Wondering How To Be A Good Friend?

They say to have friends you must be friendly yourself. But sometimes people are not sure how to be a good friend.

Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, starting with Himself followed by companionship with other people.

In fact, science has shown that isolation is detrimental to our health.

So don’t wonder any longer how to be a good friend.

What do science and medicine say about how to be a good friend?

“Scientifically, adults with robust friend networks are less likely to have mental health issues, high blood pressure, and increased body mass indexes. Older adults who have a lot of friends are also more likely to live longer.” (1)

So often we find that science and medicine support what the Bible has been telling us for centuries. Look at these two comparisons about how to be a good friend:

Science and Medicine (2)

  1. They show basic kindness and empathy
  2. They make you feel good about yourself
  3. They are willing to admit they are wrong
  4. They make time for friends
  5. They are trustworthy and reliable

The Bible (3)

  1. Be kind to one another and comfort each other
  2. Encourage one another
  3. Confess your faults to one another – forgive one another
  4. Spend time together and encourage one another
  5. Keeps secrets and promises

What does the Bible say about how to be a good friend?

The Bible talks a lot about friendship and how to treat “one another.”

How not to be a good friend

The best example in the Bible of how not to be a good friend is found in the book of Job (pronounced Jobe).

One man (Job), loses everything: family, home, livelihood, and health. He was in dire straights.

Three so-called friends show up to console him.

Talking too much

All is well until these friends begin to talk.

One of the worst things we can do for someone who is hurting is to dominate the conversation.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. ” James 1:19

Appointing yourself as the mouth of God

The three friends then proceeded to blame Job for his problems. They claimed that Job sinned and these problems were the consequences.

However, we know from the narrative that Job was a “righteous” man.

When people are “self-righteous” like the three friends, it is easy to point out where others have gone wrong.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

Our circumstances do not define our spiritual status.

Photo of the rain, Scripture from Matthew 5:45 (the rain falls on the just and the unjust), and a quote from Tara-Leigh Cobble, "Our lot in life is not a good barometer of the condition of our hear."  If we want to know how to be a good friend, we can't blame their spiritual status for troubles they may be facing.
“The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

How to be a good friend

If we master only the characteristics listed above in the comparison between science and the Bible, it will go a long way toward how to be a good friend.

Treat friends with kindness

Another way to put this is to treat friends with respect. It is one of the most important parts of how to be a good friend. Here are more Bible verses about kindness and respect:

Be kind to one another, tenderheartedforgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 ESV

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

In a nutshell, we are to treat others the way we would want to be treated.

That is a simple concept, but not always easy, especially when someone is getting on our nerves. Yes, even friends will try our patience from time to time.

Encourage friends

Essentially, we are to be like cheerleaders when it comes to our friends.

Tell them what you appreciate about them.

Thank them for their acts of kindness.

Promote their projects.

In other words, “have their back”. (3)

Be willing to admit you are wrong

This is where a lot of friendships go sour. One will hurt the other in something they say or do. It usually isn’t deliberate, but someone is still hurt.

Even though we may not mean to hurt someone, it still requires an admission that we did it.

As hard as it may seem to ask for forgiveness, your friendship will actually grow stronger through saying, “I am sorry.”

Spend time with friends

Spending time with friends may seem like a “no-brainer”.

If we want to know how to be a good friend, then quality time must be a priority. Social media can wait. Phone calls can wait. Good friendships take time and attention to create.

So what are you supposed to do when a good friend moves to another city or state?

You can still spend time talking on the phone or through Facetime or Zoom. You can text “I was thinking about you” or “how can I pray for you?”

When someone is a really good friend, be creative and maintain those ties.

Keep secrets and promises

Too many of us have been betrayed by so-called “friends”. They gossiped about our troubles or broke promises they made to us.

Keeping secrets and promises are of utmost importance in how to be a good friend.

Doing this is called being faithful. It is one of the awesome qualities of God that we need to show to our friends.

Wrapping up how to be a good friend

As with any relationship, being a good friend and finding good friends takes work. But the payoff is someone who will support you when you are down.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow … And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12

Friendships are important for mental, physical, and spiritual health.

If you don’t know how to be a good friend, start practicing these principles today. You will be glad you did.

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References:

  1. WebMD
  2. Psychology Today
  3. OpenBible
    • kind, compassion – Job 6:14, Ephesians 4:32, Galatians 6:2
    • encourage – 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Romans 12:15, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    • confess/forgive – Colossians 3:12-14, James 5:16
    • time together – Hebrews 10:24-25
    • protects secrets – Proverbs 11:13, Ecclesiastes5:5
  4. Macmillan Dictionary – “to always be ready to help or defend someone.”

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