Growing up, I had no idea what a true friend was because I honestly never had one.
When I was in the first grade, I met my very first friend (outside of my cousins). Her name was Victoria and we did everything together. Sleepovers, pool parties, we even wrote letters and mailed them to each other.
But once we hit the second grade, we were in different classes. All of a sudden, Victoria would call less, and the invites to hang out ultimately stopped. Despite my efforts to reach out and stay friends, I was no longer fit to be her BFF and we eventually never spoke again.
The same thing happened in the fourth grade– having a few friends outside of school should’ve kept us close now that a classroom difference wasn’t in the picture… wrong. Once puberty hit, we eventually grew distant and we now only keep in touch with a few likes and double-taps on Facebook and Instagram.
The same thing pretty much happened again when I was in the eighth grade. A change in schools and a new phase of puberty/boyfriends made our last phone call totally awkward. Even to this day whenever we run into each other, the friendship seems forced.
How could someone be so close to you only to completely lose connection after a few life changes? Shouldn’t that help you grow closer as friends?
When life changes, people change. And because people change, their relationships change.
Once I hit college, I joined a sorority and was surrounded by lots of “friends”. Yet, my closeness with most of them was often at the expense of poking fun of how I dressed, spoke, and would do certain things. Being the tough girl that I was, I would dust the jokes off and often clap back with something to even out the hurtful words.
But the jokes always hurt. Especially coming from my “friends”.
Looking back at what I know now about college, hearing that my college friends didn’t even like me when they first met me should have been a huge red flag that our friendship wouldn’t grow very strong.
Needless to say, I have had bad experiences when it came to making friends my entire life.
Some of it was my fault (like when I chose to ditch my friends once I had a boyfriend). While others were reasons I have no idea why.
I always watched movies and TV shows showing these amazing girl friendships and would pray and dream that I could one day have that.
And because it never came, making friends became something that was super awkward, and full of protective walls around my heart to prevent me from getting hurt all over again.
I guess this is a big reason I depended on boys and relationships to fill this void that was missing in my life.
Now that I have a better sense of who I am, and I’m no longer ashamed to be myself, I have a pretty good sense of who my actual true friends are.
And yes, after learning to love myself, and learning to establish a true relationship with Christ and actually learn to trust Him, I was able to understand exactly what it takes to make someone a true friend.
If you are having trouble finding true friends in your life, then perhaps you should start with your friendship with yourself and with God first!
And just like any other friendship goes, the one you have with God will require some major trust! So… how much do you trust God, exactly? Say… with your love-life?
If you are unsure, then check out “The Love Trust Test”! Use this digital quiz to get to the very heart of where God is when it comes to trust, your love life, and how you can strengthen your personal relationship with Him today!
The true friends that I have are truly gifts from God. They are direct answered prayers to what I’ve been praying for my entire life.
And while I can probably count them all, on one hand, I can say without a doubt that the friendship we share is definitely what friendships should be about.
Now that I have experienced what makes a true friend and what doesn’t, I wanted to share with you the top ten things that can help you determine whether the women in your life are true friends or foes.
1. They inspire you to do better.
Sure, you can talk to anyone about your problems and together you can devise a solid plan to solve those problems. But when you have a true friend, you leave them wanting to do better. Each of my true friends inspires me to take my business, health, marriage, and self-care to the next level. And this isn’t just a one-time thing… it happens every time I hang out with them.
2. You can laugh and cry together.
Sure, it’s easy to laugh with your friend, but how often can you openly admit to them that you are struggling with something in your life?
A true friend will not only be there for you, but they will make you so comfortable that you’ll be able to share your pains, struggles, and heartaches with them too.
3. You respect each other’s boundaries.
Life happens. When I met the majority of my true friends, I was still single. Now I’m married, with children. If someone has a problem with our lack of time together, because I’ve gone from being single (with lots of time) to now being a mother (hardly any time), then that friend isn’t thinking about you. They are only thinking about themselves.
A true friend understands that family comes first. And that your spouse comes first. And also that sleep is highly needed after having children. They get it. They still love you. And they will still be there to live life with you.
4. You set standards for your friendship.
True friends are hard to find. But once you find them, staying connected and growing together isn’t a hassle or some chore that you do to check off your to-do list. It’s a joy that you actually enjoy doing.
When you find a true friend, you both know going in that it’s gonna take some effort on both parts to keep the friendship alive. Just like any relationship, you need to actively invest time, attention, and love into your friendship. But a true friend does it gladly, while others find it stressful to manage.
Sidenote: If you have been telling someone for months/years that you guys gotta get together, and it hasn’t happened yet, it’s because you BOTH don’t wanna put the effort into making it happen!
5. You can speak openly about your faith.
Iron sharpens iron. If you crave to grow your relationship with Christ as a woman of faith, then your friends should not only know that about you, but they should support it wholeheartedly.
If you have a burning passion for Christ but feel that you have to dim your light down because it will make your friends uncomfortable, then you aren’t able to be your full self with them. That poses a problem because you will forever feel like you aren’t able to be totally you. A true friend would never make you feel that way.
6. Accepts you just as you are.
As I mentioned before, a lot of my friends from the past openly admitted that they did not like me when they first met me. With that in mind, they already gave me a judgment call without even knowing me. And that judgment call was the blanket that covered our friendship ever since.
I spent those entire friendships trying to prove to them that I can be likable and them feeling some kind of way about me.
Even if eventually they grew to see me as a good person, their sneering judgments would always resurface whenever we would talk about the “good ole’ days”.
A true friend is open and willing to see the heart of a person. They are always willing to see you for who you really are. And you should never have to hide that from anyone.
7. They stand in the storm with you.
While it’s super easy to celebrate the good times, it’s not very comfortable to be there during the hard times.
A friend is someone you can lean on as you go through the hard times. A true friend goes through that hard time with you as if it’s happening to them too. They’ll also see to it that you are being encouraged, taken care of, and prayed the entire time.
These small yet thoughtful things are the result of coming out the storm a stronger woman rather than simply coming out the storm-beaten up and bruised.
8. They offer to serve you whether you ask for it or not.
Sometimes we can’t see what’s best for us. But a true friend not only sees and knows that about you, they go the extra mile to love you even when you cannot love yourself.
They know what you need to feel better, even if you don’t wanna receive it at that time because they know that truth in love is the best way to serve the ones they love.
9. They speak your love language fluently.
A true friend knows exactly how to love on you. They know your love language and they speak it often, even if they speak a completely different language. They understand the importance of giving a receiving love from one another, and they know that you especially give and receive love in a certain way.
10. They genuinely enjoy celebrating life with you.
I once had a close friend in the seventh grade who stopped giving me rides to school (a 2-mile walk from home!) because I got straight A’s!
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up..
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)
A true friend is never jealous. Love is never jealous… nor does it envy. And when it comes to true friends, they not only have to love for you but they also practice love.
You shouldn’t have to hide your amazing milestones from your friends because you’re unsure of how they’ll react. A true friend will wanna be the first to know about it. And they’ll first start arranging ways to celebrate with you!
When I told a friend about my idea for “The Single Woman’s Prayer Book” they told me that she would be the first one to buy it. Wouldn’t you know, that over a year later, she was the very first person to buy it. I cannot even begin to express to you how amazing that felt.
I have another friend who is always the first person to wanna celebrate life accomplishments. We set the dates and she’s there every time.
These types of friends don’t come and go into your life. They come and they make a point to stay.
If you’re looking for true friends to enter (and stay) in your life, then pray about it. Pray for them. And when they come, the Lord will let you know. You’ll know in your heart that they are worth getting to know.
And it may not happen overnight. In fact, it may take some years before you can actually call them your true friends. Once you meet them, you’ll have the natural desire to want to fulfill these ten things.
Over time, after seeing them act out these ten things as well, you’ll begin to see their heart. Then you’ll know that you have a true friend worth cherishing for many years to come!
Once you have them, cultivate those friendships using Lara Casey’s Powersheets and/or her other faith-based relationship nurturing tools!