How many close friendships have you had in your lifetime? I am only twenty years old and I have had my fair share of close friendships. Cultivating deep friendships is critical. We are relational beings, as we come from a relational God. However, we often neglect friendships and allow our lives to move past those who mean the most to us. I have lost friends, gained friends, and lost some again. Losing friendships is apart of life. Some come and go, and are only meant for a season. However, others, you know you were made for. You’ll find a friendship worth fighting for, the one that will withstand the storms of life. But how do we sustain a friendship when we are used to losing so many? This is often a question that has plagued my mind.
There is something wonderful about friendships, they know everything about you, and they love the truest you. The friends that get the closest to you, can be harder to keep. They know everything about you, they have been with you through difficult seasons, and the best of seasons. Since they know you best, whenever you’re going through a difficult season, it can be hard to turn to them. I’ve had close friends, that I’d rather loosen my grip on, rather than letting down my walls and allowing them into by world. I have kept some things from them, instead of opening up and allowing them to speak into the darkest times of my life. This causes division, and can lead to brokenness, not just within the friendship, but within your own soul. Why do we do this? It’s often easier to leave something when it gets difficult, instead of fighting for it, and dealing with all the pain that may come at the expense of vulnerability. But vulnerability is what creates room for a deeper friendship. Without the expression of feelings, hurts, and burdens, the friendship can only be surface level. But we miss out when this happens. Deep friendships are beautiful.
Sustaining friendships is difficult. They require something of us. They require us to be intentional. This is the same in dating relationships. You are apart of something, that now requires you to serve. It’s no longer just about you and your needs. Being a good friend, and sustaining a friendship is all about service. The way you serve those closest to you shows them the value they have in your life, and the level at which you are willing to commit to them. Commitment is essential in sustaining friendships. When you commit to a friendship, you commit to love them whether you feel like it or not. I have learned this recently. It’s so easy to walk away, to stop loving when it gets hard, and to stop serving when you feel you haven’t been served yourself. The greatest way to have great friends, is to first be one yourself. I have had friends that have walked through difficult seasons, and I have walked beside them. Sometimes it's your turn to talk, and sometimes it’s your turn to listen. It comes in seasons. Your needs come after the needs of your friend. I’m not saying you neglect your needs and only give yourself away. Ultimately, your friend will reciprocate that kind of love back.
Sometimes we love at the level of the love we have received. I’m not saying this is right, but it is to be noted. Knowing this, we can love better. We can love our friends better, by just loving them because of who they are. They are God’s creation, his prized possession. When we love them because of who they are, not based on their performance, or how well they love us, it changes something in us, and it begins to deepen the friendship.
Continue to pursue the friendship. I know so many girls who have told me they aren’t good at keeping friendships. This starts with us though. You are good. It just requires work. It requires you to not give up when it gets too hard. It requires you to be intentional and pursue each one of your friends. It will get tiring, it will get difficult and it will be a lot of work. BUT, it will be wonderful. It will help you grow and prepare you for other relationships. The longest lasting relationships I have had are all centered on communication, intentionality, service, and love. These things are fundamental. You can’t make a friendship last without these things.
Can you think of someone right now that you haven’t been pursuing? Is there a friendship you lost, or a friendship you wish was deeper? Try stepping out and putting these things into practice. It is going to be hard, but it is going to be worth it. A wonderful friendship awaits you. Value them, cherish them, and serve them well. There will be seasons in friendships where you feel close and others where you don’t. The important thing is to not allow circumstances, to determine the state of the friendship. It’s a beautiful thing to share your life with those who know the best and worst of you, and love you anyway. Be that kind of friend. Everyone wants one.