I am REALLY enjoying this book for the kids.
I read it aloud to them, they read it to me for the readathon challenge, and right now we are in the friendship focus part of it.
We have a number of discussions on the important of friends lately and why choosing them wisely is extremely important. We went over bible verses on the subject and using some real life examples they have already seen in their short lives, and in mine.
There are some tough lessons to learn if you want to be a good friend. This book mentioned those.
“Being a friend does not always require doing what your friend wants you to do. Rather, it requires doing what you believe is best for your friend.”
Some other key points:
-You must choose your friends wisely
-Your friends tell you a lot about yourself. They will tell you what kind of person you may turn out to be.
-If they have bad habits, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with those bad habits, too.
One of the last points struck me since it was also in my financial book I was reading…
If you can’t change your friends, then CHANGE your friends.
Interestingly enough, the message in most of my financial/business books surrounding friends is similar. If you have a dream it will be hard to realize it if you have negative people around you being naysayers.
This is also one reason why we moved to Arizona to start fresh. It can be hard to grow as a person when you have friends and family reminding you of your old ways and being critical of your new lifestyle choices, even though they seem nothing but positive in your eyes. If you can’t change your friends, change your friends.
So how do you make new friends?
When we were in school it was easy, we were in a room with 30 other peers every day. This is a flaw however, because the real world is just not set up that way. You will never be in a room with 30 people your exact same age and situation every day. This is why you see postings on neighborhood fb groups asking how they can make friends. Unless you have a playgroup for a child, a church you are connected in..as an adult making friends can be challenging.
This is why the Bible says to have friends, you must first show yourself friendly. What are some practical ways to do that?
I will share with you a story that is so simple but I remember it so vividly. It forever changed the way I approached people and friendships.
Our family attended a church harvest party many year ago and ran into a friend from a different circle. Us wives were in a Bible study held at a mutual friend’s house. I had not met her husband nor had she met mine yet. I introduced her to Joe and then she called her husband over. I just will never forget how he greeted us. He shook our hand enthusiastically, made strong eye contact, smiled big and genuinely seemed so exited to meet us and made us feel as if we were the only other family in the auditorium. It didn’t surprise me later to find out this man was very successful in business and provided a great life for his family. It’s easy to see when he made everyone he crossed paths with feel like a VIP. We never saw him again but that brief exchange made an impression on me. I want to treat everybody I come across the same way. I want to make more friends by being genuinely interested in them, than by getting them interested in me. This is a powerful lesson as simple as it sounds.
You will find when you are genuinely interested in people, you’ll discover that friendship does not just BRING happiness, it will IMPROVE YOUR happiness by making you a better person.
I have found:
-There is always something someone else can teach you and help you improve your life. That means ask questions and listen.
-Even when you feel you have nothing to offer someone (perhaps you had a draining or tough day) you can always smile and just ask how they are doing. Get out of your head and problems. Empathy and encouragement cost NOTHING and they are the best gifts you can give a person. Sometimes hearing about another friends burdens makes your problems seem trivial and put into perspective. Also if you are in a funk, hearing about great things in someone else life can be motivating, encouraging and lift up your mood.
-Invest in people, not things. I have heard my Pastor preach on this so many times and I know it is true. We all have time and control over how we use it. If there is leftover time and energy after investing in the people under my roof, I want to spend that time investing in other people. Why? Because I want to maximize my impact in my one short life. That one simple act of kindness from a person I mentioned above (that I don’t even remember his name) impacted me to be the person that I am today, can I do that for someone else? All it took was 3 minutes of time. Or how about the person (who I also don’t remember her name) that sent me free skirts when I first wanted to switch to skirts only. Her kindness has sparked me paying it forward in the same way, all it took for her was a padded flat mailer. We don’t know what small act of kindness can domino into, so never regret investing in people over things.
One of the quotes that motivates me and I truly live by is:
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Harry S Truman
Growing up I saw my mother being a great friend. I remember her face over a cup of coffee, hanging on to every word her friends shared, and erupt with a laugh that was infectious. She would cry from laughing so hard. I like her smile as a newlywed on the left, and on the right with her friend that must be going on almost 30 years now.
We didn’t have much growing up in a one bedroom apartment, but she showed me you could have a great party or friend get together with nothing more than coffee and some crackers or sweet bread. It can make your head spin looking at party ideas on Pinterest. You really don’t need much to make people feel special, just an ear and maybe an intense laugh 🙂
As much as I really want to give my friendships my all, there is a delicate balance though. We probably all have come across toxic friends that only drain and pull down. After a while we have to realize if we can’t change our friends, we must change our friends for our own health’s sake. That is rare though, but it’s out there.
Being friendly is something I feel like I constantly need to work on and sharpen. This is something so simple that can make a BIG difference in our lives. Here is a great sermon on the subject.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the product link, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps keep this blog going, thank you for the support!