We need friends. Friends add so much into our lives, like laughter, fun, new experiences, accountability, and companionship. But what if you find yourself with a bunch of acquaintances and few real friends? Or you want to turn a new friend into a lifelong one? These are both situations I’ve experienced and I wanted to share a few tips with you today that have worked for me.
In a world of “Sorry, I’m too busy”s and “No time this week”s, say yes. Say yes to the coffee date. Say yes to the offer of weekly play dates. Say yes to the backyard cookout. Friendships take time to build and that requires saying yes.
A few years ago, I agreed to have regular Thursday play dates with a friend I used to work with (and our kids of course). At the time, I was really suffering with depression and anxiety and was hesitant to commit…but I said yes anyway. I’m so glad I did! We still get together regularly, even if it’s not always weekly, and her friendship is a constant blessing to me. I could have missed all that if I’d let my insecurity answer for me.Want to grow a friendship? Say yes! Click to read 6 more tips. Click To Tweet
I’ve got no time for pretense or performances. Neither do you.
It’s the only way to make deep friendships. Performances are too tiring and the mask will come off at some point anyway.
Actively resist the tendency to cover up your real life. You will know what that means for you. For me, it means that my house isn’t spotless when friends come over. It also means that I don’t pretend to be a good cook. You wanna come to my house? We’re probably going to order pizza!
I may have made up that word, but it describes what I’m going for here. Live your life as an invitation. Your crockpot meal is big enough to feed an army? Invite someone to eat with you. You’ve been wanting to try that new restaurant? Invite someone to come with you. Thinking of taking your kids to the park today? Invite someone to come with you. Curious about that festival in town? Invite someone to come with you. You get my point.
This is what turns acquaintances into friends. When someone throws out a vague idea, follow through. Check back in on it. It changes a “We should get together sometime” into a “See you Friday!” and it makes a huge impact.
Just do it. Grace is freely given to us by Jesus. Let it overflow into your friendships. Be hard to offend and quick to forgive.To grow a friendship, be hard to offend and quick to forgive. Click To Tweet
Respond to Bids for Connection
When I first learned about social bids, it rocked my world. A bid is any attempt to connect. Sometimes we miss them because they’re so subtle, but they’re the currency of any relationship. It’s when someone asks a question like, “Have you ever wondered why they call this a hot dog?” The key is to turn towards these interactions, continuing the conversation in this case, instead of turning away with a one-word answer.
This is a good post to learn more about bids: Bids for Connection
Once a friendship is growing, it needs to be nurtured. This means communicating regularly enough that you know what’s going on in her life. I’m terrible at this, but I recognize its importance and I’ve tried to grow in this area.
One thing I’ve tried is setting a recurring reminder on my phone to call a friend.
What has worked the best for me is nurturing friendships along with my prayer time. In addition to ongoing prayer requests, I pray for a different friend each day and then try to contact them that same day.
The fact that I’m writing about friendship makes me laugh a little, because I’m notoriously bad at it. But I’ve tried really hard to improve and that’s how I’ve learned the tips I’ve written about in this post. I’ve love to learn from you, too! What do you intentionally do to build friendships?