Do you know how to develop a good friendship?
Over the weekend, I spent quality time with a group of friends, belated birthday celebrations. Due to our busy schedules and the pandemic, we haven’t been able to get together as often as we’d like. Also, we live about ninety minutes apart so it’s not like we can run across the street for a cup of coffee. In between those face-to-face times, we stay connected through texting, video chats, and social media.
Getting together in person, though, takes time and planning. None of us are in a position where we can “get up and go” at the spur of the moment. Between families, work, and pets, we have other responsibilities that prevent spontaneous get-togethers. So planning is essential.
On Saturday, we gathered on the back patio of our friends’ house and soaked in the conversation, laughter, and sounds of nature as balmy breezes whisked our faces while we ate our lunch. As we enjoyed the tranquility of the afternoon, I admired my friend’s green thumb and the way she had transformed their backyard into a serene oasis. Green plants, vibrant pops of colorful flowers, hanging bird feeders, and peaceful wind chimes offer soothing refreshment to our life-weary spirits. And all of that cultivating took time and patience for those plants to bloom, grow, and thrive.
After lunch, we stopped for ice cream, then headed to the beach. We walked along the surf, dug our toes in the sand, and allowed the mid-afternoon sun to kiss our faces. We concluded a perfect afternoon by taking our signature group selfie, passing out hugs, and promising to get together sooner rather than later.
In the midst of my current busyness, it would have been so easy to cancel the plans and focus on my growing to-do list. However, I needed to step away from my full schedule in order to return more refreshed so I could be productive. I try to live my life based on my values of faith, family, and friendships. Since friendships are one of my core values, I needed to set work aside to enjoy essential rest with my friends.
God created us for relationships—first with Him, then with others. As we move through different seasons in our lives, our friendships may change as well. My friends relate to me and feed other parts of my soul that my husband and sons can’t. That’s not a slam against my guys in any way. I value their significance in my life. There’s simply a bond between friends that’s different than a marital bond or one between a parent and a child. And while my husband and boys may appreciate my creative endeavors, my female friends share those same hobbies and understand their value—in the creative pursuit and spending time together.God created us for relationships—first with Him, then with others. Click To Tweet
Chatting with a friend over coffee feeds my inner needs of being heard, being noticed, and being needed because, hopefully, I’m continually cultivating those relationships as well.
I have one friend I see once a month. We meet for breakfast or lunch, and before we part, we look at our calendars and schedule our next date. I have friends I see once a year because we are scattered around the country. Knowing I’ll be seeing them allows for anticipation to build and our reunions are so sweet.
Cultivating friendships takes time and discipline. What do you want in a friendship? What are you willing to sacrifice and offer? Any relationship requires an element of compromise and investment.Cultivating friendships takes time and discipline. What do you want in a friendship? What are you willing to sacrifice and offer? Click To Tweet
If you’re struggling to cultivate your friendships, think about how much time you’re willing and able to invest. Invite a friend to become a walking buddy or maybe meet for a cup of coffee at your favorite shop.
If you can’t get together, send a card to express your appreciation. Words go a long way toward cultivating friendships. Focusing on others needs to be intentional in order to have those purposeful friendships.
I love this quote by Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Take time to cultivate the kinds of friendships you’d like to have. First by being that kind of friend, then invest that time in others. Those friendships will bloom and grow, rewarding you with relationships that last a lifetime.
Your Turn: How have cultivating friendships added value to your life?