5 Keys to Building Stronger Friendships In Adulthood
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5 Keys to Building Stronger Friendships In Adulthood

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Each of us longs to have deep meaningful relationships with others. After all, it’s the way God created us, demonstrated by the fact that He said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). Prior to that, God had pronounced everything that He had created as being “very good,” but after He created Adam, something was not good—because Adam was alone.

Friendships are incredibly important. Our friends influence every aspect of our lives. God’s word provides an abundance of relationship advice, addressing friendship specifically on numerous occasions. Proverbs 18:1 warns that one who seeks to isolate himself from others is selfish and lacks or defies sound judgment.

What wisdom does the Bible provide when it comes to building stronger friendships? Let’s take a look.

Be Careful in the Selection of Friends
It’s important to be selective when it comes to choosing who you want to hang out with. Choose friends you look up to and want to be more like—“iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). Proverbs 13:20 instructs us to “walk (be friends) with wise men and you will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways ...” We’re instructed in 2 Corinthians 6:16 not to be bound together with unbelievers.

Therefore, choose your friends wisely. Good Christian friends will encourage and prompt you to make good moral decisions in an increasingly immoral world.

Decide that Friendships are Important
It takes a lot of time and effort to build a close friendship. Too many people think they’re interacting with others on a regular basis through texting and social media. These are important; however, nothing beats the warmth of a friend’s hug and knowing they’re giving you their undivided attention than when meeting face to face.

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer” (Henry David Thoreau).

It can be very easy to let a friendship slip away because you’re too busy and don’t make nurturing your friendships important. Having an excuse of being too busy often translates into something not being a priority—you make time for the things that are important to you. Never be too “busy” to block time out on your calendar to socialize with friends.

Leviticus 19:18 and many other places in the Bible tells us we’re to love our neighbor as ourselves. In John 15:13, Jesus describes this type of friendship commitment, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” We may not be asked to lay down our lives, but anything else could fall short.

Be a Loyal Friend
Loyalty requires each person in the relationship to put the needs of another before their own. It requires you to stick it out through good times and bad. You show loyalty to your friends by being generous, supportive, honest and trustworthy. The Bible says a good friend will “stick closer than a brother,” (Proverbs 18:24) and a close neighbor (friend) is better when calamity strikes than a brother who is far away (Proverbs 27:10).

When there is a disagreement, remember, as a good and loyal friend, you won’t listen to or spread gossip about your friend (even if you've had a disagreement)—this is very damaging to a relationship (Proverbs 17:9; 16:28). A loyal friend will not forsake their friends (Proverbs 27:10).

Find Common Ground
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one’” (C.S. Lewis).

Friendships are often based on shared interests or participation in a certain activity or group. Interests can change over time, causing the friendship to fade when there is no longer any common ground. Enduring commonalities, such as faith, can be the beginning of lasting friendships. Bible study groups and church activities give you the opportunity to bond with other like-minded individuals. And, best of all, when we gather together in faith, Jesus is one of the friends standing in our midst (Matthew 18:20). We need other Christians to stand with us to inspire and motivate us to do what is right and good.

Have Realistic Expectations and Be Willing to Forgive
When you get close to someone, it can be easy to take them for granted and to have unrealistic expectations. Some people believe that a friend should agree with you about everything; however, a true friend should confront you (in love) when you are in the wrong. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend. But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

Remember, we all make mistakes. Be willing to forgive others, just as you have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13; Matthew 5:23-24). We’ve all fallen short (Romans 3:23) and need forgiveness at one time or another. Be willing to extend forgiveness to a friend; because if you don't forgive others, then your Father in Heaven will not forgive you (Matthew 6:14).

Friendships take a lot of work and dedication. Friendships require that both parties be willing to put forth the effort to maintain the relationship.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget” (G. Randolf).

Be the kind of friend you would like to have.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically-based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email admissions@geneva.edu.

Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Jan 30, 2017