Friendships are precious. A true gift. You get to choose who you are going to be friends with, and being chosen is priceless.
God has great purpose in friendships. He designed us for relationships and wants us to actively engage with others. Keyword: actively. Relationships are not meant to be stagnant. They are meant to flourish!
Like any other relationship in life, friendships need certain “nutrients” to grow. There is something raw and organic in the creation of this type of relationship; however, if you want to see it bloom then you gotta put in the effort.
Here are 4 keys my friends and I have learned on how to maintain a healthy friendship.
#1 FIGHT FAIR
Growing up, this was a golden rule in our house. My mom made it clear to all of us there was a way to fight and a way not to. Name-calling, hitting, bringing up past issues, using words like “never” or “always,” and attacking someone’s character were neither necessary nor helpful. Fighting fair was a value in our home, and it should be a value in friendships.
Fighting does not have to be this huge, dramatic weeklong process. If you have a disagreement with your friend, talk to them. If there needs to be time to cool off, take the time...and then talk to them. No relationship can grow or be healthy without communication.
Please avoid (with everything inside of you): gossiping, name-calling, attacking someone’s character, blaming, yelling or bringing up already resolved issues. None of these things are beneficial, and oftentimes they can be the very things that end a friendship. If the person you are fighting with holds significance in your life then fight fair. Beauty can rise from ashes. Choose to let your friendship grow from hard times rather than be squandered.
#2 SUPPORT EACH OTHER
Turn up your cheerleading skills and cheer loudly for your friends! Show up to their events, encourage them by sending a sweet text and celebrate them often! Life is difficult; having your own personal cheerleading squad makes it easier.
My friend, Megan, does this with excellence. Megan shows up, to the big stuff and the small stuff. She’s consistent, and her consistency has meant the world to me. Early on in our friendship Megan attended a poetry reading I had to do for a class. Poetry and Megan aren’t exactly synonyms, but she was there. She showed up for the entire program and had a cupcake waiting for me as a celebration offering.
Be a friend like Megan. Show up. Be consistent. Encourage your friends in actions and words. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
#3 KEEP EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. -Proverbs 27:17
My friend Lindsey and I often say: we’ve been building character since 2009 (the year we met). Here’s the thing: we are not perfect. We are human. We will make mistakes, say things we don’t mean, hurt feelings and disappoint the ones we love. We can choose to grow from our unflattering moments in life or we can choose to dismiss them.
Early on in our friendship, Lindsey and I made a commitment to sharpen one another. There have been times when Lindsey has had to call me out. Times when she had to speak hard truths over me. But she always did it with grace and love. She wanted me to grow, she wanted our friendship to be strong and she knew that keeping one another accountable had to be a priority. The commitment Lindsey and I made to one another led to ultimate trust. Trust that has kept our friendship flourishing despite a 6 hour distance and many life changes.
#4 PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER & TOGETHER
You know the old marriage song, those who pray together stay together. Though we aren’t talking about marriage, it still applies! Prayer is powerful, and praying for someone you care about will only make your relationship with them stronger.
My sweet friend Haley did this for me. Once when I was randomly holding her phone I saw an alarm go off that said Pray for Rebekah. My heart melted because I knew that alarm was going off every day and every day my friend was praying for me during a challenging season of life. Not only did Haley pray for me, she also prayed with me and our friendship grew.
Pray for your friends. What are their hurts, their struggles? Open up about the challenges of life and pray together. Prayer unites us with each other and with God. (Acts 1:14)
Friendships are precious. Treat them as such!
Want to read more on friendships? Check out the blog posts below to see more: