Elements of Building Strong FriendshipsWhat are some of the elements of building a solid friendship?

Strong friendships withstand the test of time and are authentic. One must take down their mask that hides their true self from others. A relationship that is real includes both a person’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s essential to be open, vulnerable, honest, and sincere with others. And share struggles with a friend. When individuals share their struggles with grace-filled friends, they find that they accepted regardless of their faults, and they experience the joy of acceptance.

Friendships do not happen automatically—they must be cultivated. It’s easy to lose friends by neglecting to stay in touch with them. Spending time together is required; as often as possible, keep in touch with each other. Make the phone call or text to initiate getting together with each other. After all, friends are committed and devoted to one another.While it is a natural tendency to withdraw from others, it can often become unhealthy. Taking a break from people is fine occasionally, but isolation is deadly. Remember, solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments devised by mankind.

Friends are not optional; they’re essential in life. There is no substitute for a friend. A true friend is someone who cares, listens, comforts, and even reproves. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT). No one is self-sufficient.

Whether good or bad, a friendship impacts a person’s life, and they’re not neutral. If an individual connects with good people, they become a better person. Proverbs 13:20 states, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” If someone is friends with people of questionable character, they may be tempted to become like them, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Choose friends carefully, prayerfully, and wisely.

Allow a friend to be themself, and don’t try to change them. Please give them the freedom to be themselves without pressuring them to be someone they are not. Allow them to make mistakes, be human, and loyally maintain the relationship regardless of their ups and downs. Remember, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Here’s the bottom line: Friends protect each other, and they look for things that may harm each other, hold one another accountable, and watch each other’s backs. Attending a New Life workshop and joining a phone coaching group afterward are safe places to form solid friendships for life. To find out more, call 800-NEW-LIFE.

by Kent Ernsting