This is Part 1 of a five-part friendship series.
You can catch all of the friendship articles by linking to them below:
The room was absolutely packed with college graduates and young professionals.
Summer was beginning, and everyone was home from school and excited about seeing old friends and making new ones.
Our church was having its first summer event for our age group.
We were all having dinner together at The Spaghetti Warehouse.
I arrived solo, hoping to be seated at a table with some of my long-time friends. However, when I entered the room, there were no chairs available at familiar tables with my familiar friends.
I walked around the room feeling a little lost.
I’d been away at college for the last four years, and most of my high school friends had moved on – making new friends.
My heart was starting to beat a little faster as I tried to decide what to do next.
Where would I sit?
Who was I still close to?
Where would I fit in now that I was back in town?
Perspiration was starting to gather on my upper lip, and I was beginning to feel very alone and uncomfortable.
I needed a place to sit, and I had no idea where to turn.
I actually thought I might just turn around and head back out to my car. It was that awkward.
It was in that moment that the most amazing thing happened.
A beautiful brunette that I’d never met before came up to me and invited me to come and sit at her table.
She pulled out a chair, invited me to sit down, and introduced me to a whole table of her friends – none of whom I really knew.
That’s all it took for me to meet a great group of women that would become some of my favorite friends over the next months and years.
In a very uncomfortable moment in my life… a woman I did not know gave me the most amazing gift. She gave me exactly what I needed – friendliness.
She practiced incredible generosity, kindness, and hospitality that day.
And, I believe, she taught me a valuable lesson – a biblical lesson.
You’ve likely heard or read the Proverb: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Jesus stated it this way, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
So, How Do We Make Better Friends and Enjoy Better Friendships?
If we want to enjoy great relationships and meaningful friendships, we must:
First, we have to get over ourselves!
To really enjoy others, we’ve got to get past our insecurities and be willing to put ourselves out there. You can’t be friendly and stay “safe” at the same time.
Most of us don’t want to feel the discomfort of making the first move. So, we keep to ourselves and miss out on the fun, the fellowship, and the companionship.
Friendly people are courageous people – willing to make the first move.To have better friends, you are going to have to be open to branching out into new territory. Click To Tweet
It might feel really strange, but it will be worth it!
Second, we have to actually take risks and put ourselves out there!
To make new friends, we may have to send the first text, make the first call, or initiate the first lunch or coffee meeting.
Just do it anyway. Pick up the phone. Send the email. Walk up to the person at work or at church. Chances are, they will really appreciate your gesture of kindness. Likely, they will respond favorably.
I remember when my husband and I moved to a new city for a job. We really didn’t know any people. So, we started inviting other couples over for supper. We would cook out, talk, and usually, play a board game or two.
We had to invite several couples over before we both really hit it off with the other couple. At times it was a little uncomfortable, but with each invitation, we got a little braver.
In time, we made some wonderful friends. But, we had to first put ourselves out there.To have better friends, you are going to have to take risks & put yourself out there! Click To Tweet
Third, we have to give to others what we need!
Pastor Adrian Rogers used to regularly say, “Give to others what you need. If you need kindness, give kindness. If you need a good word, give a good word. If you need friendship, give friendship.”
That’s the idea here.
If you are lonely and in need of companionship, give companionship to someone else.
Give friendship because you need friendship.
If you are new to a place, a church, or a city, reach out because you need someone to reach out to you.
Care because you need someone to care about you.
I have personally practiced this principle over and over in my life. And, I’ve seen it work again and again. When I unselfishly give to others, I gain. Somehow in the reaching out to others, I am blessed and encouraged.
Sometimes others will respond favorable. Sometimes they will not.
Reach out and be friendly anyway.
Do it because it will change you – no matter how they react.
Do it because the Bible tells us to.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Do it because you want to have better friends.To have better friends, you are going to have to give to others what you really need! Click To Tweet
By the way…
That beautiful brunette who reached out to me that night at The Spaghetti Warehouse became my life-long friend.
We were in each other’s weddings and we’ve been close friends for almost 30 years now!
It’s all because she reached out and was friendly to me when I needed it most…
Many of you have mentioned to me that you are lonely – in need of friendship.
That’s why we are focusing on friendships for the entire month of August.
It’s my hope and my prayer that you will be encouraged as we think about better relationships and more meaningful friendships over the next few weeks.
Were you encouraged today?
Would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?
Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?
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