It’s been said that we become the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. That’s a compelling argument for finding and maintaining Godly friendships in our lives, but how?
Ironically, in a modern world that is so connected in so many ways, many of us feel more isolated than ever. You might scroll through Instagram and see a peek inside the lives of hundreds of “friends” and strangers, but do you know your actual neighbors? Do you know the people who live next door, the mom whose kids go to your kids’ school, or the couple sitting next to you in the pew on Sundays?
Many of us struggle to find friends, make friends, and maintain meaningful relationships with others. And even in the friendships we do have, things like insecurity, jealousy, and competition can sometimes get in the way.
But we need each other! Human beings are created for community, and God wants you to connect with others and find support and affirmation in those friendships. If you are struggling to find Godly friendships, here are some suggestions that might help:
Especially if you tend to be an introvert or feel insecure in social situations, finding the friends you need will likely require stepping outside of your comfort zone. It might take a lot of courage to walk up to someone after Mass and introduce yourself or to ask an acquaintance if she’d like to meet for coffee, but that is how connections begin. Someone needs to make the first move, and if you are longing for friendship in your life, that someone needs to be you.
When I first began writing honestly about some of my everyday struggles as a wife and mom, I was astonished at the number of readers who reached out to thank me and say, “I thought I was the only one who struggled like that.” Real connection requires honesty, and sometimes honesty means showing some vulnerability and admitting that we don’t have it all together all the time.
The friend God wants you to have might look different from what you are expecting. A few years ago, I began making weekly visits to my elderly neighbor, Louise. What started out with me thinking I was doing a “good deed” has turned into authentic friendship, and the two of us have shared many laughs together. I never thought I would count a 94-year-old woman among my dearest friends, but now I do. Be open to friendships among all of the people God puts in your life!
If you want to have a friend, be a friend! Everyone likes to be seen and heard. Pay attention to the people around you – neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers at the grocery store. Notice their unique gifts, pay them sincere compliments, and be open to the ways God might want you to grow in connection with them.
Sitting at home with Netflix is not going to work. You need to be proactive in connecting with others. You might take a photography class at the library, join the walking club at your work, or volunteer for a fundraiser at your parish. Find ways to engage with others by participating in activities you value and enjoy.
Have you prayed about your desire for Godly friendship? I was once once lamenting to one of my sisters about the fact that I really wanted good friends for one of my sons, but he didn’t seem to be finding them. “Have you prayed about it?” she asked me, and I was convicted. I had not. God wants us to have connection, encouragement, and support from good friends. Pray for the friendships you desire, and trust that God will provide all that you need.
St. Thomas Aquinas once said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” If you are seeking Godly friendships in your life, persevere in confidence that our loving God, who wants to give you every good thing, will give you the precious gift of true friends.
Danielle Bean is a writer, speaker, podcaster, and founder of the Girlfriends Community.