There is a classic Beatles song that goes, “Money can’t buy me love.” The song expresses how money can buy diamond rings and various valuable things, but real love is something that cannot be bought.
The lyrics to this song ring true in any healthy relationship, whether it is with family members, lovers or friends. Real friends don’t buy their love. When money is the foundation of friendship, after the money is spent, those you thought were your friends scatter and disappear. Instead, there are many other ways to show you are a true friend.
Jesus said this about friendship:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, or the servant does not know what this master is doing; but I have called you friends. —John 15:12-15
If Jesus wants us to be His friends, then He obviously values the idea of friendship. So, being a good friend is even Christ-like and something worthy of pursuing.
Following are five ways you can truly support a friendship:
To make a friend, one or both of you had to first be friendly. This friendly attitude doesn’t just get a friendship started, it also plays over into enduring friendships as well. Being friendly means to welcome each other with excitement, show interest in the things that interest your friend, and to value the relationship enough to stay loyal and show kindness to each other.
Stand up for your friend and the friendship, but don’t allow harmful situations to hurt your friend. A true friend will help the other through hard times, telling each other the truth in love. This doesn’t mean you simply spew out your opinion at every turn. Being truthful means being loyal to your friendship and true to yourself as much as it means honestly open with your friend when he or she needs to buck up and get with the program to change. A mark of a loving attitude toward your friend in times of crisis is that you won’t secretly take delight in tearing the other person down, but rather, it will probably hurt you deeply to share what needs to be said.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. —Proverbs 27:5-6
Laugh with each other. Offer willing hugs without invading each other’s space. Inspire and build each other up. Talk about your hopes and your dreams together. Don’t abandon the friendship when it seems like there is nothing in it for you, but instead offer your friend an accountability partner who is there through thick and thin. Point out your friend’s successes and use failures as a launching pad for new beginnings instead of dwelling on them to tear him or her down.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. —Romans 12:15
A true friendship is never one sided, but rather a constant balance of give and take. Be happy and rejoice with your friend when he or she is happy, and cry with your friend when he or she is hurt or grieving. Sometimes the best way to show that you are friend to someone is to just be quiet and lend a non-judgmental ear. Sometimes this will mean backing away and giving space when necessary.
Hold Your Tongue and Forgive
Don’t spread gossip or hold petty grudges. Nothing tears apart a friendship faster than when trust is broken, especially when the broken trust stems from one of you spreading rumors about the other. Likewise, enduring friendships usually encounter ups and downs. Keep in mind that, like you, your friend is human and will most likely do something unintentional that will hurt you along the way. Be quick to forgive and to let go of these hurts.