How to Keep Friendships Fresh
Do you struggle with keeping your friendships fresh? I'm probably not one to be talking about friendship. My experience with friends doesn't rate up there the same as people who are surrounded by friends all their lives. Not to mention the mistakes and regrets I carry. No, I can count on one hand how many very close friends I've been blessed with in my life. Excluding family, I can say I've had one friend in my life that I can call best friend. And I consider myself very blessed to be able to say this.
Even though life happens and drifting apart is the result, I can say that I'm as comfortable with her as if we see each other everyday. When reality is we can't always remember how much time passed in between. I suppose I say all that to say, take care of your friendships. If you're blessed to have a keeper. Don't take them for granted. Don't let time get between you.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
I like the Living Bible translation of this verse: A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 (TLB)
Be willing to invest.
Let's go back to the question at hand. How to keep friendships fresh? In a word. Intentional. Which means on purpose, deliberate. Do you treat your friends this way? Are you deliberate with keeping in touch? Staying connected? Let's be real. Friendship takes work. All relationships take work. If you plan to keep those relationships, that is. Yes, both sides of the relationship must invest, otherwise one side ends up bankrupt.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Take the risk.
In today's world we've tried to remove some of that risk with our "social" media. Some even see how many "friends" or "followers" they can reach. But there's no substance to these. No growth. No kinship. Therefore, no risk.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Look to the greatest example of all.
Throughout scripture we see what kind of friend Jesus is. How He treated people. How He valued a close set of friends. Even a couple very close friends. Maybe even considering them "best friends." He approached friendship with an attitude of what He could offer, not what He was going to receive. From my notes on Sunday's sermon about dating I had some takeaways on the points about friendship. And it occurs to me that those points were what Jesus was as a friend. He was loyal. Truthful. Trusting. Those friends were better having known Him. I want to be a friend like Jesus is. He is our example.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20
Don't make the mistakes I have. Keep your friendships fresh.
- Pray for your friends.
- Connect with them regularly.
- Reach out to them.
Godly friendships are important. Iron sharpens iron. Godly friendships keep us accountable. Grow us. Ultimately bring us closer to God. Stretching us into the best version of ourselves. The risk is worth the reward.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
I confess, I've not always put these principles into practice. In fact, I've been lazy. Even shying away from potential new friends because I was afraid of the risk. Again, aside from family, friends truly are a gift from God, let's treat them that way.