The room was 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?
Where were my friends?
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 thought I might just turn around and head back out to my car. It was that awkward.
It was at that moment that the most amazing thing happened.
Then, the unexpected happened…
A lovely 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 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 has friends must show 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?
First, we have to get over ourselves!
To 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 church.
Chances are, they will 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 didn’t know anyone very well.
So, we started inviting other couples over for supper. We would cookout, talk, and usually, play a board game or two.
We had to invite several couples over before we found great friends.
At times it was a little uncomfortable.
However, 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 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. And, 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 reaching out to others, I am blessed and encouraged.
Sometimes others will respond favorably.
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.
You do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Do it because you want to have better friends.
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 over 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.
Especially after the pandemic and all of this time at home, we need to focus on gathering and being in the community again.
That’s why we are focusing on friendships.
It’s my hope and my prayer that you will be encouraged as we think about better relationships and more meaningful friendships.
You can catch all of the friendship articles by linking to them below:
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