We all need friends! This world can be a very lonely place without friends. I am fortunate enough to be married for 21 years to my best friend. She has always been at my side, no matter what the road ahead looked like. Kathy is the benchmark against which all of my friendships are measured. That sets a pretty high standard! I'm spoiled, I know, but God's the one who gave her to me. I have been blessed with an in-house example of friendship.
Let me make two recommendations regarding friendship. First, always start with your mate. Your husband or wife should always be your 'best friend'. Get that one right and your other friendships will be better. Second, focus more on "being" a good friend rather than "having" a good friend. (Proverbs 18:24)
Let me share with you what I consider most important in friendships.
- Unconditional Love - We used to sing a hymn in church that said, "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one. No not one". Don't expect your friends to be perfect! Your friend is not Jesus and therefore your friend is not perfect. Love them when they're right, love them when they're wrong. That makes for a solid friendship!
- Unending Commitment - Proverbs 17:17, "Friends love through all kinds of weather..." Good friends stand together through the good times and the bad times. Come rain or shine, Kathy has always been there for me. I know that she is committed to me and there is so much comfort in just knowing that.
- Unquestionable Loyalty - Friends have each other's backs! They look out for each other. Never allow others to speak ill of your friends. David expressed frustration in Psalm 41:9 about a friend who turned against him. Friends are able to separate the person from the problem.
- Unbroken Communication - One of the keys to any relationship is communication. If we stop communicating we stop growing. There will always be issues and differences in friendships. Even though friends may be very close and have much in common, they are still different. Good friends maintain communication and both benefit from it!
- Unselfish Giving - The greatest friends are those who are not there to get something from you. Some relationships drain us! Good friendships are mutually beneficial. The give and take just comes naturally. There is no effort to it, it just happens. Great friends don't want something from you, they just want you. They don't care if you are perfect, pretty, or performing.
Again, the key is to focus on "being" this kind of friend. My wife has set a great example for me. I recently sat down and thought about our relationship and these were the things I thanked God for most. These are the same things I want to focus on in all of my relationships.