In this episode:
You probably have an inner circle of close friends, but have you paused to think of what qualities make your dearest friendships work? In this episode, you’ll be encouraged to reflect on those relationships and look for ways to become a better friend as well.
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Friends come and go. I’ve had more than one falling out, a change of direction in life (we don’t work together anymore), moving away, fading connection, and different goals in life that have come between relationships. Then there are some that you just pick up where you leave off every time you’re together. Aren’t those precious? And there are others who are part of daily life and you can’t imagine it without them.
Let’s do an exercise.
Draw a circle on paper. Not a huge one.
- List the names of your closest friends.
- The ones you feel the deepest connection with.
- The ones you can’t imagine your life without.
- It might be only one. It might be several.
Now draw a big square around that circle.
- List the names of people who are fairly close, but the trust level isn’t as high or you hold a little back from giving the friendship your all.
There will be other relationships outside of the box with acquaintances or coworkers, people you talk to at the little league game. But here let’s focus on the box and the inner circle and look at what makes those relationships solid.
To have a friend, I have to be a friend. I’m basing this on the concept from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 on encouraging one another and building each other up in love. So let’s look at some of the qualities that I think make a friend who fits in my inner circle.
Let’s make it clear right now that I’m a work in progress as a friend. So I’m also asking myself, “Am I that kind of friend that I would want?” These are the qualities that make up my closest relationships. Yours might be different!
- The sacrificial love Jesus had
- Thinking of the other’s needs
- Thoughtful words and actions
- Accepted as I am, differences and all.
- No sense the other is trying to fix
- Not hiding your true self
- An understanding of how often to talk
- Not keeping score on who does more
- Balanced with needing and supporting each other mutually
- Communicated well
- No unsolicited advice. Asking first.
- Knowing where time boundaries are
- Respect enough to be direct, not passive aggressive or hinting.
- Mutually admire each other's gifts and abilities
- Celebrate success
- Not threatened by one another’s happiness
- Similar core values
- Lighthearted moments
That seems like a BIG list. But for someone to be in my inner circle, any of those is a deal breaker for me if they are missing. Why? Because that’s the sweet spot for where I can encourage someone else and support her dreams. It’s where I feel love enough to love back.
I’m keeping in mind that God doesn’t call me to be best friends with everyone I meet. It’s ok to have people we dearly love and respect that remain outside of the inside circle. The trouble comes when we try to push someone into the shape of the circle when they are meant to fit in the square. That can ruin a relationship forever!
I encourage you to make your own list of what makes a close friendship work for you. Do you know which friends in your inner circle also consider you in theirs? Are you vulnerable enough to go deep in those relationships?
This is a book that would make a great gift for a friend or would be fun to use with a friend. You could each get a copy of the devotional and then read one each day and do a quick check-in with a note about what you took away from it that day. It’s compiled by my dear friend, Kathy Carlton Willis, and I happen to have two chapters in the book too.
More about the book:
In each devotion look for a concept you can refer back to in your thoughts as you go about your day. The stories will give you some grins, some grace and some grit to help you through the struggles you face as well as help you celebrate moments of victory.
This three-month devotional is divided into five relevant sections. Feel free to read it straight through or choose what you need that day. Our sections feature:
- Worship & Prayer
- Spiritual Growth
- Women’s Issues
(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. )
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
All blog content copyright MichelleRayburn.com
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.