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“What’s the best way to make friends with people?

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“What’s the best way to make friends with people? It seems like I always have to go up to them, and then I feel like I’m running after them to be my friend.” —Frustrated


Tiffany Answers:

Dear Frustrated,

Friends, without a doubt, make our lives richer. We share our great ideas with them, go on outings with them, and use them as shoulders to cry on when we’ve had a bad day.

Even when He lived on earth, Jesus sought out friends. He often went to visit Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany to take a breather and to spend some time with them. And during one of the hardest moments of His life on earth, Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to pray with Him.

Life can be pretty lonely when we feel that we don’t have any friends. Believe me, I’ve gone through stages in life when I’ve felt that way, and it’s not fun.

My heart goes out to you, because it seems that you are truly making an effort to make friends and to do what Proverbs 18:24 says: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” But if you have to run after someone to be your friend, then how good of a fit is your friendship? The best friendships are formed between people with common beliefs, attitudes, and interests. If you have to force a friendship, then maybe it wasn’t destined to be in the first place.

In your running after a friend, how much are you giving up of your personality, interests, views—the stuff that makes you uniquely you? If you’re trying to be someone you’re not just to befriend somebody, honestly, that friendship has a good chance of not lasting. Eventually you’re going to want to go back to being that beautiful and wonderful person God created you to be. And if that friendship was built upon your being something other than that person, it could very well crumble.

What is also troublesome in having to run after friends is how unfair it is to you. Friendship is a two-way street, so if one person is constantly giving and the other person is constantly receiving, it’s downright disrespectful to the person who is giving so much. A friend respects another. So if another person makes you feel as if you have to earn their friendship, then maybe it’s time you kindly and respectfully—without being rude toward them—take your gift of friendship elsewhere. It’s important to be around people who affirm you, who build you up rather than tear you down. God values you, and He created you for a purpose, and you deserve friends who appreciate you for you.

So how do you go about gaining true friends? Continue being friendly—not just to some people but to everyone you encounter at school, church, work, etc. Don’t get stuck on trying to woo only the most popular people to be your friends. While everyone wants to be the class president’s friend, sometimes the quiet guy in your math class may be a better pick—you two may have far more in common, and he may prove to be a friend who will last a lifetime.

Remember, friends typically have similar interests. If you love music, then maybe you should join a band or choir or music appreciation class and get to know the people in the group. If you enjoy a good healthy debate, the members of the debate team may be your future bosom buddies. The point is to enjoy and to capitalize on your healthy interests and to get to know others. Before you know it, you may find pleasant surprises in the friend department.



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