Ingredients for a Great Friendship

With all the teenage drama out there, sometimes it seems like strong friendships are nearly impossible to find. And even when friendships are strong, many times they crumble due to lack of some key ingredients that are needed to make a friendship work. Many teens have close friends, but there are a lot of us who struggle when it comes to finding that best friend. A lot of teens have many “besties”, whereas I myself have two that I would call my best friends.

The first is a unique and rare occurence, and not something that I can say happens often. I met my lovely friend Beth over the internet. We first met by way of a “social media” type site for Christian girls. I later stumbled upon her Pinterest boards and saw how much we had in common. A few weeks later I also came across her YouTube channel, where she had some epic videos, as well as her cool blog that everyone needs to check out: (http://adventuresofanelvenprincess.blogspot.com/) I suggested to her that we friend on Facebook, and the rest is history. I have seen her in person once, but I feel like I have known her forever. And she is one of the people in my whom I have no secrets from.

The second is a guy, and since he doesn’t run a blog or anything, I shall call him Sir Guy (yes Robin Hood fans, that was a pun). I met him at my church when he came to youth group for the first time, and he was interested in a ministry I was involved in. We started texting and talking when we saw each other at church, and pretty soon I felt like he knew me better than most other people. Now, I can call him one of my best friends, and like any good best friend, he loves to pick on me and be very sarcastic. But he also knows when to be serious, and he is one of the few people in my life that I feel comfortable sharing with when I am in a rough spot.

Now, what makes for a good friendship? Most people would say something along the lines of similar interests or similar beliefs, but I have found that this isn’t always the case. Beth and I have a ton in common, but Sir Guy and I only have a few things. One of my other close friends is an atheist, and we don’t let that affect our friendship. There are a few simple things that are needed to make a strong friendship.

1: Trust. Never underestimate the power of trust, and the destructive effect of things kept hidden. Now, that isn’t to say that you have to tell your best friend everything immediately, but it does mean that you are honest, and trustworthy when it comes to keeping secrets. I had a friend once who I loved dearly, but I couldn’t tell her anything, because even if I asked her to keep it a secret, a few days later I would find that her mom seemed to know about it. And be honest. When you don’t like something your friend has to say, gently tell them that you take issue with it. Be nice, but don’t pretend to be ok with something when you really aren’t. It can cause problems later on, and feelings can be seriously hurt.

2: Openness. No, this and trust are not the same thing. I am referring to being real. We all know those people we call “two faced”? Well, I don’t like the term, but it is true. Everyone knows at least one person who is one way with one person/group and a completely different person when away from said person/group. This can also be a destructive force in a friendship. Let them see who you really are, and if they don’t like it, then they might not be a best friend. What’s not ok is to hide who you truly are and leave them to find out some other way. I struggled for a long time with letting people see who I am, which is a bit crazy, nerdy, and definitely not a “go with the flow” type of gal. But when I finally let people see who I was, I discovered that even though many people still didn’t like me, there were also a lot of people who did. Be you, and let your friends be them.

3: Loyalty. If you call someone your best friend, then treat them like it. Don’t go behind their backs and say nasty things about them, don’t treat other friends better than them, etc. It can be easy to let your mouth run away with you, but words are like fire. It only takes a spark to burn down a house, and it only takes a small amount of hurtful words to destroy a friendship. Words are also like toothpaste. Once you squeeze the toothpaste out, it’s not going back in the bottle. And once you say those words, their not going back where they came from. And this goes back to trust and openness. If you really have a problem with your friend, its ok to sit down and talk with them about it. In fact, you should probably do that before saying anything cruel about them to anyone else, particularly when you don’t know the entire story.

4: Humbleness. Yes, this is serious. Not only should you be willing to sit and talk out your issues, you should be willing to accept when you do something wrong. And trust me, I know it’s hard, especially when you honestly don’t understand how it could be a problem. But it’s important. And humbleness is also required when sharing your grievances with your friend, because sometimes it can turn out to be a simple misunderstanding. I am in a situation where I unintentionally hurt a friend, after this friend had majorly hurt me. I didn’t mean to hurt her, but something I said and my feelings got misinterpreted, and now this friend believes that I am mad for a completely different reason than I really am.

Now, here’s a truth. Friendships don’t always last. That friend I just mentioned? Our friendship crumbled because of lack of trust and openess. And it turns out that she may not have known me as well as I thought she did. And it’s sad. It really is. Because I still love her, I still miss her, and I still pray that things can get better. And that is why it is so important to have these things in a friendship. And it’s even better when your friends are strong Christians, because then your friendship is rooted in something far deeper than the world could ever give. But here’s something else to remember: Friends come and go, but Jesus will never leave you. He is the one friend who you can know without a doubt will never leave you, never hurt you, never abandon you. During this rough time in my life, I have clung to my friends, and to Jesus.

Equally important as gaining friendships is identifying harmful friendships in your life. Sometimes, you have to step back from certain relationships when they start to hurt you and/or the other person, or when they are having a harmful effect on your actions and behavior. This can be anything from a friend who is simply a bad influence, or a situation that is damaging you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I went through the latter, and it was painful. But this is where prayer is super important. You need to pray for guidance to a proper response to the situation, and do your best to keep the drama down.

For the first few years of my pre-teens, I didn’t have a “best friend” per se. Sure, I had close friends, but not that deep friendship like what I wished for. So I prayed that God would send someone into my life, and he did. That person is likely gone from my life for the time being, but He has continued to send friends to me who have strengthened me in my walk, and have helped me through some rough situations. So if you feel lonely, don’t just give up. God knows what you need, and His timing is perfect. Until then, pray that He will prepare you to be a good friend. Becaus we all know the saying: In order to have friends, you have to be a good friend. 🙂 But don’t just sit back and do nothing. Seek out people with similar interests or beliefs or general personalities, and interact with them. You never know, one of them could be that friend you are searching for!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Beth P.
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 21:12:52

    ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ *hugs* Hannah, you are so definitely one of my “besties” as well!!! But you knew that. xD Okay, and you know what’s seriously funny/incredible? So you mentioned how when you were younger, God sent you a friend when you needed one… I had literally been asking Him the same thing last year, several months before I met you. So many of my friends were fading from my life, becoming too busy or moving away, and the loneliness was getting to me. It wasn’t until after I had met you IRL that I realized you were the answer to that prayer!! I’m so thankful and blessed for/by your friendship, and yeah seriously man — I can’t even remember the time that we *weren’t* friends. ^_^ Love ya like a sister! ❤

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