I came across an article today discussing the lack of friends among men. Friends really are hard to come by, especially for men. I understand for many their spouse is their best friend. I know that’s true for me, but should our life mate our only friend? Think about this. If you wanted a friend to join you for a movie or a football game, who would you call? I normally bring my grandkids to events that my best friend, my wife, isn’t interested in. That’s great, but it does show a problem. We should all have folks our own age and stage of life that we can spend time with and who are uniquely suited to understand what we might be going through. That’s something that’s greatly lacking these days.
Perhaps you’ve heard the mantra of friendship evangelism. Make a friend. Be a Friend. Bring a friend to Christ. Our friendship famine can’t be good for evangelism. Have you successfully shared the gospel with anyone in the last year? Certainly the best chance we have for evangelism is with those who consider us friends. It’s not a good sign that most of us have less than a handful of friends.
It seems, therefore, for our own well-being and for the sake of the gospel, we need to be more intentional about forming friendships. How do we do that? If we can agree that a friend is someone we enjoy spending time with, it seems we should identify the characteristics of the people we enjoy being with and then display those characteristics ourselves.
I think these are the chief characteristics of real friends:
When you are with a true friend, there is undistracted presence. When you’re with a friend you head isn’t somewhere else. Yet, it’s not all about him or you. There is mutual interest in each other’s lives. There is more than interest there is the ability to understand what each other is feeling and going through. There is the honesty and vulnerability that comes with real humility. Friends can laugh at each other and themselves.
What to increase your circle of friends? Look for someone you can be a friend to first. That’s where it must begin.