I am finding that for the average person it can be difficult to make friends. It is not unusual for bright, talented and kind people to have no friends at all. I personally believe that we live in a society that is not conducive to making friends easily. There are some factors that can change your situation and allow you to make friends much more readily and to be able to keep them. I will give you some basics that I know do work.
Smile. I don’t care if you are the nicest person in the world, if you do not smile there is no way for others to know what type of person you are. When others are speaking to you smile and show interest. A sincere show of interest tells others that you care about them.
Be positive. Do you find yourself complaining about work and the economy? We live in a negative society and we don’t need another complainer. Complainers detract people instead of attract. For the next week I want you to make note of each time you are negative. Stop yourself and say “I give thanks for all things.” Your attitude will become a beacon of light instead of darkness.
Always be hospitable. If someone stops by do everything in your power to be welcoming – no matter the day or the hour. Make your home a place of warmth and gathering. Yes, sometimes it will be inconvenient, but if you want to have lasting friendships you must be willing to go out of your way for others. Which leads us to our next point – Be a giver.
There are two types of people in the world – givers and takers. Takers always wait around and expect others to invite them over, invite them to parties, invite them for a beer. Givers move out and take others out to lunch, or coffee or to their house to watch football. Givers don’t sit around and whine that no one has included them – they make the first move. Givers also find small ways to find cards and gifts for others. On birthdays pick up cards for people who you want to be friends with, send it to them with a warm note letting them know that you appreciate them and what they do. If it is a neighbor you want to get to know pick up a small gift such as a candle.
Always be ready to ask forgiveness. Good friends can say “Please forgive me, I was wrong.” Be sensitive as to what you say and how you respond. Never be cynical or sarcastic – this is one of the quickest ways to lose friends.
Pray and ask the Lord to show you ways that you can give to others. Serve. Find ways to serve those around you. It can be as small as running an errand for a co-worker or taking out the trash for a neighbor. Be creative. Sometimes I have baked cookies or muffins for someone I didn’t know and brought it to their house. I just let them know that I wanted to give them something for their family to enjoy. I have had many long-lasting friendships just by doing that one thing.
Effort. Lasting friendships take an effort. It takes calling someone to see if they would like to go for a walk with you. It takes staying in touch even after the person has moved. It takes sending birthday cards every year even when they never have sent you one. It takes calling to ask how their sick dog or kid is doing. It takes showing that you care about the person.
Stop the gossiping and slander. The quickest way to lose friends is to be a gossiper or slanderer. People are very sensitive. One wrong word can ruin a friendship. Never say a negative word behind any person’s back – even if it is true. Always remember the Golden Rule – treat others that way that you want to be treated.
Now, how do you find friends? You have to join clubs, groups and organizations. If you are in a church join a small group. Keep visiting the groups until you find one that you can fit in with. Join a local book club. I recently posted https://jackieosinski.wordpress.com/tag/mackinac-island/ about a group of women in a book club who had nothing in common but books. Yet that one common interest was the bond that drew them closer to share life’s experiences together as friends. If you can’t find a group that fits you start one! In 2 weeks I will be meeting with a depression support group that I am starting. I kept looking for one to go to but because there wasn’t one I started one.
Be a good listener. When someone is talking to you never pick up your cell phone – that is rude. Never interrupt the person. Always nod as they are speaking, showing that you are listening, whether it is interesting or not. Make it a point to bring up the topic at a later date showing that you were interested in their conversation. Finally, ask the Lord to put a love in your heart for others.
When people see that you care and that your actions show that you care it will be a lot easier to reach out to others. The Lord wants you to have friends. It is not about how many friends that you have, but the quality of friendship. One true friend is greater that 50 friends that you can’t count on.
“Lord, I release my friend reading this to learn how to love others that they might have solid friendships. Bless them as they reach out and serve others in the love of Christ.” In Jesus name we pray. amen