Monday, May 30, 2005

What Makes A Good Friend?

This is something I have been thinking about lately as I realize one of the most important callings in my life is to be a friend. I have been in the habit of befriending those whom I am naturally attracted to and letting relationships ebb and flow as life takes me to different places and circumstances and changes swirl around me – never too sentimental about people as they come and go in my life. But in the past year or two I have been challenged to be more intentional about things that are important to me, and I realize that good friendships are made, not the result of a series of fortunate events. Growing and maintaining a friendship requires time, effort, generosity, vulnerability…but wait, I am getting ahead of myself. At a recent home group meeting, we put together a short list of what makes a good friend and I thought I would share the results with you. Here they are:

- Depth of honesty
- Unconditional love
- Faithfulness
- Good counsel
- Fun
- Enjoyable company
- Generous and sharing
- Believes in you
- Would lend you their jeans
- Present in your life on a consistent basis
- Shares your joy
- Has a similar outlook
- Respects your values, and you theirs
- Is real
- Listens
- You can be yourself around them
- Unguarded
- Friend of God
- Friend to the needy
- Dependable
- Someone who protects
- Someone who knows you
- Welcoming, open, accepting
- Sticks with you
- Always on your side
- Gives things up for you
- Defends you

We all love having good friends, but how good of a friend are we? True, selfless, friendship, like the kind David and Jonathan exemplified in the Bible, is very inconvenient (you can read about it in 1 Samuel beginning with chapter 18). Jonathan gave up his right to become king for the sake of his friend. Jonathan risked his life for the safety of his friend. Jonathan put the relationship with his family at risk for the sake of his friend. The words used to describe the bond between them sound strangely like marriage vows and have made more than a few people uncomfortable with their intimate nature. I believe that discomfort reveals a lot about how little we know about this quality of friendship.

I have often expressed a desire to be a friend of God but will readily admit that most of the time I am dumbfounded as to how to get there. Something I heard our friend Mike say when we were in New York really struck me. “If you know how to be a friend, you know how to stay connected to God, because that’s what it looks like: friendship.”

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow....reading the friend traits really brought me to tears.

Having just realized in the last few weeks, that a friend that I thought was a good friend....really isn't......

seeing it in black and white, really put it into perspective. I'm glad I found your posting. It surely will help me heal.

God Bless.

crazimama said...

This is so great it helped me with my essay for school about How to be a Good Friend!

Anonymous said...

so it took you a few decades to realize that friendship is more than a flake in your life? wow

Anonymous said...

damn...I have no friends. I only know a lot of people.