We all want at least one good friend who will accept us no matter what, who will not judge us when we fall, and who will stick around not just for the good times but for the trying times as well. However, so many of us find ourselves alone wondering, “Does anyone out there care?” Indeed, there are people out there who would have showed up for us, but quite often we neglect to do the prep work that is essential to attracting and keeping good friends. Like every good thing, good friendships does not come out of nowhere. We have to be intentional about creating and developing them.
Here are seven keys to building lasting friendships.
- Be Friendly
That goes without saying. To create and to develop lasting friendships, you have to be friendly and be genuinely interested in other people. Proverbs 18:1 states, “Unfriendly people care only about themselves.” If we are only about ourselves and the only person we can talk about is “me,” then it will be difficult to show people that we care about them. Some of us carry a “mean and don’t approach” demeanor around. We refuse to smile and say “hello” to people. How will the door be open if you intend to carry daily your “NO, DON’T APPROACH” face?
- Be Not a Complainer
We all have fallen short of that once or twice. We complain about things, people, work, and environment we don’t like and expect people to be willing to listen to our toxicity all the time. People get tired of that—they want to be lifted as often as possible not dragged down by all of the baggage we are loading on them physically and mentally. Phillipians 2:14-15 commands us to “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Complaining does not attract good friends, it repels it.
- Be a Good Listener
There is a very good reason why we have two ears and one mouth. We were met to use our ears much more than our mouths. But it is totally the opposite for some of us. We like to talk and others will listen whether they want to or not. To begin to change that, we need to practice James 1:19: “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” We will find it very hard to get to know people if we are always running our mouths. We may keep the avalanche coming because we don’t know what to say. In that case, we need to learn the skill of asking revealing questions. “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out” Proverbs 20:5). Asking good questions will help us to understand others better and put them first during conversations.
- Be Accepting
Many of have this deep desperation to change people to our liking. The only problem with that is that –that is not our responsibility and frankly we do not have that power. We must learn to accept people just the way they are. The apostle Paul in Romans 15:7 admonishes us to “Accept one another…just as Christ accepted you.” We are all broken and in much need of love. Let’s not ask people for things that they cannot give us. Let’s not sacrifice ourselves to mold them in way that they do not want to be molded. We will find ourselves exhausted beyond measure and disappointed in the results.