Making new friends comes more easily for some of us than it does for others, but deepening those friendships once we’ve created them can seem intimidating, especially if we’ve been burned by friends before. (Yes, even by Christian friends!)
So once we’re ready to take a friendship to a deeper level, I think we can all agree that we’d like to know how to do it naturally and easily without feeling like we’re taking a giant leap off a cliff. Over the past several years, I’ve been intentionally trying to connect with and deepen a few of my Christian friendships, so I’d like to share a few things I’ve tried in the hope that these ideas will remove the intimidation and ease you into your own genuine, more authentic Christian friendships.
1. Open Up
It starts with you. If you want authenticity, you’ve got to give authenticity. Not that you should pour out your heart to every single person you meet, but when you are ready to have a deeper connection with one of your friends, you’ve got to be willing to open up and share your heart, your struggles, your ideas, personal prayer requests, etc.
This can be very challenging for some of us (myself included) because it’s scary to open up to someone else and it’s easy to want to be seen as someone who “has it all together”. Admitting your struggles or sharing your heart takes a great deal of trust and humility, but when we take that step and begin to open up, that’s when the friendship can finally go deeper and become more authentic.
I know when I’ve made myself a little more open and shared on a deeper level, my friends have always reciprocated, and many times, the answer was, “What?! Me too!” Making ourselves a little more vulnerable gives the other person permission to relax and do the same, and when both friends are engaging on the same level, that’s when the magic happens. Both are free to share, cry, laugh, relate, and realize they’re not alone and they’ve got someone on their side who understands and wants to be a support and encouragement.
2. Pray Together
One of the most special things in the world is when a dear friend asks, “Can we pray together before we go?” during a hang out time or phone call. Prayer unites us and draws our hearts together. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage and bless our friends.
Praying for each other daily, even if you don’t talk every day, is also a great way to create a genuine connection with a friend. As the Holy Spirit guides your prayers for your friend, you’re more aware of how to encourage her the next time you speak, and sometimes, He may even give you a word to share with her!
I can’t think of anything as encouraging as when I get a random text from a friend saying something like, “This verse came to mind today as I was praying for you and I felt impressed to send it to you.” Being sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings and staying aware of how He may be leading you to encourage your friend is key to true Christian friendship, and developing this sensitivity and awareness comes from praying for and with your friend.
3. Be There
This one may sound obvious, but it’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives that we miss important events in our friends’ lives, so making an effort to remember what’s going on in their world and to be present, whether physically or in spirit, is absolutely crucial to having a genuine friendship. Being there for your friend shows that you’re in the friendship for real and not just for what you can get out of it. It makes your friend feel valued and cared for, and isn’t that what we all want from our Christian brothers and sisters? To feel like we’re a part of a family?
Here are some easy ways to be there for your friends:
Remember your friends’ birthdays. (Put it on the calendar!) Send them a card.
Call them for no reason.
Let them know you’re available if they need to talk.
Ask how their job interview, doctor’s appointment, fill-in-the-blank went.
Show an interest in their hobbies, careers, families, etc.
Look for ways to encourage and serve them.
Not sure how to be there for your friend? Ask God! He’s the Father of you both and He knows what your friend needs, so ask Him to lay an idea on your heart of how you can be a better friend and show your friend authentic love and care.
Recently, I got a surprise package in the mail from a friend who lives in another country. She said God had spoken to her in the middle of the night and told her I was having a hard time and needed some encouragement. I was blown away because I hadn’t shared with anyone how stressed I’d been or anything about the situation I was facing. The fact that God had spoken to her and that she had listened meant more than the actual gift itself (I mean, how incredible is God?!), but the whole thing wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been praying for me and listening to God’s prompting to encourage me.
I hope these tips were helpful! Which one are you going to try with your friends? Do you have your own tips? Leave a comment and let me know!
P.S. - New around here?
Hi! I'm Abigail, your real-talk Christian life coach and faith mentor. I believe we're on this earth for a reason, and I LOVE helping people realize and own that truth so that they can reach their God-given potential in all areas of life. Let’s be friends on Instagram or Facebook!
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