We all crave it.
We all crave a friendship where the two of you are more like sisters than friends. We all crave that friend who will accept us for all of our flaws and weakness, see the real us, and still stick around. We all crave a friend who will call us "bestie" and be willing to take crazy selfies with us, even if they aren't in the mood for it.
And while we all hope that someday we'll find a friend like this, a lot of us place all the expectations on our friends and not on ourselves.
Instead of evaluating our friends by our "best friend checklist," we should be evaluating ourselves by the same standard.
Are you the kind of friend you want to have?
Friendship starts with you. It starts with me. If we are not being the kind of friend that we want to have, then we are not being a true friend.
But sometimes it can be just downright hard. Because the truth is that friendship--like any other relationship--can be hard. So how do you start to become the BFF you want to have?
1. Remember that no one is perfect. We all know that our families are not perfect, because we live with them and we see the not-so-perfect side of them every day. But our friends? Sometimes we can forget that they make mistakes too and that they have bad days where they're a little bit (or maybe a lot) grouchy. And here's a news flash: You are not perfect either. Remember that in your friendships each of you are human and each of you will fail each other and hurt one another at some point in time. Which leads me into the next step to remember...
2. Keep communication open. Sometimes this means talking through whatever happened between the two of you. Sometimes it simply means admitting that you were wrong (yes, you!) and apologizing for it. Don't be afraid to communicate to each other when you feel hurt. And always be open to listening to your friend when she is communicating to you how she feels. Sometimes we can hurt each other without realizing it. Just because we didn't intend to hurt another person, doesn't mean that we didn't hurt them. Be ready to listen to your friend when she's communicating her feelings to you, and always be ready to apologize and also forgive.
3. Be available. In this fast-paced crazy world, the gift of presence is something that we really don't see a whole lot of anymore. Everyone is "too busy." Everyone has somewhere to go, something to do, Snapchats to open, or Instagram posts to scroll through. One of the most important ways that you can be the friend you want to have is by being available for your friends. If they text you, respond. (I know, I know, I'm literally the worst at texting. I seriously love you guys so much and I'm trying to do better. Please, have patience with me.) If they're hurting and need someone to talk to, pick up the phone and call them. Give your friends the gift of your presence. Also, note that I am not saying your friendships have to consume all of your life, because there are other relationships that you need to be present for as well, like your parents and siblings, and most importantly God. There is a balance here. But do your best to keep that balance and be available.
4. Make them laugh. Don't be serious all the time. I don't know about you, but even though I'm twenty-one, I hate to be serious and act like an adult all the time. I have absolutely no problem singing as loud and as off-key as I possibly can or racing to the swings at the park or having fun. We can make life too serious, can't we? And life is too short to be serious all the time. So make your friends laugh, do silly things together, make memories.
5. Surprise them. Doesn't it make you really excited when you get a surprise envelope in the mail for no reason? It's not your birthday or anything, but a friend decided to send you a card or a just-because gift and they brightened your mailbox with their thoughtfulness. Surprise your friends. If they live far away, send them a card or a little something to let them know you thought of them. If they live nearby, show up at their house with pizza and a movie, or invite them to coffee on you. Be thoughtful. Treat them how you want to be treated.
6. Pray for them. I saved the most important step of all for last. Friends who pray for you are some of life's most beautiful blessings. Pray for your friends. The honest truth is that your friends aren't always going to tell you about every battle they face. Make sure they're covered in prayer anyway. Ask how you can pray for them specifically, but if they don't want to share, just pray! The Lord knows what is going on in their life.
Friendship isn't always easy, but it is a beautiful gift from God.
No man is an island. No one was meant to do life alone. God created us for community. Encourage your friends in the Lord, pray for them, be available to them, communicate to them, and be the best friend that you would want to have.
And thank God for your friends! Feel free to share some things you are thankful for about your friends in the comments below. Maybe even give a shout-out to some of your BFF's and share the post with them! <3
Isabella Morganthal (21) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.