Friendship is not easy; it takes work, time and patience. Desiring friendship and actually making that happen are two very different concepts. A great place to start is by being the friend you wish someone were for you. It’s an easy way to develop new friendships and strengthen existing ones. Use these tips to be a better friend to those around you.

1. Treat Friends With Respect And Kindness

Treating others the way you wish to be treated is easier said than done. We know this, but do you ever wonder why God says this clearly in His Word? I think He knows the benefits of treating others with loving kindness. I think He knows what beautiful friendships could come out of that. I also think God desires for us to have community that includes deep friendship.

2. Listen Without Judgement

Listening requires effort and energy on our part. We need to deeply listen to our friends’ struggles, especially if they’re being vulnerable. If a person is looking you in the eye and sees just how attentive you are, odds are, they’ll desire a deeper connection with you. People hope for friendship, but it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street. Both share. Both listen.

3. Be Present

Being there for a friend when they need you is critical. One of the greatest fallouts of friendship is the withering of trust and unreliability. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24. Can this person truly count on you? Make sure you are willing to set aside time for fellowship.

4. Be Open To Friendship

Don’t be afraid of forming friendship, but be vigilant with your time. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26. If the person is also making an effort to spend time with you, the friendship will be stronger. Don’t hold back and play games with potential friends. It’s like dating; being honest and open is the only way to form a new relationship.

5. Pray For Them

More than anything, ask if there’s anything they may need prayer for. You don’t have to put them on the spot; simply asking and telling them you’ll be praying for them is enough. As time goes on, ask about their struggles and continue to let them know you’ve truly been praying.

Friendship can be one of the greatest blessings in life. Friends sharpen one another, grow together, fight together and forgive together. They somehow make life so much better and make our hardships so much easier to bear. Who is the person that you could be reaching out to today? It could be as simple as having coffee together and letting them know that you’re willing to listen to them, to pray for them and to be there for them – something we all wish we had.

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