Friend = one attached to another by affection or esteem; a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people; a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.
It is a known and common fact that people with friends are happier people.
As I begin my 30-somethings, it is more and more clear to me that friendships come and go. I can remember how important specific friendships were for my own development and health at each stage of life. They helped me learn about building healthy community, asking tough questions, becoming transparent and genuine, and seeing the world through different eyes than my own.
Think back on your own life. Who were your childhood friends? Middle school? High school? College? What about the different places you’ve lived? I’ve lived in Indianapolis, Evansville, Chicago, and Charlotte, and I have friends in all of those places that are important to me.
Relationships change, and the amount of time we spend communicating changes, but we are still friends. Time, distance, career direction, family planning, marital status, hobbies, entertainment proclivities and faith preferences often play a determining factor in the intensity of friendship.
We need friends. I’ve worked with an organization now for four years that specializes in helping people make connections that can lead to lasting, deep friendships. I’ve seen it work, and it’s a joy to commit my working hours to making a connective environment like that possible.
But right now I’m thinking about one of the best friends I’ve ever had because he gets married this weekend.
We became friends by chance, but it was providence more likely. That’s the thing about our best friendships. Rarely do we ever have to seek them out or go looking for them. They just happen. Then they grow.
It may not have been instantaneous, but over 3 years, our friendship grew quickly and deeply. We shared hours together in the “sanctuary” of our home—discussing women, dating, marriage, fatherhood, medicine, church, Charlotte, Charlottesville, theology, politics, sports (lots of sports), and sharing our own struggles, successes, and doubts. Honesty, empathy, compassion, affirmation, challenge, and genuine care and support characterized our mutual understanding of each other.
To say I’m grateful to have a friend like Adam doesn’t say enough. Distance and his soon-to-begin marriage have meant significantly less conversation over the last 11 months, but the lack of time spent together has increased my awareness of the special bond we have as friends.
We were made for friendship like that. Even Jesus, the perfect human being, developed deeper friendships with 3 of his disciples than the other 9.
I’ve been blessed to have great friends throughout my life, and while you might say I’m lucky, I would tell you it has nothing to do with luck.
Be a great friend today. Call. Text. Write. Grab coffee. Watch a game together. And focus more on listening rather than talking.