Today, I want to talk to you about friends. I am happy to say that I have been blessed with wonderful friends throughout my life. For that, I will be forever grateful. Having good friends is important because it shapes your life. Those who are closest to you often influence the things you do – good and bad. This is why I decided to talk about friends today. I remember my father telling me as a young girl growing up, that I should ensure that I choose my friends wisely because it is those closest to us who can hurt us the most. Why? Because, they are the ones who know our deepest secrets – we reveal who we truly are to them. I never forgot that lesson.
Now, as a mom, I find myself having similar conversations with my children and I remind them, often, that not everyone who they encounter is their friend. That title should be reserved for those who have proven themselves worthy of it. Friends are people who have earned your trust. Therefore, people are not your friends just because you share the same space with them. There is a difference between an acquaintance and a friend. Seeing someone everyday does not automatically make them a friend.
If you struggle in this area, here are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine if people in your life are true friends:
- How do you feel after interacting with them? Better or worse?
- Are you pretending to be someone who you are not when you are with them or do you feel comfortable being yourself?
- Do they keep your confidence, or do they discuss what you have shared with them with others?
- Do they gossip about others with you? Know that if they talk about others with you, they are talking about you with others too.
- Do they treat you with respect or do they disrespect you, your family, your values etc.?
- Are they honest with you or do they always tell you what you want to hear, even if you are making poor decisions?
- Do they encourage you to do the right thing or do they encourage you to knowingly go against your principles or break rules?
- Friendship is reciprocal. Is the relationship one of give and take, or do you find yourself doing all the giving?
- Are they dependable? Do they do what they say they will?
- Do they help you recover if you have made a mistake or do they stand in judgement of you?
Think about your answers and assess your friendships through that lens. True friends will have your back and they want the best for you. So, they are honest with you, even if sometimes it is hard to hear. I love this verse from Proverbs 27:6 (ERV) “You can trust what your friend says, even it hurts. But your enemies want to hurt you, even when they act nice.” I have found that a good test of friendship occurs when something wonderful happens in your life. How do your “friends” react? Are they genuinely happy for you? Do they wish you well or are they jealous of your joy? Ture friends are genuinely happy for you when things go well in your life.
Fortunately, throughout my life I have had wonderful, “ride or die” friends who have made my life much better. My prayer for all of you is that you can be so blessed. Most importantly, if you want to have true friends, you must first be one. I wish you good friendships for life. Good luck!