisa says:

    I have always struggled with severe loneliness.
    My issue is, I find friends, but then they just fall apart. I’m always the one calling, texting, emailing, and it gets really awkward when you don’t know if they want to be friends or not anymore. Now I’m terrified to start any friendships because I have had like 5 or more end. Just distingrate, melt, and fall to pieces. Recently, I have had two blossoming friendships come alive. I would appreciate prayer that these stay life time. I don’t think I could mentally or emotionally handle another heartbreak.

  10. Jenna says:

    I’ve only ever had one true BFF but she moved out of state

  11. Jenna says:

    I will pray for you!

  12. Anna S says:

    Thank you, Kristen, this was exactly what I needed to hear! I’ve been struggling with loneliness because I just moved and left behind some amazing friend as well as the closest best friend I’ve ever had. I realize now that I really do need to put in more effort with my new friendships! My plan to grow my friendships is by getting their numbers so we can text and planning some hangouts! I’ve been following y’all for several years now and you have both been such and encouragement to me! Keep up the good work! God bless

  13. Danuza Teles says:

    I feel the same, is so hard to find real good friends who are interesting in build a friendship. But if you feel lonely like me, I’m open to meet people who have interesting in build a frienship.
    PS: My english is a work in progress.

  14. Danuza Teles says:

    It’s definitely me.

  15. Debbie says:

    What do you find most challenging about building friendships? I find most challenging asking them questions that would make the conversation flow and be interesting.
    What can you do this week to initiate a new friendship? I can be a friend and get to know them better and ask for their number and keep talking to them!

  16. Jessica says:

    I ask good questions. Trouble is they never reciprocate… It’s hard to show interest in wanting to spend time with someone when they don’t show any interest in you. I’m sorry but I had friends back home in WA. State. I have none here in VA. People here don’t reach out or show interest in you or your life even when you reach out to them or show an interest in them. Don’t know if people are just selfish/self-absorbed or what but I’m even talking about people in the church I go to. I’m sorry but I had thought God wanted me to stay here in VA but I’ve felt more emotionally and spiritually isolated here in VA than I ever did back in WA. I’m really really struggling. I have family here in VA but I don’t feel like they would understand where I’m coming from. They had a hard time not understanding my depression too and I just don’t connect with them. Does God want me to be alone/feel alone? Because he feels far away as well. I’m at a loss here. I was going to give it six more months here and then if things don’t improve I’m planning on going home to WA. Any suggestions apart from what I’ve already tried would be welcomed. I’m at a precarious place.

    • Jacintah Mugi says:

      Hey Jessica..I think God is preparing you …for sth much greater…even in your friendships in VA…Just trust him in the process. How are you doing now?

  17. Willow Miller says:

    This article totally spoke to me! When I was younger I would cry at night over not having many close friends, and then God totally blessed me so much and now I have a group of 15 best friends! We are definitely sisters, and I thank God for them every day. 🙂

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