Working at Friendships

Working at Friendships


   We all have friends of varying degrees. Some friends are in the category of colleagues, they are our acquaintances from work. Some friends are considered team mates, classmates or fellow club members. We consider some people as friends because we sit near them at church or maybe they are simply a nearby neighbor.

   Sometimes we can see lots of people, know lots of names and share conversation with those we consider to be friends, but somehow we don’t seem to have that intimacy and close camaraderie that we desire in a close friend. What should we do?

   Friendship requires work and constant effort. Not everyone we know or work with each day will become our close friend. The old, wise sage tells us that if we die with just one handful (five) truly close buddies; we were successful. That may be true, but I think we can develop lots of friendships of varying degrees in a lifetime.

   In the Book of Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 24 the author gives us advice on friendship: “a man that has friends must show himself to be friendly…” In other words, if we are going to have friends; we must be a friend to others. Being a friend is not an easy task. We have to become selfless and offer up our most treasured possession; the gift of our time to others.

   We often strike up friendships with the most unlikely of persons. We may befriend someone twenty years older or younger than ourselves. We may become friends with a person of a difference race, gender, or nationality. We may befriend someone in need and develop a lasting bond.

   The one obvious place that is our most logical source of eternal friendship may be right at home with our spouse, partner or family member. We too often assume that our formal relationships have to dictate how we interact with a spouse or sister; but we can transform our husband, wife, sister or brother into our best friend. But even this opportunity takes planning and work. Taking long walks and practicing the art of listening to a partner can open new lines of communication and empathy that leads to a deeper friendship. It is always harder to cheat on a spouse or partner who happens to be your best friend!

   Sometimes we have secret admirers and casual acquaintances that long to know us better and would relish the opportunity to get to know us better. Working at friendship means we have to take some risks, like asking that casual acquaintance out to lunch.

   When we ask another person to come into our home for a visit, that act alone is one of intimacy and openness. Friendship means we often have to open up and share some inner feelings with people who may not know us very well. This openness may lead to the development of those deep relationships.

   Even Christ Himself talked about friendships. He said those that follow His commands are no longer servants, but His friends! Real friends hold us accountable but are the first to forgive our failure and fault. Real friends like us just the way we are. Real friends will listen to us, even when we ramble and just need someone to hear us.

   Having a few real friendships are essential to a healthy and prosperous life. Money, power, position cannot buy real friendship – that’s why friendship is so valuable and that is why we have to work so hard at making and sustaining them each and every day.

   So create an action plan for making and deepening friendships: call an old friend today to chat; do an unsuspected chore for your spouse; ask someone you admire out for a cup of coffee; identify someone who is homebound and stop by with some flowers. Take small steps each day in working on friendships. In today’s tough and often cruel world, they are truly our most valuable assets.