Hope in a Variety of Friends
I LOVE my friends! Here in my Arizona mountain town, I have acquired a team of faithful, solid, sensitive, and intelligent friends. Back east, during my four years of mania and psychoses, I lost many friends. My loyal friend from Pennsylvania stayed with me, and I have since renewed some of those temporarily lost relationships. Women, despite the strength of their other relationships, like husbands and children, always need other women as friends.
Dr. Kristen Fuller, in an article for Psychology Today online, spoke of why it is vital for women to have female friends. She stated, “Although men and women complement each other, as women, we thrive on strong friendships with our girlfriends. Such friendships give women an outlet to share their problems, thoughts, feelings, and triumphs with those they feel a close bond with…over time, we become our friends as we mirror their thoughts, beliefs, and actions…we should choose friends wisely and with intention.” (The Importance of Female Friendships Among Women/ Kristen Fuller, M.D./ 8-16-2018/ psychologytoday.com)
But many people today claim to lack true friends. They may have many friends on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, but they never have the opportunity to sit down with someone over a cup of coffee. How does one go about gathering a group of friends? I’m no expert on “friend-finding,” but I believe that one key is found in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly…” Friendship building is a serious business, but a good first step is not taking ourselves too seriously.
When I arrived in my current town in Arizona, I was starting fresh in the friend business. I left behind a small handful of friends back in Pennsylvania, but I knew no one here. So, I began applying my tried and true method: observation. Wherever you happen to be in a group of people-work, church, a classroom, a team, a coffee shop, or the gym-take time to observe people’s actions and attitudes. If you see someone treating the janitor or waitress with disrespect, that is not the type of friend you want. If a person loves to gossip, avoid seeking friendship with that person. But if you see habitual kindness, respect, and observe similarities in taste or beliefs, those may be people that would make a good friend. Listen in on conversations. Pay attention to how a person treats someone who can do nothing for them in return. Then make your move. Strike up a conversation. Take someone out for coffee on a break. Take the first step in seeking new friends.
My friends here are vastly different. My one friend and I shared a similar medical issue. Another has art and ideas interwound in her soul. Another is faithful, solid, and kind. Almost every Friday morning, we get together for coffee to talk, share, encourage, and renew. We find our times together refreshing and strengthening. Girlfriends are vital! Friends are vital. Let’s invest time and energy into maintaining the friends we have and seeking new friendships in our areas of opportunity.
Proverbs 17:17 reminds us that a “friend loves at all times.” We all need that kind of love in our lives. I LOVE my friends and cherish their value in my life. Do you?