This weekend, as I watched my son and his best friend playing basketball together, it made me think about the importance of friendship. I am blessed. I have wonderful friends and I am eternally grateful for them. Some are old, some are newer but they are all amazing. In Jamaica, there is an old saying, “good friends are better than pocket money” and this is so true. Good friends make us better people and they bring immeasurable value to our lives.
No man is an island; you can’t go through life without other people. We all need friends. Ones who genuinely want what is best for us, who challenge us to be our best selves. People who hold us accountable and keep us honest, not telling us what we want to hear but what we need to hear. The scriptures sum it up perfectly in Proverbs 27:17 (NLT), “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
As a parent, my prayer for my children has always been that they would find good friends. We can’t choose their friends for them, so we have to trust that we trained them properly and that they will not ignore what we taught them. We know that the friends that they choose will have a direct impact on the choices they will make. So, having good, like-minded friends is a good way to avoid negative peer pressure.
Be warned! There are some who will befriend you but they are not your friends. Not everyone who ends up in your circle is your friend. Some are opportunists, who are there for what they can get from you. Once you can no longer provide a benefit to them, they will disappear. Public figures experience this all the time and it is often difficult for them to know who is genuine and who is opportunistic. In a previous post, I talked about how to identify true friends.
We all want to have good friends, but it is just as important to be a good friend. Do you show up for your friends when they need you? Are you in the habit of “keeping it real” with them? Do you give without keeping score? Do you celebrate their successes, even if your life is not going the way you wish? These are some traits that you should exhibit if you are trying to be a good friend. Remember, if you want to have a friend, you must first be one. In friendship, as in other relationships, you reap what you sow.