As we've been talking about UN-healthy relationships, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some ways we can be intentional in loving our friends WELL! Here are some tips to spark your inspiration:
LOVE BY LISTENING
Ever felt especially cared for when someone took a genuine interest in what you were saying? Listening is not just polite. It is a way of loving, honoring, respecting, and connecting with someone else. Listen with intention!
• Give the speaker your full attention (put your phone away).
• Show that you are tracking with what they are saying through your nods or brief
• Mirror back what the person is saying from time to time.
• Maintain good eye contact.
• Take interest and find common ground! Ask questions to learn more about the person you are talking with. Try to find things in common so you can have a lively conversation.
• Make the other person the star of the conversation.
• Encourage. Empathize. Validate feelings.
LOVE BY BEING THERE
If you know one of your friends needs some encouragement —maybe they are struggling with doubts, hurt, confusion, or discouragement—reach out and be there for them. It takes intentionality to let our friends know that we’re thinking of them. Giving your friends the gift of your precious time can mean a lot!
• When a friend comes to mind, set up a reminder to yourself to text, call, or visit them.
• Serve them - help them with a task.
• Take them out for a run or walk.
• Give them a much-needed hug.
• Get them a gift - could be small like their favorite candy bar!
• Ask the Lord for creative ideas on ways to bless them!
LOVE BY BEING REAL
The friendships that last the test of time are the ones that have deep roots. This doesn’t necessarily include your oldest friends that you’ve known since kindergarten—this is about the depth of emotional vulnerability you share with someone.
It can be more comfortable to keep the ugly and raw details about your life hidden from the people in your life, but if you desire close friends then honesty is vital. Being open about the struggles and messiness in your life with someone that you trust and love will strengthen your bond with that person. Your closest friends will love you even at your worst, and they will encourage you and lift you up in those times.